78 Castel Mavre Corbieres 2004, See’s Candy, ice cream for hippies, blotto boo, chipmunks

The summons from Ross Valley came through her crank phone, which the Sourpuss Ninja saw no need to upgrade to one of those newfangled rotary dials she saw in photographs of President Kennedy’s office at the White House. She’d heard time had even marched on from there, but in the Santa Cruz Mountains there was no need to really pay attention.
She looked like the little old lady who lived in a shoe. Her home was a warm gingerbread cottage, and when she wasn’t earning her retainer from Mr. Valley’s office, she baked cookies the whole day long, watered her plants, and dropped loving crusts of bread for the chipmunks. Who but the perceptive Mr. Valley would have surmised, after he stumbled upon the sanctuary of her sunny lawn when he was lost on a forest hike, that this Mother Hubbard facsimile was a ninja whose specialty was psychological operations?
“I’ll get to meet her, too?” rejoiced _____ _____ when Ross switched back to the Frisco Ninja on his cell phone.
“I’ll see if I can get them all up at the house, after this. For a picnic. Her, Alain, Huancho, Froggy, even that sleazy Tocaloma Ninja. Take the bad with the good. He’s on the payroll . . .”
“But maybe not for long for the spurious swami?”
“Maybe not.”
Ross looked to his left. Several parking spaces away Bat Disease was screaming into his car phone. His angry-looking daughter smiled a little, an awful smile.
“The deli right here is fabulous,” commented _____ _____. “I’ll go scoop up everything we need right now. You keep your tabs on baby Drew. A la Mediterranee, or pack on the pounds?”
“We can save the leftovers. Both. And a few bottles of Castel Mavre Corbieres 2004 – good.”
_____ _____ pondered Ross’s pronoun selection. “We” was significant.
When she stepped out of the convertible, _____ _____ avoided any glimpse of Bat Disease’s rant to the east. She looked west to the large mountain everyone she met in Marin County was at pains to tell her was a Sleeping Lady. _____ _____ agreed. The head was in repose, the summit was the lovely chest, and sloping north were the Lady’s fine belly and legs. Tenacious August green clothed her.
If she did move here, _____ _____ knew she’d want to know everything. Where the mountains ran, the names of the trees, the trails to hike, waterfalls, steep, slippery rivulets through the ferns . . . the moods of the ocean which sparkled blue yesterday, but it was vast, wild. . . .
The Sourpuss Ninja went no-nonsense turbo. Frisco’s flight from Coit Tower had been a swooping, gliding airshow as pleasurable as it was strictly professional. Sourpuss’s was rocket force, state-of-the-art speed, the crank phone and wood stove in her kitchen in no way informing this mission. Only when she lifted off from the old redwood planks of the back porch could the naked eye see her. When she was hovering at the tree tops until it was safe to tap her potential, sure and easy as beloved SST Concordes had once given pause, a few old stoners already fired up in Ben Lomond, who put spoon-size licks on ice cream cones they’d bartered for, flashed on Mary See fifty yards above their teepees.
“Far out.”
“Man, she looks the same. White hair, black blouse, top button buttoned, specs, white shawl. Far out, Mary.”
“Hold on to what you got.”
“Man, I haven’t had a piece of See’s Candy since 1975.”
“Farrrrrrrrrr- . . .” He lost the thought for a second. “Whoa! . . . -rrrr out!”
Then she was gone, and they thought it might have been the dope.


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