I’m Detective Staff Sergeant Deviled Yeggs. I work homicide in the big city of Tracy. My partner is Jim Wednesday. Poached Yeggs, homicide detective and my nephew, has been working with Jim and me.
As previously reported by my wife, Trinity Naomi Tesla Yeggs, nicknamed Nitroglycerin for her explosive emotions, but called Glyce for short, Blaise had a girlfriend. (Link HERE) And as I reported, Blaise had his first date and I stupidly suggested a second date. I figured a tour of Lily the Pink and a few trips on the new waterslide that I heard was completed would be an interesting date when it comes to photo opportunities for social media, since these two children, Blaise (10, almost 11) and Margie (13) were not seriously dating. Ouch, was I wrong.
First, the waterslide was not officially finished and before it was to be used, the engineers had to commission it, meaning after making all the measurements required, the engineers rode the slide until the water going down the slide was perfectly adjusted, and no bumps were detected. It had to be a perfectly smooth ride, with little water splashing out of the half tube and no one getting stuck halfway down the slide. Serious business, but I never saw an engineer with a smile on his face all day long and working into the night – just to make sure…
But then the mayor, Boaz Yeggs, my nephew, decided that he wanted to cut the ribbon for the slide and have the media there, print, radio and television. And Margie and Blaise would be the first down the slide.
Of course, with a ribbon cutting, the media had to be there to take pictures and film it. There had to be speeches. And the only reason why there was not a brass band is that the jungle was so meticulously designed that everywhere except for the beach volleyball “arena” and the expanded pool area, there were plants, fake plants, water sluices, and other paraphernalia. Much of that to be explained in the speeches that follow. Of course, Blaise and Margie felt that they were part of history. They soaked in every bit of the “pomp and circumstance.” As parents, the Justices and Glyce and I were proud that our children were getting media coverage on their second date. Then again, how could this date be topped?! But why such media coverage for a slide that was not open to the public? Per Pink Lady’s plan, only residents and family, but she might be strong armed to provide a few party options, as long as Lily the Pink Bakery did the baked refreshments. Private parties could be another income source, but Pink Lady wanted the slide to be mostly for the homeless families and not the rich that could afford an exclusive pool party.
The beach volleyball arena was an Olympic size volleyball area with a set of bleachers on either side. That gave the mayor and media enough room for photo opportunities. They set the ribbon across the trail from the volleyball arena and the apartment building. Pink Lady had a lifeguard at the pool and a starter at the entrance to the slide. The slide was locked unless a starter was present.
The festivities started with Boaz making a few remarks. “Ladies and Gentlemen, I am proud to be asked to cut the ribbon at this engineering marvel. This facility is open to the homeless of Tracy who are at the mission, the poor under the care of the monastery, and the residents and employees at Lily the Pink. Looking at this fantastic fantasy jungle, I am impressed at the structure, but to think that this structure and other improvements in cider operations and the bakery being constructed will be carbon neutral or even carbon negative. Regardless of how you feel about such things, the engineers assured my mother that the facility will pay for itself in a short while. But before the project manager speaks, I would like to introduce my mother. Pink Lady Yeggs, will you say a few words?”
Pink Lady stepped up to the podium, “Thank you and welcome to my home, the home of my employees and some residents from the mission, and the Lily the Pink greenhouse that we are officially opening today. Whatever you might call it in the media, this is first and foremost a greenhouse. We will have hydroponic farmers walking the elevated walking trails to grow a variety of plants, many to be explained later. The waterslide has a double duty. This time of year, the pool water temperature would be too cold to use the swimming pool. We thought of taking solar-heated water from the greenhouse roof to heat the pool. And what better way to deliver the water to the pool than a waterslide that the children and young adults can enjoy. Lily the Pink Enterprises has opened its doors so that the mission downtown can have an overflow area for homeless families here at our facilities. Many of them have been hired by Lily the Pink and their residence has been made permanent. Having something that made this place special would provide self-esteem and confidence for the children, once they pass their swimming test. Hopefully that confidence will spill over into their schoolwork. To explain the design and some aspects of the carbon neutral system, I would like to introduce Zuzka, my project manager.”
Zuzka then stepped up to the podium. There was a momentary pause as the bank of microphones was lifted so that people could hear the lady who was six foot seven inches tall, without her bending down to the microphones. “Thank you, Pink Lady, I am so honored to be giving this presentation. I hope my English is good enough. I have been practicing my speech a lot. But before I start, I would like to make an announcement. Otto and I are engaged! He proposed last night!” There was a scattering of congratulatory comments. “As for the jungle, I started with the idea that I proposed to Pink Lady about a greenhouse to grow waterlilies for the Lily the Pink hard apple cider. When it was thought that there was no room for a duplicate of the greenhouses in Doyle County, we decided that we could enclose the roofs between the cider house, the main house, and the apartment building. When the bakery was added next to the apartment building, the new structure was added to the plan. The bakery will be completed at a later date, but bakery goods are already being made available from the Lily the Pink kitchen. The refreshments for this ribbon cutting include cakes from the bakery and cider doughnuts, Lily the Pink flavored.”
There were a few cheers, but those going on the waterslide would have to wait. Zuzka continued, “The greenhouse roof is structurally designed to handle a load of over three feet of snow, shatter resistant to hail up to baseball sized hail. But the roof is designed to detect snow, ice, sleet, and hail and automatically heat the roof structure to melt any frozen precipitation. The engineers used the design rate of a 1000-year snowstorm to design the heating capacity so that the heating can keep up with the snowfall. Heating will be by a reverse flow of the hot water generated to keep the pool warm and electrical heat tracing energized by the electrical solar panels on all building roofs and the battery storage for those solar panels. The need for electrical power from the power company will be minimal due to the amount of solar panels and the storage capability.
“From the outside, you will see that the greenhouse roof looks like a volcano. The precipitation that falls in the crater will flow into a downspout that looks like the trunk of our giant banyan trees. Of course, all other precipitation will be collected in the storm drains of each building and then the water will be recycled to a treatment facility on site. Everywhere you look, there are banyan trees, but we have no banyan trees in the jungle. What looks like banyan trees are all carefully insulated pipes and tanks to hold water and some form the structure to hold up the roof. We wanted no exposed vertical structures, so that the roof seems to rest upon the tree branches. Heated pool water, treated water, and untreated storm drainage water will be stored in what looks like tree trunks. The warmed pool water will feed into the swimming pool when needed or circulated to ensure the water in the roof remains flowing. The treated water will be potable water from our own water treatment facility and used in all facilities: cider house, main house, apartment buildings, this greenhouse and eventually the bakery. We expect to use some municipal water, but this will be intermittent when precipitation is low. We are building our own water tower over the bakery. If we have adequate water supply for residents, employees, and cider operations, we could feed some water into the Tracy system upon request during a drought.
“As for neutral carbon emissions, there are some moments in cider production where combustion is required, for maximum flavor. The exhaust from the heated vats and other gas emissions throughout the system will be drawn into the catalytic process for creating ethanol from carbon dioxide. We will then use this ethanol to burn along with the wood for the combustion process. We need that wood smoke flavor in some of our products, but the ethanol will provide most of the heat.
“In the greenhouse, we have a half-sized Olympic swimming pool. It is really the proper size for women’s water polo, which is 25 meters in length, half the length of an Olympic swimming pool. While we will continue our company beach volleyball tournaments here, we hope to start water polo tournaments as well. We had to remove the original kidney shaped pool that has been here since the home was built. The landing area for the waterslides will require more space. The pool is L-shaped. The water polo on one side and a shallow area between the water polo area and the landing area for the waterslides. And I say two waterslides, as one is being designed now to be taller, faster, and much longer and with more curves. Most swimming pools get gradually deeper from one end to the other, but our pool is shallow in the middle.
“We will grow some of our vegetable needs in the hydroponic garden and most of our water lily needs for an expansion of cider operations. In small groups we can tour the elevated walkways that are designed to access the plants in the sluices. Some sluices feed into waterfalls, but we made sure that we did not have the tallest indoor waterfall. We will let the Jewel Changi Airport in Singapore keep that honor. And please stay with your small groups. The engineers have designed the walkways for triple the usual traffic, which is a few farmers who might get together to look at crop development or a half dozen gatherers picking the crop. If anyone is afraid of heights, I do not suggest taking the tour. Near the peak, it is nearly five stories to the ground and the temperature is hotter there. Why hotter? To explain the exotic plant life scattered throughout the jungle, may I introduce, Jochebed.”
Jochebed walked to the podium. “I have information in the packets that you will receive about the jungle. The greenhouse structural supports were designed to look like banyan trees. This provides structural support and stores water, but it had been planned to use artificial leaves and ferns for the greenery, to simulate the tree’s leaves. Zuzka and I contacted the botanical gardens across the United States, and we have purchased many plants that originate in western Africa, plants that I am familiar with. In agreement with T.R.U.S.T., both the university and the medical center, we will be performing experiments on the use of these exotic plants for their medicinal use. Hopefully someday soon, we can produce all natural balms and creams from the research that will be done here. If you look at the banyan trees, it will seem like something growing from the trunk or a limb. But these are planters, designed to look like natural vegetation. The greenhouse is designed to be automatically climate controlled, as most modern greenhouses are, yet we recycle the vented air whenever possible. We can also automatically have tinted panels work like venetian blinds to filter the light that gets through. But since some of these exotic plants require higher air temperatures than do others, we have staged them in special locations. As we tour the walkways, you may notice that some areas are 5-10 degrees warmer. Excuse me, I think in Celsius, about 10-20 degrees warmer in Fahrenheit. We also have many ferns here that are grown in warmer climates of the USA. I hope you enjoy. Georges, I did good! Yes?!”
Detective George Evident, who had become a regular visitor at Lily the Pink, cheered. The mayor took over to say more kind words and then the ribbon was cut. As planned, Blaise and Margie walked hand in hand to the start of the slide. Margie was first down the slide with screams of delight. Blaise was next. Margie waited for Blaise to emerge from the water, and she hugged and kissed him – not planned, and more about the trouble that caused later.
With the two out of the landing area, the resident children got to go down the slide, then Sophie Yeggs and Fran Justice, the Justice’s middle daughter. The college kids all had college duties that day. The adults went after the children had two trips down the slide.
Oddly, or maybe predictably, Blaise and Margie stopped after their historic first slide so that they could go on the walk to the top of the walkway. They wanted to hear about the exotic plant life. They also enjoyed the cider house tour and the non-alcoholic taste testing, but they turned their noses up on a couple of them. Sometimes you get a new flavor that will excite the masses and sometimes you don’t. As Gwen Quinn would say, “You never have wasted time. A bad tasting cider teaches you not to do that next time.”
It was a tour-de-force for the Lily the Pink Enterprises, but oddly, Gwen Quinn was absent. She had said that Millie, GrandPa to most of us, needed her at the mountain cabin. We had learned that the government brought in foreign government officials and hosted private talks. Camp David was still used primarily, but the media was unaware of the cabin, at least they said nothing about it. GrandPa had become a masterful host for these people and Gwen cooked the meals based on their dietary restrictions and practices. It was a shame that she could not be there for the ribbon cutting.
After Blaise and Margie went back for their second trip down the slide, the last of the media were packing up. The media thought it would be great to have the Lily the Pink water polo team and the beach volleyball team to host the USA Olympic team for a warm-up to the Olympics, but Pink Lady only laughed. Privately, she thought that Zuzka would like to play volleyball for Latvia, but she had never approached Zuzka about it.
We were each thinking of our own fantasies that evening as the waterslide shutdown at dusk. There was no frost expected that night, so the water was drained from the solar water heater to keep the water a little warmer.
We thought that the day had been perfect. The younger than average high school freshmen gained a lot of street cred on the social media accounts.
But then the next morning, a whirlwind of trouble came. First, the new high schooler’s social media accounts were attacked by the juniors and seniors out of jealousy. Then the local scandal rag newspaper had the Blaise-Margie kiss on the front page. The headlines read “Lily the Pink Continues to Promote Elicit Sex.” Roman Justice called before I was fully awake. I was a homicide detective that was thinking about murder. If anyone, I should know how to get away with it. Pink Lady wanted me to come over and give her a bear hug. She was crushed. She spent tons of money to do something nice for her residents and she could never escape her past, although it was the Rotten Apple Gang’s past, and she had little connection to it. Glyce refused a bear hug. She went into our bedroom and exploded, venting her anger against the furnishings and the walls. The only thing that she did not break was the window. I was in the other part of the house with a contractor friend that I knew, and he kept asking me what that horrible noise was. I replied that it was going to be more work for him.
As for the children, Blaise loved the photo, but he hated the headline. He kept looking at me and saying, “They lied, Dad, they lied!” Margie took it the hardest. She locked herself in her room and cried for hours. Her perfect date with a great friend, ruined, and with the juniors and seniors writing hateful things on social media, with a lot of repeated copies of the front-page story, Margie felt lower than low. But the only one who was able to get Margie out of her room was Blaise. He came over, sensing that she might not take the bad press well. He never said a word other than to ask her to unlock the door. With her parents watching, they witnessed Blaise following in his father’s footsteps. It was Blaise’s first successful bear hug. She calmed down and even fell asleep in his arms. Roman stepped in to put her in bed.
But the one who had a clear head was Boaz Yeggs, the mayor and the biological son of my brother Scrambled Yeggs and Pink Lady. He barred the newspaper from mayoral press conferences until they apologized on the front page. Of course, they could not apologize without giving Boaz the ammunition of premeditated defamation. He started the process to sue the newspaper on behalf of the Justice family, the Yeggs family, Pink Lady and by extension her son, the mayor, and Pink Lady Enterprises. With all the other media who were there at the ribbon cutting condemning the upstart scandal rag, the scandal newspaper sales went into the tank. Maybe they were wrong when they said, no publicity is bad publicity. Their thought of being edgy backfired. Maybe because they went after two under-aged children. It seemed that there would be no one to sue once the bad publicity damage was over, but the mayor pressed on, at this point on a “cleaning up the city” campaign.
In the meantime, across town, Envy Apple quietly opened her brothel with no one noticing.
This wild design has been rolling around in my head for some time. With the connection to the universities doing research and the green agenda providing tax incentives and grants, it might be financially possible, but I will admit, I have not crunched the numbers.