I’m Pink Lady Apple Yeggs, and my friend Deviled Yeggs suggested that I record each project that I set up in the hopes of reforming the people who continue to work for Lily the Pink Enterprises. If for no other reason, it would show how God is at work.
I think that I hinted that we accepted Dalton Hill’s offer to expand into the Great Northwest in the last project report. As a result a lot has happened. I feel bad about it, but I had to dip into the money that I have received from Uncle Delly, Red Delicious Apple, the imprisoned head of the crime family known as the Rotten Apple Gang in the big city of Tracy. It was money that he owed my father, but my father was Uncle Delly’s hitman, so it is blood money. I have been giving as much of it as is reasonable to various charities, but it grows a great deal of interest.
But I accepted the Sam Hill of Portland offer and their warehouse on the Washington side of the Columbia River. I am paying them for the warehouse out of the profits from the new cider house that the warehouse will become. We have one year to have the cider operations up and running and a new apartment building next to it and a greenhouse to grow water lilies. And if you are wondering, the lilies grow well until the first frost, thus in a greenhouse we can control the growing season much better.
But I only agreed to the deal if I could make a GrandPa aided raid on prostitution throughout the Great Northwest. As it turned out, GrandPa had always worked with Hugh McAdoo, his government boss, in the logistical end of things and since GrandPa was retired, this might get tricky. Thus, I asked Mashie Niblick and his wife Pauline to help. They arranged for Mashie to fly to Southeast Asia to pick up an agent in deep cover and return him to the USA. Pauline would have gone with him, but she is pregnant. That allowed her to assist GrandPa. GrandPa evaluated the strippers, nude waitresses, and prostitutes in his usual manner. Pauline would make a second evaluation once they were whisked away to a safe zone.
To get the safe zone, Mashie, before going to Asia, went with a US Marshal friend to a remote three-story hotel along the Columbia River Gorge.
Mashie came into the hotel lobby in a black suit, dark sunglasses and a black fedora, as did the Marshal. Mashie asked to see the manager. He showed her his badge, flipped it to show his photo ID and before she could read anything, he stuffed the badge and ID into his pocket.
He said, “Ma’am, your elevator is now out of order. You will have to move the man in room 207 to the first floor. You can put him in room 116. We will be posting guards at the stairwells and we will do all our own laundry and maid service. No one is to get above the first floor other than our own people.” Mashie pulled two bundles of $100 bills from his pocket and handed them to the manager.
“This is not your peak season. The rooms are usually available. You will accept this payment and not ask questions.”
The manager asked, “How did you know that we had no one above this floor except for 207 and that the suite at 116 is available?”
“Ma’am” Mashie said in a perfect deadpan. “We are already off to a bad start. I said no questions. This is a matter of national security. You have been well paid, and you are doing your patriotic duty.” The two in the black suits turned around crisply and walked out. Another two marshals were at the front desk getting hotel room keys for every room on the second and third floors.
Mashie’s friend Charlie said, “Mashie, now I know why they liked you at your agency. You flash a badge that you bought at a toy store and a fake ID in the woman’s face, and she never questioned you. Maybe $200,000 in cash made a difference, but I am impressed.”
Mashie became indignant, “I will have you know that this is an official alternate ID, provided by the federal government. The ID is not fake!”
Charlie retorted, “But your latest name is Niblick and the ID says Pachyphant. What kind of a name is that? And where does Phynurff come from?”
Mashie replied, “Pachyphant is pachyderm and elephant mashed together. Since my present name is Mashie, mashing words together makes sense. And you have my given name pronounced wrong. It is not Phynurff. It is Phnurff. It is the sound that an elephant with clogged sinuses makes when he trumpets. ‘Phnurff!! Phnurff!!’ If you have ever been around an elephant with that problem, you would feel sorry for them instead of laughing at the name.”
Charlie bowed, “Ah, the great wise world traveler. Being a lowly marshal, I don’t get out much.”
Dalton Hill having agreed to our insistence of employing as many former prostitutes and such as possible had twenty of his employees come by for interviews with Pauline. They had each been “sex workers” in the Portland area. They had accepted Jesus as their Savior and Dalton had hired them for one store or another. When Pauline interviewed each of them, only eight accepted the job offers. What we were going to do was to move all of them to Tracy for the year until the construction was complete. They would learn the business and learn our code of conduct before returning to the banks of the Columbia River. Some did not want to be gone from the Northwest that long and others really liked their new jobs and were satisfied with where they were. Even though we offered substance abuse counseling and anonymous meetings, two of them did not wish to have the temptation of making hard apple cider. Eight new employees who were already accustomed to not turning tricks was a jump start for us.
GrandPa had difficulty. He had no attachments for all the years he had rescued women around the world. Now pretending to be a patron at a brothel was hard for him with Gwen back in Tracy. I worked out a deal with Amy G. Dala, the president of the Hoity Toity Club. Amy flew Gwen up to be with GrandPa in her private jet. He had to go into the brothel and gentlemen’s clubs on his own, but every night he was with Gwen. That put a hardship on Lily the Pink operations in that we had to scramble to find a cook each night. We set up a duty roster and made the menu simple for a few weeks.
As GrandPa guided the rescued women into an unmarked government black SUV, the SUV took the ladies to the hotel where the marshals, who were technically off duty, since they owed Mashie some favors, would check them in – not at the front desk, as the front desk had no idea who was staying on the upper two floors of the hotel. After the manager’s first mistake, she never asked a question. And Mashie wondered if the IRS would ever know about the $200,000 in cash that he had given her. It was cash and the rooms were usually empty that time of year.
Amy’s jet was used a second time in delivering our staff, without me, to welcome them to Lily the Pink Enterprises on their flight to Tracy. We had made agreements with 42 women from Portland and Eugene, OR, Tacoma, Seattle, the Tri-cities, and Spokane, WA, and Coeur d’Alene, ID. We already had the eight Sam Hill employees. They were bussed to the airport on the parcel shipment side of the airport. Mashie’s jet that he had flown to Asia was waiting with about twenty rows of first-class seats. Thirteen rows of seats in the back for the new employees and the rest of the company “brass” along with the special contractors: GrandPa, Pauline Niblick, and Mashie Niblick. The marshals were left behind to ensure the hotel rooms were spotless, including fingerprints.
As they filed into the plane and found a place to sit down, Pauline noticed one too many women. With a keen eye, she found the stowaway. In a brief interview, she allowed the stowaway to remain. The stowaway’s story will be in a different report.
Norene Moore, known at Lily the Pink as simply “No More,” got up to introduce herself and the “staff.”
No More said, “Good afternoon, everyone. We will be taking off shortly. We waited until dark to get you on the airplane. We will arrive in Tracy a little after midnight tonight. We will be greeted by the mayor of Tracy, no fanfare, but he will greet you. He has a reason to be there other than you. One of the people who will be serving as a flight attendant will be his girlfriend.” There were a few chuckles in the crowd. “My name is Norene Moore, but everyone calls me ‘No More.’ I was recently promoted to Cider House Operations manager. I will be your ultimate boss for the next year, give or take. The tall lady in the back with the hardhat on is Zuzka. And pardon me if I do not say her last name, it is one of those Latvian names.” One lady yelped and Zuzka made note that she might be from Latvia. “Do not be alarmed by Zuzka’s hardhat. The aircraft is perfectly safe, but the headroom in the aircraft is low and she is much taller than the ceiling. Besides, with the greenskeeper from the local golf club on the plane with us, our baker was working at the club while his son employed Zuzka to help in the kitchen. She has banged her head enough in the past two weeks in the kitchen. Anyway, Zuzka is our project manager. She will have a field person at the new facility reporting to her daily, but she wanted to get a good view for herself while she was here. Zuzka will be bringing out pink uniforms for everyone. When we leave the aircraft, everyone will be in uniform. We think that we have everyone’s sizes.
“All of this cloak and dagger has been for your protection. Some brothels and such do not like having their employees stolen. Thus, you have not been seen in public for some time, at least most of you. There is no record that this plane arrived or left Portland, OR. It is flying under a flight plan from Seattle to Washington, DC, but we will have some detours to avoid turbulence and then some mechanical issues over Tracy.
Since the manifest says that the plane is empty, you will be safe. GrandPa, who met most of you at your place of business has been doing this for decades. And his name is GrandPa. You do not need to know anything more. His girlfriend is someone that you will get to know. She is the chef at Lily the Pink, Gwen Quinn. Until you are transferred to an apartment with a kitchenette, all of your meals will be provided. She is also our founder and owner, Pink Lady Apple… Oh, shucky darn, I owe a dollar to the owner’s name jar. We have two jars. One is getting the owner’s name wrong since she recently married. Pink Lady then doubles the money in the jar, but to be honest, she has said her name wrong more than the rest of us put together. You were told about the swear jar. We can forgive a bit, but our apartment building has children and homeless families. We run a clean establishment. You will all be quarantined on the third floor, except when working or escorted by other employees for excursions, until you are familiar and compliant with our rules, especially with the families in residence. Your meals will be delivered to your workspace or to your rooms. We have provisions for limited snacks, but plenty of non-alcoholic beverages. But back to my introductions. To correct myself, Gwen Quinn is Pink Lady Yeggs second in command besides being the chef. She invented the secret formula for Lily the Pink and all its variations.
“And in the security uniform and checking to see if your seatbelts are buckled is Cassandra “Sandy” Beech, our head of security and the mayor’s girlfriend. Her people will be taking care of you. This is not a jail. You are free to leave, but if you want free transportation back to this area, you will have to complete your training.”
“We have Thomasina Tatiana Tutor-Tarrant, known as ‘Tommie.’ She is the newly promoted comptroller for Lily the Pink. She will also run the substance abuse ‘anonymous’ program. She is well familiar with the program. She will be handing out forms for you to fill out. We operate a cider house, making hard apple cider. We cannot have anyone with a substance abuse problem drinking all our profits. We will provide counseling, rehab, whatever it takes. Having workers under the influence is not good for business, and it is not safe for the other employees. We also house homeless families from the mission who must maintain sobriety. Thus, we must do the same.”
She continued, “All who I introduced to you will be serving you beverages during the flight. All will be available to talk to. There will be one in flight meal. Tomorrow morning, we will introduce you to the rest of the staff, the department chiefs, shipping and receiving, buyers and sellers, and the custodian, maintenance crews. And then we have shift supervisors for each rotating shift. As part of your training, you will work in each area and rotate until we find the best fit for you.”
Then she changed her tone, “Once we get airborne, we will show a video of cider operations at Lily the Pink, but I want to bring up one important factor about Lily the Pink. About two decades ago, a little more, I guess. Our founder graduated high school and was abandoned by her mother. Her father was in prison. Her uncle ran the local organized crime organization, the Rotten Apple Gang. She fell in love with a young safe cracker named Scrambled Yeggs. And about the time she became pregnant with his child, a cousin named Baldwyn Apple suggested to Uncle Delly, as the family called him, that Pink Lady would make a good madam for a brothel. She was forbidden to see her boyfriend, without her boyfriend ever learning that he had a son. So, the home that she lived in was turned into a brothel, along with the apartment building next door. There was a warehouse behind the property in the commercial area that Red Delicious, the crime boss, used to chop cars. They moved that business elsewhere so that Pink Lady could have a cider house, like she always wanted. Her uncle had already hired Gwen Quinn to be chef, maid, and companion for Pink Lady. The two started reading a Bible that Pink Lady had been given. When the baby was born, he was taken to the monastery to be raised. Pink Lady fought the idea of a brothel, and Baldwyn realized that she could not be trusted. She became a prisoner in her own home, still advertised as being the madam, although Baldwyn ran the brothel. It was about this time that Pink Lady and Gwen realized that they had made a total commitment to Jesus. While Pink Lady could not leave her home, Gwen was the cook and she insisted on shopping for groceries. She picked up a couple of New Testaments at the grocery store on various occasions and smuggled them into the facilities at Lily the Pink.”
She paused, “And, about that time, Red Delicious used his muscle to shut down all the prostitution in the city so that you had to come to Lily the Pink. That affected me. I was a fourteen-year-old runaway. I found myself without money in the big city of Tracy, no diploma, no job, no home, no money. I started selling myself for food. A pimp soon picked me up. Then the pimp had an ‘accident’ and died during the Rotten Apple raids. I was gathered along with the others and moved to the apartment building next to Pink Lady’s home. They had already closed in a walkway around the facilities. Somehow, Gwen saw that I needed some direction, and she gave me a New Testament.” No More pulled it from her pocket. “This little book saved my life. Actually, the book is about Jesus, and Jesus saved my life. We were still prostitutes, but we were new creations in Christ, praying to one day be free.”
She paused again, “That brings us to what we have named ‘the new life.’ A man was murdered. Pink Lady was framed for the murder. Pink Lady was also being poisoned. You will see her using a cane. The poison mimicked ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, but just shutting down the spinal cord a little at a time. They figured that the police would buy into the frame and close the case since Pink Lady would die from a long illness. The police were smarter than that and Pink Lady helped them not only solve the murder case, but she put away over a dozen of her cousins in the Rotten Apple Gang. She has named that point “the new life” at Lily the Pink. No more illegal activity on the premises at all. Bible studies every day at various times. Since most of you will be working shifts, the Bible studies are available at an appropriate time. You do not have to attend any of them, but we have fun. There are vespers services each night before the children go to bed on the second floor of the apartment building. That is for the homeless families, but anyone can attend. I say all this because it is available. It is encouraged, but not mandatory. Not all the former prostitutes have accepted Jesus… yet, but there is hope all will. But I also say that we are a Christian organization because it filters into everything that we do. We do it all to the glory of God, prayerfully. If you feel that this type of atmosphere is offensive, we will still love you, but you do not have to stay with Lily the Pink. You will be given enough money to move back to your family, if you have one, or to subsist for a month or two until you can find work elsewhere. You could move to the mission for a while, but they have the same atmosphere there. And the bouncer at the mission, the guy that makes sure of your sobriety, is Pink Lady’s new father-in-law. We are all one big happy family.”
She bowed her head and then raised it to meet the 51 sets of eyes. “I hope no one is offended, but we are all in the same position. We have been slaves, of a sort, and we understand being set free. At the end of Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a dream’ speech, he ended it with words from a Negro spiritual, ‘Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.’ Ladies, you are free in this world. I pray that you will one day find the freedom in Christ Jesus, but in the meantime, welcome to Lily the Pink.”
At that moment, Tommie called the pilot to give his introductions.
The pilot spoke over the intercom. “Ladies and gentlemen… Let me change that to ‘Ladies’ because I have worked with GrandPa in the past and Mashie Niblick has such a reputation, I will leave off the ‘gentleman’ part. Welcome to our flight from Seattle to Washington, DC. We will fly at various altitudes – whatever it takes to stay away from the turbulence, hint, hint, nudge, nudge. We are having some difficulties with the fifth engine of the aircraft, so we may have to take an emergency landing in the big city of Tracy. Don’t worry. This aircraft only has two engines, so having a problem with the fifth engine is not a big deal, but it will seem that way when I file my incident report. Tommie has reassured me that the tray tables have been stowed and the seat backs are in their upright position. We are ready for takeoff. When you hear me say, ‘Yee Haa,’ you’ll know we are in the air. And Mashie, your wife is on board, so behave yourself.”
A little later, the pilot yelled, “Yee Haa!”
And in the rows of new Lily the Pink employees, you could hear a soft murmur as many of them whispered, “Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty, I’m free at last.”
“Go West, Young man” Is a quote from Horace Greeley, which I modified for the title.
Lily the Pink is one of my favorite silly songs. It is adaptable for adding new verses, as long as the “cure” is far from what was wanted or expected. Although The Scaffold, a group that wrote the song, has a very British version, I prefer the Irish Rovers version, with a few of the same verses.
The writers of the song are the members of The Scaffold: John Gorman (comedian), Mike McGear (a pseudonym, really Paul McCartney’s brother), and Roger McGough (poet). The Scaffold had back singers and musicians to fill out the “band” that included a young Elton John, Jack Bruce, and Graham Nash. The song is based on a poem written about snake oil sold in the USA under the label of Lydia Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound, with a picture of a sweet young girl on the label. The poem states that the snake oil is sold by this face that only wants to love others.
The chorus of the song is:
We’ll drink a drink, a drink
To Lily the Pink, the Pink, the Pink
The savior of the human race
For she invented medicinal compound
Most efficacious in every case
Of course, Jesus is the Savior of the human race, and He cured people rather than selling them snake oil that promised cures that did not work.
“Phnurff” is something that I heard, or something similar, by a comedian that gets off script. I am thinking Tim Conway, but it could have been Robin Williams.
As for the “Yee Haa”, I had a boss when working in South Carolina. He took a flight from Philadelphia, PA to Augusta, GA during a bad storm. At one point, the plane started to drop like a rock due to the turbulent pressure changes in the storm, hitting a down draft. They leveled off their flight after much too much falling. The pilot got on the intercom, according to my boss, “Yee Haa, you can tell your grandchildren that you fell over 20,000 feet and lived to talk about it. We will be gaining a little altitude soon, but I want to thank everyone for flying Allegheny Airlines.” Allegheny became part of US Air and US Air now no longer exists, but not because of this one “cowboy” pilot.