Yes, the mustard has been mowed, but so what? Now the jasmine is in
bloom, leaving a lovely perfume lingering in the air that makes every
breath a pleasure here in the town of Sonapanoma. Bree greeted me warmly upon my arrival late
yesterday afternoon, and K-J, K-mus and Turdley were all over me as well.
The Dobermans are normally more restrained, having been trained well by
their master, but many hours spent together in the same kennel has created
a bond between us that will never be rent asunder.
I came to pick up a cache of exotic cult wine that no one will deliver
to me, due to vagaries in the shipping laws and the resulting paranoia.
True, there are many other fine wines I can buy right off the shelf in Day-twah, but I
simply cannot stand to be without my Mystery Ridge or my Moon Seduced.
The drive up from SFO was hell. It took twice as long as it should
have, in midday traffic that made rush hour at home seem like a Sunday
drive through Muscatine Park. Either these people have to stop having babies, or more of them
need to migrate to Portland and Seattle, where I understand they are
welcomed with open arms and loaded weapons.
Bree seems to be doing well in his new location, a spacious compound
with several acres for the lads to run off their excess nervous energy. He
never returned to Cloudy Bay after the Overborg
Incident, instead choosing to settle near
the scene of the crime. He sometimes has a haunted look in his eyes, but
then he spent more time under the thrall of the fiend than we, and none of us were left
unscathed by our forced dependence on the Borgundy.
We spent a pleasant evening, drinking a succession of wines, enjoying a
little virtual Smurf bowling and just renewing old acquaintances. We
started with a Dillinger Chard-o-nay, which helped ease us into friendly conversation and some
cynical gossip regarding a few of the more manic characters in the online
community where we loiter. Then we moved on to a lovely Rocky-rolly Penal Noir. Both of
these wines are Russian Ruler State Sponsored bottlings, and showed their
pedigree well, with deceptively soft demeanors that belie the heavy hands that made
From there, we moved on to a Kay-moose SS, a big authoritarian wine
that was the perfect accompaniment to the rub eyed steaks and pygmy
portabella mushrooms that Bree expertly fried up in a pound of butter, using his
favorite Teflon pan. It was a culinary delight.
Finally, we were breaking into a bottle of Surly Dead Vines Zinfandole
and making plans for the tasting the following evening. Bree had pulled a
complete vertical featuring every vintage produced of that most esoteric of collectable
wines, Parker Muscatel. There would be many of our friends, as well as
some new faces that we only knew by name in Cyberia. He was telling me about the menu that
he had planned, which included gourmet weenie-tots and hard boiled goose
eggs, when we heard a commotion coming from outside. The lads had been put in the
kennel for the night, but something had roused them into a frenzy. My host
retrieved his stun gun from his small arsenal, expecting nothing more than a rodent,
which he would torture briefly for amusement, before letting it loose
having learned the lesson of not trespassing where it did not belong.
I was tending to some toiletries when I heard his scream. I zipped up
quickly with a nasty little pinch and rushed out into the cool night air,
where I was stopped in my tracks by the sight I saw.
Waxy Winged Shape Shifters.
Three of them had Bree in their grasp and were already hoisting him
over the wall of the compound with an ease that was unlikely, if not
seemingly impossible, for the forms they had taken on. They looked every bit like the prissy, vested
wait staff of some high toned overpriced bistro such as, say, Chez
Guevara. He was fighting valiantly, zapping them again and again, but with no effect. Before I
could take five steps to his aid, they were gone, with his wail of pain
and fear becoming fainter as they made their escape and the stun gun buzzing impotently on the
Not knowing where else to turn, I reentered the house and did what I
always do in such emergencies. I cranked up the internet and rang up
Madame LíPour on ICQ. (She had remained at home this trip, because as she so delicately
put it, "Some people have to work for a living.") I told her
what had transpired, and asked her what I should do. Even over an impersonal electronic medium, her
concern was obvious.
"This is one case I canít help you with. But I think I know
someone out there who can."
"Tell me whom," I asked frantically.
"Youíll have to ask the Wine Bubbas," she replied.
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