Kiki Lowenstein and the Bad Day (Part IV)

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Note:I asked my Facebook peeps to suggest startingsentences for a Kiki Lowenstein short story. There were so manyterrific ideas that I have decided to try to incorporate more than one –andwrite a progressive short story. You’ll be reading this as I create it! Wish meluck!

Note:This short story comes before Ready, Scrap,Shoot—and Kiki is six weeks pregnant.

In last three weeks’ installments—Kiki walked into Time in theBottle only to discover papers scattered everywhere. Detective Chad Detweilerarrived to pronounce the store “safe,” but Kiki’s still wondering what’s up.Her co-worker Margit has shown up and reminded Kiki that she needs a great ideafor May to boost their sales. As she’s pondering what to do, Teresa Alvarez stops in to drop off agift for Kiki. Teresa is planning to become a US citizen on May 5, but her joyis diminished because her cousin Juanita cannot afford the increased fees forcitizenship applications. Seeking to change the subject, Kiki opens herpresent.

By the way, you can read Installments #1, 2, and 3 by going to older posts on this blog.

I was stumped. I’dnever heard of cascarones, and as I turned the delicate tissue paper coveredegg around and around in my hand, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. Obviously,this gift required a bit of explanation. Pulling up a stool, I sat down. Teresatook another stool to sit beside me.

She gently tookmy toy away from me. “Each spring in my little town in Mexico, we start to saveeggshells. As we cook, we only open one end, rather than crush them.”

With a finger,she traced the larger portion of the oval. Now that I was looking morecarefully, I could see that it was covered with tissue paper and not solid. Itwas as if someone had done a repair job to the egg!

“I see,” I said,taking it from her and marveling at the patch job. “This certainly is pretty.If you put them in a glass bowl on a table, they would make a wonderfulcenterpiece.”

Si, and we do that. But we have anotheruse for them.” Once again, she took the egg from me.

With a lightningstrike, she smashed the egg into my forehead! I was so taken aback that Inearly fell off my stool. More shocking was the glitter and confetti thatrained down over my nose! Of course, I’d anticipated a shower of gooey eggyolks and whites. This was dry. Ticklish. And startling.

“Oh!” I gasped.

She giggled. “Forgiveme, but it’s the best way to explain. They are much fun. Especially so if youare not familiar with them. The children, they love them so much. But the grownupsthink they are fun, too.”

As the confettidrifted down over my hands and lap, I started laughing. “Well! Thank you forteaching me something new.”

After Teresaleft, I went back to my work. When I took a bathroom break, I stuck my head into check on Margit. She didn’t hear me approach; she was muttering darkly asshe stared at our sales figures. “Kiki, I do not know what we will do. We needa special event for May. And that paper! It is ruined, I think. With it goesour profits.”

As I lingered inthe doorway, Clancy came in through the backdoor. She tilted her head to stareat me. “You’re covered in glitter.”

I explained aboutthe cascarones.

“I wish I couldhave seen the expression on your face when Teresa smashed one on your head,”said Clancy.

I bit back alaugh. Clancy was irked with me. For April Fool’s Day, I had tricked her intobelieving someone had poured ink all over our cash register. She’d thrown ahissy fit in front of two customers—and once she learned it was a gag, she’dbeen even more angry. Usually, she’s a great sport, but she takes herself a bittoo seriously sometimes, and this (IMHO) was one of them.

Margit shook herhead. “Ja, that would have beenfunny.”

But she didn’tsound amused.

“What’s wrong?”Clancy asked.

That gaveMargit permission to complain about the shredded paper, the need for moresales, and the state of the ozone. About halfway through, I walked away. Ingeneral, my philosophy is (as Mert says) that one can never have too manyfriends. * But when your friends are nothing but grumps, well, they can go soaktheir heads. I started for the refrigerator and then remembered that I could nolonger turn to my most necessary scrapbook supply, a six-pack of Diet DrPepper. ** Now that I was pregnant, I’d sworn off any artificial sweeteners. I reminded myself that my friends were one of life’s greatest blessings. Why,just last week, it was cold, dark and pouring rain when I suddenly heard a “Pow!”as my worn rear tire exploded. Since the highway was deserted, I’d phonedClancy and she’d come to my rescue.*** And the week before, I’d had aterrifying dream that the doctor told me I was having twins! **** When I toldMargit how scary that was, she’d put an arm around me and given me a hug.

Soon I would befeeling my baby kick inside my swollen belly. ***** And this child would beborn into a wonderful circle of friends.

But why did theyall have to be so grumpy? How come it was always MY responsibility to comeup with a way to make money for our store? But then I shook off my bad mood.After all, I had nothing to complain about, especially compared to Teresa’ssister, Juanita. Now being deported, THAT was a problem.

I sighed and satdown at my work table. There had to be a way I could fix everything. Okay,ALMOST everything. All I needed was to think…


Special thanks to–

*Christy Egan

**Elizabeth B. Jensen

***Lynn Tondro Bisset

****Ginny Kiernan Dahlberg

*****Ellen McCaffrey

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