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Chapter 20

Home Chapter 20

Copyright 2012 Banzai Ben and Amazing Anastasia


Present – Thom – At the cabin


I walk into the kitchen and ask, "How about some breakfast for me?"


Byron wanders in and says, "I already had some but could sure use more."


Matt and Jim walk in and Jim states, "See Matt I told you someone was cooking."


Jack, Masha and Ivan come in and now the whole damn kitchen is full.


Jens asks, "Liz please take over with the eggs, I need to have a little talk with everyone."


She turns, looks at us and smiles, "Just so you know, I am not going to be providing all the service and making all the meals around here. So you all need to figure out a rotation for who's cooking, who's cleaning and who's serving."


I suggest, "Hey Jennifer, why don't you just hire a cook."


She teases, "Why should I? Can't you all cook?"


I reply, "Well, my cooking isn't half bad but if we're eating Byron's cooking we're going to need a lot of Beano."


Byron complains, "Well you never seem to mind it so much that you don't eat it. But Jennifer, think about it. What Thom has suggested makes sense because then we will be assured the quality of our meals will be consistent."


Jennifer thinks for a few moments and agrees, "It does make sense, but how in the hell do I find a good cook all the way out here?"


I volunteer, "Well, give us some keys to a car and we will go find one."


She states, "Well you're not driving my Jeep or the Cobra so I guess you'll need to take Ben's truck. But he loves that truck so if you mess it up, he's going to mess you up to match it."


I don't like the sound of that so I make a decision, "We're going to take a taxi to town and I will see if I can acquire a vehicle. Come on Byron let's go."


Jens orders, "Just make sure you're here for dinner tonight."


I reply, "Yeah don't worry, if I don't feed Byron often enough he gets cranky."


Byron laughs, "Hey I resemble that remark."


Jens calls the taxi, we head out the door and I feel relieved because I've dodged her 'secret weapon' for now…


Present – Jens – At the cabin


Thom did have a great idea about the cook, but I sure as hell wouldn't want that thankless job, not with the mixed up palates of this group. Oh Matt, Jim, Jack and Linus will eat almost anything, but you've got the two girls who so far have turned up their noses at everything other than my cookies, you have Mira, Ira, Alexi and Masha who like Russian type foods and then there's Maria and I have no idea what she normally eats. Yeah lots of luck to the person that takes this thankless job.


Liz is finished with the eggs for the three of us and Masha volunteers, "I will cook the food for everyone else."


We pray, sit down, begin to eat and I realize Zarika is missing. Oh yeah I told her to meet me in my room.


I excuse myself, "I forgot that Zarika is waiting in my room for me so let me go get her. Masha will you please prepare some food for her?"


Masha replies, "Certainly Ms. Donaldson."


Liz adds, "And please make some extra for Mira, Ira and Alexi. I will deliver their plates."


Jack hands Ivan to Jim and says, "Masha needs some help so watch Vanya."


Jim questions, "What the hell am I supposed to do with him."


Jack answers, "Play with him."


Jim looks like he is completely baffled when Alexi walks in and offers, "I will take him and play with him."


Masha requests, "Do not take him far because he will eat soon."


Present – Yasmeen – At the cabin


I am upset that the Jennifer lady is bringing Zarika in the same kitchen as me however I do not show my anger. I hate the food the Jennifer lady makes because it does not taste like my mother's cooking.


I believe they will purchase a slave to cook, so I will need to show her who is boss and make sure she cooks correctly…


Present – Zarika – At the cabin


The Jens lady did not come into our room so I begin to clean up the room. It was wise of me to go to the bathroom on my own clothes and bed because now I have moved into the Jens lady room with her.


The Jens lady walks in and says, "Wow Zarika, thanks for starting to pick up the mess, but I wish you had waited because we need to redo it."


I am sad and ask, "I not do good?"


The Jens lady smiles, "Zarika, there is the right way to do things, which is what you did; the wrong way to do things and then there's the Marine way to do things. The Marine way is what I will teach you after breakfast."


I ask, "Marine like Ben?"


The Jens lady smiles and says, "Yes we were both Marines together. Now follow me to the kitchen. Just so you know Yasmeen is there and I do not want you two fighting again."


I am not happy that Yasmeen the annoying is there, but I can't wait to see her face when she finds out she has to clean up my mess. She will be even more surprised that I am sleeping in the same bed as the nice Jens lady…


Present – Byron – At the cabin


We're waiting for the taxi and I ask, "So have you figured out Jennifer's secret weapon yet?"


Thom looks at me and says, "No, but I figure if we're not at the cabin she can't use it."


I say, "Thom, look over there."


Thom remarks, "Damn that's a beautiful fox. It's a wonder it's still here with that damn dog around."


I chuckle, "Did you already forget you're run-in with Sharik. If I remember right, he had you by the balls."


Thom says, "That damn dog is lucky I don't hold a grudge otherwise he'd be on the receiving end of a hell of a prank."


I look at Thom with amazement because he holds grudges more often and longer than any person I know. I remind him for his own safety, "Just remember Sharik has some very powerful friends that have made it clear what will happen if you hurt him."


Present – Thom – At the cabin


Damn, Byron's starting to get on my nerves with his mother hen routine! I look at him and tease, "The way you henpeck, you'd make someone a great wife."


He counters, "Well, it's the only damn way you'll listen to anything. Besides, I'm tired of cleaning up your messes."


I give him a hurt look, "My messes! Now I suppose you're going to try to blame me for your arm getting shot."


He smiles, "As a matter of fact that is your fault. If you hadn't gone off half-cocked we could have come up with a good plan instead of having to blunder in to rescue you."


I get ready to let him have it as the cab pulls up and the cabbie questions, "Where to?"


I answer, "Someplace with good food."


The cabbie continues, "What sort of food?"


I say, "Surprise us."


Present – Jens – At the cabin


We walk into the kitchen. I'm watching Yasmeen like a hawk but she doesn't even look at Zarika - all the better because if those two start another food fight then they will eat outside. I sit down, put a fork full of eggs in my mouth, fight it down and complain, "My eggs are cold. Hey Sharik, want some eggs boy."


He comes over, does his little doggie dance and I say, "Not in the kitchen, you have to eat scraps outside."


He follows me to the front door, I open it and we step outside. I see a flash of red and Sharik is off like a rocket propelled dog. I yell, "Sharik, that's Anastasia the fox! Leave her alone!"


It doesn't help. But I'm not worried because she's fast and smart. I put the eggs in the bowl outside and head back to the kitchen when I hear it. Oh hell what's wrong now!


Present – Masha At the cabin


First I serve my husband then I call, "Alexi, please bring Vanya."


He brings Vanya, puts him in the highchair by Jack and watches as I make three plates for Miranda, Irina and Alexi. Liz says, "Thanks I will take these to the girls."


Alexi adds, "I will assist."


I take a small plate for myself, put some eggs on Zarika's plate and say, "Everything else is for the rest of you."


Matt and Jim rush toward the stove.


Zarika tastes the eggs, smiles and says, "Ms. Reynolds eggs like those cooked by my mother."


I return the smile and question, "Thank you Zarika, was your mother Russian?" I ask even though I already comprehended the answer from her facial features.


She answers, "We were Tajik."


I state, "Yes that would explain your facial features and skin tone. Tajik women are known to be some of the loveliest on the planet. And when you mature you will be very lovely.


Zarika blushes, Yasmeen begins to choke and says, "Zarika lovely – big joke you tell. She look like donkey ass."


I prepare to whisk Ivan to safety so he does not witness another food fight because I had just taught him not to throw his food when the most amazing thing happens…


Present – Jens – At the cabin


I walk into the kitchen as Zarika flies past me crying like crazy. I look at everyone and ask, "What the hell happened."


Masha states, "I complimented Zarika on her looks, told her she would be beautiful when she matured and Yasmeen said she looked like"… She stops and looks at Ivan. Then Ivan laughs and says, "Doggie ass!"


Masha turns about five shades of red and scolds Yasmeen, "You have taught my son a bad word, if you ever do that again I will make you regret the day which your mother birthed you."


Ivan realizes he's the center of attention, is laughing and yells, "DOGGIE ASS!"


Masha scoops him up, scolds the hell out of him in Russian and then washes his mouth out with soap (wow I didn't know they had that torture in Russia too). He's crying like crazy, then she takes him to the corner, yells at him a bunch more in Russian and leaves him there. I'm impressed a kid his age already knows how to stand in the corner. Masha sits by Jack in a very agitated state and it reminds me to watch my language around here because kids will parrot damn near anything and I don't want Masha angry at me.


I look at Yasmeen and question, "Why did you insult Zarika?"


She questions, "You place first wife no not? Ms. Reynolds big insult you!"


Damn it's that whole crap that they think Ben's going to marry them! However they are going to be sorely (possibly even physically) disappointed.


She is glaring at me and I warn, "Yasmeen I should beat the he…" I stop and change my words, "I should beat you until you're black and blue, however I'm not going to because I have a secret weapon coming that will make you sorry you were ever born."


Present – Yasmeen – At the cabin


All this time I thought the Jennifer lady was nice. Now I find out she has secret weapon to punish me? I become worried because the Jennifer lady can be very bad with the rubber band gun and then she has her terrible Baskerville dog from hell. And the secret weapon must be worse than those.


I apologize, "Sorry I am."


She says, "Too late for sorry, you dug your own grave."


I tremble because it sounds like secret weapon will kill me, I become so afraid that the room begins to spin and…


Present – Liz – At the cabin


I'm deep in thought, thinking about how Mira and Ira's interactions have changed since Alexi has shown up. When his sisters are uncomfortable with something, like they were when I took them food, they obviously waited for Alexi to proffer thanks.


I walk into the kitchen just as Yasmeen falls out of the chair onto the floor and yell, "What the hell is going on."


Ivan is in the corner and yells, "HELL."


Masha jumps up from the table, runs towards him and scolds me, "You should know better than to use bad words around children."


She rushes him to the sink, washes his mouth out with soap and announces, "From this instant forward I will also wash the mouth out of anyone that uses a bad word around my son, that includes my husband. Jack come, we are going back to our room."


I was distracted but as I look back, Jens is by Yasmeen and orders, "Liz I need your help take care of this little bitch while I go find Zarika." Jens flies out of the kitchen.


I sit beside Yasmeen and ask, "Matt and Jim, what the he…" I stop myself even though Ivan's not here and continue, "Matt and Jim what happened."


They look at each other, pause from shoveling the food and Matt responds, "Something happened?"


Men, sometimes they are so dense…


Present – Jens – At the cabin


I find Zarika on my bed crying like crazy (which I don't understand since it's not like her to cry), walk in, sit beside her and ask, "Zarika why do you let Yasmeen get you upset."


She sniffles and says, "What do mean Jens lady."


One of the first things I need to do is teach these two how to speak English correctly but I think I will let one of my secret weapons take care of that issue. I explain myself, "When you let Yasmeen get you upset, you let her win because you give her power over you."


Zarika sits up and asks, "So not pay mind her to?"


I state, "That's right, you give her the power to beat you. Now come on back to the kitchen and eat."


Zarika asks, "This then win I?"


I take her hand we walk towards the kitchen and I say, "That's right you will show her you win."


Present – Liz – At the cabin


I order, "Matt and Jim take Yasmeen to her room."


Jim says, "But we're not done eating yet."


I laugh, "Oh yes you are! Now move your asses."


They reluctantly get up from their chairs, grab Yasmeen and I follow them to her room. When I get to her and Zarika's room, I'm shocked by the mess and the smell. I knew teenagers were messy, but this takes the cake…


Present – Thom – At The Soul Food Cafe


Byron polishes of his second whole fried chicken and his beard and hands are a mess. I finish off some of the best damn catfish and green beans I ever ate, take a sip of the coffee, smile and say, "Now this is the way coffee is supposed to be made."


Byron looks at me and asks, "Don't tell me it has chicory in it."


I grin, "Hell yes it does. I wonder if we can get the cook away from this place."


Byron ruins my mood, "Thom, what if they can't cook anything except soul food."


The waitress (who has been cleaning the counter) laughs, "Let me tell you mister I can cook any sort of food you can think of."


I look at her and ask, "You're the cook and the waitress?"


She answers, "Things have been lean lately since they opened up that big chain restaurant. But I like to cook and I can cook anything you can think of."


Huh, this sounds like a challenge to me. "Okay, how about you whip up a soufflé?" I figure that's about as far from soul food as you can get.


She laughs and states, "I can do those in my sleep. You got about forty-five minutes?"


I nod my head, "Yeah, we just need to be back to the cabin in time for dinner."


She laughs, "The way you two eat you aren't going to need dinner."


She heads into the kitchen, Byron looks at me and says, "Thom she just might be our new cook."


I smile and say, "Yeah and if she's right about being able to cook anything, this is going to be great."


Then Byron ruins it all when he reminds me, "Don't forget about Jennifer's 'secret weapon.'"


Damn all this good food had made me forget about it. Damn!


Present – Jens – At the cabin


Zarika and I enter an empty kitchen, I wonder where the hell everyone went. My food's cold again, but I'm just going to warm it in the microwave. I take my plate to the microwave, pop it in, punch in a couple minutes and Zarika asks, "What box is where place food."


I realize she's never seen a microwave so I tell her, "It's called a microwave and will heat my eggs up very fast."


She questions, "Mine please also too?"


I answer, "Sure, bring yours over and we'll heat it when mine's done."


The microwave dings, I take out my plate, put her plate in and punch in some time. I head to the table and say, "When it dings your eggs are done."


Present – Zarika – At the cabin


The Jens lady shows me a magic box to heat food. It will make things very nice when I am Ben's wife. This way I can cook very fast and spend more time with Ben. The microbox dings, I open the door and my eggs are steaming. I touch plate and it is even hot, so I carefully carry it to the table, sit down beside the Jens lady and say, "You I thank kind Jens lady. This microbox will be useful."


She smiles, "Yes, they do come in handy."


A little box on the wall makes a noise, the Jens lady says, "I need to see who it is."


She goes to the box, presses a button and talks to someone, then she pushes another button and says, "Hurry and finish your eggs, there's someone I want you to meet."


I try my best to eat the food fast, but the microbox made the food too hot.


Present – Jens – At the cabin


Good my secret weapons are finally here. I can't wait to see them in action. I wolf down my food and head outside…


Present – Thom – At the cabin


Well she was right, she can cook anything. She whipped up a soufflé that was perfect even at this altitude. Then I did some sweet talking and the next thing I knew we'd hired ourselves a cook.


I picked up an old police cruiser in town for a song and a dance (they did the dancing) then I headed to the cabin. I got to the gate pressed the button, announced who we were and Jennifer let us in.


I pull up to the cabin, Byron says, "Thom isn't that…?"


I answer with, "What the hell is he doing here!" Someone else stepped around from behind him and I added, "Oh hell! It can't be! I thought he was dead!"


Byron laughs, "Well unless he's a ghost, and he sure doesn't look like it, you just might be…"


I think for a second about flooring it and getting out of here, but Byron has the door open already and they are headed toward my car…