Welcome to Mistress Snark’s Tuesday Tea. Afternoon tea is a most civilized British invention – an opportunity to snack with impunity. However, in Mistress Snark’s parlor, you never know what might be floating in your tea or what those cute little sandwiches are hiding under the bread.
As full disclosure, any guest appearing here must sign the usual waivers regarding food poisoning, bodily harm caused by Jezebel, random attacks by minions, or permanent brain damage resulting from the questions posed.
Today’s guest is Elephant’s Child. It’s so nice to have you here today. Would you like some tea? Or perhaps Jezebel’s special punch? I don’t know what’s in it.
EC: Thank you for having me. Yes, please I would like some of Jezebel’s punch – for at least three reasons.
1. I have been brought up to pander to every cat’s whim, and to accept with gratitude whatever they offer me.
2. I can do no less after calling Cathy a wuss for not partaking.
3. The last spider that bit me dropped dead (with no intervention from me) immediately afterwards so I may have some immunity if Jezebel is indulging her sense of humour…
Mistress: Excellent, though I must warn you that Jezebel’s current cat-like appearance is not her natural state of being. Sometimes she sports tentacles. And she always indulges her sense of humor… As for Cathy, I’m afraid she’s had some previous run-ins with Jezebel.
I’d like to ask you a question while you’re drinking that spider-laced punch. Why don’t sheep shrink when it rains?
EC: Before I answer, may I offer you and Jezebel a hostess gift. I am sorry, it was remiss of me not to do so sooner, but I was too busy looking around and appreciating the ambience. For yourself, I have bought a bottle of Veuve Cliquot, since I believe that you and the stylish French widow would find things in common. For Jezebel I have brought some sardines, but I also brought some anchovies, in the hopes that she likes them as much as she does sardines. And, speaking of Jezebel’s many facetted nature, aren’t all cats shape-shifters? And tentacles are no worse than the barbed wire and poison that my cats adopt from time to time.
I am enjoying this punch . It reminds me of a Japanese tonic wine I drank as a young thing. If you could keep it down (and I became an expert) you were guaranteed an interesting afternoon.
Back to the sheep. Sheep are very, very minor and weak deities. The only super-power they have that I am aware of is the ability to stand out in the rain and, while smelling awful, to not shrink. Like many deities they have a spiteful side. They see no reason why anyone else should benefit from their super-power and remove it as soon as they are shorn. They also ensure that their fleece is full of brambles so that the shearers are cut and scratched.
Mistress: Hostess gifts! I’m impressed. Jezebel might want to visit you at your house after this. I trust you’ve been warned.
As for the sheep, I didn’t realize they were minor deities, although I am aware of their spiteful nature. I believe the original “bleeding red into the whites and turn the laundry pink” phenomenon started with them.
EC: Sheep are such minor deities that very few people are aware of their divinity. Which of course, is probably another reason for exercising their spite against humans through shrinkage or laundry bleeding. I think you may have identified a second super power – the ability to determine which items are most precious and bleed colour (unevenly of course) onto it, or even just to bleed colour on days when you really don’t have the time to deal with it. I wonder what their third power might be. If there are two, there must be a third.
Mistress: I’d like to ask you another question. When lightning strikes the ocean why don’t all the fish die?
EC: Your question is a very deep one. It has a reasonably simple answer though. Electric eels. Their job is to collect and channel to safe(ish) places all the electricity from lightening strikes. Most fish also further protect themselves by taking the ‘low ground’. The eels payment for the service they provide is the ability to retain some of the electricity they collect, and use it to their own benefit. Most fish know this, and give them a wide berth. Electric catfish and electric rays perform a similar function, but are really only back-ups to the electric eels.
I also have a question. Has Jezebel considered selling her delicious punch (and I would like another glass if I may)? She could perhaps get around some of the liability issues by marketing it as ‘Jezebel’s Juice – for Judicious use only. It might amuse her to have the warning printed in very, very fine print.
Mistress: Oh, dear. I can see you’re going to be a very bad influence on Jezebel. The two of you together could destroy the civilized world. *makes a note to authorize a restraining order on EC*
This last question is a scenario. You look out your window and see a herd of evil zombie sheep trampling your garden as they advance towards the house. All that stands between you and them are your cats and a penguin that happens to be visiting. What comes next?
EC: Trampling my garden!!! This means war. And if war is what they want, they are going to have a good day. Alternatively, if they just thought they were going to destroy my garden with no resistance they will be very sorry.
Armed with Jazz n Jewel, the penguin and Jezebel if she cares to join us I go out to meet them. I have a small fork-lift which I use to tip them upside down. Zombie or not, no sheep can get up again from that position. Zombie sheep are NOT deities – even weak ones, so buckets of very hot soapy water poured onto the downed carcasses by my allies shrinks them. Pour on more I shriek – and the cats do, and the penguin applauds. Soon the zombies are no bigger than a smelly egg. A brick forcefully applied smashes them into pieces way too small for them to reconstitute. And then I run over them with the fork lift. Several times. What is left of their bodies will make a fine mulch to feed the ever hungry plants in my garden.
Danger averted, the sea-hollies and the cactus are no longer needed to shield the shrinking violets and go back to the perimeters to keep watch for any further threat.
And I deserve another drink after that. Would you care to join me? Thank you so much for inviting me to afternoon tea – I have had a wonderful time, and any day when I get to meet you and Jezebel in person and destroy zombie sheep is a very good day indeed. Jezebel’s punch has been another bonus.
Mistress: What a delightful solution. Shrinking the zombie sheep has a certain delicious revenge for all their previous misdeeds to laundry. I’m sure Jezebel would love to join the fight, especially as you’ve proved impervious to her spider-laced punch…except for the web you’re spinning between your fingers.
Have another glass. I’m on a no-spider diet so I won’t be joining you but it’s been a pleasure having you here today.
EC is, unlike most of the other guests at Mistress Snark’s wonderful afternoon teas, not a writer. Instead, she is something all writers need. She is a reader. She is also an appreciator – of many, many things and obsesses about many more. Some of her obsessions include gardening (death to all zombie sheep), books, birds, cats, the blogosphere and laughing out loud.
EC does not do photographs of herself for fear of scaring the horses. However, the attached photo of Jazz may go someway to explain why Jezebel does not fill her with the fear that is her due.
Take a look at those teeth!
Congratulations, EC! You’ve earned the Tuesday Tea Survivor badge, suitable for your blog or hanging on the bathroom wall. Go ahead and take it with you.
Mistress Snark wants to see YOU in her parlor. Are you brave enough? Drop her an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org and list “Tuesday Tea” in the subject line.
Next week’s guest in the parlor is Mark Koopmans. Be sure to come back and have a spot of tea with him!
I’m having a cover reveal for Jewel of Shaylar, an epic fantasy, on Monday, February 25th…or anytime that week. If you’d like to help out by revealing it on your blog as well, sign up on the Linky list below and I’ll email you the information! You will have my undying gratitude, along with virtual cookies and punch!