Plague Doctor

Tom Kha Gai ~ Romancing the Stone

People would take pains to tell her that beauty was only skin-deep, as if a man ever fell for an attractive pair of kidneys ~ Terry Pratchett

The last time Sister Madly went on the prowl was at the Renaissance Faire some years ago. The outcome was less than favorable.

Perhaps unwisely, Sister Madly found herself Romancing the Stone, a quest where one picks a numbered stone from a basket with the goal of finding the individual with the corresponding number from another basket. It is the one weekend at the Faire where the wandering minstrels are drowned out by the sounds of a medieval-love bingo game. Yet despite the pretext of feral romance, this venture was not without risks; she was just as likely to end up with a starry-eyed inamorato as she would this salty gentleman:

Or this one:

Or this:

Yes, even this:

As you can see, the risk was hardly minimal.

But the quest took a dark turn a few hours later when Sister Madly, who had been sharing a pint with the Scotts of Clan Picnic Blanket, noticed that her Stone was missing.

But even more mystifying was how long it took for her to realized that Dum Dums had been left in its place.

Seriously? Sister Madly’s future happiness is to be at the mercy of a corpse-bird in a black negligee? That’s as safe as an ejection seat in a helicopter! The Dodo was an absolute philistine when it came to all-things whimsical; the only reason he would carry a heart-shaped rock was if he was attending a stoning in the square.

Nevertheless, one can’t discredit a fact just because one doesn’t like the reality of it- and judging by the adolescent snickering across the way, Clan Picnic Blanket was a party to this latest bit of skullduggery.

You know, Snickering Scotts, you could have said something when you saw someone pilfering her Stone- you know the Dodo’s fondness for Sock Trafficking; now he’s going to sell her Stone to some little love tart and leave Sister Madly to die an old maid! She might as well go home right now and start collecting kittens.

Then again, how did you not notice the theft, Sister Madly? The patterns in the picnic table were not so interesting to have missed the Big Bird of Creepiness looming over your shoulder. A creature like that should have stuck out like a cactus in a pancake.

While the Scotts freely admitted their part in the theft, they insisted that they were doing her a favor: they didn’t give her Stone to the Dodo to guarantee her spinsterhood, but to secure her a soul mate. Sure, the Dodo had his faults- an unsunny disposition, looks that were in league against him, not to mention that whole ‘plague’ thing- but at least Sister Madly knew what she would be getting herself into, unlike most blind dates. She could still look for the original suitor if she wished, but should she find that suitor, well, unsuitable, she had a backup- how many people can say as much? Just write that number on some random rock, and make all your soul mate dreams come true!

Besides- had she seen the other wandering romantics?

You know, Scott, if Sister Madly had a chalupa, she would so throw it at you right now! She doesn’t take kindly to people who steal her rocks- her vegetables, yes, but not her rocks. Besides, isn’t the reason 2 individuals are set up because they are believed to be compatible?

“It’s the Dark Ages, Sister Madly- you take what you can get!”

No doubt this was intended to console her, as condescending arrogance is wont to do; unfortunately, all Sister Madly heard was a dare…

Yes, the Dark Ages- what a time to be alive!

TOM KHA GAI

  • 6 boneless chicken thighs, cubed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2” ginger, minced
  • 2 chilies, chopped and seeded to taste
  • 8 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 Tbsp green curry paste
  • 3 Tbsp fish sauce
  • (2) 14 oz. cans coconut milk
  • 3-4 cups broth
  • 1/4 cup Thai basil, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • Salt/Pepper, to taste
  • Ghee/Oil, for sauteing

Saute onion in a stockpot until translucent, 5 min
Add garlic, ginger, and mushrooms; saute, 3-5 min
Add curry paste; mix
Add chicken; stir to coat
Mix in coconut milk, broth, chilies, and fish sauce; bring to a boil
Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is cooked; approx 30 min
Mix in lime juice and basil; remove from heat

THEME SONG: Made of Stone, The Stone Roses


Images:

2.) Pinterest
3.) Pinterest
4.) Tumblr
5.) Pinterest
9.) Tumblr


Thai Basil Curry ~ To Plague Fast and Loose

I yearn for the good old days, when you could go about telling people
what you thought of them with a hatchet and a bow and arrow ~ Jerome K Jerome

hugovladdeviant

With this wisdom in mind, Sister Madly faced the Faire with her customary devil-may-care disposition – that is, until an encounter with the Dodo resulted in the threat of arrest due to her fleeing the Battle of the Baked Goods the day before.

The Indictment:
~ Draft Dodging (she refused to throw cupcakes at her enemies)

The charges, of course, were absolutely ridiculous. Why, several inebriated witnesses will testify that multiple Sister Madlys stood at the edge of the battlefield so very briefly- that has to count for something!

Besides, she is but a savant of Fortune Cookie Wisdom:

He who runs from a fight ~
Lives to see another night.

picnic-tablecloth

But in the barbaric world that is Renaissance Faire Justice, no one heeds the wisdom of the cookie. Thus Sister Madly was forced to seek quick and immediate shelter at the Scotch tasting, where she pinched a checkered tablecloth from beneath some very unsuspecting tipplers.

Well, she just couldn’t go to the Highland Fling looking any ol’ how!

The Amended Indictment:
~ Draft Dodging
~ Theft (borrowing a tablecloth without first asking ‘May I?’)

The tablecloth wasn’t particularly stylish, but she wasn’t alone- Clan Picnic Blanket had been making an appearance at the Highland Fling for several years now. Little was known about this group aside from the fact that they imbibed frequently and was comprised entirely of individuals named Scott*, which made them the easiest Clan to infiltrate.

* Later modified to include those who had a ‘Scott’ in the family.

picnic-dress

However, Sister Madly was unable to completely blend in with Clan Picnic Blanket: she was a green checkered cloth amidst the sea of red, not a man, and shamefully sober. That latter part she could work on, but Sister Madly would have to bluff about the green tablecloth, much like the way she bluffed about being a ‘Scott.’*

* Not a lie so much as it was an unsubstantiated truth.

The Revised Amended Indictment:
~ Draft Dodging
~ Theft
~ Fraud (she was not a Scott)

It didn’t take long.

plague oomizuao deviant

The green tablecloth isn’t fooling anybody, Sister Madly.

And bluff she did.

Maybe it was she who was fooled, Herr Dodo, by the green; perhaps Sister Madly is color blind.

Of course this wasn’t true, they both knew that; but it was something the Dodo couldn’t disprove and would look like a poor sport if he tried.

He would also look like a poor sport if he interfered with a race- or so she thought. You see, Sister Madly was under the faulty impression that by participating in the Keg Roll Relay, she would be safe from retribution.

The race, however, was not as easy as she fancied: the keg was imbalanced, being half-loaded- much like the majority of Clan Picnic Blanket. Looping lines were all the rage for this lot, and while most teams headed vaguely towards the finish line, Clan Picnic Blanket veered sharply to the left- which abruptly ended the moment the Keg escaped the humiliation and rolled down the hill towards the Living History Village.

keg-roll

Naturally, Sister Madly was the last of her team to realize the gravity of the situation as the rest of Clan Picnic Blanket abandoned the race and headed for the nearest drinking establishment. Yes, there was a Keg bearing down upon the Vikings, and if Sister Madly didn’t make a move out of sight, she would be left to take the blame.

Which is precisely what happened.

The Modified Revised Amended Indictment:
~ Draft Dodging
~ Theft
~ Fraud
~ Property Damage (the Keg knocked over a bunting)

Well, Miss Smarty-Knickers, what are you going to do now?

Sister Madly was somewhat bewildered by this response. The Keg missed the Dodo’s pavilion by mere inches, so he had no reason to complain; in fact, he wasn’t anywhere near the Village, just lording over it on the hill. If he had been minding his own business over in the swamp, this wouldn’t even be an issue.

medieval-village-2

Then again, perhaps the offense was more indirect. Perhaps he, like Sister Madly, was sensitive to hops; or perhaps he was one of those gluten-free Plague Doctors and saw the Keg as a passive-aggressive attack on his dietary lifestyle. At the very least, a health-conscious ol’ bird such as he should appreciate the fact that it was a free-range Keg that nearly destroyed the Village, and not one of those farm-raised, hormone-injected types.

When you fling an 80-pound keg into a crowd, we eliminate the ‘passive’ part.

The Finely-Tuned Modified Revised Amended Indictment:
~ Draft Dodging
~ Theft
~ Fraud
~ Property Damage
~ Assault (she pushed a Keg towards unsuspecting human beings)

Never had Sister Madly accomplished so much before noon.

thai-basil-curry

THAI BASIL CURRY

  • Ghee/Oil, for sauteing
  • 6 chicken thighs, cubed (opt)
  • Vegetables (bell peppers, carrots, mushrooms, snap peas, etc)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 chili pepper, chopped and seeded to taste (used serrano)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, minced ~ OR ~ 3/4 tsp, ground
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup fresh Thai basil leaves,* chopped

* Thai Basil differs from Sweet Basil as it has an anise/licorice taste

Saute onion in ghee/oil until translucent- 5 min
Add garlic, (fresh) ginger and chili- saute for 3-5 min
Add curry, turmeric, coriander, ginger (if using ground) and salt
Stir until fragrant- 30 sec
Add vegetables, chicken and coconut milk- bring to a boil
Reduce heat and simmer until veggies are tender and chicken is cooked- 30 min
Mix in lime juice and heat to set flavors- about 1 min
Remove from heat and mix in Thai basil

THEME SONG: Runaway, Bon Jovi


Images:

1.) hugovlad.deviantart.com
2.) pinterest
3.) pinterest
4.) oomizuao.deviantart.com
5.) tumblr
6.) pinterest


No Pearls in the Citadel

There are those who, when bored, will do whatever possible to see that they are entertained- even if it means arranging the misadventures of a friend. It’s like how a mother will dress her child in a heavy sweater because the mother, herself, is cold.

That is how Sister Madly found herself fleeing the Dodo amidst a flurry of baguettes and day-old cupcakes (they weren’t called the Dark Ages for nothing!) in the hopes of seeking sanctuary in what she thought was the Tower.

black pearls nat geo

However…

“No Pearls in the Citadel!”

So it was a Citadel, for what difference it makes; as for that bit about the pearls- those things are just plain creepy. A pearl is a small, lustrous piece of calcium carbonate that forms around a foreign object- such as a grain of sand or a broken bit of shell- inside a living mollusk. Living. Liv-ing. Face it, folks: wearing a pearl ring is like wearing a kidney stone.

So imagine a young Sister Madly’s disappointment the day she learned that a grain of sand heartlessly shoved into a living creature in the hopes that it produces a bead- and not even a sparkly bead at that- was her birthstone. Had she known this, she would have campaigned her way out of the womb a few days earlier, and settled for an emerald.

“No Pearls in the Citadel!”

plague doctor christopher lovell

There’s also no bat-crazy corpse-bird brandishing medieval pastries in a threatening manner, sir, and right now that’s all she cares about.

But this garnered no sympathy whatsoever from the Guardian of the Pearl (that apparently was not in the Citadel.) No one ever seemed particularly sympathetic to Sister Madly’s plight when it involved the Dodo- true, she made it through those plights without much damage to body and soul, but this was largely due to her own incompetence rather than ability.

You see, Sister Madly was conscripted into the Battle of the Baked Goods by people she called friends, O-Guardian-of-the-Pearl-that-is-Not-in-the-Citadel. And while it’s true that she is currently dodging this draft- and not discreetly- she has a very good reason for doing so: gluten intolerance. Not since the Inquisition has Sister Madly seen such flagrant bigotry- bashing people about the head with loaves of French bread is a terrible mistreatment of gluten.

But more importantly, deep down inside of her shoe, her sock is slipping off.

With this the Guardian of the Citadel sans Pearl sympathized, as he himself must have once suffered the agony of a sock bunching up around the toes. It wasn’t enough to let her into the Citadel, however; that was accomplished by a horrifying tantrum, the likes of which even Sister Madly was unaware that she could achieve.

As she attempted to fix her sock in the safety of the Citadel, she thought back upon the events concerning the Baguettes and the Bird, and wondered if the source of her most spectacular problems were not her enemies, but her friends.*

trigger man

*It was at this moment that Sister Madly, in her attempt to shake out the knotted-up sock, launched the paisley missile straight out the window.

Just as it was no accident that she was drafted into battle, it was no coincidence that she found herself facing the Dodo on that field wielding a rosemary garlic baguette in a brilliant display of Baked Good Justice. Sister Madly, on the other hand… all she had was a little cocktail umbrella some medieval tart had stuck behind her ear-

No throwing socks out of the Citadel!

elise marie syvertsen 2

If a sock wanders off, sir, it is not for Sister Madly to ask it why. Losing a sock to the wild unknown is what being human is all about and that was the Dodo, wasn’t it?

Of course that was the Dodo, Sister Madly- who else would it be? And it was not due to the magic of the universe, coincidence, or synchronicity that he showed up outside your window, but as a result of the prevailing boredom of your very capable ‘friends.’

But don’t rule out the fact that the Dodo was all-too willing to comply.

Paisley?

Laugh it up, Chuckles, but paisley is chic! Besides, no one was suppose to see her socks.

Now, one might expect some clever repartee to ensue, perhaps even to the point of threatening future retribution. But no; instead, she watched the Dodo silently walked away with her paisley sock!!!

Well of all the cheek! Your friends may very-well be the source of your problems, Sister Madly, but your enemies are certainly the backup power unit.

“He’s just contributing to your humanity,” said the Guardian of the Nonexistent Pearl.

… Enemies whose number is ever-growing, and whom Sister Madly informed that until she once again had her sock- or a viable substitute- she would not be leaving the precious Citadel.

That is when a purple Crown Royal bag came flying through the window.

Crown_Royal

Let‘s face it, Sister Madly: the source of all your problems is you.

 *Sister Madly still has no idea what the deal was with the Pearls, other than the fact that there weren’t any in the Citadel.

THEME SONG: Like a Friend, Pulp


 Images:

2) Christopher Lovell
4) Elise Marie Syvertsen


The Mortality Rate of Kindness

Once upon a time, Sister Madly walked the plank.

She also skipped, bought pints for, and philosophized with the Plank. Then they shared a Pronto Pup.

This merry time of misrule took place at the Faire. Earlier that day, Sister Madly failed miserably in her attempt to poison the Dodo with a jelly bean – an act which, for some reason, he took rather personally. And when he takes things personally, he tends to be vindictive, gleefully dispensing his own brand of Vigilante Justice. In fact, being of a mindset most medieval, the Dodo preferred his revenge lightly seared on both sides – the more blood, the better.

She also failed in her attempt to reason with the Dodo.

Don’t you believe deep in your heart – wherever it is – in killing with kindness?

But there was no appealing to the Dodo’s better nature: he didn’t have one.

Kindness, Sister Madly, does not have a high mortality rate.

The Ol’ Bird could really hold a grudge when he put his mind to it. And just when she was about to eat crow

(The Dodo also lacked a certain sense of humor when it came to puns.)

Had she not been so distracted by serving up a sassy line, things might have turned out differently for the hopelessly pompous Sister Madly. Sassy lines tend to sidetrack one from the important things in life – like making one’s getaway. Instead, she was handed a rope, at the end of which was a splintered chunk of a 2×4: yes, this round of Vigilante Justice consisted of Sister Madly walking the plank.

(The Dodo no longer lacked a certain sense of humor when it came to puns.)

escher

So she was to walk the plank around the Faire, which was cruel in and of itself: that place had a layout that would have terrified Escher. Of course, the Dodo was to accompany her along the way, which made the sentence downright sadistic. Becoming a living example of a pun was bad enough; but when shadowed by one’s Arch Nemesis – who was once more lacking a sense of humor- no. That Ol’ Bird had to go.

It wasn’t easy, losing the Dodo; just when she thought she had ditched the Ol’ Bird, he managed to turn up in the background, hovering like some grotesque, avian Slender Man. He was all too prepared for her unladylike shenanigans, dodging in and out of pavilions and crawling under tables- how she ended up losing him, she couldn’t say: one moment, he just wasn’t there, which came as such a surprise that Sister Madly actually started looking for him. Briefly.

So she had lost the Dodo; now she had ditch the plank- better yet, find some unsuspecting elf or Viking to return it on her behalf. But in an unguarded moment, when she looked into its beady little nonexistent eyes, she realized that this was no ordinary plank. It had soul.

And it had a name: Chickpea.

0019-WalkThePlank-19-e1371343654329

What began as a penalty became an unlikely alliance. Together, they skipped through the Fairy Grove, cheered on the underdog in the joust, taunted the Vikings (from a safe distance), shared a Pronto Pup and raised pints at the pub all the while discussing things both wicked and whimsical. Occasionally, they lamented about the flies.

Here’s something to mull over, Sister Madly: if the Dodo really is such a horrid old jackdaw, would Chickpea have stuck with him this long? Sure, the two of you despise each other and have managed to make a career out of it, but perhaps you’re wrong about ‘The Beak’. In the right company, he might be quite charming.*

* HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!

But this friendship was short-lived. Chickpea, she soon realized, did not belong to her – Chickpea didn’t belong to anybody. It was a wild thing, and wild things are not meant to live in captivity. They belong to the Earth. They have a spirit that cannot be contained. They deserve to fly.

And Chickpea deserves to fly now, Sister Madly, because that’s the Dodo heading your way.

So they ran to the edge of the Faire and, with a most haphazard benediction, Sister Madly flung that wild, splintered Soul into the stinky swamp of freedom – just in time, it turned out.

You’re not suppose to enjoy your sentence, Sister Madly… where’s the Plank?

She set him free; if he loves you, he will return to you.

And that was the last anyone ever saw of Chickpea.

~ Vaya con Dios, Old Soul ~

banana escape

~ and may you never step on a Lego ~

THEME SONG: Born to Be Wild, Steppenwolf


Image 1) christopherlovell.com


Sister Madly Dyes at the End

If there is anything that depresses Sister Madly more than cabbages, it’s finding out that someone is trying to poison her.

007

Let’s face it: poisoning another person is not very gracious. In fact, some find it so rude that there are actual laws against it.

It was during one of her innocent frolics throughout the Renaissance Faire some years ago that Sister Madly, per chance, found a PURPLE Jelly Bean at the bottom of her glass. And though a Jelly Bean means absolute squat in this day and age, during that particular era they were considered toxic, with each COLOUR representing a different poison.

And seeing as one had so mysteriously found it’s way into her goblet, Sister Madly could say, within an acceptable margin of error, which miscreant was responsible.

Dodo 4

Just look at him over there, strutting about like some colossal, avian horror: the Dodo, completely indifferent in his BLACK nightdress and creepy beak. He had just tried to poison Sister Madly with a PURPLE Jelly Bean and lacked the common decency to be ashamed of it! Why, he couldn’t have been more blasé if he had just burned down a Wal-Mart. The Dodo was one of those creatures whom always believed that the universe would look after him and, somehow, the universe always did.

This frustrated Sister Madly to no end.

Despite the many wonderful methods of exacting revenge, she settled on the Dodo’s own game. This she accomplished with a rendezvous with the Assassin – some common ne’er-do-well, it turned out, with hair so light and skin so dark that he looked like a photo negative. And here, Sister Madly wasted 10 minutes of her precious life deciding upon which Jelly Bean she would spend $1:

  • RED = LOVE: No. Just no.
  • GREEN = MIND CONTROL: Possibilities with this one.
  • YELLOW = YOUTH: The last thing she needs is an everlasting Dodo.
  • PURPLE = MADNESS: She suspects the Dodo is one corn nut away from this mindset as it is.
  • BLACK = DEATH: Oh sure; the way her luck is going, the poison would bypass all the vital organs and go straight to his hips- which would be quite effective if the Dodo was a girl who worried about that sort of thing.

jelly-bean

The truth is, she never saw the Dodo eat or drink, and he certainly wouldn’t absorb anything through the skin as his very wardrobe was meant to safeguard against this. But that didn’t matter: all Sister Madly really wanted was for the Dodo to know that she could get to him as easily as he could get to her… which wasn’t true in the least, because it took a great deal of finagling and brouhaha to get the Jelly Bean in his tankard- and at a great personal inconvenience, she might add.

But he didn’t need to know that part.

The beauty in this plan was that anyone could be responsible, if you think about it; all she had to do was point the finger. And most of the Faire Folk would believe her; seriously, the Dodo could hardly go about diagnosing everyone with the Plague and expect to remain popular.

pd2

It was over an hour later, after the Pub Sing-Along, that it was pointed out to Sister Madly that not only was there GREEN all over her hands – which she hadn’t noticed, the blind sap – but was also streaked along her neck. And across her temple. And above her eye. For heaven‘s sake, dear child; did any of the poison actually make it into the tankard?

This is why you should wear gloves, Sister Madly. So you don‘t end up poisoning yourself.

There was a certain wisdom in the Dodo’s words; even she admitted that. Yes, Sister Madly, you should have chosen RED, in which case you would’ve fallen deeply in LOVE with yourself, way beyond narcissism, and probably lived happily ever-after. But no; you chose GREEN. You chose MIND CONTROL. Now you are forced to do whatever it is you bid yourself to do. You spent $1 to prove a point to the Dodo – but in the end you were the one who DYED.

Is Sister Madly responsible, you ask? Absolutely, Skeksis ol’ bean! If you don’t wish the Moppet to engage in a dark science, don’t employ dark sciences in the first place.

The Dodo merely stared at her with a look of dull incredulity, or she assumed; he wore a mask, as always, so every expression looked very much like the other. But he did seem to have no idea what she was talking about – unlike his entourage.

And in a moment she lives over and over in her dreams…

The Beak had nothing to do with that, Sister Madly.

Nothing to do with it, they said.

Nothing.

huge mistake

And for the first time in her life, Sister Madly found herself within that acceptable margin of error.

Do you find it so acceptable now?

Fie Chicory…

THEME SONG: Poison, Alice Cooper


Image 4) defectivescissors.deviantart.com


The Plague Mates

Should you ever find yourself having to describe the act of ‘Thinking,’ do in fact think before you speak. There are better ways of describing it than as ‘a voice inside your head.’

Sister Madly found that one out the hard way.

dodo lamp

There was no indication that the day would one of great peculiarity- that is, until she woke up. In the midst of her Good Morning Stretch, Sister Madly, who had been sleeping in a manner most angelic, came to realize that a familiar face was hovering nearby, watching her sleep.

How, just how did the Effigy make its limbless way from on the fridge to the lamp beside the bed? This wasn’t just a trick of the heartless sunshine, but one of malicious intent, who delighted at the sight of Sister Madly engaging in an acrobatic struggle to free herself from the tangled sheets. Indeed, there was malicious intent- yet, she could prove none of it.

You see, Sister Madly has a habit of leaving things conspicuously out of place as a reminder that there is something of importance pending in her life. The reason for this is so that she’ll ask herself why in the name of Kermit the Frog did she hang a shoe from the ceiling fan, thus tracing her reasoning back to the fact that she needs to pay rent. Logic would therefore dictate that she had intended for there to be a utility bill or a note attached to the Effigy, but Sister Madly does not live in a House of Logic.

Besides, why would Sister Madly want THAT face to be the first thing she sees in the morning?

deep thoughts

There is no doubt that the Effigy was assuming liberties beyond his humble station on the refrigerator, even going so far as to wreck havoc upon her dreams. Obviously, the only proper way to deal with the Effigy was to implement the most exquisite example of machete justice ever to be seen.

Only… where is the machete, Sister Madly?

One couldn’t deny the glaring white wall against which there once rested this magnificent weapon; but for just how long has it been this way? The rest of her arsenal seemed to be in tact; but the machete… that appeared to be on holiday.

Sure, she may have misplaced it. History is full of examples of ne’er-do-wells mislaying their machetes in their sparsely furnished, one-room domiciles, only to find it years later with all the missing argyle socks. It’s the classic American Love Story.

But what should have worried her more was the latest fun she’s been having with the Effigy:

dodo wedding 2

Now, what would your great-grandmother say, Sister Madly, after bootlegging and moonshining her way first through Prohibition, then the Depression, only to be defaced by the Effigy and… that other thing? And just what is that other thing? Some sort of demented kumquat? It does looks like a sort of thing the Dodo would marry-

Don’t go there, Sister Madly; don’t do it.

But that’s just the thing she was thinking about later that night; she might have even been making faces while doing so. Of course, she couldn’t tell the Professors this; evidence suggests that they might be on his side. Come to think of it, Sister Madly- how do you know that they aren’t responsible for the Effigy’s cross-studio levitation in the middle of the night? They’ve already threatened to knit a sweater for your car, and everybody knows that is one step away from Effigy Moving. All the oracles say so.*

*They do so!

smartcozy

So when they asked about her obvious lack of interest in anchovies, Sister Madly told them that she was just thinking- a response that was met with confusion, as though such an activity was a foreign.

Yes, Professor, thinking; you know: the voice inside your head…

There was just no taking that one back; there was no use even trying. Perhaps it’s time for you to go home, Sister Madly; better yet, call yourself a cab- and when it arrives, just step out in front of it.

POST’S THEME SONG: The Enemy Guns, DeVotchKa


A Plague of Effigies

With 2014 drawn, quartered and stuffed safely down the garbage disposal, Sister Madly has decided to embrace the New Year with a new pair of fuzzy socks and some freshly sharpened machetes.

And one Old Acquaintance who refuses to be forgot.

Like most of the population, Sister Madly was looking forward to leaving that rotten year behind; in fact, she didn’t think things could get much worse- that is, until one morning last week, when this effigy was delivered to her by Tallulah an agent under the guise of holiday cheer:

effigy

It was one thing when the Dodo was attacking her on his own power, with search engine terms and exploding onion containers, but now he’s involving innocent parties and she just will not tolerate it. Why, some of you have even sent her Dodo pictures, which she chalked up to your murky sense of humor- and couldn’t help but admire- but never once did she wonder whether or not the Dodo was behind that onslaught.

Until now.

But are they really innocent parties, Sister Madly? Did you ever stop to think that maybe, just maybe, they know exactly what they are doing? Consider the evidence, Sister Madly, the batting cages and driving ranges and the ever-increasing I just happened to have chopped some onions right before you got here coincidences. You can‘t deny that those smiles have been anything but hollow as of late, or that there may have been more behind the wicked glint in their eyes than the usual Christmas Mischief.

pd raven love

Yes, Sister Madly: the Tofurky just got real.

Perhaps she is to somewhat blame. She should have taken precautions against this epidemic by supplying her friends with Dum Dums and anti-Dodo propaganda. She should have warned them of his charisma and his trickery. She should have given them peanut brittle.

But then came this horrifying thought: what if her friends had accepted this invitation into the Abyss not by the Dodo’s usual deception, but of their own free will? One really couldn’t expect much else from a crowd who is genetically drawn to Hall and Oates. It wasn’t long before they were stenciling birds on their kitchen cupboards and feeding the ravens cat treats- the Christmas Party was just lousy with Dodo Worship with a flagrant display of such rituals. Apparently, all one needs to achieve low-ranking divinity here on earth is to adorn oneself with a crow’s beak and a black nightie. Who needs integrity when you’ve got loads of style and a jar full of leeches?

But even as Sister Madly lamented this betrayal of loyalties, she found herself succumbing to some inexplicable force that compelled her to do this to a photo on her refrigerator:

effigy fun

No, Sister Madly- you cannot start having fun with this effigy. That is a sure sign that you are falling under his spell; one might even say it is the first symptom of the Plague, itself. It won‘t be long before you are building altars and sacrificing Dum Dums in the name of the Dodo, declaring how you would give your right hand for the honor of his blessing.* Come Halloween, you will be happily terrorizing the town in his very image- and did you notice, Sister Madly, how you just smiled oh-so-slightly at the thought? There was a time when this would have worried you.

*Well, somebody’s right hand, anyway.

You know, lobotomies only sound scary…

Faced with the possibility of an outbreak, she decided that the best way to safeguard against the Plague is to lay low and avoid contact with those infected until the epidemic has passed. Should you be in need of Sister Madly, she will be curled up inside your sock drawer- just give her a cider now and then, and she’ll behave herself.

POST’S THEME SONG: Birdhouse in Your Soul, They Might Be Giants


Image 2) skia.deviantart.com


One Fell Short of the Dodo’s Nest

Sister Madly does not need to be baptized- she needs to be exorcised.

It was a day like any other when a benevolent Sister Madly volunteered to participate in the ‘Drench a Wench/Soak a Bloke’ charity event at the Faire; she is, after all, in full support of finding a cure for cancer… or rescuing cats from the streets… or marketing a new potato salad… Whatever charity was to benefit from the event, she was probably in full support of it. Probably.

60b0a5ddd2961eff4d4027b96ef42924

The rules were simple: for $5 a charitable fella received 5 sponges to fling at a group of women, and those hit by the sponge bestowed upon the charitable fella his choice of either a handshake, a hug, or a kiss. Take a guess which one the charitable fellas were more inclined to choose.

Fortunately, Sister Madly was supplied with lipstick so bright it could be seen from another planet.

After the novelty of bestowing kisses upon those who threw sponges at her face wore off, Sister Madly began planning her exit. There were enough women remaining who enjoyed this type of abuse that her absence would probably go unnoticed- or so she thought. What she hadn’t anticipated was the new crowd now gathering at the foot of the stage, a crowd that was too familiar for comfort. Suddenly, Sister Madly remembered how the word retribution had been uttered to her after having the Dodo arrested…

And to think that only a moment ago, she hadn’t a care in the world.

dum dums

It wasn’t long after that the bailiff announced that he had a warrant for her arrest for the Distribution of a Controlled SubstanceYes, Sister Madly had been caught trafficking Dum Dums- and to a minor, no less.

Earlier that day, Sister Madly had endured the usual Dum Dum assault, which Skeksis seemed to relish more so than normal. This all took place in front of a young Viking Tot who, upon seeing the candy but unable to reach it, began to cry. No, bawl. Wail. Wail as no barbarian has ever wailed before. A wail that summoned every available Orca to the nearest shoreline. A wail that left no doubt in anyone’s mind that Sister Madly was a greedy little vixen who had stolen the Viking Tot’s candy.

Take the Dum Dum, kid- take it! Take them all!

Oh, Skeksis- you planned this whole thing, didn’t you? You set her up.

And with that revelation, Sister Madly lunged at the Dodo, taking a flying leap from the stage- and into a pile of soggy, spent tomatoes.*

(*From Tomato Justice, where you pay money for some cheeky creature to insult you, and you seek justice by throwing tomatoes at him.)

At least it’s not Riverdance —

1324316240_cat_jumps_off_balcony_ledge

You’re right, Sister Madly: that wasn’t Riverdance. By a long shot.

And now you’re charged with assault as well.

Her response was typical of the situation, grunting like a primordial beast on the verge of discovering fire; even the tomato she tried to throw in his direction merely hung in mid-air before landing on her shoulder and splattering across her cheek. Face it, Lady Marinara: the only thing you have ever successfully thrown was a tantrum.

Doing her best to appear undaunted after her whole ‘Face in the Compost Pile’ incident, Sister Madly crawled out of the tomato heap and, much to their surprise, took off running. The arresting officers did nothing but stare after her, as apparently ‘Resisting Arrest’ had not been invented yet.

It wasn’t until few hours and a pint of something later that Sister Madly was able to track down the Dodo. After a liberal application of atomic lipstick, she lunged at him once again with the same ol’ battle cry:

At least it’s not Riverdance —

Dodonest

And Sister Madly plowed right on past the Old Bird and into a bush.

The gods do not approve of this inept revenge sequence, Sister Madly. Nor do they offer you any sympathy. You do realize, don’t you, that you started this whole thing with your appalling lack of knowledge concerning certain events of the Medieval era? Karma, Sister Madly, karma: first, you belly-flop off a stage in front of hundreds of people, then you throw a tomato at yourself, then you round out the attack by torpedoing right past the Dodo and into a bush.

Perhaps your stealth is not what you assume it to be.

POST’S THEME SONG: Kiss Them for Me, Siouxsie and the Banshees


Everybody Knows that the Plague is Coming

There was a sense of lightheartedness that afternoon, when Sister Madly came home with a package of fresh, pre-chopped onions. Just knowing that tomorrow’s kitchen disaster was going to be without tears made this week’s what-the-hell purchase as prized as her antique opium pipe. Even Toto’s Rosanna could not chase away the butterflies.

onion

Once the prep work aftermath had been cleared away, Sister Madly retrieved the onions from the fridge, noting that the container seemed to be bulging slightly. She hardly had time for curiosity at this phenomenon, for the moment she picked up the onion container, it exploded.

This, of course, made Sister Madly cry- and hers is not the gentle weeping of one touched by a animal rescue commercial. No, every time she comes within a half-mile radius of onions being chopped, Sister Madly looks as though she had just witnessed the massacre of millions of helpless kittens as she walked barefoot across a sea of Legos.

What made matters worse was that the paper towel she blindly reached for to wipe her eyes and nose was the one she used to handle the habanero peppers a few moments before.

Now, habanero eyes are horrible in and of themselves; but habanero nose- that is a another thing entirely. She knows better than to handle these foods without the proper eyewear- but now she has to protect the rest of her face as well? Exactly how was she the only one in her family to end up with such a hyper-sensitive system? She might as well just pitch a tent at the fairgrounds and charge admission.

In a few short weeks, this will be Sister Madly:

cookingmask

Hmm? You say you’ve seen something like this before, Sister Madly? There is something familiar about it… Perhaps you are reminded of a past life, a medieval life…

Perhaps you’re reminded of THIS GUY!

The Dodo

You realize what this means, don‘t you? Sister Madly is slowly and systematically turning into the Dodo.

That was his plan from the beginning, wasn’t it? While Sister Madly believed their rivalry operated on a day-to-day basis, the Dodo had a scheme that reached far into the future. She had suspected something like this in the past, believing him to be responsible for the sudden onslaught of search engine terms that addressed the Dodo specifically.

It all makes sense now: the onions, the peppers- it’s the Dodo’s subtle attack, turning Sister Madly into a modern apparition of himself. The Dum Dums, those Mystery Flavor Dum Dums that he use to throw at her- they  have  something to do with this, don’t they? She doesn’t know how, but she is convinced this ever-increasing hypersensitivity is directly related to the Mystery Flavor Dum Dums, which were probably created with the same engineering techniques as GMO’s. The Dum Dums may also be responsible for the intolerance that once caused Sister Madly to murder a sandwich.

It‘s been over a decade since their last encounter, and she foolishly assumed that he had flown off to the Great Bird’s Nest in the Sky. She had long-ago given her concession speech, sulking in the dark one night when she realized that although she had won several battles against the Dodo, she had lost the war.

Dodo 4

But he‘s never really gone, is he?

So what would becoming the Dodo entail? Well, based on what she had witnessed in the past, it would require Sister Madly to endure the insults and pranks of Sister Madly, to throw Dum Dums almost compulsively at Sister Madly, to have to Riverdance her way out of jail as a penance to Sister Madly, and to creep everyone out with her outfit- including Sister Madly.

In other words, it would require Sister Madly to be constantly at war- with herself.

They say if you can’t beat them… No, absolutely not. She will not be joining him. That just will not do. You see, even in this dark place, there is a glimmer of hope: for if the Dodo is, indeed, still out there, it means that Sister Madly still has a chance to win this war.

POST’S THEME SONG: Everybody Knows, Leonard Cohen


~ Thanks to everyone who entered the Necronomicon Giveaway. Sister Madly has been in contact the winner- she will keep you updated! ~



Saffron Chicken Tagine ~ Rock Me, Nostradamus

The best $2 Sister Madly ever spent was to see the Dodo Riverdance.

Understandably, this did not endear Sister Madly to the Dodo in the least.

It all began after the Pub Sing-Along, when it became apparent that the crowd knew something that Sister Madly did not. She didn’t like the way they were laughing; it was not the laughter bestowed upon one found utterly adorable, but the laughter at one’s expense. Sister Madly is finely tuned to the subtle difference.

The obvious place to look was behind her; in the movies, that is when things go wrong. But this one came without her looking: a glass of ice water to the back, followed by a Mystery Flavor Dum Dum. To Sister Madly, the Mystery Flavor Dum Dum is the highest of insults.

insulting dum dum

Actually, the Dodo didn’t throw the Dum Dum at her; he handed it over. She took this to mean that the Dodo’s was symbolically calling her names. She couldn’t bring herself to forgive this anymore than could she forgive the ice water: though refreshing once the initial shock had passed, it wasn’t worth being rendered incapacitated in a hunchback position while waiting to thaw.

Yet it was during this deep freeze that Sister Madly settled on her retaliation: to have the Dodo arrested. Sure, it seemed severe, but she saw no reason why she couldn’t get away with it. Besides, it only cost $2*, which was comparable to the amount of Dum Dums thrown at her over the course of their acquaintance.

* $2.68 when adjusted for inflation.

The prison system was simple: a warrant was issued, the offender apprehended and, after a lengthy trek around the Faire for the sole purpose of being taunted, hauled off to jail. Here, his options were to either pay a fine (which rarely, if ever, happened) or serve his sentence, which included some sort of humiliation such as singing I’m a Little Teapot.

Which was exactly the sentence Sister Madly was hoping for.

Dodo 4

Since the charge of ‘Dum Dum Throwing’ brought a snicker from the crazy-haired warrant issuer (jerk) she settled on assault and battery. To this day, Sister Madly has no idea how she missed the arrest; tagging along on the taunting trek is part of the tradition- not to mention, part of the pleasure- for the accuser, but this all happened without her. All she knows is that a short time later, the Dodo was greeting her with that time-honored gesture of disapproval from inside the jail.

Well… at least he knew who was responsible.

Having missed the taunting trek, Sister Madly decided to get her insults in while she had the time. She was pleased at how well this went- that is, until she was confronted by the Dodo’s entire entourage. They wanted to know if the word retribution meant anything to her.

Which, of course, it did: it was the reason she had the Dodo arrested.

“Would you have Nostradamus arrested?”

If he threw Dum Dums at her, she would.

Nostradamus

And Sister Madly should have just left it at that; but no. She had to start thinking. What did Nostradamus have to do with this? There had to be a reason these weirdos were bringing him up. And as she wondered, Sister Madly fell victim to a case of 3 AM Rationale -as it was 3 AM somewhere in the world- which began its rapid deterioration into madness.

What if he is Nostradamus? Not that this gives him liberty to throw Dum Dums at people… but that’s going to be his defense, isn’t it? He’s going to claim to be Nostradamus, and somehow it’s going to get him out of jail without singing I’m a Little Teapot. He’s either going to be released on his own recognizance, or by entering an insanity plea because this would prove that Skeksis is schizo- in which case he would end up in the Asylum, which wouldn’t be problem except that the Dodo ran the Asylum.

This was unacceptable. Sister Madly paid $2 for the privilege of the Dodo’s public humiliation- he was not going to get out of it that easily. Not that there was a thing she could do about it, aside from halting her internal dialogue which was manifesting itself through various gestures and facial expressions. People were beginning to stare.

It was the sheriff who snapped her out of this downward spiral with that phrase that made it all worthwhile:

“… hereby sentence you to Riverdance.”

dance

His dance was not unlike this gentleman’s… 

Yes, there was nothing more satisfying than watching the Dodo’s performance, aside from knowing that she was solely responsible for his humiliation. It’s true, what they say: revenge is sweet.

Rock me, Nostradamus.

saffron chicken

SAFFRON CHICKEN TAGINE

  • 6 boneless chicken thighs, cubed
  • 2-3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup peas
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced (opt)
  • 2 large sweet onions, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 – 1 cup chicken broth (or as needed)
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 1 tsp saffron threads, crumbled
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • butter/oil, for sauteing

In Dutch Oven/stockpot, saute onions and garlic in butter/oil; 5-10 min
Mix in spices and heat for 30-60 secs
Add carrots, mushrooms, and chicken; stir to coat
Add broth and bring to a boil
Reduce to a simmer; cover, and cook for 30 min, stirring occasionally
Uncover and add peas
Continue to simmer, uncovered, to reduce
Remove cinnamon sticks and serve

POST’S THEME SONG: Rock Me Amadeus, Falco


Asylum Vaccines and Other Plague-ish Things

It has been over ten years since Sister Madly first encountered the Dodo, an entity against whom she was won many battles, but to whom she has lost the war.

Unless, of course, they meet again- which just might be happening.

You see, Sister Madly believes that the Dodo is currently taunting her in absentia. Within the last few weeks, there’s been a sudden onslaught of search engine terms which address the Dodo specifically. She believes the Old Bird is behind this, for not only are these searches bizarre, some cannot be recreated– further proof of the Dodo’s Evil Agenda.

The Dodo

Sister Madly ought to draw a new pic of
the Dodo- or enlist an unbiased artist who
will not scribble over the final work as
an act of retribution.

~ HOT DODO ~
Who, but who would think the Dodo is hot, if not the Dodo himself? He is anything but: he is sinister, creepy-looking, more than ready to diagnose you with the plague (jerk) and experienced with an insult.

But he is anything but hot.

(There is a possibility that it was an unrelated party responsible for the above search. It’s not recommended that you attempt this one yourself; let us just say, the person who found his way here was thoroughly disappointed.)

~ PLAGUE DOCTOR MOTTO ~
It now appears that the Dodo may have been behind the translation of Sister Madly’s family motto. She didn’t think so at the time, but the evidence is mounting. He was, after all, there that day.

Who else could manipulate ancient Latin to read Strength, Honor and a Soft-Shelled Almond‘ ?

~ ASYLUM VACCINES ~
Sister Madly has no explanation for this one.

~ CRAZY BIRD AUTOPSY ~
Nor for this.

~ TIN FOIL PLAGUE BIRD ~
Especially not for this.

Tin Foil Swan

Then again…

~ PLAGUE DOCTOR DEGREE ~
Yeah, right.

Sister Madly once made a similar claim, which backfired.

~ SKEKSIS ~
Perhaps the most compelling evidence of all. Though it was only mentioned once or twice in the comments, the Dodo went by the name Skeksis. While Sister Madly saw the resemblance even back then, calling him the ‘ugly bird-like thing from Dark Crystal‘ was just not practical.

So it is with this same vindictive spirit that Sister Madly has decided to relate one of her (admittedly indirect) victories over the Dodo: the Living Chess Match.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

It shocked the Professors the day Sister Madly volunteered for the Chess Match. Though it was out of character, Sister Madly found herself in a peculiar mood, one dripping with witticism and the confidence that the gods were smiling upon her. She knew the Dodo often played the match, and she wanted to use her newfound witticism against him. Indeed, it was a peculiar mood.

And it just so happened that the gods were smiling upon Sister Madly that day:

THIS god.

 You wanna play chess, Sister Madly? Great Old One just might get out of bed for that.

You wanna play chess, Sister Madly?
Great Old One just might get out of bed for that.

You see, this was no ordinary chess match. There was an additional rule to liven things up, of which the Professors were well-aware even as Sister Madly was not: whenever a piece landed on a square already occupied by the opposing team, the two may fight for possession if the original occupant issued a challenge.

When the rules were explained, Sister Madly found that she was no longer in the grip of this peculiar mood; rather, the notion of sitting on an anthill on the other side of the Faire became very appealing. The chances of battling it out with the Dodo, which appeared unlikely in the beginning, suddenly seemed inevitable- and this game was not going to be won by insults.

Sister Madly never got the chance to challenge Skeksis directly; they only ever came within a square and a few feisty insults of each other. As for her teammate… when the Bishop found himself on the verge of forfeiting, Sister Madly proposed the challenge of removing the Dodo’s mask.

Great Old One

… Sister Madly.

You see, the Dodo was never without his mask; he was notoriously stubborn about it. So it came as no surprise that he ultimately refused, thus forfeiting the square; what surprised Sister Madly was that this was accepted as a legitimate challenge in the first place. It surprised Skeksis, too: he threw a Dum Dum at her.

To this day, Sister Madly has never seen his face, if he has one…

*Due to an overall lack of excitement, Great Cthulhu lost interest in the match and went on to smile upon the road construction situation 15 miles west, which may account for Sister Madly’s victory.
It also accounts for the 90 minute delay driving home that night.


Lotus Tealight ~ Lost in Translation

Sister Madly does not suffer fools gladly, but when she just happens to be that fool, she gets really cheesed off.

She was not yet a fool the day she arrived at the Renaissance Faire over ten years ago, but little did she know the plot to make her so was already in the works. The onslaught began when, while sidetracked by a troupe juggling several cans of Spam, Sister Madly felt what she assumed were little stones pelting her in the back. She turned to find the Dodo bombarding her with Dum Dums.

001

It was good of him to remember who she was.

This, of course, was unacceptable; Sister Madly was merely watching a couple cans of Spam being tossed around in the name of entertainment- while on her best behavior, she might add, all of which came to an end with the Dum Dum Assault. So it was out of impulse rather than forethought that Sister Madly took out the Dodo with a well-aimed mini corn dog to the beak- which she immediately regretted, because that was her last mini corn dog and she was still rather peckish. She also regretted not having covered it in mustard first.

The crowd nearby somehow found her actions inappropriate, so consumed were they with Dodo Worship they failed to noticed that the old bird had just assaulted her with a flurry of Dum Dums. It was the goblin-like urchin with the supreme vocal skills who took it upon himself to reprimand her.

And what crisp repartee would this clown have to offer?

“He throws Dum Dums at everyone- he’s a Plague Doctor!” *

* The logic of this statement still escapes Sister Madly. If anyone is able to shed some light on the matter, feel free to do so. Sister Madly is all for enlightenment.

dum dums

Ancient Plague Medication

Her desire for revenge was stunned into silence by this cryptic message, of whose idle pondering led her to a pavilion that specialized in family histories. Had this pavilion dropped anchor elsewhere, Sister Madly might have strolled off into the sunset in unspoken bewilderment, never to be seen nor heard of again. However, the idea of having aristocratic roots intrigued her out of this contemplation to ultimately become the person she is today- no one’s saying that this is most fortunate; it’s just what happened.

Of all the names available, she was unable to find either her surname or her mother’s maiden name. There were a few other names further up the family tree that she was able to recall, but only one yielded anything of interest. It was said to be a noble name, complete with a coat of arms, a family crest, even a motto- which was in Latin, lending to the illusion of the utmost prestige. Sister Madly left the Faire that day with a fistful of Dum Dums and the motto written on the back of her hand.

Later that night, she consulted what had to be the first- certainly, the only- online Latin translator to solve this puzzle. These translators have greatly improved over the years, but at that time there was no reason to doubt the accuracy of the ancient one. Latin is often regarded as universal, so how could things possibly go wrong?

Strength, Honor and a Soft-Shelled Almond.

For a moment there, she thought it was some sort of riddle, but she could no more solve it anymore than she could unravel the secret of the aforementioned Dum Dum-Throwing Dodo. She then suspected a typo, but no matter how it was entered into the translator- as the entire motto, or by section- it always came out the same:

Strength, Honor and a Soft-Shelled Almond.

vintage-ancient-WTF-old-picture-13

Sister Madly is less perplexed by this picture
than she is by the motto. Or the Dum Dum-throwing Dodo.

Gone were the daydreams of ancestral revelry; the estate that she was entitled to in Europe was suddenly reduced to a blasted heath. There was a certain romance in the notion of an ancestor stealing away in the night to start a life in the New World, only to be devastated by the likelihood that he was merely an escapee from some tawdry asylum. Try as she might, Sister Madly was unable to work up much enthusiasm at being the descendant of a family of strong, honorable nuts.

And if you’re sitting there wondering what to do with that old cheese board and picture frame…

Lotus4

POST’S THEME SONG: A Lack of Understanding, The Vaccines


Sister Madly and the Dodo

Sister Madly is a Renaissance Faire Junkie; the layman’s term for this is nerd. But she is not a full-on nerd: she does not care if her costume is historically accurate, nor does she pretend to enjoy Shakespeare, Tolkien or the Princess Bride. Yet, despite this love for most things Medieval, she cheerfully lacks the knowledge of some of the more significant events of the era.

It was over 10 years ago that she first encountered the Dodo. It wasn’t that she had never seen this creature before- indeed, there was something vaguely familiar about him- it was that this time, she was particularly cheeky about it. She went on to make the very vocal assumption that he was a part of a cult that worshiped the Dodo, for that is what he looked like, and that he was the Big Hoot.

So, what could the Dodo do about it? Well, diagnose you with the Plague, for one.

001

Sister Madly felt that this was a bit impulsive on his part. She, after all, had been enduring various tauntings of wench for hours without much malice, and had decided that anyone dressed as extravagantly as he was asking for it. She was fairly certain that name-calling was not a symptom of this malady, but that was as far as she got with her argument. Besides, who died and made him Almighty Diagnoser of the Plague?

While there were more civilized alternatives at her disposal, Sister Madly’s ultimate decision was to kick the Dodo’s cane out from under him, but this merely resulted in a clumsy pirouette that sent her face first into some reddish muck and left her looking like an autopsy.

However, all was not a total failure, for it was here that she learned how to stifle a sneeze. And it was not going to be a dainty sneeze- those are simply not in her DNA. It was going to be powerful, it was going to be devastating, and it was going to prove that the Dodo was right- that Sister Madly had the Plague.

The sneeze came, with all the sudden, deep inhalation of its kind, including that all-too-attractive screwing up of the face- but then, nothing. Simply gone, much like her Popple in the days of yore. For a few moments there, Sister Madly marveled at this newfound superpower and all of its possibilities, then sulked at the realization that it was simply impossible to sneeze while confined in a leather bodice.

She looked forward to her next sneeze back in the natural world, with plans on imitating the unholy restriction of the bodice. When it came, she was able to stifle the sneeze like a pro. But there is a drawback to doing this in public: while you can prepare yourself by pretending to be wearing a bodice and/or corset, while you can go through all the deep inhalations to find that the sneeze has abandoned you (again, like her Popple) you have already made the crazy face. At least with the sneeze, people will know the reason for this.

But if you are on a mission that requires the utmost discretion, this may, indeed, save your life.

POST’S THEME SONG: Bigmouth Strikes Again, The Smiths