I’m Pink Lady Apple 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 was awakened in the middle of the night by Sandy. She said a black helicopter was leaving the Tracy International Airport and on its way to our shipping / receiving area. She gave me no hint as to who was visiting at this horrid hour. I looked at myself in the mirror and wished I took Dolly Parton’s advice. She said she always went to bed with make-up on because you never know when your house might catch on fire. I looked a mess, but whoever arrived was going to see the mess, but with freshly brushed teeth.
Sandy suggested that we sit in the bleachers at the side of the pool. We had erected new bleachers there to watch the water polo matches: both adults and children. But the bleachers were closest to the side entrance from shipping/receiving.
I was praying that one of them would be Gwen Quinn, my sister in Christ, but also my sister emotionally and physically when we endured our hard times together. Gwen was in the middle of a world tour with her husband. She calls him Millie, short for Millennium Yeggs, but since I married his grandson, Scrambled Yeggs, I call him GrandPa. I have not seen Gwen, except in video calls since October. This was just halfway through their trip, but I hoped it would be her.
As we waited, Jochebed and Detective George Evident walked up and sat next to us. George and Jochebed were engaged, but they had not set a date. It was far too late for them to be coming home from a date, but they said they had gotten calls also. Now I was even more curious as to who was arriving.
Sandy emerged from the side door and held the doors open. The next to enter was Hugh McAdoo. He was some sort of spymaster from Washington, DC. We first met when he helped arrest a smuggler and arms dealer from Latvia, known as the Devil. That was when we discovered that the greenskeeper at the Hoity Toity Golf Club, Mashie Niblick, had been a secret agent. Since GrandPa had also worked for the same organization, Hugh often came to the big city of Tracy. This might be routine, but my heart was racing, thinking that it was not routine.
The only other person entering the jungle, what we call the greenhouse that houses our swimming pool and other things, was Gwen Quinn. She was carrying a baby. The baby was crying. She rushed to Jochebed and suggested that the baby would not sleep on the flight and she was hungry. She could drink formula, but preferred breast milk. Jochebed was about to leave to a quiet corner to breast feed the baby, Jochebed being our local wet nurse, but Hugh told her to stay and cover up during the feeding. She and George were the ones he had come to see.
Gwen and I embraced, and a lot of tears were shed. I tried to speak, but she stopped me.
“Please, Pink, we have little time tonight. We can catch up during this weeklong visit, but then I have to fly to South Africa and reunite with Millie. He is in the hospital, but it is routine. He got a little dehydrated in our latest adventure. I want to tell you about it and ask a favor. Maybe Jochebed can take care of Asha until my full return. Please, do not interrupt.”
I wanted to say volumes, but I only nodded.
She started her story. “We were in a country where the grasslands and the jungle meet. The name of the country is not necessary. There are two major cities in the country and Millie had rescued a woman from the capitol city and set her up in the financial center of the other city. She built three thriving companies. She became so financially powerful that she attracted the attention of her old pimp. He sent mercenaries to kidnap her daughter. The daughter was forced into prostitution, like her mother had been until Millie rescued her. By the time the mother found the daughter, using a team of detectives, the daughter was pregnant, scheduled for an abortion. With no time to spare, she hired her own mercenaries. She captured her daughter and they escaped into the jungle, a place her mother knew well. Millie and I showed up to visit and the three company presidents refused to say anything, but we finally found out what happened. In Millie’s communication with her, he had an idea where she might be hiding. But the old pimp was now on the warpath. He hired a local warlord and they cut a swath through the jungle, killing all who would not cooperate. Hearing about that, Millie called Hugh and he organized a small army and flew into the jungle. We got there just in time to see the pimp and warlord catch up with the mother and daughter. The daughter had just given birth a week or so before. The daughter was killed, and the mother was mortally wounded. Millie got to hold the third of his rescues in his arms as she passed. He promised that we would treat Asha as our own, and that Asha would return, if she wished, to operate the companies that her grandmother had started. Hugh’s forces killed the pimp and the warlord, and only a few of the warlord’s men escaped into the jungle. I think Hugh will help set up a structure to keep Asha’s companies going. Besides being a good administrator, he is a financial wizard. So, now it’s Hugh’s turn to speak to you, Jochebed and George.”
I started to speak, but Gwen put her finger to her lips and smiled.
Hugh turned to Jochebed and George. “Jochebed and George. You are engaged, but have you set a date?” They shook their heads. “How would you like to marry each other right now?” They gasped in shock. “How would you like to live like royalty for a five-day honeymoon, starting tonight?”
George finally found his voice, “I had not planned a honeymoon that long. I have little vacation, and I cannot afford a simple honeymoon at this point.”
Hugh waved his hand, “Do not worry about all that. I will tell your boss that you are doing some undercover work for me that is connected with Organized Crime. The connection is a falsehood, but the rest is true and it may help fix some of the organized crime in Asha’s homeland. The honeymoon will be paid by the government and you and Jochebed will be paid top dollar for your time as our agents. Sorry, I cannot pay you more than what a member of the house of representatives gets paid.”
Jochebed asked, “What does Georges have to do under the covers?” Laughter erupted, and Hugh suggested that under the covers was up to them, but the undercover work meant that she and her Georges would be pretending to be someone else, under the cover of an assumed identity. Jochebed nodded but it was obvious she was still confused.
George finally muttered, “What do we have to do?”
Hugh again waved a hand, “I do not wish for you to violate your religious convictions of sleeping together before marriage, so we have the wedding now. Then you and I will take the helicopter back to the airport. You will slip onto a private jet as two servant staff members and then emerge from the jet as the prince and princess of the country in question. You will be met by what looks like paparazzi, but they are all on my payroll. The limo will take you to Amy G. Dala’s building. She has graciously allowed us to use her penthouse for our purposes. When you arrive at the apartment, you will be greeted by two servants. They are also on my payroll, but they do not know that you and George are not the prince and princess. They are fully educated on the customs of the country. I will have to let you know a few odd things about their practices so that you will act accordingly. Your consummation of your marriage will be reported in Africa as the consummation of the marriage of the prince and princess, including a sheet with blood stains.”
Jochebed, still confused, asked, “But I am not a virgin. I have given birth four times and my children were killed. There would not be any blood.”
Hugh laughed, “The new princess is an Olympic equestrian. They were already preparing a live chicken to be sacrificed anyway.”
George asked, “But if I have any African blood in me it is terribly watered down. How could we pretend to be these people?”
Hugh sighed, “As I said, the paparazzi are on my payroll, and they know how to photoshop pictures. Besides, the prince has Italians in his family tree. He is not that dark, about your forever dark tan, and he has a Roman nose as you do. Your servants are not read into the ruse. They think they are serving the true royal family.”
I asked, “But where are the royals?”
Hugh laughed, “After these two leave by the front door, the royals will be shuttled into another limo by way of the service entrance to the jet. I will take them to GrandPa’s mountain cabin where they will meet with government officials to negotiate some humanitarian aid for their country, military aid to train and beef up their defenses, with hopes they can runoff the warlords, and financial aid. With a stronger government, Asha’s future should be set. I have pleaded for forgiveness that we did not get their in time to save Asha’s mother and grandmother, but GrandPa and Gwen are forgiving and gracious. So, do I have an agreement with the bride and groom?”
George sputtered, “Jochebed wanted Anna Hill as her matron of honor. She lives upstairs in the apartments, but I was wanting my old partner Poached Yeggs. My best man lives across town.”
Poached yelled from behind the bleachers, “George! This government goon woke me up and told me you were getting married. He better not have made me lose beauty sleep for some kind of prank! I brought Callie and Ibie along just in case.” Ibie is their daughter, Scarlet Ibis Yeggs. Callie is an ornithology professor at T.R.U.S.T.
Then Anna Hill, looking nearly eight-months pregnant, waddled around the opposite corner of the bleachers. “I’m here and I brought Resurrection and Esther. They will act as ring bearer and flower girl. I heard Missy welcoming Rev C.S.L. Are we all ready to get these two hitched?”
Hugh said, “They have done nothing but give me excuses.”
Jochebed stuttered, “I-I-I do.”
Hugh said, “Save that for later!” But then George and Jochebed smiled at each other and nodded.
Then George gasped, “But I don’t have the rings!”
Gwen smiled, pulling a small bag from her pocket. “The rings that a police detective could afford would never work as the wedding bands of royalty. When Millie gave me my wedding rings, I turned down the more gaudy set of rings. See if these will fit.” She pulled wedding bands and an engagement ring from her bag. They looked like the rings of royalty, and knowing that the job that Millennium Yeggs did for the government was to crack into the safes from around the world, these rings may have once been part of some country’s crown jewels. He did the government dirty work, but he also had sticky fingers.
I asked a dumb question, “What about the something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue?”
Sandy said, “I see that Asha is well fed, burped, and asleep. I will take Jochebed to her room where her wedding dress awaits. And I had purchased a blue garter for my wedding that has been postponed due to politics. I want it back for my wedding. That takes care of borrowed and blue. The dress is traditional from Jochebed’s home country, but it is new. And her hope diamond ring … maybe it’s not quite that big, but its old.”
As they left to get Jochebed into her wedding dress, my son, Boaz, arrived. He explained that he would be in on the ruse at Amy G. Dala’s penthouse apartment, visiting the “prince and princess” as the local mayor, but a U.S. Senator for the state would not know that they were not the real thing when he was brought in to visit them. Otherwise, they hoped to have Jochebed and George doing normal honeymoon things, that is when their servants left them alone.
Then George asked another question, “How can I pull this off when I do not know the native language?”
Hugh laughed again, “Easy, George, you and Jochebed have been having your private conversations in French ever since she arrived. The royal couple speak French, and they know a little English. They would not be expected to speak any of the local dialects while visiting the U.S.A. But if you can resist, George, only have Jochebed talk in English. You sound American while she speaks English with a French accent.”
The next morning, Anna Hill had volunteered to breast feed Asha while Jochebed was pretending to be a princess. She felt it would give her an idea if she was producing enough milk when her own child came along in another month or so. The arrangements at city hall for George to “go undercover” were easily arranged, since the mayor was in on the ruse.
For the next five days, Gwen talked about their trip, but then she said, “Pink, my sister in crime, you look like you do not need me. This place is working like a well-oiled machine.”
I replied, “You helped a lot. We have well-trained people, and when you left, they stepped up to the challenge, but I still need my company president to return and take over. I spend a lot of my time teaching middle school classes and working in the nursery. It gives me the chance to be the mommy that I never could be with Boaz.”
Gwen said, “And I have watched you. You glow when you are with those children. Asha is in wonderful hands until I return, maybe in time for Thanksgiving dinner. Deal?”
I shrugged, “I would rather you stay, but I know you must go finish what you started. Where to next?”
Gwen shrugged, “Some of it may be classified. We will be in South Africa, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Mozambique. Then I think we fly to Mumbai, India, but we might go to an island or two along the way. Hugh McAdoo is our travel agent, knowing where nearly all of Millie’s rescue ladies are living. He has pulled some strange redirections for us so far. I love you, Pinkie.”
“I love you, too, Brain,” I replied.
And then Gwen was gone.
The Pinkie and the Brain reference is to the cartoon of the same name, originally part of the Animaniacs cartoons created by Tom Ruegger and produced by Steven Spielberg. Originally on Fox kids and recently reprised on Hulu. And Gwen, aka Brain, isn’t trying to take over the world, as Brain did every night, just circumnavigate it, and doing that in a year.
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