What training does one need to be an Executioner?
Admittedly, Sister Madly has never seen Executioner listed as college major, so the courses one must take for this profession must be wide and varied- business management, for example, and art theory- much like how one needs a degree in Philosophy to be a professional dog-walker.*
* The employment ad for aforementioned dog-walker position stated, ‘degree in any field,’ which clearly meant Philosophy.
Then again, does one even need a degree in Execution? Or does the discipline provide on-the-job-training? Is it all based upon experience? There’s a small arsenal of medieval weaponry under her bed ready to be used at a moment’s notice; perhaps Sister Madly ought to add a few souls to her repertoire thus expanding her resumé. Execution-ing is quickly becoming a lost art.
The Professor, however, with his undetectable sense of humor * and a crippling fear of Cheeto dust, clearly disapproved of this rumination.
* Make no mistake, the Professor had a sense of humor- just not a detectable one.
So Persephone can declare at which strip club she saw her first cockroach- and do so without reproach- but Sister Madly cannot speculate about a career change? What if she’s a natural? She was pretty good at axe-throwing at the Ren Faire back in the day… surely that means something.
The Professor, however, indicated that he was not interested in discussing Capital Punishment on his night off.
Who said anything about Capital Punishment? Perhaps Sister Madly doesn’t want to be a government employee; perhaps she wants to freelance. She could contract her services, be her own boss- the entrepreneurial spirit runs strong through the Madly Family Tree. No doubt her own sister, Tallulah, would utilize these talents from time to time- everybody knows how cutthroat retired, part-time antique dealers can be.
Still, the Professor wanted to change the subject, and Sister Madly is nothing if not accommodating.
…Sister Madly had a dream the other night that Tallulah got a French Bulldog, whom she named Johnny Popcorn…
While said Professor was unable to follow the storyline, he did manage to question why it was a French Bulldog.*
* Sister Madly wondered that, too, as she would’ve chosen a fox or an otter; but it was Tallulah’s dog in the dream, so clearly it was Tallulah who chose a French Bulldog and he should ask her.
…Ever try oyster sauce straight from the bottle? Sister Madly won’t be making that mistake again…!
Nope. Too controversial.
What would you do if you found out that Sister Madly was actually your imaginary friend?
Oh no- that was just too traumatizing to consider.
… A few months ago was Sister Madly’s half-birthday…
Apparently, the Professor was unfamiliar with the Half-Birthday, a phenomenon Sister Madly’s encountered quite frequently ever since leaving Michigan. It seems nobody outside the Midwest is interested in celebrating the halfway point to their next birthday. Sister Madly, however, is much more diplomatic and graciously allows people to buy her ciders on that magnificent day.
You see, that is why it’s important to determine the avenues one must take to be an Executioner: to give those launching down the destructive path of tasting oyster sauce straight from the bottle- and the subsequent discussion thereof- the means to a brighter future! As it stands, Sister Madly is one tedious tête-à-tête away from a PhD in Small-Talk.
… but seriously, about that Executioner thing- does one need a degree, or is it all about experience?
THAI BASIL LEMONGRASS WINGS
- 3-3½ lbs. chicken wings ~ OR ~ 6-8 bone-in chicken thighs
- 1 lemongrass stalk, finely minced ~ OR ~ 3 TBSP lemongrass paste
- 3 TBSP fish sauce
- 3 TBSP coconut aminos ~ OR ~ low sodium soy
- 1 TBSP ginger, minced
- 1 TBSP garlic, minced
- ¼ cup Thai basil, finely chopped *
- 2-3 TBSP oil, or as needed
* Thai Basil substitute: fresh basil, plus pinch of anise.
Mix together marinade ingredients
Add chicken; mix to coat
Refrigerate 30 min – 24 hrs
Preheat oven 400*
Place chicken on greased baking rack in tray
Coat chicken with any remaining marinade
~ 45-50 min (WINGS)
~ 55-60 min (THIGHS)
Remove from oven; let rest 5 minutes before serving
THEME SONG: Psycho Killer, Talking Heads
It’s no secret that Sister Madly’s pedigree is largely mongrel, said to include Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, a dash of the British Isles, and the Middle East. However, part of this bloodline was scientifically confirmed the day Sister Madly was overcome by a most Scandinavian desire.
It happened the day she attended a casual ‘backyard BBQ,’ which quickly turned most pretentious with sushi, red wine, and lavender footbaths. It was upon fleeing the smoked oysters that Sister Madly encountered this pod from another planet hovering inside the kitchen:
Now Sister Madly found this to be extremely negligent- why, just anyone could wander in off the street, kick over that bag of golf clubs by the door, and make themselves a gourmet pizza. The Pod was not only sentient but a smooth talker with all the temptation of Original Sin…
You know what? To hell with this Pretentious BBQ- she’s making a Banana Curry Pizza!
Now, unless one is of Swedish descent, one does not naturally associate bananas with pizza; but as Sister Madly had a bit of Sweden- and admittedly, a lot of cider- coursing through her veins, resistance was futile.
Surely it cannot be worse than assembling an IKEA bookshelf.*
* This inability to assemble IKEA furniture indicates that Sister Madly is not a purebred Swedish Maiden Fair.
As it turned out, Sister Madly has just enough Swedish in her to make a Banana Curry Pizza, but not enough to actually enjoy it. And as the environmentalist in her would not permit her to desecrate the land by tossing the monstrosity into the compost, Sister Madly left the Pizza on the counter, and decided it was no longer her problem.
And it wouldn’t have been, had it not been for the Professor.
“I need to know who’s responsible for this.”
Clearly the Professor did not hold a PhD in Pizza- to this day, Sister Madly couldn’t say in which field is his PhD; he just keeps emerging from Idaho with gifts of potatoes and unsolicited commentary on her culinary creations.
That would be Sweden, Professor.
Just what is it about bananas that automatically makes one suspect Sister Madly? Sure, there was that whole Ham and Banana Hollandaise thingy, but had you let her help with the Scotch Eggs that day, that dish would never have materialized.
“You can’t just throw whatever you want onto a crust and call it a pizza!”
Yes she can.
“It’s pizza- there are rules.”
There are no rules, Professor! The freedom to top one’s pizza with whatever noms desired was clearly one of the subjects discussed amongst the Founding Fathers. While never officially included in the Constitution, it is implicit in the Second Amendment- The Right to Bear Arms- as deviant pizza toppings* have been perceived by many as a threat to one’s safety and wellbeing- of which you have been inferring, sir, for the last 3 minutes.
* See the great ‘Does Pineapple Belong on a Pizza?’ debate.
There was something touching in the way this PhD struggled to comprehend how one could defend a Pizza that she created yet found completely disgusting.
… are you talking about Sister Madly, or the pizza? Because there is nothing neutral about that pizza- proud of it, though she may be.
Oh, but the Professor had an explanation- D&D terms were involved- and a most narcoleptic dissertation it promised to be, had he not been interrupted by a plucky little Bohemian declaring the Pizza to be “just so frickin’ amazing.”
The Professor had but one response:
“Stay right there, I’m calling the police.”
BANANA CURRY PIZZA
- pizza crust, homemade or ready-made
- pizza sauce
- 1 banana, sliced
- smoked ham, thinly sliced
- 1/2 red onion, sliced
- curry powder
- garam masala
- mozzarella, shredded
- gouda, shredded (opt)
Preheat oven to 450* (or as recommended by ready-made crust)
Mix pizza sauce with curry powder to taste (opt)
Spread thin layer of pizza sauce over crust
Cover with grated cheese
Top with ham, onion, and banana
Sprinkle bananas with curry powder and garam masala
Bake until cheese is melted and crust is cooked through; approx 15 min
THEME SONG: Anything by ABBA
…and when they had opened their treasures,
they presented unto him gifts of Gold, Frankenstein, and Murder…
When an Honest Man Discovers
That He is Mistaken
He will either
Cease to be Mistaken,
Or Cease to be Honest.
All Images: Pinterest
It’s said that, on average, champagne corks kill approximately 24 people a year- far more than the 10 killed by sharks.
Still, Sister Madly decided to risk it with the champagne rather than find sanctuary with a posse of sharks. She likes to live dangerously.
It was the end of October, when the veil between the worlds is said to be its thinnest, and when the living honor those who have passed on through a variety of traditions, including a celebration known as a Dumb Supper.
Now, Sister Madly has attempted a few Dumb Suppers in the past, and with mixed results.* Of course, this could be that the Departed were already engaged in another Dumb Supper across town, or were busy in the southern hemisphere doing southern hemisphere-ish things. Still, she had to consider the possibility that she was completely lacking in the area of social graces, and that the Departed refused to associate with anyone but the elite. Thus, Sister Madly decided to not only host a trial supper, but with a guest.
* Unsuccessful, and even more unsuccessful.
And what Dearly-Departed guest would be more appropriate than Vincent Price?
For a posh dinner party, one must be properly dressed; and for the Merchant of Menace such attire should be both classy and theatrical. Sister Madly has accumulated a most eclectic array of costumes during her Renaissance Faire Days, down to the satin-lined cloak worthy of an Elder god ritual. She admits it may be a bit show-offy for a Dumb Supper, but it would be perfect of the Vincent Price Trial Run. No doubt he would be wearing one as well.
Unfortunately, Sister Madly looked nothing like the sinister, show-offy cultist of her most excellent imagination, but a portable keyhole- something she did not realize during her Renaissance Faire Days. Did she always look like the gateway to another dimension? Why didn’t anyone ever tell her this?
Thanks a lot, fellas.
As for the feast- Mr. Price was a gourmand in his day, and the not-so-sinister Sister Madly couldn’t get away with Frozen Tater Tots and cans of Spaghetti O’s, even if she did garnish it with a lemon wedge and a sprig of parsley. A culinary effort would have to be made on her part, if only to apologize for dressing as a particularly unmenacing Keyhole.
So what could be more appropriate than a dish from A Treasury of Great Recipes, authored by Vincent Price himself?
No doubt he would be pleased that Sister Madly acknowledged his talents beyond The Pit and the Pendulum, and be touched that she was so thoughtful. And should she replicate his recipe to a ‘T’,* Mr. Price would put in a good word for her with gods of the afterlife, who will no doubt permit her to haunt the living willy-nilly. Of course, should she fail, Mr. Price may plague her with wicked laughter, poltergeists, and B-movie dreams for the rest of her life.
* What is this ‘T’ anyway, and why is it the standard to which everyone aspires?
So Sister Madly settled on a delicacy entitled Poularde Pavilion– that is, Champagne Chicken.* That sounded posh.
* Poularde Pavilion does not translate to Champagne Chicken on Google Translate, but Sister Madly is not one to question the magnificent Vincent Price.
Naturally, merely purchasing a bottle of champagne can bring about delusions of sophistication far beyond one’s station. However, Sister Madly- being most adult- retained enough sense to know she might horribly screw up the opening of said bottle; and as she hoped to get her security deposit back one day- and since she wasn’t quite ready to shuffle off this mortal coil in the most embarrassing way possible- Sister Madly opened the bottle on the fire escape outside.
Science can be a beautiful thing to witness, be it fireflies, the way liquid mercury separates, or the Northern Lights; and while there may be a ‘proper’ way of opening champagne, there is nothing more magical than the moment the internal pressure forces the cork from the bottle, and sends it sailing off into the sunset.
Or, as in the case of Sister Madly, over the fence and into the neighbor’s kiddie pool
Naturally, this left Sister Madly pondering one of the Great Mysteries of Life: how fast does a champagne cork travel?*
* Up to 60mph, it turns out- which is a $435 fine and possible license suspension up to 30 days should that Cork be pulled over in Sister Madly’s neighborhood.
Sister Madly did not replicate Mr. Price’s recipe to a ‘T’.
She gave up when instructed to preheat the oven to ‘moderate.’
- 4 chicken thighs, bone-in
- 1¼ cup champagne or other sparkling wine, divided (¼ cup + 1 cup)
- 1 cup chicken broth
- Heavy cream, to taste (opt)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- pearl onions, peeled
- wild mushrooms, sliced
- pancetta, diced
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ tsp dried tarragon
- ¼ tsp dried thyme
- pinch cayenne, or to taste (opt)
- salt/pepper, to taste
- Oil, for searing
Season chicken w/salt and pepper
In heated skillet, brown chicken on both sides, 3-5 min per side
Remove from skillet; set aside
Sauté pancetta; 2-3 min
Add garlic, pearl onions, and mushrooms; sauté 2-3 min
Add herbs; sauté 30 sec
Deglaze with ¼ cup champagne
Return chicken to skillet
Add broth and remaining champagne
Bring to a boil
Reduce heat, cover, and simmer: 20-25 min
Uncover; simmer until sauce is reduced by half
Stir in cream (if using) simmer 2-3 min
Remove from heat and serve
THEME SONG: Haunted, Maya Kern
One cannot help but consider the many ways that cake brings people together, such as weddings, birthdays, a passion for homemade potato-launching weaponry, christenings, and the like. So it was only natural that the most altruistic Sister Madly sought to perfect this skill in order to unite the whole of the human race- albeit, not with her.
She’d attempted Cake Perfection before, at friend and fellow co-worker’s house once upon a time after being awakened by Rita’s younger brother spraying a hose through the window. This time, it was the robust, repetitive call of Ri-co-la! from somewhere below, which the Pater Rita had perfected like an Alpine native.
In the previous installment, the bungling, sleep-deprived twosome faced a task fraught with September crushes and lovesick butterflies. But they were older and wiser now, and knew better than to frost a cake straight from the oven- such children they were in those days.*
* Approx. 6 weeks prior.
And in honor of this newfound maturity, they decided upon a most grown-up cake with 3 lovely tiers, with each being its own flavor: banana, root beer, and of course, red velvet.*
* To be clear, the intent was to make the cake, not eat it. Mature though she may be, Sister Madly wasn’t a complete idiot.
As it turned out, frosting a 3-tiered cake wasn’t quite the same as writing Congrats on Our Divorce, Darling!* across a giant chocolate-chip cookie. A cake demands a certain amount of finesse, which Sister Madly decided that she had obtained during her 6-week transition into adulthood; thus the decision was made to have the most mature Moppet kneel on an office chair while Rita maneuvered said chair around the cake in a graceful manner. Rita always took the helm when it came to operating heavy machinery.
* An actual request. Sister Madly is all about customer service.
This method was not successful.
Admittedly, Sister Madly has never seen one pastry chef maneuver another around a cake in order to frost said confection at 6:30 in the morning. Thus, one can only conclude that if it is not the chef that moves around the cake, it is the cake that rotates before the chef- a secret most patissiers keep to themselves in order to reign supreme in the culinary world.
No doubt the great culinarians of this world excelled in modern-day cake-ology by utilizing the modern-day turntable- which, of course, is your standard record player. Anyone who has any taste in music has access to one to those, if only by way of the neighbor’s skylight at 3AM in the morning.
But that is the risk one must take when it comes to cake.
Looking back, Sister Madly probably shouldn’t have set the player to 78 RPM, but hindsight is 20/20, after all. She did, however, retain enough wisdom to stop the turntable before garnishing the culinary masterpiece with a luscious Alpine Sunburst of Ricola Cough Drops.
While the cake seemed to lack a certain elegance- if not happily dwell in its own gravitational field- there was no denying a certain wonder in its very existence; all Alpine yodeling ceased within its presence. Indeed, it was absolutely magnificent to behold.
“What is that?”
A testament to her greatness, sir: a 3-tiered red velvet gateau with essence of musa fruit and sassafras root.
“What’s in it?”
No. Don’t say interesting. That means you’re going analyze the cake and demand an explanation of things that have no explanation. It’s a cake, an undeniable work of art; it’s not meant to be questioned, but experienced and enjoyed- much like Pink Floyd.*
* Sister Madly merely declared it to be magnificent to behold, not to taste. There is more than one way to experience cake.
And so the Pater Rita and his Son decided to experience the cake together in the backyard by shooting it with a homemade spud gun.
KOREAN BBQ CHICKEN
- 6-8 chicken thighs, bone-in
- ¼ cup coconut aminos* ~ or ~ soy sauce
- ¼ cup sake
- 4 tsp ginger, minced
- 4 tsp garlic, minced
- ½ tsp pepper
- salt, to taste
- 3+/- TBSP oil, or as needed
- ½ cup coconut aminos ~ or ~ soy sauce
- ½ cup sake
- 2 TBSP gochujang paste
- 2 TBSP Worcestershire
- 2-3 TBSP honey
- 1 TBSP garlic, minced
- 1 TBSP ginger, minced
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- salt/pepper, to taste
Coconut Aminos contain less salt (up to 65%) and is slightly sweeter than traditional soy sauce or tamari, yet without tasting of coconut.
If substituting soy or tamari; adjust salt and honey to taste.
Mix together marinade ingredients
Add chicken; shake/mix to coat
Cover; refrigerate 30 min – 24hrs
Sweat off garlic and ginger; 2 min
Add remaining sauce ingredients
Bring to a boil
Reduce heat; simmer until thickened
Preheat oven to 400*
Place chicken on greased baking rack in tray
Bake for 45 min
Remove from oven, brush chicken with sauce
Return to oven; bake 10-15 min, or until cooked through
Brush with remaining sauce straight from oven
THEME SONG: Ri-co-la!, Various
So apparently, this is a thing now…
…which is totally unfair. No one has ever made Sister Madly into a beer.
She knows how this happened; she need look no further than to a Renaissance Faire some 10+ years ago, when her friends stole her Medieval Love-Finding Bingo Rock and gave it to the Dodo.
Everybody knows that Bingo Rocks are enchanted; after all, they’ve united love-seeking desperados across many millennia who might otherwise have never realized that a talking tree was their Soulmate. Sister Madly’s willy-nilly selection of Rock 88 was no mistake in the Love-Finding Universe; the Fates knew that she was just as likely to read the stone upside-down as right-side up- 88 would all but guarantee that Sister Madly connected with her Soulmate instead of a wandering pudding.
However, after a tedious encounter with a cheeky Thyme Lord, Sister Madly began to suspect her friends had not been forthright with her. It was only a hunch, of course, but that is the best way to solve a mystery- clues and evidence be damned, a hunch is always the preferred method according to the movies- and Sister Madly had a hunch that this scheme was the brainchild of a master scam artist.* The Scott’s claimed they gave her Medieval Love-Finding Bingo Rock to the Dodo, but Sister Madly had seen neither hide nor hair of the Ol’ Bird all day.
* Although ‘artist’ may be a bit generous… More like scam finger-painter.
So she thought to herself, Self… do you really want to place all your starry-eyed dreams on the whims of a Ye Olde Bingo Rock? Let’s face it: that’s a few steps away from seeing the Virgin Mary in a Poptart. Are you so far removed from society that you don’t understand how Romance works?
* Sister Madly always responds to her own questions, otherwise she gets miffed at herself and will refuse to speak to herself for days.
But even though she bailed on her own Romance, Sister Madly was no less curious as to what the Fates had in store for everyone else. Thus she began calling out numbers at random- perhaps luring a few unfortunates with the false hope of her siren’s song- but that is the risk one takes when dipping a toe in the dating pool. During the course of this lovey-dovey investigation, Sister Madly learned that the Fates paired Bingo Rock 45 with a Spanish Inquisitor:
… 67 with the Living Embodiment of Dark Matter:
… and lucky number 13 with what can only be described as a Lump:*
* It might have been a Troll.
Having been most successful in locating the Soulmates of those unfortunate chumps, Sister Madly decided not to give up on love altogether, and took a crack at finding her own- she may not have the Medieval Love-Finding Bingo Rock on her side, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t win her True Love over by playing the coquettish maiden fair. Apparently, flirting was quite popular in days of yore.
But Sister Madly was created with a bit of a design flaw: she is completely incapable of playing the Coquettish Maiden Fair without looking like a psychotic Miss Piggy with a bad case of the collywobbles, and that had a catastrophic effect on flirting… never before had a Reaper dropped his scythe and run like that…
She blames it on her recessive genes.
Sister Madly didn’t know it that day, but had she retrieved her Rock, it would have been she – not the Dodo – who met her True Love, who frolicked happily around a maypole, and who would now be a local beer.
Instead, she contemplated the clouds while lying in a field of buttercups- having properly filled herself with cider, of course.
PORK UDON CURRY
- 1 sm onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-2 tbsp ginger, minced
- 1 chili, chopped and seeded to taste
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp curry powder
- ½ tsp coriander
- ½ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp paprika
- 1 bay
- udon or ramen noodles
- sliced pork
- 1-2 tsp fish sauce
- 1½ cup chicken broth
- 1 can coconut milk
- lime juice, to taste
- chives, for garnish
Saute onions in hot oil until translucent
Add garlic, ginger, and chili; saute 2-3 min
Add spices; saute 30 sec
Add pork; brown slightly; 2-3 min
Add broth, coconut milk, and fish sauce; bring to a boil
Reduce heat and simmer until pork is cooked through
Add udon/ramen; simmer until tender
Remove from heat; add lime juice and garnish with chives
THEME SONG: Lover, Lover, Lover, Leonard Cohen
1) Black Plague Brewing
2) Christopher Lovell
In Sister Madly’s experience, cheeses don’t just pop across the marketplace like champagne corks; so it was something of a surprise when she found herself assaulted by a wedge of Camembert. To find the source of the offending cheese, she had to look no farther than the dreadlocked gent now contemplating the Brie, who gave no explanation other than the Camembert had ‘bad energy.’
Technically speaking, sir, everything has energy, if only potential- Sister Madly learned that much as a wee little thing in Science Class.
But Science doesn’t cover Cheese Energy as far as she knows, except with respect to other objects or situations.
Take gravitational cheese energy, for example: Sister Madly can stuff you full of Brie and throw you off the roof; for electrical, that outlet by the sushi bar appears to be rather volatile.* However, if it’s thermal cheese energy you seek, Sister Madly will be more than happy to set the Brie on fire.
Sister Madly is all about helping her fellow man.
* A conclusion drawn by the presence of several bewildered electricians and lots of pretty sparks.
But the Dreadlocked Gent did not want the help of his fellow man, choosing rather to determine the energy himself by meditating with every Cheese- and she does mean every. He immediately bonded with a cheeky little Manchego from the discount basket, but did not jive with the Asiago nor the Double Gloucester with Chives; Sister Madly avoided those projectiles successfully.
Perhaps Cheese has properties she never realized, much like how the cancerous side-effects of radiation were of no surprise, but the subsequent arrival of Godzilla & Company was somewhat unexpected. Maybe Bad Cheese Energy has its own side-effects: it could be the reason why Sister Madly has 2 different-sized feet, or why her hair gets hair-band big after the rain, or why she is perpetually the 5th wheel amongst her friends.* Bad Cheese Energy may have been responsible for the fall of the Roman Empire, or the extinction of the dinosaurs; it could be the reason behind corruption in politics.
* Although that 5th wheel thing might have everything to do with Sister Madly being a proper lunatic.
But upon thinking about it, Sister Madly realized that she has experienced the Power of Cheese: once, a Provolone attempted to enslave her in the kitchen, while not too long ago she dabbled with Stilton, which is said to induce dreams. Sister Madly did dream that night, but it was nothing like the acid trip of pure imagination that was promised. Then again, perhaps Stilton is the LSD of cheeses, and the dreams will manifest as a series of magnificent flashbacks in years to come.
In fact, there’s one now…
This most sophisticated salutation was accompanied by an insane proposition by the Happy Phlebotomist, who was in the field militantly actively recruiting for the local Blood Drive- at least, he was militantly actively recruiting Sister Madly.*
* Sister Madly isn’t sure ‘Booyah!’ is the best way to recruit souls for a blood-draining ritual… but then, she isn’t a professional.
Since the Phlebotomy Community of America has yet to figure out a needle-free way to extract blood (osmosis, for example- that’s a very science-y thing) Sister Madly was unable to accept his most intriguing proposition (apparently, the draining ritual comes with a free cookie!) but she was just fresh out of blood. It’s one of the more unfortunate side-effects of being a Moppet.
“But you’re all about helping your fellow man.”
Just when did she say that?
“About 10 minutes ago.”
… she was rather hoping you didn’t hear that…
BOURBON MAPLE CHICKEN
- 6-8 chicken drums/thighs
- 1 TBSP cumin
- 1 TBSP coriander
- 2 tsp chipotle pepper
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 TBSP lime juice
- 3-4 TBSP olive oil, or as needed
- ½ cup bourbon
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 2 TBSP Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 TBSP tomato paste
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp cayenne, or to taste
- salt/pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp lime juice
Mix together marinade ingredients
Add chicken; shake/mix to coat
Refrigerate 30min – 24hrs
Mix together all ingredients except lime juice
Bring to a boil
Reduce heat; simmer to reduce (glaze will coat spoon)
Mix in lime juice and remove from heat
Preheat oven to 400*
Place chicken on greased baking rack in tray
Bake for 45 min
Remove from oven, brush chicken with glaze
Return to oven; bake 10-15 min, or until cooked through
Brush with remaining glaze straight from oven
THEME SONG: Meltdown, AC/DC
Is it too much to ask that bandits not steal the fire escape in the middle of the night?
This isn’t the first such heist in the Madliverse; once a tree outside her window disappeared for no good reason that she could tell, and Sister Madly has endured the morning kiss of the nuclear sun ever since.
For those psychotics who are contemplating a similar caper, do have the courtesy to leave the unfortunates some sort of warning- such as caution tape, or employing a limbless, black knight declaring that ‘none shall pass’ at the site where the staircase used to be. Had the aforementioned bandit embraced these basic underworld civilities, his feat would have appeared as a cozy little blurb in the apartment newsletter to be marveled by the tenets over a cup of cocoa.
Instead, Sister Madly and Co. discovered the architectural deficiency in the most astonishing manner possible.*
* T’was even more astonishing to the tenet below, at whose feet was dropped a bag of putrid trash, along with Sister Madly’s shoe.
Judging by her neighbor’s slit-eyed glare, it would seem that Sister Madly, herself, was widely considered responsible for the heist. Sure, some say that her mind is as twisted as a pretzel, and she has been known to have a teeny-tiny problem with pyromania*- hardly worth mentioning, really- but that doesn’t mean she has the capability to waltz off with a fire escape at a moment’s notice. In fact, such a heist would be nearly impossible for anyone shorter than a Sneech- and Sister Madly is hardly a Sneech.
* The untimely flambéing of that lone corn fritter, that German Christmas Pinwheel Thingy, and New Year’s Day 2014 were all accidents- happy little accidents.
But that doesn‘t mean such allegations are unfounded. As the more devout amongst you know, August 8th is the most significant festivity of the year: Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Night, and Sister Madly can be counted amongst the faithful.
Now if our dear Moppet took the term ‘neighbor’ literally, she need only open her door and chuck a zucchini across the hall- an act that has been deemed ‘less-than neighborly’ by tenets in the past. Zucchini Night is one of the few times a year that Sister Madly embraces the ‘all mankind is your neighbor’ metaphor, before reverting to that customary petulance that is much beloved.
However, due to a recent trip to the coast (in which she overstayed her welcome) Sister Madly was obliged to celebrate this sacred holiday a few days late- and in daylight. Although her impeccable stealth guaranteed the ceremonial Leaving-of-the-Zucchini went off without a hitch, Sister Madly was unable to bask in the satisfaction of a job well-done as there just happened to be a crucial witness bumbling down the street:
Sister Madly knew these sort of things happened, but they happen to other people: desperadoes busted for their negligence, for flinging their DNA over murder scenes willy-nilly while the BBC watches from a nearby Pringle can. Moppets are much less sloppy, crushing all Pringle cans before embarking upon a murder most foul; but Google does not heed the way of the Moppet, choosing rather to defiantly photograph humanity without so much as a how-do-you-do, and this peeves Sister Madly.
Now it’s well-known amongst the local demimonde that it’s best to ‘do away’ with a witness rather than allow said witness the liberty to resort to extortion- blackmailers, you see, can never be bought; one can only hope to even the score. So Sister Madly engaged the intrepid Itty Bitty*- her trusty accomplice, lookout, and sleepy-eyed assassin- to properly attend to the matter.
* A handsome Smart Car.
And so it came to pass that she and Itty Bitty embarked upon a mission to silence Google, dodging speed bumps and toddlers lurking in the fray until foiled by a family of ducks crossing against the light, behind which the Duo watched Google peter off into the summer haze with a nonchalance that bordered upon the sinister. Yes, Sister Madly is an extremely ineffective do-away-with-er.
But not all hope was lost; due to its inability to mind its own business, it is possible that Google witnessed the heist of her fire escape, and for that Sister Madly would pay a pretty penny- or at least, a very shiny one. Google would be coughing up the info in no time; Sister Madly can be a sadistic interrogator, you know.
- 1 regular or sweet potato, peeled, cubed, and cooked
- 1 lb chorizo, casings removed and crumbled
- 1 onion, chopped
- Salt/Pepper, to taste
- Red enchilada sauce, homemade or store-bought
- Brioche/Kaiser rolls, or similar
- To Serve: sour cream, guacamole, queso fresco, lettuce
Cook chorizo in skillet; approx 5-7 min
Add onion, cook until softened
Add potatoes; mix, crushing slightly
Heat oil in clean skillet
Brush outside of rolls with enchilada sauce until well-coated
Pan-fry rolls in skillet, coated side down, until browned
Add filling and desired toppings
THEME SONG: The Last of the Secret Agents, Nancy Sinatra
Now Sister Madly knows better than to believe every rumor that crosses her path; otherwise, she would be locked in the pantry, wailing in sackcloth over the fact that the world did not end in 2012. However, when the Professor cited an article that claimed Stilton Cheese has been known to induce dreams, she was most intrigued.
The idea of vivid dreams was like catnip to the starry-eyed moppet, as her sleep has been rather dreary as of late: even Rambunctious Shadow Kitty has been tame these last few weeks. A dream of epic proportions would be a welcome change to the recent nights of intermittent insomnia: dreams of travel, of sparkly things, of encounters with legendary creatures- anything that deviated from the current ritual of staring up at the ceiling fan at 3 AM would be greatly appreciated.
There was, of course, the possibility that she would end up with equally vivid nightmares, in which case Sister Madly would spend the rest of the night with her eyes propped open with toothpicks.
But that is the risk one assumes when dabbling with Stilton Cheese.*
* Along with the most atrocious morning breath. Indeed, it is not a Cheese of Romance.
So to ensure a night of unparalleled adventures in slumberland, Sister Madly decided to hit up the local Stilton-Dealing demimonde: the neighborhood grocer.
It’s quite sci-fi, really, the way the supermarket doors slide apart before her. She has long-since perfected her majestic stride, parading in and out of the market like a demented Grand Vizier- until that afternoon, that is, when the doors slid apart with all the speed and enthusiasm of continental drift.
Which Sister Madly failed to notice until it was all too late.
After the usual bout of stars and bluebirds circling about her head, the first thing she saw was a pair of bacon socks and bear claw slippers standing before her. Further on up, the celestial vision gave way to the wool skirt and orange poncho of the jolly transient who collects bottles from bins and feeds granola to the pigeons. He was particularly chipper that day, having just heard of a possible 5¢ bottle deposit increase, and was eager to tell Sister Madly all about it.
He then mentioned that the doors were defective as of late, and she should take care when challenging their position.
Once inside, she made her way over to the cheese counter, where she effectively avoided all staff due to the glossy ‘don’t even try talking to me’ veneer inherent in all feral Sister Madly’s. Unfortunately, the market was rather limited on their selection of Stilton; but then, certain American proprietors are rather skittish when it comes to unconventional cheeses.*
* Especially in regards to that cheese infested with maggots– seriously, Italy, that is so uncool.
While the cutesy little sign recommended a cheeky wine pairing for foodies and romantics alike, there was no advice on protocol for inducing dreams (how unthoughtful!) Apparently, dream-seekers were completely on their own when pursuing a round of nocturnal adventures.
And yet, this revelation was nothing compared to the terror Sister Madly endured when confronted by the mother of all social horrors:
The self-checkout was gone.
There is a reason that the gods created self-checkout, just as they created texting, single-passenger cars, and carrier pigeons: to pass their divine blessing upon lovely, antisocial behavior.
You know what this means, don’t you? Sister Madly has to talk to people!
And she has to talk to them about a wedge of stinky cheese.
Now this was a high-risk scenario: would the cashier deny Sister Madly this cheese knowing she was using it for recreational purposes? Were there guidelines on how to consume this delicacy for maximum dream lucidity? Is she allowed crackers? Cured meats? Some people put Stilton in a port wine sauce; however, Sister Madly wasn’t too keen on the idea of drinking her cheese- that all but guaranteed unforgivable nightmares. And what about the rind? Was there a certain magic contained within that outer layer?
But these questions answered themselves when Sister Madly woke the next morning, all tangled in bed sheets and with the world’s most terrifying bed-head.
There had been a dream, all right, one of a plucky Sister Madly sticking pins in ginger root as though it was a voodoo doll, all the while singing ‘All I Have to Do is Dream’ to her pet pinecone (affectionately named, ‘Pinecone.’) There was a vague awareness that the constellation Sagittarius was being held hostage by a man named Doug, but this was of no consequence as Sister Madly was a Gemini.
In other words, your run-of-the-mill dream. So disappointing.
TUNISIAN VEGETABLE SOUP
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 garlic gloves, minced
- 8 oz. mushrooms, quartered
- Sweet potato, cubed
- Rainbow carrots, chopped
- Celery, sliced
- 1 cup pearl couscous, uncooked (opt)
- 6-8 cups vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1-2 tbsp Harissa, to taste
- 1 tbsp Ras el Hanout
- 1 tbsp coriander
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp sumac
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
- 1/4 cinnamon powder
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Oil, for sauteing
Saute onion and garlic until translucent; 5-8 min
Add carrots and celery; saute 3-5 min
Add spices, tomato paste, and harissa; mix
Add potatoes and mushrooms; stir to coat
Add stock and bring to a boil
Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 25-30 min, stirring occasionally
Add couscous (if using)
Cover and simmer until couscous is cooked; 8-10 min
THEME SONG: All I Have to Do is Dream, Everly Brothers
As of late, Sister Madly has been reluctant to hang around the Professors for fear of catching something nasty, such as a chronic desire to play golf,* or a fatal love of calamari. When she gets restless, she absorbs such diseases like a sponge.
* But not triathlons. Sister Madly is immune to triathlons.
But when she was invited over to ‘assist in preparations for the upcoming holiday party’ Sister Madly’s restlessness got the better of her: not only did she accept the invitation, she arrived 3 minutes early- and was greeted at the door by one of the Professors who, quite unexpectedly, presented her with a cigar box.
Certainly this was a lovely gesture on the part of the Professor… a gesture that became lovelier still when Sister Madly discovered that the box did not contain the cigars depicted on the label- those had been enjoyed by person or persons unknown- but a pair of Taco Socks.
Now even though Sister Madly was invited over to ‘assist in preparations for the upcoming holiday party,’ the Professors weren’t actually allowing her to do so. If it hadn’t been for the aforementioned Lovely Gesture, Sister Madly surely would have shuffled off this mortal coil out of uselessness, if not boredom; instead, she was able to pass the time by putting the Taco Socks on the cat,* which resulted in the cat screeching like a banshee and leaping into the compost bucket.
* Sister Madly never quite got the hang of maturity, having bypassed adulthood completely and landing face-first in the middle of dementia.
This wouldn’t have happened, Professor, had you assigned Sister Madly a culinary task.
But the Professors, having decided that Sister Madly was terribly upset, denied her such a task, saying that when one cooks while angry, it comes across in the food.
And just how does one assess the temperament of a cookie, Professor? Is Sister Madly to assume that, if she doesn’t like a particular dish, the cook was angry during its preparation? She wasn’t angry the day she made the wicked little delicacy known as Ham and Banana Hollandaise– a bit puckish, perhaps, but not angry. Sister Madly could have been soaring on a lovely rainbow bliss and that dish still would have tasted like boiled gym socks.
It turns out that the Ham and Banana Hollandaise Incident was still a touchy subject for the Professors, the mere mention of which drove them to banish Sister Madly to the corner as though she was a particularly dim-witted child. They weren’t about to allow Sister Madly to help with the baking now as the Professors didn’t want to give their colleagues a batch of dim-witted cookies.
So Sister Madly made her displeasure known through the most passive-aggressive means imaginable: by ripping the heads and limbs off the gingerbread and turning them into zombies.
For the next few hours, Sister Madly served up tray after tray of grotesque little men with missing limbs, bleeding hearts, and x-ed out eyes- indeed, it was more than a culinary masterpiece; it was pure art. Sister Madly was rather pleased with the result- why, she couldn’t have been more pleased if she had ordered a hit on the local bakery like some Culinary Crime Boss…
“What are you doing?!”
Well, Professor, she was under the impression that she was doing you all a favor. You said you wanted the gingerbread decorated.
“But zombies? For Christmas?”
Christmas does not discriminate against the undead, Professor, and neither does the Underworld. Besides, you never specified how the gingerbread were to be decorated, so Sister Madly took certain liberties. Just as one can’t get mad at mustard for tasting like mustard, one can’t get mad at Sister Madly for doing Sister Madly things. Seriously, never has she heard such ingratitude- you could very well end up with a gingerbread head in your bed tomorrow morning!
It‘s like this, Professor: even though it may not be what you want, it may be exactly what you need. Taco Socks, for instance; never would Sister Madly have thought that one day her livelihood would depend upon the integrity of a Taco Sock and a few bits of electrical tape, but that is precisely what happened later that night when her windshield wipers became totally incompetent in the middle of a storm.
And by Jove, it worked like a dream! Why, with such an ingenious feat of engineering, there is no need to purchase a new set of wiper blades. It is both practical and resourceful, not to mention a daring fashion statement worthy of a Culinary Crime Boss. Just one look at her Taco Sock Wiper Blade and people will say, ‘Aye, now there’s a girl who knows what she is doing!’
And what you are doing, Sister Madly, is repairing your car with tacky neon footwear!
In the end, you did catch something nasty from the Professors, Sister Madly…
THEME SONG: You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Rolling Stones
Even the Old Ones deserve a little holiday cheer…
AWAKE YE SCARY GREAT OLD ONES
Awake ye scary great Old Ones let everything dismay!
Remember great Cthulhu shall rise up from R’lyeh
To kill us all with tentacles if we should go his way!
O’ tidings of madness and woe, madness and woe,
O’ tidings of madness and woe! (and great woe)
In Yuggoth and in Aldebaran the great Old Ones were spawned
Imprisoned by the Elder Gods to wait for long eons!
Enticing humans to release them,
Chanting dreadful songs!
O’ tidings of madness and woe, madness and woe,
O’ tidings of madness and woe! (and great woe)
An Arab said “That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange eons you will find that even death may die”!
The great Old Ones will rule once more
Then all will be destroyed!
O’ tidings of madness and woe, madness and woe,
O’ tidings of madness and woe! (and great woe)
*Repost from 2014
And on the air was the scent of hush puppies ~
Too cruel, she said, too cruel.
Poetry like this accounts for the continuing success of bongos and berets.
It also accounts for the long litany of Sister Madly’s unanswered applications over the years. Perhaps she shouldn’t have included that little ditty on her résumé after all.
Some years ago, Sister Madly was forced to admit that one can spend only so much time shape-shifting and harvesting organs down in the cellar without paying the electric bill. In an effort to remedy this, one particular Want Ad drew her attention like a fly to a lovely blue bug-zapper: a Hearse Driver for the Mortuary.
They didn’t demand much: professional appearance, clean driving record, willing to work for ten cents above minimum wage. No doubt the customer complaints would be on the low side- a plus during her darker, more introverted moments* – and let’s not overlook the generous perks, such as the use of the company car. Sister Madly delighted in the vision of gleefully joyriding that Doombuggy through the nearby HOA.
* i.e., all the time.
Of course every job has its drawbacks, such as the potential to seriously impede her already questionable social skills by associating with nothing but the dead, not to mention that a rundown of her day could really sour the mood at a party. She could call herself a chauffeur, if asked: whether the person she transports in that limousine alive or not is merely a technicality. Furthermore, it is better than come cushy job that requires her to harass little blue-haired ladies and mispronounce their names.
Though her motives were slightly suspicious, Sister Madly allowed herself to daydream that first magical day on the job…
Or perhaps she should keep looking.
And so Sister Madly spent the next 3 minutes daydreaming herself into all the brilliant careers that would inevitably cross her path, including:
~ Personal Trainer ~
~ Body Guard ~
~ Superhero ~
~ Ice Cream Truck ~
~ Celebrity ~
~ Celebrity Impersonator ~
~ Indie Musician Who Pours Taps at Local Craft Brewery on Wednesdays ~
~ Artist’s Model ~
~ Latest Fad-Diet Weight Loss Guru ~
~ Nanny ~
~ Personal Shopper ~
~ THIS ~
~ Undercover Security Agent at PDX International Airport ~
~ Little Bunny Foo-Foo ~
~ The T-1000 Terminator ~
~ Lead ‘Bud’tender at the Corner Head Shop ~
~ Navy Seal ~
Then again, mortuary work depends entirely upon bodies. Perhaps Sister Madly would be more successful in the business of creating those bodies rather than collecting them. An independent contractor, if you will.
So would any of you like some elderberry wine?
** Sister Madly tends to picture herself as a Smart Car. No one knows why.
THEME SONG: Working Girl, The Members
All Images: Pinterest
The Professors were having yet another social get-together, the likes of which can range from tedious to interesting to (admittedly, with a little help) downright bizarre, and one simply attends just to see which it will be. Against their better judgment, the Professors asked Sister Madly if they could borrow a decanter- or something that could pass as such- and oh, could she pick up about half a dozen brown eggs on her way over?
Sister Madly is nothing if not obliging, and went about her tasks with an uncommon cheer. When she arrived at the Professor’s house later that afternoon with decanter in hand, her cheer was bordering upon sinister.
That’s a beaker.
Actually, Professor, it’s an Erlenmeyer flask, in which Sister Madly usually keeps flowers.
You brought us your vase?!
No. She brought you a decanter. Only when it is holding flowers is it a vase.* That should be fairly obvious.
* The flowers that were in the vase were transferred to the teapot. And she did rinse out the beaker beforehand, so all the fuss was quite unnecessary.
But that was nothing compared to the moment she handed over the eggs.
You can’t make Scotch Eggs with Cadbury!
How do you know, Professor? Have you ever tried?
Do you really expect us to believe that you didn’t understand what we meant?
Why, she hadn’t even thought of that! This sort of stunt has become so unapologetically routine that Sister Madly merely assumed that the Professors knew she was just being a little horror.
Not that she isn’t proud of the fact.
If I had my druthers…
What happened to them, Professor?
Naturally this question had less to do with what had become of these ‘druthers’ as it did with wanting to hear the Professor try to explain definition of the word. And oh, it was completely horrible for the Professor, but it amused Sister Madly to no end.
Perhaps you accidentally put your druthers out with the recycling. Or maybe they got caught in the lint trap while you were doing the laundry- that’s where Sister Madly tends to find missing socks. They say druthers are drawn to lint traps because of the static cling-
She didn‘t get very far in her conjecture before she was sent outside with a cider and a muffin. Sister Madly didn’t want a muffin. The thing had so many poppy seeds that, if one were to plant it, a row of fully stocked opium dens would bloom in its place.
So she impaled it on the nearest car antenna.
Now the Professors are usually reluctant to let Sister Madly out of their sight for long, in case she should sneak into a closet until nightfall and poison them in their sleep (like she would bother waiting until they were asleep.) The last time they were this negligent, Sister Madly decked the halls with so much mistletoe that one was never more than a few steps away from at kiss.
This time their negligence would result in something far less whimsical.
You see, Sister Madly had come across a truly horrifying recipe she had intended to make for her brother-in-law that weekend, and had picked up the ingredients along with the eggs. But why waste a ghastly recipe on someone who will only smile politely at the result before ordering a pizza when she can make it now and send the Professors into months of intensive therapy?
The making of this concoction was terribly easy- so easy, in fact, that Sister Madly was almost ashamed. The Professors hardly gave her a second glance when she took her place in the corner of the kitchen, peeling bananas and wrapping them in ham. No doubt they thought this behavior was typical of one who had recently consumed a truckload of poppy seeds, and congratulated themselves for having Sister Madly properly sedated.
When she asked the Professors if they had any Dijon, she was handed a bottle of Wasabai mustard, and when she asked for cream, she given a container of caramel-flavored coffee creamer. Sister Madly, being nothing if not obliging, didn’t say a word; after all, she could blame the poppy seeds, but the Professors- they could blame no one but themselves.
It wasn’t long before the wallpaper began to peel beneath the cloud of the most hateful funk.
What’s that smell?!
That would be your druthers, Professor: Prosciutto and Musa Fruit Hollandaise- or, in bologna and cheese speak, Ham and Banana Hollandaise Sauce-From-A-Packet.
HAM AND BANANA HOLLANDAISE
- 6 bananas
- 1/4 c lemon juice
- 6 thin slices ham
- 3 Tbsp mustard
- 2 packets hollandaise sauce mix
- 1/4 c light cream
- 1 cup water
Preheat oven to 400*
Sprinkle Bananas w/2 Tbsp lemon juice to prevent darkening (does not work but do it anyway)
Spread ham with mustard
Wrap each banana in slice of ham
Arrange in single layer in baking dish
Bake for 10 minutes
Combine sauce mix with water, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, and cream in a saucepan
Bring to a boil, stirring constantly
Pour sauce over baked bananas
Return bananas to oven
Bake until wallpaper peels from the walls and the linoleum warps, approx 5 minutes
THEME SONG: Yes, We Have No Bananas
In the Madliverse, curiosity not only kills the cat, it buries it at the nearest construction site, fills the hole with cement and makes it the foundation of a fabulous 5-star hotel.
So it was with some trepidation when Sister Madly succumbed to her curiosity and asked Midori, a recent transplant from Japan, the question that had been plaguing her for days:
What language do you think in?
But Midori thought it the most natural question in the world, just as she thought dandelions made the lawn look ‘untidy.’ She also despised the name ‘Chad’- which proved to be most unfortunate as irony would one day find her married to a Chad. Midori was one who could trace her family tree back many, many generations straight through samurai Japan, while Sister Madly’s family tree was once handed her on a yellow post-it and whose branches were as alive and lush as a twig in the dead of winter. This family sapling covered no more than 5 generations and scattered them across Europe, Asia and the Middle East- something which seemed to fascinate Midori.
That was how the 2 of them found themselves lounging amongst the pillows of the opium bed at Utopia, debating over the proper pronunciation of the word Pączki*- until Management appeared, which resulted in the 3 of them lounging amongst the pillows of that antique opium bed, debating the proper pronunciation of the word Pączki. Similar debates would occur over the pronunciation of Gruyere, Reykjavik, and Jicama during the next several months, just a handful of the words they had both before seen, but had never heard spoken.
There was once an attempt to teach Sister Madly the Japanese language- and she is proud to say, to this day, she can still count to ‘1’ like a champ. Yet Midori steadfastly refused to teach her any Japanese recipes- “What is there to teach? Raw fish is not a cuisine.” In fact, Midori found America’s fondness for deep-frying anything remotely digestible as irrefutable proof that there is, indeed, a god.
*It’s pronounce POONCH-key. Say it: Pączki.
So it came to pass on the eve of Midori’s 22nd birthday that she and Sister Madly found themselves wandering the town, when…
“Oh my god- I’m so old!”
You know, Sister Madly once looked forward to the day in which she unintentionally frightened small children simply by being old. However, as Midori now finds herself ancient on the eve of her 22nd birthday, one can only concluded that Sister Madly has been laughing in the face of the Grim Reaper since the beginning of June.
Naturally this led them to the roof of the nearest parking garage that night with a roll of SweeTarts and some cider, doing that which all the Ancients find inevitable: discussing the laws of Thermodynamics.
Indeed, Sister Madly was untamable in those days.
But it wasn’t until they arrived back at Midori’s later that night that the conversation took on an entirely new meaning.
“Where’s my porch?”
The question was facetious, really, for one only had to look no further than the charred bits of wood smoldering at their feet to find said porch. Still, one could not help but wonder how the lovely wrap-around porch was suddenly reduced of a pile of charbroiled ashes without at least a note of apology.
That is, everyone except Midori.
There was no arguing with this logic, for obviously there had been some thermo involved in the removal of the porch; and there was no arguing that the dynamic of the porch had drastically changed. There was no arguing because of the few too many ciders Sister Madly had consumed not long before, and no longer found the topic remotely interesting.
However, when one removes the wrap-around porch from an old Victorian, one also removes the method of conquering the distance from the lawn to the front door. Fortunately- for Midori, at least- Sister Madly was able to offer up what remained of her strength and her brawn, and attempted to stand en pointe upon a stack of cinder blocks while she hoisted Midori upon her shoulders so she could unlock the front door.
This plan went much more smoothly in her mind, for in her mind, Sister Madly was skilled in ballet, had impeccable balance, and was not three sheets to the wind. In reality, her balance was as such that Sister Madly not only toppled Midori multiple times against the door, but multiple times against the doorbell as well- a doorbell that played the first few chords of Beethoven’s Fifth. Bet the landlord regrets that purchase now.
Still, it was the least Sister Madly could do; one simply cannot leave the elderly out in the frigid night air- that would be rude. Especially on her birthday.
*Midori tends to think in the language that she is currently speaking, by the way.
(Inspired by the controversial, often inaccurate, fire-and-brimstone world of cartoonist Jack Chick.**)
* I shall never sleep calmly again when I think of the horrors that lurk ceaselessly behind life in time and space, and of those unhallowed blasphemies from elder stars that dream beneath the sea… HPL *
** Website may be blocked in some countries.
Who Will Be Eaten First? by Howard Hallis
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.
“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!”
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.*
*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!
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.
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.
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
2) Christopher Lovell
4) Elise Marie Syvertsen
There are times when Sister Madly prefers the world she creates rather than the one that was created for her. Yet every once in a while she comes across an individual who lives in such sweet naivety that her world seems dull by comparison, such as the case of the Little Hippie- a customer she encountered some years ago who had but one complaint: the hemp seeds he had recently planted- the ones he had cut from a bracelet purchased a month before- never sprouted.
It was at Utopia, a bazaar of sorts once described as ‘a bunch of weird people doing weird things.’ At best, they were a bunch of incredibly dull people doing incredibly dull things, frequently regarded by the devout about town as heathens in search of a ripe little soul to snack on. This was patently untrue, as several of these Utopian Sweethearts were vegan and wouldn’t dream of consuming any animal or its byproduct- souls included.
As it was her duty to provide excellent customer service – and as it was nowhere near soul-snacking time- Sister Madly guided the Little Hippie’s attention to the word STERILE boldly stated on the bracelet’s tag.
The Little Hippie merely stared with vague comprehension; to him, sterile meant nothing more than an exceptional, if not psychotic, cleanliness- a trait not typical of most hippies in the region. But then, he was rather new to the lifestyle.
In spite of the array of bizarre tasks outlined in her job description, Sister Madly felt that her hourly wages fell short of informing strangers the particulars of the birds and the bees- even when pertaining to plants. That sort of assistance is reserved for Management- should they ever put down their soul sandwiches and set foot out of the office.
So she decided to skip the particulars and just use a rather broad analogy:
Think of it this way, little one: if someone drilled a hole completely through you top to bottom, you probably wouldn’t be able to produce any offspring, either. Or, say, vital signs…
Essentially, it means these little seeds can’t have babies.
Perhaps that wasn’t the best analogy, as indicated by the Little Hippie’s distressed whisper of “You mean they’re, like, impotent?”
There are no words to describe the devastation of that poor innocent who, while still trying to grow into his week-old dreadlocks and hand-woven mukluks, suddenly realized that he had only sober plans for the weekend. It was as though Sister Madly had heartlessly revealed that Rosebud was nothing more than a sled- had he been the type to care about that in the first place, that is.
Of course, she can recommend one of the state-of-the-art fertility gods just in from Africa. Sister Madly can personally attest to them having some form of mystical properties, as they have a tendency to pop off the wall for no good reason whatsoever- especially around Victor, which would terrify him into long periods of celibacy.
“So, I bury the Fertility God with the seeds.”
If that is what makes you happy.
The happiness lasted for all of 2 days, when the Little Hippie appeared once more to return the Fertility God after finding his backyard overrun with dozens of baby bunnies.
THEME SONG: Evil Seeds, The Raveonettes
In the past, Sister Madly has had some interesting things come through her car window:
- Hand of a Jehovah’s Witness (Watchtower pamphlet attached)
- Sprinkler Jets (a guarantee during sprinkler season)
- Wild Turkey
Well, almost a Wild Turkey, which was most unfortunate as Sister Madly was on her way to a wedding that day and was clearly lacking a +1. He clipped the roof of her car, having neglected to look both ways before taking flight on that lonely country road. Sister Madly was just as startled as he: obviously, neither of them knew that wild turkeys could fly.
But she’s not here to talk about the turkey. No, she came here to discuss something that haunts every decent human creature on the planet: 6:30 AM.
You see, Sister Madly does not do this 6:30 in the morning bit. Not on purpose. 6:30 in the morning is reserved for cozy dreams of Lotus flowers and creepy houses with staircases that go nowhere. While sunrises have been known to happen at this time of day, there are those of you gracious enough to take pictures of them so she can enjoy them at a later, more humane hour. But there it was, 6:30 AM, glowing like a nuclear blast outside her window- which wouldn’t be the case if someone hadn’t chopped down the tree in the middle of the night.
Turns out, the earlier one rises, the earlier things get done- such as errands and picking up hitchhikers. While out and about that morning, a dragonfly flew through her window and settled onto the dashboard.
(She was unable to take her own photo of her companion as
taking pics while driving makes the Highway Patrol very cross.)
Perhaps he needed a lift, or perhaps he was lonely; perhaps he just enjoyed the Qntal CD that was playing. Whatever the reason, the dragonfly stayed with her all the way home- something which, Sister Madly grudgingly admits, might not have happened had she awakened at a later hour.
If only the other whimsical encounter ended just as well.
Some years ago Sister Madly, after spending the night at a friend’s, was gently awakened once again around 6:30 AM, this time by Rita’s younger brother spraying a hose through the bedroom window. Being the feisty little spitfires that they were, the hose-drenched duo staggered into the kitchen and proceeded to bake a cake.
To this day, Sister Madly can’t tell you why they decided to turn domestic at that unholy hour, nor why they decided to flavor the cake with rum. Perhaps it was habit, as they both were employed at the bistro where baking was routine. In fact, Sister Madly remembers little of what happened that morning between the moment they were hosed out of bed and the moment the timer when off, when she found herself sitting on the kitchen counter with her feet in the sink.
Across the room Rita, who had been stabbing a lime with a pencil, was just as bewildered.
“Are we baking something?”
They should’ve known better than to decorate a cake straight from the oven- no, they did know better; they just did it anyway, frosting it in yellow and topping it off with a half-hearted smiley face.
Since neither one wanted rum cake at 8:15 in the morning- and since neither one could say for certain that the rum actually made it into the cake- they resorted to that old tradition ingrained into every creature at childhood: give the undesirable treat away to a Crush. Besides, who wouldn’t want to be rousted out of bed on a Saturday morning for a Smiley Face Rum Cake?
They drove with the windows down, taking the longest, most carefree way to the Crush’s house. Since they didn’t allow the cake to cool before frosting it- and since all they had to transport said cake was a paper plate- it took some creative acrobatics on Sister Madly’s part to keep from flinging the cake at Rita. Or at the windshield. Or at herself. The last thing one thinks to worry about in this situation is the intrepid, happy-go-lucky butterfly that suddenly flits through the window.
But it was not Sister Madly that this butterfly was interested in; no, it was Rita- the one behind the wheel. The one who does not like bugs. Not even pretty ones.
Curious as to how one drives while being kissed by a butterfly?
The same way one does when being assassinated by a wasp.
Emitting a high-pitched screech, Rita took them on a willy-nilly journey over curbs and potholes, crossing the center line and back again until the Smiley Cake escaped the horror by flinging itself out the car window and into the street, where it was promptly run over by a bus.
THEME SONG: The Whyle, Qntal
IMAGES: 1,2,4) pinterest
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.)
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.
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.*
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 ~
~ and may you never step on a Lego ~
THEME SONG: Born to Be Wild, Steppenwolf
Image 1) christopherlovell.com