As expected, Andrew made his grand entrance into the Sacred Pub, and Casey the Cardinal was faithfully upon Andrew's shoulder. They were both in full grand entrance regalia. Andrew was adorned in his classic sparkling purple spandex jumpsuit, faux rabbit fur coat, and glowing hi-top sneakers. Casey the Cardinal was in what we in the Sacred Garden used to call his "Gardenista get-up," which consisted of star shaped sunglasses, black feather boa, utility belt, and glittery gold heels. Andrew greeted as many fairies as he could--many of the fairies had fainted upon touching his garment, and others were too timid to fight their way through the crowds to reach him.
Casey the Cardinal spotted Cousin Eddie at the bar and hopped off of Andrew's shoulder to join him. "Oh my, Casey," Cousin Eddie exclaimed, "full on classic Gardenista regalia tonight I see! It's about to get live, huh?" Then Olga the bartender fairy delivered flagons of Minute Mead to the two birds, and they toasted and shotgunned them. Then Cousin Eddie asked Casey, "Did you bring the flare gun?"
Casey was already chugging a second Mintue Mead when he lifted his wing to reveal his utility belt. "You know it!" There was also a Hello Kitty walkie-talkie, a tube of purple lipstick, and a set of earbuds wrapped into a coil as though it were a rope. Then Casey asked Cousin Eddie, "Did Mitzy deliver the special flares we requested?"
Cousin Eddie had asked Olga for another flagon of Minute Mead, but she served him an Almost Ale instead, which was fine because he was too drunk already to notice the difference. He chugged it down and told Casey, "Yes, indeed. The flares are in a special case in the third drawer down in the dressing room. You must use them in order, as they are arranged to coordinate with the show. Do not mix them up! And actually you better empty out your regular flares now and give them to Olga for safekeeping; it would be a total disaster if you fired one of those off inside the Sacred Pub by mistake!"
My kids and I waved over to Andrew from our picnic table, and he smiled and blew us a kiss once we caught his eye. He was still quite busy greeting the fairies and signing their wings, so the kids and I knew we would catch up with him later on. I suggested to the kids that we should start heading toward the banquet hall so we could get a good spot near the stage before all the fairies flooded the room. Butterfly and Weasel agreed, and we drifted in that direction. Sweet Madeliene said to save a space for her in the banquet room and she'd be in a little later. She wanted to spend some time with Raven and Captain Leo at the jukebox apparently. As we made our way toward the hallway, I caught Weasel air-drumming with the drumsticks Really Groove had given him, and we both smiled at each other. Butterfly had given her drumsticks to Madeleine to hang on to for safekeeping. I found that interesting, and a bit comforting for some strange reason. Songs by the Eagles began to play on the jukebox.
The children and I didn't make it very far into the hallway, however, because we stumbled onto a fun and fabulous table of merchandise--and the last Groove Groove we hadn't met, seated behind it, smiling. A most fabulous ibis she was! She stood and hugged me while Butterfly and Weasel picked through the merchandise on the table. Then she walked up behind my children, knelt down, placed her wings upon their respective shoulders, and asked them if they saw anything they might like. The children turned to face her, and Weasel's Adam's apple had enlarged again and prevented him from speaking...for this fabulous ibis was very fair to look upon. Butterfly said she saw many things that she liked, and the three of them embraced each other tightly. Weasel was visibly blushing, and I was visibly happy.
"I'm Crazy Groove," she finally told Butterfly and Weasel. "I play bass in the Groove Grooves. And you two must be the very special guests of honor I read about on the front door!"
"Yep," Butterfly proudly proclaimed, and pointed and continued, "That's my brother Weasel, and my dad. You're very pretty. Are you really crazy or do they just call you that?" Weasel looked over at me and smiled, and I smiled back.
Crazy Groove stood back up and went back to sit down behind the merchandise table as she laughed and answered Butterfly's question, "Well I think I might be a little crazy once in a while, but no, that's not why they call me Crazy Groove. They call me Crazy Groove because I lay down crazy grooves on my bass. And thank you, you are a very pretty Butterfly!" Then Crazy Groove turned to Weasel and said, "And you are a most handsome and precious Weasel!" I could feel my son melting proudly. He thanked the fabulous ibis.
Weasel was finally able to speak again, and he was holding a t-shirt up in front of him to see if it might be his size. "For Your Glitter Nation? Is that a song?" he asked Crazy Groove.
The fabulous ibis smiled and said, "No, that's the name of our latest album. I think that t-shirt would look perfect on you. Try it on!" Then she turned to Butterfly and suggested she try one on too. I picked up two copies of the "For Your Glitter Nation" record album and paid Crazy Groove for them, plus a few extra acorns and pumpernickel slices. I tried to pay the fabulous ibis for the kids' t-shirts but she wouldn't let me since they were the moon-greeting's guests of honor. So I picked out a few t-shirts for myself and she did let me pay her for those. Butterfly and Weasel suggested I put on one of my new Groove Grooves t-shirts too so that we would all match. I did so, of course, and we all looked fabulous, we thought aloud.
Butterfly asked Crazy Groove, "Do you do any tricks like the other Groove Grooves?"
"Well I'm pretty good at pranks when I want to be," the fabulous ibis replied.
Butterfly clarified, "No I mean special tricks...Iike super powers...like Really Groove can make thunder and lightning and stuff, and has magic drum sticks. And like Betta Groove can stand on one leg forever, and hypnotize people while she plays guitar." Pretty Groove walked up behind us and sat down behind the merchandise table next to Crazy Groove.
Crazy Groove responded, "Well, I can see inside hearts. And I can heal people. And I can make things grow. Wanna see?" Then Crazy Groove removed some tiny seeds from a pouch we hadn't noticed she had with her, and she placed a few seeds in each of my kids' outstretched hands. She folded their hands shut with the seeds in them and asked them what sort of flowers they liked.
"Pink roses," Butterfly said, then opened her hand, and right before her eyes, the seeds grew into several beautiful pink roses.
Weasel, thinking he was being cheeky answered, "Stinkweed," and he opened his hand and sure enough a tall, healthy stem of stinkweed grew right there in the palm of his hand. "I didn't think there was a real stinkweed," he exclaimed to Crazy Groove. "But of course I don't know much about flowers," he added.
"Oh stinkweed is very real," the fabulous ibis replied to Weasel, "and it really doesn't stink so much as the name would imply. And in case you ever want to sound smart in front of the young ladies, that stinkweed in your hand is properly called 'artemisia tilesil.'"
Butterfly stood next to Crazy Groove and touched the flower that was in the fabulous ibis' hair. "Did you grow this flower with your magic seeds?" she asked.
"Indeed I did," Crazy Groove answered, and removed the flower from her hair and placed it in Butterfly's hair. "That flower is an iris. It is a very sacred flower in the land where I come from. It brings good luck." Then the fabulous ibis pulled out a single seed and closed it in butterfly's hand. Butterfly thought of an iris--though she didnt' say it out loud this time--and opened her hand, and sure enough a most lovely iris bloomed instantly, and Butterfly placed it in Crazy Groove's hair. "There," Crazy Groove exclaimed, "now we match!" Butterfly smiled proudly, and so did I. Then Pretty Groove joined in the girls' conversation, and all three of them began bonding. Butterfly spun around and showed them how beautiful she looked in her new Groove Grooves t-shirt, even though it was covering the top part of her lovely dress that was made by Betta and Bella Groove's river otter aunts.
Weasel started chuckling, nudged me, and pointed out toward the bar in the main room of the Sacred Pub. Andrew and Casey the cardinal had disappeared along with many of the fairies by now, but Cousin Eddie was still there, perched upon his bar stool chugging another Almost Ale (though he thought it was a Minute Mead of course), and dear Caesar Emeritus and Ptolemy the gentle boxer were now happily slow dancing and stumbling with each other to the Eagles songs that were playing on the jukebox. Cousin Eddie began waving his empty flagon in the air behind them as if to guide the drunk and dancing canines. Cousin Eddie was also singing along with the Eagles songs very loudly, and mostly off key. It was actually more fun and pleasant since he had forgotten many of the lyrics, and was sort of making them up as he sang. ["When we get crazy, up all night, tearing your head apart; weren't we the same two people who get lonely too..."] Weasel wisely wondered aloud whether dear Caesar and Ptolemy weren't more holding each other up rather than dancing. And we both laughed. Sweet Madeleine and Raven very soon approached the bar and began slow dancing with each other too--only they weren't stumbling! Captain Leo the Starmapper--and now certified Diminsion-hopper--looked on upon them and clapped and whistled.
Weasel and I returned our attention to the merchandise table once again, and Weasel reminded Pretty Groove that her and Bella Groove ran off so fast before soundcheck that we never found out what sort of tricks they could do. Butterfly seconded Weasel's statement.
"Well," Pretty Groove, the Rainbeau leopard began, "I have a talking sneaker." She stood up from her chair and came out from behind the table. Her sneaker looked up at Butterfly and Weasel and said with a silly and gravelly voice, "Hello Butterfly. Hello Weasel. I'm Pretty Groove's talking sneaker, It's nice to meet you." All of us present laughed a hearty laugh. Then Pretty Groove sat down next to Crazy Groove again and continued, "And also, Rainbeau leopards are special in that we actually CAN change our spots. My spots glow and change shapes when I want them to...they form moving pictures and words and tell stories."
Butterfly and Weasel seemed genuinely impressed. Butterfly asked, "What kind of stories?"
"All sorts of stories," Pretty Groove answered. "Anything my heart desires. Could be my stories, could be someone eles's stories. When I'm playing guitar on stage, I often have my spots form lyrics to the songs we're playing, as we play them, and I mix in pretty shapes and designs."
"Wow, that's really cool!" Weasel exclaimed, and then he reminded us that we never got to find out what tricks Bella Groove could do. Butterfly nodded in agreement and looked at both Pretty and Crazy Groove.
"Why don't you ask her yourself?" Crazy Groove suggested.
"But we haven't seen her since she ran off for soundcheck earlier." Butterfly replied.
Pretty Groove smirked at Butterfly and said, "She's sitting right here next to me!"
At that, all of us heard laughter coming from the empty seat next to Pretty Groove, then Bella Groove magically took form seated in the chair and said, "I can make myself invisible...which makes me very sneaky of course!" Then she looked at Weasel and said, "Even sneakier than a weasel, I bet."
"I don't know about that," Weasel replied proudly, "I'm pretty sneaky. I can't make myself invisible, but I can move quickly without making a sound. And I know how to do things at the right time so people never notice when I'm doing something. If I don't want them to, I mean. And I'm pretty good at pranks too. Like, for instance, did you see me just put that under there?"
Bella Groove turned her head for only a second toward the direction Weasel had just pointed and asked, "Under where?" We all snickered, but Butterfly and Weasel's snickers were more like laughs. Pretty loud ones.
"That's pretty good you got me to say 'underwear'--I don't usually fall for that one," Bella Groove said, then added, "but that's not really that sneaky you know."
"Oh really," Weasel stated proudly, then asked Bella Groove, "Then perhaps I could borrow your marker for a second and show you something?"
"Well of course," Bella Groove replied, then reached into her pocket. Then she reached into her other pocket. Then she looked on the chair and on the floor around her.
Then Weasel smirked and held up the marker, raising his voice a bit, and proudly stated, "Oh, nevermind, I seem to already have your marker in my hand. I wonder how THAT happened?" In a rare moment of unforced sibling bonding, Butterfly high-fived Weasel and told him that was pretty cool. I gave Weasel a sideways look, knowing he had stolen the marker from Bella Groove much earlier when we were all in the main room of the Sacred Pub. Then I winked at Weasel so he knew I had no intention of ratting him out.
All three of the Groove Grooves that were seated behind the merchandise table congratulated Weasel, and even clapped for him. Then Crazy Groove winked knowingly at me, and Pretty Groove said to Weasel, "But you know, Bella Groove can also walk through walls and doors or even any kind of barrier at all." Bella Groove said nothing, but put her paws together, and bowed her head toward Weasel solemnly from her chair, and told him he could keep the marker since he was so clever. Weasel thanked her and tucked the marker into the pocket of his little space suit, the top half of which was covered with a "For Your Glitter Nation" t-shirt, of course. I felt happy and comforted that my son could enjoy such a moment he would always remember and remind us of.
Weasel proudly replied, "That IS pretty cool. I can't do that. But still, I can always find my way into any room without people knowing it if I want to--even if the door is locked." Butterfly confirmed the truth of Weasel's statement and offered an example or two of times he had done just that. Then Butterfly began explaining to The Groove Grooves how hard she had been working on her telekinesis skills, and how she had actually gotten really good at it.
I'm certain that a fabulous demonstration of Butterfly's telekinesis skills was about to occur, but she never had the chance since we were all interrupted when the remote control patrol jeep came zipping down the hallway, crashing into critters and merchandise table legs alike. Both Casey the Cardinal and Cousin Eddie the Raven were riding in the front seat of the remote control patrol jeep, and Cousin Eddie was driving. The merchandise table didn't stop them for more than a second though, as Cousin Eddie flicked the joysticks on the servo, spun the patrol jeep around backwards a few times, and they peeled off down the hallway shouting, "Long live the Gardenista!" Dear Caesar Emeritus and Ptolemy the gentle Boxer were now on all fours, chasing after them, barking for them to stop before someone would get hurt. If that were the extent of the disturbance, we certainly would have returned to our conversation at the merchandise table, and a fabulous demonstration of Butterfly's telekinesis skills. But no, it didn't end there. In fact, it was really only beginning.
To be continued in Chapter 19d.
Thank you all for being your fabulous selves, and for always playing along.
Lovely of lovelies