Happy Easter and blessed Passover! May this holy season remind you anew of God's love!
In case you haven't
already gathered, last week's newsletter was my annual April Fool's
joke. Happily, Andrew is not resigning so we don't have to be the
Jason Alexander Bucket Brigade. ;-)
These last few weeks
have been crazy for me so I'm very pleased that Yvette agreed to write
this week's newsletter for us. I hope you enjoy her Easter story
as much as I did! To go with the theme of surprises, I've hidden
links to 6 easter eggs through
out the story. Find them and
then see if you can figure out which TBAA episode the egg
references. But, personally, if I were you I'd read the story and
*then* go easter egg hunting because Yvette's tale is well worth
reading without disruption!
Have a wonderful
and blessed weekend!
It was springtime and generally, on this day, people stayed home, slept late, or attended Good Friday services. That was the general way of things if one was not a world famous confectioner who was dealing with the third busiest time of year for his business – Easter.
Willy Wonka was generally the kind of person who had everything done within the deadlines he had set for himself and this year was no exception. All of the shipments had gone out according to schedule. In fact, this year, everything had been done with the punctual precision that he was known the world over for.
Of course, on this particular day, the quiet calmness of it had been completely tossed to the wind when everything that could go wrong ultimately did. It was during moments such as these when Willy would have to turn to his friends for their assistance.
The calm and quiet day called Good Friday, had somehow turned into ‘Disasterous Friday’ which left him staring at the calendar in disbelief thinking it was Friday the thirteenth.
It all began in the Golden Goose Room at the London factory.
The Eggdicator, one of the most important machines during this time of year, had somehow ceased to function. This was the ultimate catastrophe because it was this machine, which determined whether or not the eggs the geese laid were good or bad. When it was not working properly, production ceased. Human production, that is, the geese did not run on human timetables, they continued to lay the eggs, which got stacked up on the conveyer belts and would sometimes fall to the ground. When this happened, they would break open and there would be an omelet fit for a king on the floor.
After so many eggs had fallen, the floor very quickly got covered by a layer of golden chocolate. This particular delicacy was now the mother of all messes and Willy was at his wits end as to what to do about it. This was not an ideal event amidst the Easter season, specifically since the factory was still shipping out candy the day before Easter.
Before that day, the machines had been running properly. Now, they had abruptly stopped, and this left him with little choice except to contact his daughter in Dyeland and ask her to drop everything she was doing and come to the factory and help him clean up the mess.
Of course, he could not have asked his apprentice, Charlie Bucket, as he had left for Paris earlier that week to spend some time with Andi. She had gone there to do a fashion seminar with her designing class, and Charlie had opted, at the very last minute, to tag along.
The factory was unusually quiet on that particular day, and Willy was thoroughly convinced that Charlie had picked the best time in the world to skip town. If only he could do so as well.
His last option was to call Yva Michaels and was totally grateful when she had agreed to come to the factory and help him out.
Once she had arrived there, the pair immediately set about work at cleaning up the room. Willy figured that since the machine was broken, it would take a massive amount of work to repair it, and this would most likely not get done before Easter.
Soon, the two of them had to accept the fact that the mess was far too daunting for just two people to tend to, so they called in some Oompa Loompas to assist with the cleanup. This was a task that the Oompa Loompas did not mind assisting with, much to Willy and Yva’s overwhelming relief.
As Yva was finishing the chore of mopping up the remains of several large golden eggs, she watched as the group of Oompa Loompas had finished their tasks and were now leaving the room.
“Thanks for coming in to help us you guys, we really appreciate it,” she called out to them as Willy nodded his head appreciatively before returning his attention to some large metal contraption that he had been working with.
One of the loyal workers waved in acknowledgement of her words before leaving. Once the door had closed behind them, her attention shifted and she went over to where Willy was standing in front of the piece of machinery. As he was tinkering about with it, she simply watched as his expert fingers skimmed lightly over various aspects of it.
As he worked, the melody of ‘Pure Imagination’ was audible and Yva simply listened as he finished what he was doing and the humming ceased.
Once it did, she looked at him and figured that she could now speak without distracting him. “Papa, what is that, exactly? It’s not a part of the Eggdicator, is it?”
“No, but when I get finished with it, it will be an Easter Bunny,” he said with a prideful smile as he turned around and looked at her. “I thought it would be fun for the Dyeland Easter Egg hunt this year. I know last year we had it in the Chocolate Room on ‘Pure Imagination’, but I hear that the weather is supposed to be really nice this year and I figured that the others would want to have it outdoors. I also concluded that instead of forcing Andrew or Adam to go and hide all the eggs for the Tunnel Children to hunt this year, this little baby could hide them for us.”
“A metallic Easter Bunny?” Yva mused. “Oh come on, April Fool’s was last week.”
Willy looked at her somewhat surprised by her outburst. Before he could respond, she continued, her voice considerably softer. “You know that I think you’re a genius, but that is kind of strange because it sort of reminds me of that film ‘Artificial Intelligence’ and I can’t imagine a hunk of metal hiding the eggs for a celebration.”
“You didn’t really like that movie, did you?” Willy asked.
“No, it made me cry,” she said honestly.
“Let me get this straight, since you didn’t like the movie, you simply don’t like the idea,” he said. “You think that Andrew and Adam should be the ones hiding the Easter eggs.”
“I didn’t say that,” she whispered as she raised her head and looked over at him. “It’s just strange for me to look at this and see something with thoughts and ideas when all I see is something that looks like it’s operated by a remote control.”
Willy nodded as he ran his hand through his hair. “Maybe you’re right,” he said. “But, I don’t want to just dismantle it, it seems wrong somehow. Shouldn’t we at least try it out?”
Yva looked into the hopeful blue eyes of the chocolatier. “Try it out? What do you mean?”
“Well, I can program it to do whatever chore needs to be done. Maybe we can get it to fix the Eggdicator,” he said.
“If you think that’s a good idea,” Yva whispered, but it was clear that she had doubt written all over her face. “Can I make a suggestion?”
“Of course,” he smiled at her.
“If we’re going to try it out, let’s give it a task that is not so daunting as the Eggdicator. I mean; we just finished cleaning up the ‘mother of all messes’, I don’t want to do it again. Maybe instead of us doing this here, we should take it to the factory in Dyeland.” She glanced over at the already dismantled Eggdicator and shook her head nervously. For some reason, this was looking to not be the Good Friday that she had anticipated having.
After several moments, Willy eventually nodded his head and picked up the large metallic Easter Bunny. “Lead the way,” he said with forced cheerfulness as they left the Golden Goose room.
Andrew was sitting near the front door of Willowveil Castle waiting. He pulled out his pocket watch, opened the cover, inspected the face, closed it, and returned it to his pocket. After about five minutes of this, he called out into the stillness of the castle by way of the large hallway adjacent to where he was waiting.
“Laja, we’re running late. The service will be starting in ten minutes.” He glanced over towards where the large Grandfather clock was positioned. This had been a gift from Nigel to the community of Dyeland several years back, but now it was a pending reminder to the Angel of Death as to their tardiness. At that moment, the little hand was inching its way closer and closer to the eleven. He opened his watch yet again.
It’s no wonder JenniAnn is not an Angel of Death, he thought snidely to himself. The way things are going right now, she would no doubt be late for every appointment the Father sets for her. Despite his somewhat less than angelic thoughts, he smirked. Just make sure that none of the ladies ever hear you verbalize that sentiment, his thoughts continued as JenniAnn came running down the hall, her eyes seeking his and her breathing somewhat rushed.
“Sorry ‘bout that, I couldn’t find my shoes,” she said as she ran her hand down over the dark colored spring dress she had chosen to wear. It was a simple peasant dress, but in a dark blue pattern, thus suitable for the day. “Maybe I should have chosen the dark beige dress with the brown trim.” She started to head back in the direction of the stairs.
“You look fine, Laja,” he said as he motioned towards the door. “If you change clothes now, we’ll really be late.” He adjusted his tie and cast a fleeting glance in the mirror before the two of them headed outside.
“I know you’re right, but it took close to forever for me to find this dress and then the shoes. My bedroom looks like a disaster area,” she grumbled. “It just seems like every year, the closet sorting gets put off later and later. Maybe I should just skip it and wait for winter to come back.”
“Maybe today was sort of an indication that you might want to do something about that closet catastrophe of yours,” Andrew suggested.
“Are you suggesting spring cleaning?” JenniAnn’s lip curled up in a pout. “With my schedule, I’d be better off hiring someone to do it for me. Besides, as you know I have my Good Friday ritual, so that will have to at least wait until after three.” If at all, she added silently to herself.
“No argument here, but I hope that you have done something with it before Easter, otherwise you’re going to be late for every appointment you have set here, in the Tunnels, with your family, etcetera, etcetera.”
Lady JenniAnn looked up at him, but did not offer any sort of response. Instead, they continued to walk away from the castle and in the direction of the small chapel where JenniAnn attended Mass. “Maybe I should do something with it later this afternoon then. I know it’s a holiday and all, but the normal days have always been booked solid because I have been in the Tunnels helping Vincent with the kids. At least my clothing woes there aren’t so drastic since you’re pretty much expected to bundle up anyway.”
“Which elaborates my point,” he said as he held up his arm and pushed the sleeve up. This showed that his skin was considerably darker than hers, the proof that he had been out in the sun soaking up the rays more often than she had. “See, this just goes to show that you need to get outside more. You stay inside much longer and we might start to think you’re related to Mick.”
JenniAnn internally groaned. “Yeah, I know, I’m as pale as a sheet, I’ve heard that before from half of my family, as well as Father, who has often taken it upon himself to make sure that I am eating right and taking my vitamins.” She crossed her arms over her chest. “Why don’t we just get going? After all, who was it who said that we were running late?”
“Touché,” the angel mused as they reached the front door of the chapel. With flourish, he opened it and they went inside.
“Alexander, I mean it, you get out of that pen or I’ll…I’ll…” Adam grumbled as he pointed from the inside of the turkeys’ abode to the yard that surrounded his house on the island of Tourkia. Unlike his angelic friend, Andrew, Adam was donned in beige colored overalls with his name patched in blue over the left breast pocket. Today was not going to be a day of relaxation, in fact, it started out crazy and mounted its way to insane within an hour of his having breakfast.
At that moment, he looked rather like the role of a ringmaster of the Great Turkey Corral. While the other turkeys seemed to have cooperated with his instructions, Alexander was simply standing there regarding him through eyes that clearly said ‘or you’ll what?’
The Angel of Death put his hands on his hips yet again and tried to stare down the turkey, but failed miserably. Instead he started to go up behind the turkey and manually push him out of the pen. That did not help, the turkey simply remained standing and offered up a stubborn gobble.
“Baby, I see you found someone who is about as willful as you when it comes to getting their own way,” a female voice suddenly emerged with a deep chuckle. This distracted him and he briefly shifted his attention from the turkey to the ground where the new arrival now stood.
“Hi Tess,” he said sullenly. It was clear that he did not even have to raise his head to know who was addressing him. In fact, he was glad that she had arrived to distract him from his chores. He ran his hand through his hair and then allowed the wavy locks to fall back against his forehead. “It’s my day off, and I still have to work.”
“You were the angel boy who wanted a pet, though,” Tess said, her expression light as she scolded him gently. “So what are you doing, besides allowing a turkey to make a monkey out of you?”
“I have to repair the backside of the pen. Sir Sven’s water feeder is not working right, so I have to take it all out and see if I can get it unstopped or figure out what it is that is keeping it from working right,” he said. “The Father is sending me on an assignment right after Easter, and I figured that there won’t be enough time for me to get this done unless I do it now. Besides that, I would have asked Sir Sven to help me with it, but he wanted to take advantage of the nice weather and go flying.”
“It’s a good day for it,” Tess mused with a casual glance to the springtime sky.
“I guess, it is warm out today, which is good, but still it would be nice to have some help,” Adam looked at her, but when he saw that she wore a large sun hat, and was dressed in a floral print dress, his hopes were dashed. Maybe this was not the right time to ask her to help him with this, but since she was already there, it probably wouldn’t hurt. “Tess, I don’t suppose I could impose on you a little, could I?”
“Sorry, baby, I’m meeting Monica at the café in about ten minutes. She’s got a Supervisor issue that she needs to talk over with me. Generally when that happens it means that Gloria has gone and laid another egg and she has to go in and clean up the mess,” Tess smiled. “Makes me glad that the Father gave me another task. I am not so sure that I would do so well with another Caseworker.”
“Oh I don’t know, Tess, you always did a good job with Monica,” he said smiling briefly before shifting his gaze back to the chore that awaited his attention.
Tess smiled. “Thanks for the vote of confidence, baby. Good luck with your feathered friends. Don’t work too hard now since it is supposed to be your day off.”
“I’ll try not to,” Adam said. “Oh and Tess, do tell Monica ‘hello’ for me. I’m sorry I can’t accompany you to the café, it would be preferable to this work, but it has to be done.”
She nodded and vanished, thus leaving him to tend to the turkeys. Oh well, at least Alexander is now outside of his pen. Hopefully when the time comes to get him back inside, it won’t be so taxing.
Adam picked up a hammer and began to work. What he did not expect was for a spray of water to shoot out from the feeder and splash across his face and down the front of his clothes. It would seem that April Fools has lasted an extra week, he thought to himself as he reached over and picked up a towel.
This he wiped over his face. “Oh I wish that Sir Sven could have come over today. He would probably have this thing fixed and running in no time.”
Instead of continuing to grumble his misfortune, the half soaked Angel of Death reached for a small screwdriver and started undoing some of the latches and bolts that were along the side of the large water container.
As a gust of wind blew, he shivered. “I guess I should go and dry off a little before I fix this thing,” he mused as he got to his feet and started to make his way towards the door leading into the recesses of his home. A cold glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and then I’ll see what I can do with this thing, he thought as the door closed firmly behind him.
On the southern portion of Dyeland, Rose had just finished getting dressed when the sound of her name being called resonated throughout the house. She had intended on spending the day with Theo relaxing and doing some reading. Of course these plans and what her Aunt Josephine had in mind were two entirely different things altogether.
She went down the stairs and stepped in the living room where her aunt was sitting, a knitter’s basket next to where she was seated and a warm smile stretched across her aged lips. “Good morning Rose,” she said as she took in her niece’s favorite sundress and the sandals that were adorning her feet. “Off to church?” She asked.
“Well, actually no, I was going to sit down outside and do some reading,” she said.
“If you’re not going to church, then I have a little task for you,” Josephine said. She got up off the chair and started towards where Rose was standing. “I know that this is a day off, but not everyone gets the holiday, some people in the world still have to work.”
“I know,” she said knowing full well where this was going and that she was about two seconds from caving in. “What do you want me to do, Aunt Josephine?” She asked with a unhappy sigh.
“The strawberry patch needs to have the weeds pulled. If we don’t get to them soon, the roots will die and I won’t have any berries to use for marmalade for next winter.”
Weeding, Rose thought with an internal groan. It’s such a beautiful day, and she gets stuck in the garden weeding the strawberry patch. Of all the rotten luck, and along those same lines, the berries are not even ripe enough to sample.
With her intended activity completely dashed, Rose retreated to her bedroom and changed into a pair of shorts and an old t-shirt so that she could tend to the chore that her aunt wanted her to do.
“What happened to a holiday of doing nothing but hanging out and reading?” She asked her cat as he sat perched on her bed. He momentarily raised his head and cocked it to one side before lowering it again.
Instead of grumbling further, Rose pulled off the sandals before grabbing her favorite tennis shoes and putting them on her feet. Once she had finished she went over and scooped up the cat. “What? Did you think I was going to go out there all by myself?”
The cat squirmed in her arms.
“If you scratch me, I’ll call Andrew to take you Home,” she scolded him.
Miraculously, this caused the cat to still his movements and she made it outside without getting her arms scratched up.
The sun was shining down over Dyeland as she walked slowly towards her aunt’s prided garden and sat down on the ground. “First I’ll do the weeding and then water it,” she said as she put Theo on the fresh grass and watched as he bolted west, across Euphorique to Pure Imagination and Willy’s factory. “Traitor,” she grumbled as she began to pull the weeds out of the earth. She continued to grumble as she yanked on them, the roots casually dangling from beneath her fist.
“Well, that’s not a very ladylike thing for you to say.” A voice abruptly filled her thoughts and she gasped as she shrank back. It was clear that she was not expecting company, and most certainly not an angel dressed in Edwardian britches and a waistcoat.
“I’m sorry, Love, I didn’t mean to startle you,” Nigel spoke as he got down on the ground next to her and watched as she continued to grope after the weeds.
“It’s okay, hi Nigel. If you’re looking for Yva, I haven’t seen her yet today,” she said. “All I’ve seen is my cat head off to the candy-land over yonder and leaving me stuck pulling all these blasted weeds.”
“Would you like some assistance?” The angel asked. “I do have several hours of free time and was just contemplating what it was I was going to do today.”
“Are you sure?” She asked. “I can think of about two dozen other things that are a lot more appealing than being stuck here pulling weeds. I mean; it’s a holiday and she still puts me to work.”
“Well, if memory serves, you do like her strawberry shortcake, don’t you?” He asked smiling.
“Yeah, and Aunt Josephine does makes the best I’ve ever tasted,” she said.
“Perhaps it is a motivation for you,” he said as he reached for a pair of gloves and pulled them on. “Now then, you take that row, I’ll take this one.”
“But, Nigel, you’re going to get all dirty,” she objected.
“Not to worry, Love,” he said with a smile. “This is the modern day, I can launder the articles when I get back to Autumn Wind. I even know how to operate the machinery myself.” He winked at her.
“Okay, then all that I can say is thanks, I need all the help I can get,” she said smiling.
“Then it’s settled,” he said as they set to work.
At the very same moment, Lady Beth was standing in front of the oven in her large kitchen in Serenity City. She had just finished baking her first batch of brownies and the sweet scent of chocolate had filled the room. She had gotten up especially early to start her baking for the Easter celebration. She sincerely hoped that she would have it done by the end of the day.
This basically meant brownies, cakes, and other pastries to feed an army. Between Adam, Andrew, and Henry, she had that aforementioned army as those angels could pack in more food than a football team.
This in addition to the fact that she still had to boil several dozen eggs and take them to the Tunnels that evening. Vincent and the kids would be helping her to dye them for the egg hunt. Hopefully, Catherine managed to get the Easter egg dye and transport it to the Tunnels so that they would not be left scrambling to get it when she got there. The thought of hunting white Easter eggs was about as appealing as painting a fence.
As the timer sounded, she grabbed a pair of oven mitts and bent over to open the oven. As she did, the scent of chocolate brownies filled her nose and she smiled. “These are going to be perfect,” she said under her breath as she placed the deep cookie sheet on the stove top and inspected her work.
Seconds later, she grabbed a spatula and started to shift one of them around. After several seconds, the brownie moved, and then sank into itself. The insides consisted of half melted chocolate. “Oh great!” she spoke to the stillness. “Where is Willy Wonka when I need him?”
She began to move the pastries around, and much to her dismay, the entire batch was ruined. What could have gone wrong? She asked herself. Usually I have everything measured out perfectly. Why today of all days does the recipe decide not to work?
Instead of continuing with the mass of melted chocolate, she went over and consulted the recipe. “I did everything right,” she whispered under her breath. “I used the proper amount of baker’s chocolate as well as added nuts and other ingredients.”
At that moment someone knocked at the door and she turned away from her catastrophe and went to answer it. Opening it, she saw Henry standing outside. The angel was dressed casually in jeans and a white dress shirt. His eyes were looking at her through a pair of rounded spectacles.
“Hi Henry,” she muttered unhappily as she left the door ajar and walked back into the kitchen. This left the angel with little choice except to follow.
“What is it?” He asked as soon as he caught up with her.
“My brownies are a wreck. I make them every year, and this year, for some reason, they are not working right. I don’t know what I did wrong, and I have no idea where Willy is. I mean; he’s the expert on chocolate, he would know what is wrong with these probably on sight.”
Henry took a deep breath. “Maybe you didn’t let them bake long enough.”
“I used the timer, and I always follow the recipe to a ‘t’,” she objected. “It wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but I have so much baking I have to do today.”
“So, I guess our walk around Dyeland is going to be cancelled while you play ‘Betty Crocker’,” he said smirking.
“It looks that way, but you can always play ‘Duncan Heinz’ and help me out,” she said smiling up at him.
“Alright, it really doesn’t matter too much, as long as we can spend some time together,” he said as he went over to the counter and grabbed an apron. As he was doing this, his gaze shifted and he saw several blue shiny wrappers in the garbage can. “Hey Lady Beth, I thought you always used Willy’s baker’s chocolate.”
“Usually I do, why?”
“Someone switched your Wonka bars with Slugworth Sizzlers,” he said pointing. “No wonder the recipe didn’t work.”
“Then that means we have to go to the factory and see if we can get the right candy bars,” she said as she cast a glance into the waste can. “Well, that’s one mystery solved, but how did the Slugworth stuff get in here? I never use that stuff because it tastes like cardboard.”
“Well, who did your shopping for the stuff?” He asked.
“Ronald volunteered, and now that you mention it, he said that he had found some baker’s chocolate that was on sale and didn’t really think it was a big deal. Maybe he figured chocolate is chocolate. That must have been what happened, he didn’t know that the Slugworth variety is terrible.”
“Well, this year, I will be sure to inform him of that fact so that if he ever does the shopping, he won’t buy them again. Sometimes cheaper is not always better,” he said.
“Okay, then I guess I have to go and get the chocolate from Willy,” she said. “I suppose that means we’re going to be imposing on him today.”
“I don’t think he’ll mind, he’s always been really good about helping us out when we needed it,” he said. “I guess we should get going, after all, the sooner we get that done, the sooner we can get back and get everything taken care of. When did you want to go to the Tunnels?”
“I’m supposed to meet Vincent at six,” she said.
Henry nodded as he removed the apron and draped it over a chair. That done, the two of them left the house and started to make their way in the direction of Willy’s factory. “I guess I’m getting to go for a walk with you after all,” he mused. “But, I’m sure that Willy will not mind us asking for some chocolate.”
“If he’s there,” she said. “From what Yva said some days ago, he’s been in and out of Dyeland since Valentine’s Day.”
“Maybe we’ll be lucky,” he said.
Willy was running through the Chocolate Room after a metallic Easter Bunny that had started the test by hopping away. “Yva, see if you can cut him off over by the river.”
Yva nodded and started after the invention. “Papa, it’s not slowing down,” she gasped as she reached the designated spot and tried to grab hold of it. Seconds later, the invention had managed to elude both of them and was hopping towards the door leading out of the room and into the corridor. “We have to stop it before it gets out of the factory!”
“You’re right,” Willy said. “I’m going to see if I can catch up with it, there’s no telling what it’s capable of doing.”
Yva took a deep breath. “Okay, I’m coming with you.” Her voice emerged somewhat haggard and this caused him to stop and regard her with concern.
“Is it your asthma again?” He asked.
She nodded. “Yeah, but I’ll be fine.”
“Yes you will because you’re staying here,” he said. “It’s my invention, I’ll catch up with it. I imagine that it will be heading outside and trying to help people since that is what it’s supposed to do.”
“Okay, but be careful,” she said.
“I will, you sit down and take a rest, I’ll try and catch up with it before anything happens,” he said.
Yva nodded and watched as he raced out of the room. Stupid asthma, she thought, it takes all the fun out of things. If only I could run without getting winded, then I would be able to help him find that crazy contraption.
She got to her feet and started to make her way out of the Chocolate Room in the same direction he had gone in. As she left the room, she could see him at the other end of the corridor.
Several moments passed as he disappeared in the distance.
For several minutes she stood there staring down the empty corridor. This was not the Good Friday that she was expecting. It did not even come close.
After several more minutes, she spotted movement by the front door of the factory and watched as Lady Beth and Henry came closer to where she was standing.
As soon as they reached her, she smiled. “Hi, what brings you guys by?”
“Baker’s disaster, what else?” Lady Beth asked. “Is Willy around?”
“No, he just left to take care of something,” Yva said. “What do you need?”
“About a dozen of Willy’s baker’s chocolate bars. Ronald went and got me some this past week, but as it turned out, he bought the Slugworth kind and my poor brownies are now a casualty,” Lady Beth said.
“Okay,” Yva said. “I think I know where those are kept, come on, I’ll get some for you and then Henry can carry them back.”
“I can?” The angel asked.
Yva grinned. “Well, I imagine that’s part of the reason why Lady Beth brought you with her. To help with the carrying.”
Henry smiled. “Very funny.”
Yva led them through the corridors of the factory and when they reached a large shipping room, she pulled a key from her pocket. “This is one of the few rooms that Papa gave me a key for,” she said as she opened the door and they entered the room. Along the walls were boxes of chocolate. Yva walked over and opened a box.
Inside were monumental numbers of candy bars and she looked at Lady Beth. “How many you need?”
“About ten,” Lady Beth said.
“You’d better take twelve,” Henry said. “Something tells me you’re going to need them. Besides, you know that Adam loves your brownies.”
Lady Beth nodded as Yva handed her a small box and they began piling the bars of chocolate inside. “Will you let Willy know that I took these?”
“Sure, when he gets back I’ll tell him,” Yva said as they left the room with the box of chocolate and she closed and relocked the door. Together the three of them started walking towards the front door leading outside of the factory.
As they came outside, Yva felt the warmth of the sun shining down on her. “Maybe I should head back to the Heavenly Playground and see if there’s anything else that I need to do today.”
“Well, it’s far too nice a day for you to be cooped up inside,” Henry said.
“I know what you mean,” Yva said as she walked over towards the Yvavator. “Can I give you guys a lift back home?”
“No, we’re going to walk,” Lady Beth said. “Henry was complaining about the fact that our walks always seem to get cancelled because of some chaos or another, so I am going to humor him today.”
Yva smiled and nodded as she got into the flying elevator and closed the door behind her. With a wave to her two friends, she took off and flew over Dyeland back in the direction of the Heavenly Playground.
At that moment, JenniAnn and Andrew stepped out of the chapel and the Angel of Death looked at her. “I guess I’ll see you at around fourish?”
“That sounds good,” she said. “Thanks for coming with me to the service, it was a very nice one. The sermon on ‘Forgiveness’ was a particularly good one, in my opinion. As always, the message will give me something to think about.”
“So what are you going to do?” He asked.
“I’m going to go for a walk somewhere where I can be alone and reflect on things,” she said. “I’m not going to tell you where I’m going, because the reason for this tradition is for me to be alone.”
“Okay, point well taken,” Andrew smiled as he embraced her. “Have a nice walk.”
“What are you going to do?” She asked.
“I thought I’d head over to Tourkia and see what Adam’s up to,” Andrew said. “Probably up to his eyeballs in turkey poo or something. You know that he spends every day off doing something for his feathered friends. They are so spoiled.”
“Turkey poo? Oh come on Andrew, that’s gross,” she grumbled.
“I know, but you have to admit, Adam is there an awful lot,” he smiled.
“True,” she conceded. “Oh well, I’ll see you later.”
“Bye Laja,” he said and with a final wave he disappeared and reappeared on Tourkia.
There he found the turkeys roaming about the yard, but the pen was in pristine condition, and nothing like what Adam had left it in when he had gone inside to have his orange juice and get a change of clothes. “Should you guys even be out?” He asked the group of turkeys before heading towards the door leading into Adam’s house. He raised his hand and knocked.
When the door opened, he could see that Adam was somewhat disheveled, but a glass of orange juice was in his hand. “Andrew, you’re just the angel I was hoping would pass by.”
“Why, what’s up?” He asked.
“I need help with the turkey pen,” he said smiling.
“Somehow I figured, but what do you need me to do?” Andrew asked. “It looks like you got everything taken care of except getting the turkeys inside.”
“You didn’t see the mess?” Adam asked. When Andrew shook his head he continued. “I started working with it this morning, but had to take a break when it sprayed me. Anyway, I came inside, changed clothes, and pressed myself some freshly squeezed orange juice. I figured that I’d have to get back to work once I was dried off. I figured that this would probably have given me the energy I needed to finish.”
“Strange, I thought you already were, I mean; I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary about it, in fact it all looked perfectly fine when I got here. I simply could not help but notice how all of the turkeys were out in the yard,” Andrew said. “I was wondering if you were going to put them back in the pen.”
“You didn’t notice Sir Sven’s water feeder in pieces on the ground?” Adam asked skeptically.
“No, it’s like I said, I didn’t notice anything out of place. In fact, everything looked the way it should,” Andrew responded.
Adam looked at his fellow angel for signs of amusement. When he saw that his friend’s face was laced in earnestness, he breezed his way past Andrew in order to get outside and see for himself.
Coming outside, he immediately saw that instead of the water feeder being in pieces, it had been repaired and was now working as it should. Surprised, he turned and looked at Andrew, who had followed him from the front door out into the open. “This is strange, buddy. When I went inside less than an hour ago, it was a mess out here. Now everything is in perfect working order.”
“Who do you think did it?” Andrew asked.
“Probably Sir Sven came back early and fixed it,” Adam said. “That’s the only explanation I could think of. He must have seen something from overhead and decided to check in on them while I was inside.”
“That seems almost an impossible assertion since the pen looks like a dot from the air,” Andrew said.
“I know, but who in all of Dyeland could have done this? The only person who really knows how this thing works is the guy who installed it here,” Adam said. “There’s no one else who could have done this.”
“Maybe Willy did it,” Andrew suggested.
“No, Willy doesn’t get into turkey pens and water physics, he’s more into chocolate conveyer belts and the quickest way to melt a candy bar,” Adam said. “Believe me, Andrew, I know him pretty well, this is not his forte.”
“Okay, well maybe Sir Sven did come back and help you,” Andrew said. “After all, there has to be a logical explanation for all of this.” A pause. “So, I suppose it might be a stupid question, but what do you need me for?”
“Maybe we can get these guys back inside their pen so we can go and meet Tess and Monica at the café for a piece of cake and a cup of coffee,” Adam suggested.
“Now that sounds like a plan to me,” Andrew said. “Let’s get them inside and get going.”
Adam nodded as the two angels began to shoo the turkeys back into the pen.
Once they were inside and the door had been closed, Adam went into the house, grabbed his keyboard case, and the two angels headed for the café.
Nigel and Rose were still working in the garden when the two o’clock hour struck and Rose got to her feet and began to rub her face. The two of them had worked through the lunch hour without so much as a break. Now she was tired, and as she inspected her work, she groaned. It was only half done and at that moment, she figured that it would probably take weeks for her to get it completely done. Nigel was still hard at work at the other end of the row and he had made about as much progress as she had done.
The angel was still pulling weeds long after she had gotten up and walked over to where he was working and touched his shoulder. “Maybe we should take a break,” she suggested.
Nigel raised his head, his face somewhat red and his expression laced in tiredness. “Not a bad idea, Love.” He got to his feet and stretched. “I think I need to rest and have a spot of tea. I haven’t worked this hard in quite some time, but it would seem we have made excellent progress.”
“Maybe you should stop. I mean; you said that you had several hours free, and now we’ve been at it for close to two. Why don’t you go back to Autumn Wind and get something to eat and get cleaned up?” Rose suggested. “Unless you want to hang out here.”
“No, I think I should head back. Besides, Sir Sven installed this thing called a ‘hammock’ between two of the large trees on the Heavenly Playground and I had been contemplating trying it out. That is if you don’t require my assistance anymore.”
“No, I think I can finish the rest of the strawberry patch after I get a few minutes of quiet time,” she said as she embraced the angel. “Thanks so much Nigel, I don’t know what I would have done without you.”
“The pleasure was mine, Love,” he said smiling. “Don’t work too hard, and do go inside and get something to eat.”
“I will,” she said. “I’ll see you later.”
Nigel smiled and waved and within minutes he had found himself back at the Heavenly Playground. Upon his arrival, he could see that Yva was there and she was now occupying the hammock he had intended on using. Coming closer, he could see that she was lying with her eyes closed and the remnants of some slushy drink was on the table beside her. Barack Obama’s autobiography was lying on the table beside it, the bookmark casually stuck between the pages.
It looks as though Yva was able to accomplish precisely what Rose had wanted to do, relax and read. He smiled as he leaned over and placed a kiss on her forehead before straightening out. As he was doing this, her eyes slowly opened. “Hi Nigel,” she said with a yawn as she reached for the drink and took a sip.
“I didn’t intend to awaken you,” he said smiling. “How long have you been back.”
“I don’t know, I guess I sort of dozed off. What time is it?” She asked. “And why do you smell like mulch?”
“I was assisting Rose in her aunt’s garden this afternoon,” he said smiling. “We were pulling the weeds in her strawberry patch. What about you? You were gone when I stopped by your house earlier this morning. I took the liberty to feed Lady Sarah and check on the bunnies.”
“Thanks,” she said smiling. “Papa called me this morning. He said he needed my help at the London factory. So I went over to find the mother of all messes.”
“What happened?” He asked.
“The Eggdicator stopped working in the Golden Goose Room and we spent much of the morning cleaning up chocolate and chasing after one of his inventions,” she said. “Right after we got it to Pure Imagination, it got away from us and as far as I know, he’s probably still chasing after it.”
“What is it?” Nigel asked.
“Believe it or not, Papa’s trying to invent a mechanical Easter Bunny that will hide the eggs so Andrew and Adam won’t have to. The thing is, I think I hurt his feelings about it because it reminded me of the robots in that movie we watched with Sir Sven some weeks ago. Anyway, he thought it was a great idea, and we were trying to test it. You know, give it an easy task and see if it could fulfill it.”
“Did it?” He asked.
“No, it went a little crazy and started hopping away. Papa was trying to catch it, but couldn’t. When I tried to help him, I started having problems breathing and it got away from us.”
As she was speaking, a loud ringing sound could be heard from Autumn Wind and Nigel looked at Yva. “I think my telegraph machine is ringing.”
“It’s a telephone, Nigel, and yeah, it sounds like someone’s calling you,” she said. “Why don’t you go and get the call and I’ll wait out here and soak up some more sun?”
Nigel nodded and started towards the house.
Coming inside, he reached for the phone’s receiver and put it to his ear. “Yes, Nigel speaking?”
“Nigel, it’s Rose,” the excited sounding voice emerged from the other end of the line. “You are such an angel. A wonderful, weed pulling, and helping damsels in distress angel!”
“I beg your pardon?” Nigel eventually found his voice amidst Rose’s gushing. “Love, what on earth are you speaking of?”
“Aunt Josephine just came into the house and she was all happy. She said that the entire garden was weeded, not just the strawberry patch, but everything. I couldn’t believe it, so I went outside and looked and it was done. Everything was done. The whole garden is like something out of a gardening magazine and she said that she will probably not need me to do the extensive weed pulling chore until June!”
“Love, I don’t follow what you’re saying,” Nigel said. “Do you mean to say that the weeding is completed?”
“Yes, that’s what I’m saying,” Rose said. “It’s weird because it took us forever to get as far as we did, but now it’s done. What did you do?”
“I can assure you that I did nothing, what you’re saying is simply not possible,” Nigel responded.
“But it is, you must have stayed after I went inside and finished the job,” she continued to babble on happily. “Nigel, I really owe you big time for this. You are such a wonderful angel. If Yva didn’t have you as her guardian, I would want to snap you up and keep you nearby forever!”
Nigel turned towards the door and stared, but eventually he took a deep breath. “Can we meet later and discuss this? I think there is something that I must find out because none of this makes any sense.”
“Yes it does, you said you’d help me and you did,” Rose said. “Nigel, you are just too modest for your own good.”
“Perhaps, but I need to go and speak with Yva about something rather urgent. I have a strange sensation that whatever it was she was speaking of when you called, may hold some significance as to what happened in the garden.”
“Okay, but I still owe you so much,” she said happily. It seemed as though she was so overjoyed about the weeding being done that she was completely oblivious to Nigel’s objections regarding the situation.
Instead of responding, he said good-bye and hung up the phone and returned outside. Yva was still lying in the hammock, her eyes were closed, but she was not asleep.
“That was a very strange conversation, Love,” Nigel mused as he sat down on one of the chairs in the gazebo and regarded her.
“What happened?” Yva asked as she opened her eyes and turned to face him.
“That was Rose on the telephone, and she was very happy,” he said.
“What’s so strange about that?” Yva asked. “I mean; isn’t it nice that she’s happy?”
“Yes, of course it is, but she was happy because I supposedly finished the garden chore after she had gone inside. Love, after I left her house, I came back here straightaway. I’ve been back here for quite some time before her call came through. You know this, as we had been speaking.”
“Yeah, so what do you suppose happened?” Yva asked.
“I haven’t the faintest idea, but one thing is clear, Rose believes that I finished the chore and has said that if I wasn’t already your guardian, that she would, in her words, ‘snap me up’.” Nigel’s face was an attractive shade of crimson as he finished speaking.
“So basically, what happened was you didn’t do what she said you did,” she said. After several seconds, she looked at him, her face suddenly losing its color. “Oh my God, Papa’s invention…” Her words trailed as she shook her head in disbelief. “Nigel, I have to find Willy, I think I know what’s happening,” she whispered under her breath. “Do you have any idea where he might be?”
“No, but perhaps we ought to go back to the factory and see if we can find him there,” Nigel said.
Yva nodded. “Yeah, I guess you’re right. Well, there goes my afternoon of rest and relaxation.”
“Now you indeed sound like Lady Rose,” Nigel chuckled as she got up, drained her glass and took a deep breath.
“You may hate me for suggesting this, Nigel, but we should probably take the Yvavator over to Selini. This is probably the only way we can get over there quickly since I can’t very well travel Angel-Express.”
Nigel took a deep breath, his nervousness mounting as he glanced over at the flying machine. “If there is no other way,” he mused softly. “I’m going to go shower and then I’ll meet you back here in five minutes.”
“Okay, I’ll get the Yvavator ready,” Yva said as her guardian slowly went into his house and closed the door.
By three in the afternoon, JenniAnn had returned to Willowveil from her walk in the park. She had had her quiet time of reflection and was feeling rather happy at being able to maintain her yearly tradition. As she stepped through the door, a gust of wind met her and she turned slowly around to see a silver object disappearing across the grounds in the distance.
“What on earth?” She muttered under her breath.
With a casual shrug of her shoulders, she entered the castle and went down the hall in the direction of the room that she generally used whenever in Dyeland. Up the stairs she walked and when she reached it, she opened the door.
The sight that met her made her freeze in absolute shock. She stood staring into the room her jaw literally dropped.
The room was spotless. In fact, she could have eaten lunch on the floor if she wanted to, of course that was not advisable. Instead of the bed being loaded down with countless clothing articles, it was neatly made and all the clothes were gone. She slowly walked through the room and when she reached the closet, she opened it to see that the clothes were inside and neatly hanging in rows. The winter stuff was all gone, and in shock she closed the door. Next, she crossed the room to the spare wardrobe where the out of season stuff was kept, she opened it to discover that the winter clothes were now neatly hanging in the large Victorian aged cabinet.
“Oh Father in Heaven,” she mumbled under her breath as she closed the wardrobe and started to make her way across the room to inspect her usual closet a little more thoroughly. She figured that whoever had come in there and done the cleaning had simply moved the spring and summer clothes into the cabinet and left it at that.
When she opened the closet door a second time and after closer inspection, she realized that everything was neatly arranged according to color.
She stared into the closet in absolute shock. Everything was sorted and hanging in exactly the way she would have organized it had she done it herself.
Who would have known? She asked herself. Surely not Yva or Vincent because although both of them are rather organized, neither of them organized their things by color in this fashion. Who might have even known the specifics on how she organized her closet? After all, Yva tended to organize her stuff by items; dresses, shirts, jeans, and skirts, not color as she was known to do.
This is weird, she thought, but after several moments an idea suddenly hit her. It must have been Andrew. After all, before they had gone to Mass that morning, he had been harping at her about her taking care of the clothes sorting. He must have come in while she was out for her walk and had taken care of everything as a surprise. It must have been him, she thought as she went over and sat down on the bed and stared at the still open closet that was along the far wall of her room. He must have done this so I wouldn’t be late for Easter festivities come Sunday morning.
She continued to stare at the cabinets as the realization hit that everything had been done. The entire room actually looked neat and orderly, so this meant that she would not have to worry about taking care of it.
Oh I hope he didn’t arrange my sock drawer too, she thought after several minutes had passed. Slowly, she crawled off the bed and made her way over to the dresser that was next to the still opened closet door.
Sure enough, the moment she had opened the drawers, a pale blush suddenly tinged her cheeks. The drawers were as neatly organized as the closets.
“This is unreal!” She spoke out, thus breaking the silence that filled the room. Moments later, a feeling of mortification washed over her as she contemplated the ramifications of this. “Andrew, you’re dead meat for going through my drawers.”
Despite the overwhelming embarrassment at having an Angel of Death see her unmentionables, a tiny part of her was quite relieved that the chore had been done. At the same instant, it sort of freaked her out that the stuff had been seen by masculine eyes. Of course, this meant that she had been relieved from having to do this most unpleasant chore herself.
Throughout her walk, she had pretty much concluded that reorganizing everything would have taken her all afternoon, if not the full Saturday prior to Easter. Now she could enjoy the weekend.
Well, she thought, I suppose since I’m supposed to meet Andrew at four, maybe that would be as good a time as any to confront him about digging around in my stuff.
Because of what she had discovered, the young woman had a somewhat sinking feeling and knew that she would not feel better about this situation until she had uncovered who had done it and why.
At the same time JenniAnn was returning from her walk, Lady Beth and Henry had arrived back at her house to take care of the rest of the cooking. Henry had persuaded her to take a little break after the incident with the Slugworth candy bars. After dropping off the Wonka bars at the house, they had gone for a walk, thus distracting them from the pending task.
“The way I see it, we should get the eggs done first and then go to the Tunnels to have the egg coloring. Tomorrow, we can concentrate on doing the baking. Besides, I’m sure Willy will help us with it if we can actually find him in Dyeland somewhere,” he said encouragingly.
“I hope you’re right,” Lady Beth said as she brushed her hands through her hair. “You know that this is going to be a load of work, and I’m just not sure how many more setbacks I can take. Let’s face it, right now, I have to get everything done by six and that only leaves me with three hours. I can’t very well persuade the ovens to bake the stuff faster.”
“I know,” he said. “But, you needed some time away from the situation. Let’s just get inside and see what we can do.”
“Yeah, clean up the mess, you mean,” she said as she began to open the front door. As soon as she did, the warm and soothing scent of chocolate filled her nostrils and she turned to look at Henry. “Wait a minute, this place smells heavenly.”
“You said it,” the angel commented, but inhaled and nodded. “You’re right, it does smell rather nice.”
“When we left, the entire place smelled differently, didn’t it?” She asked.
“Yeah, but to be honest it stank to high heaven,” he mused.
“And now it smells good, like I’ve been baking all afternoon, but that’s not possible since we’ve been out walking. After we came back from the factory, I left the packages of chocolate on the counter top…” Her words drifted off as she rushed into the kitchen.
Henry followed, and when they entered the room, the sight that met them was a mixture between a confusing mystery and an answered prayer.
Several cookie sheets were full of already baked brownies and the tables were full of sweets.
Lady Beth looked at Henry. “Who could have done this? I mean; the chocolate that we got from Yva at the factory is gone and now there are a ton of brownies here.”
“You think that’s something, look on the stove,” Henry said as Lady Beth went over and looked inside the large silver pot that had been placed on a burner. Inside were several dozen hard boiled eggs.
She raised her hand and hovered it over the pot until she felt the warmth wafting up and touching her fingertips. “This is incredible. Everything’s been done. But, Henry, I don’t understand. Did the Father do this?”
“I don’t think so, my guess is that whoever did this, they were someone who’s faster than a speeding bullet and could boast a great deal of culinary talent,” Henry said shrugging his shoulders. “Who do we know in Dyeland who likes to cook and knows their way around a kitchen as well as you do?”
“Willy’s the only one I can think of, but how could he have known that things were so chaotic here?” She asked.
“Well, we talked to Yva when we were at the factory, so maybe she saw him after we left and told him about what happened. He’s such a good friend that he would have dropped everything to come and help us out,” Henry rationalized. “There’s always a logical explanation for these things.”
Lady Beth stared at the things on the counter. “I know, but this is all so unreal. I mean; we were only gone for about two hours after we had brought the chocolate back from the factory.”
Henry looked at her. “Perhaps we should not look this gift horse in the mouth,” he said smiling. “Come on, let’s go see if there’s anything going on at the café, maybe Willy will be there with Yva and we can thank him for his help.”
Lady Beth nodded and the two of them left the house and headed for the café. “We can’t stay long, I still have to take the eggs to Vincent for the coloring.”
“Well, if we don’t see Willy at the café, then chances are we’ll see him tonight in the Tunnels,” Henry said. “I think he would welcome the chance to see the kids, especially if it means doing something that brings out the child in a person like dying Easter eggs.”
Agreeing, Lady Beth grew silent. How was she ever going to thank Willy Wonka for coming there and helping her out of this situation? It was clear that the chocolatier had stepped in and done this with the sole purpose of helping her out of a bind.
Willy was exhausted. He had finally managed to stop the Easter Bunny not far from Willowveil Castle and was now in the process of bringing it back to the factory for dismantling. “I can only surmise what you have done since you got away from us,” he muttered under his breath. “But, now, because of your shenanigans, I am behind on my preparations for Easter.”
As he carried the invention towards the door, Rose came running through the Candy Land Forest and over to him. “Willy!” she called out his name excitedly. “You’re back in Dyeland. I thought you’d be away until after Easter.”
The chocolatier shook his head. “No, I’ve actually been running around here all day. What about you?”
“Nigel and I pulled weeds in Aunt Josephine’s garden this morning, and then something really wonderful happened,” she said happily. “I went inside the house and when I came back out about an hour later, the entire garden was weeded and watered.”
Willy looked down at the invention, but instead of immediately speaking, he offered her an unconvincing smile. “Really?” He asked.
“Yes, Nigel came back and weeded the whole thing. It now looks wonderful and I have the rest of the day to do whatever I want,” she said. “Did you see Theo by any chance? The last time I saw him, he had run off in this direction. That’s why I was here, I’m sort of looking for him.”
“I haven’t seen him, but if I do, I’ll let you know,” he said. “Right now, I need to get this inside.”
“What is it?” She asked.
“It’s a mechanical Easter Bunny. I made it for Sunday’s Easter egg hunt, but I won’t be using it,” he said. “It’s got too many bugs in it and I’m going to take it apart.”
“Oh, but you can’t, I mean it’s really cute,” she said. “I mean, for a metallic robot of sorts, it’s not half bad. Willy don’t take it apart. That would be sort of sad since Easter is about life and living and stuff.”
“I don’t know, Rose, Yva seemed to think the idea was not all that great,” he said. “In fact, when the thing got away from us, it caused her to have a mild asthma attack.”
“But, you invent things because you like to,” Rose said as she reached over and rested a hand on his arm. “Willy, I think it’s amazing what you do and the ideas you have. You’re lucky.”
“I don’t know,” he smiled. “But, thank you for saying so.”
Rose nodded as movement captured her attention. “I think I just saw Theo in those trees over there. I better go get him before he gets into anymore trouble. Can I see you later?”
“Of course,” he said smiling.
“Okay, then I’ll see you later,” she said. “Oh and if you see Nigel, tell him that I want to make him a dozen of his favorite chocolate chip cookies for saving my bacon today.” Happily, she left him standing in the doorway.
Once she had retrieved the cat, he watched as she returned to Nadezhda. He glanced down at the object in his arms. “Well, I guess her bacon isn’t the only thing that has been saved, yours is too,” he muttered as he went inside.
Just as the door had closed behind him and above the factory, the Yvavator was drifting overhead.
Yva was peering through a pair of binoculars trying to find Willy below, while Nigel sat in his seat nervously watching her and trying not to look outside through the large windows.
“Please Yva, do land this thing, Love, I am feeling quite unwell,” the guardian angel said softly, his words trembling somewhat nervously.
“Alright,” she said. “We can go to the café on foot or by a different means.”
“Thank you,” Nigel said as they landed the craft and disembarked. Yva closed and secured the door once they were standing outside.
“Do you think that Willy is at the factory or perhaps he went to meet everyone at the café?” Yva asked him. “I mean; he was pretty frantic about catching that thing.”
“I don’t know Love, maybe we should split up and search both places. You go inside the factory, as you know it better, and I’ll go check the café. Whoever finds him first should get him to the café. I figure that I should just stay there until five thirty.”
“Why five thirty?” Yva asked.
“We are due in the Tunnels at six for the egg dying. Vincent has invited all of us to come and join them for stories and final Easter preparations,” he explained.
“Then where will we meet if it’s later than that?” She asked.
“Willowveil, as that is where the portal is,” Nigel said as he embraced her. “I’ll see you later, Love, and try not to worry about all of this. I am certain that you and Willy will work everything out.”
She nodded as he vanished and then went into the factory and started wandering about the empty corridors. “Papa?” She called out to Willy. Suddenly she felt like Belle from ‘Beauty and the Beast’ looking for someone in such a large and somewhat intimidating place.
“Yva, is that you?” The voice emerged as soon as she had spoken.
She quickened her pace and followed the familiar voice until she had reached the Chocolatier’s office. Opening the door, she entered the room and saw him seated at his desk. The mechanical Easter Bunny was turned off and situated in another corner of the room. She approached the desk and rested her hand on his arm.
“Papa, there’s something I need to tell you,” she said.
“What is it?” Willy asked as he turned around and looked at her, his gaze indicative that he was tired and yet, still had things that needed tending.
“It’s about the Easter Bunny,” Yva said. “I think he’s been busy this afternoon.”
“What do you mean by ‘him’?” Willy asked. “Just this morning, you were calling it an ‘it’. Well, perhaps you will get what you want this year as I intend on putting it in cold storage.”
“What do you mean?” She asked.
“Well, after I spent all afternoon trying to find ‘it’, I realized that the things I needed to do never got done,” Willy said, the sadness laced in his words.
“Would you stop calling him an ‘it’?” She whispered. “I already feel lousy enough about this.”
“I don’t follow,” he said as he got up from the desk and went over to where she was standing. Reaching her, he rested his hand on her shoulder.
“I know I made a mistake,” she began as she raised her head slightly, her gaze meeting his. “It wasn’t an attack on you, I just didn’t understand.” She closed her eyes and could feel the tears catching beneath the lids and causing her eyes to burn. Instead of allowing him to see how upset she was, she turned away and tried to wipe them away.
“You understand now, is that it?” He asked softly as he watched her actions with mounting concern. When she still did not offer an answer, he spoke her name, his voice laced in gentility. “Yva?”
She offered no immediate response. Instead she wiped her hands over her face and smeared the moisture from beneath her eyes. “I’m sorry, Papa.” She paused as she tried to collect her thoughts. “It’s just that I think your invention has been helping people.”
“Helping people?” Willy asked. “How do you mean?”
“Just what I said,” she began. “Right before Nigel and I left the Heavenly Playground, he got a call from Rose and she was telling him that she was totally grateful to him for helping her with the gardening. I mean; Nigel did help her, but he came back to the island and we started talking. I ended up telling him that I felt really badly about how I reacted to your invention this morning. Anyway, while we were talking, the phone rang inside his house and he went to answer it. When he came back, he told me that Rose thought that he had finished the whole garden. He said that it was impossible. There was no way that in an hour’s time, the garden could get finished. Not by human standards anyway.”
“But, the angels could have done it,” Willy objected softly. “We don’t know the extent of what they are capable of doing.”
“Maybe, but I don’t think so. I mean; Nigel was with me the whole time, except when he showered, and that was after Rose had called,” she said softly. “Basically, that means that someone or something did Rose’s garden.”
“And you think this invention did it while it was out and about today,” Willy finished.
“I think it’s a possibility,” she said. “Maybe this has taught me that I shouldn’t write off anything that you do.” She raised her head and looked into his eyes, the tears now falling freely. “I’m sorry. Will you forgive me?”
Willy looked at her. She was really upset by this, but instead of saying ‘I told you so’, he carefully pulled her into his arms, one of his hands was stroking the back of her head gently. “Of course I do. But, if this invention did do something for Rose, then perhaps we should go out and see if he’s been doing other things around Dyeland.”
“Okay, but will he be alright in that state?” She asked noticing the prone Easter Bunny.
“Of course, I’ll make some special carrot extract for him tonight, but I think we should take him with us,” he said gently. “Besides, something tells me that his presence will be needed.”
“Does this mean that you’re not angry with me?” She asked as they left the office and Willy closed the door behind them.
“Of course not, why would I be?” He asked gently.
“I don’t know, it’s just that I didn’t want to hurt your feelings,” she whispered.
“I know you didn’t,” he smiled down at her as they stepped outside. As the warmth of the sun washed over them, he changed the subject with his next inquiry. “So where to?”
“Nigel said he’d meet us at the café,” Yva said.
“Then to the café it is, shall we take mine or yours?” He asked as he cast a glance over to where her flying elevator was parked.
“I’m actually getting the hang of it, could we take mine?” Yva asked, her eyes a sea of hope. This would mark the very first times that she could recall Willy riding in it with her at the controls. At that moment, she was more than ready to have him enjoy a ride with her over the luxuriance of a Dyeland spring.
With the smaller invention still in his arms, he walked over to the glass Yvavator, and waited for her at the door. She came over and opened it and they got in. Seconds later, the glass door was closed and Yva navigated them into the air.
“It was amazing,” Adam was telling the group of Dyelanders who were seated at a group of tables. He and Andrew had arrived and he was telling them about the turkey pen and how Sir Sven had come back to repair it. “I was inside for only an hour and when Andrew arrived, the thing was fixed and working. I tell you, Sir Sven is a genius.”
“Well, so is Willy Wonka,” Lady Beth said. “If not for him, I would still be home baking brownies till the cows come home.”
“It sounds like you guys have had quite an afternoon,” Mick said as he sat in a booth with his arm wrapped casually around Beth’s shoulder. She was nursing a latte and listening to the series of events as the door to the café suddenly burst open and Lady JenniAnn came charging into the room.
“Alright, Andrew, I want an explanation and I want one right now, Flannel Boy!” She shouted. As her voice filled the room, the entire group turned his or her head to see that she was standing in the room practically breathing fire.
“Better make hers a decaf,” Adam offered jokingly to Monica who was standing at the counter filling orders. The Irish angel nodded but watched as JenniAnn came over and stood in front of where Andrew was seated. For the first time anyone present could recall, she stared down at him, her eyes narrowing as she crossed her arms over her chest.
“How did you do it?” She demanded.
“How did I do what?” Andrew asked.
“You know what you did,” she shouted back. “Don’t even try to play dumb with me.”
“Look, Laja, I don’t know what I did, but if you tell me what it is I did then I’ll be sure not to do it…ever,” he said exasperated.
“My closets, my sock drawer for crying out loud,” she said as she tried to take in a deep breath of air. “Look, when I got back Willowveil this afternoon after my walk, I discovered that someone had cleaned up my entire room. They switched the clothes around and even cleaned out my unmentionable drawer. They sorted everything by color in the same way I generally like to have it.”
“I didn’t do any of that,” Andrew objected with his hands raised in negation.
“I can attest to that, Lady JenniAnn,” Adam spoke up. “Andrew had left your place and came to Tourkia to meet with me. That’s what I was saying before you came in. He discovered that Sir Sven had fixed the water feeder to the turkey pen out there, and we managed to get Alexander and his brothers and sisters back in the pen before we came here.”
“Then who cleaned up my room?” Lady JenniAnn asked.
“I don’t know,” Andrew said, “but it wasn’t me.”
“And for the record, I didn’t fix your turkey pen, Adam,” Sir Sven’s voice abruptly filled the room. “I was out flying all day. The lift was fantastic and I was able to soar for hours on end! Before I came here, I landed back at the Heavenly Playground and before coming here, I took care of post flight checks and had a shower.”
Amidst all of this, no one had realized that Yva’s husband had arrived and slipped into the café. He was now standing at the counter ordering a normal coffee and a piece of cheesecake from Monica.
“You didn’t?” Adam asked skeptically.
“No, I was flying over Dyeland for much of the day,” he said.
“You didn’t see the disaster in my yard?” Adam asked.
“From a thousand meters off the ground?” Sir Sven asked skeptically. “No, Adam, I couldn’t see a thing from that distance. Maybe someone else came by and fixed it. What about Willy? Maybe he stopped by and took care of it for you. That’s the only logical thing I can think of, but one thing is abundantly clear, it certainly wasn’t me.”
“Well, it couldn’t have been Willy,” Lady Beth objected. “He was at my house in Serenity City baking brownies all afternoon.”
“Then who could have fixed the pen?” Adam wanted to know.
“I don’t know,” Lady JenniAnn said to the group. “But if Andrew wasn’t the one who cleaned out my closet, who did? I mean this is not funny, it’s scary. I guess I figured that only Andrew knows anything about my means of organization, and his knowledge of my sock drawer is nonexistent.”
As they were speaking about the strange events of the day, Nigel came into the room and looked around. “Hello everyone,” Yva’s guardian said as he regarded the group. In one corner, Rose sat, her hand wrapped snugly around a cup of mocha flavored coffee.
“Nigel, you’re here!” She called out over the hubbub.
He nodded, his expression somehow depicting that an explanation was in order. How could he explain this when he was not sure how to even start. He continued to ponder whether or not anyone here would actually believe that he was not this glorious wonder-gardener that he was being made out to be. The truth remained that he had merely gone to help Rose with the gardening that morning and then everything sort of careened out of control.
“Rose, there’s something I have to tell you,” he said nervously as he felt the entire group turning and looking at him.
“What?” She asked.
“I didn’t fix your garden, Love, I was at the Heavenly Playground speaking with Yva,” he said.
“But, you did…” Rose objected.
“…No, Love, I didn’t. After you went inside, I returned home to shower and get a change of clothes. I was not in the vicinity of Nadezhda after we parted company earlier today,” Nigel said.
“So, we have three different situations here,” Mick said, the private investigator in him taking over. “First JenniAnn’s closet…”
“…Adam’s turkey pen,” Andrew supplied.
“Rose’s garden…” Nigel added.
“…And Lady Beth’s baking, although we think that Willy took care of that for us,” Henry offered, thus breaking his silence.
“I don’t think Willy took care of Lady Beth’s baking, Henry,” Nigel said firmly. “In fact, before we parted company, Yva seemed very insistent on finding him because of some sort of invention.”
“What do you make of this, Mick?” Beth asked. “I mean April Fools was last week, right?”
“I don’t really know,” the vampire responded as he rubbed his chin. “What we can safely surmise is that there is someone around here who really likes to do people’s chores, and they like to do them quickly. Everyone keeps mentioning this time element, which makes me think that no one, whether human or angel, could have completed these tasks with such speed and efficiency. I can only conclude that all four of these situations are connected somehow.”
“This sounds kind of weird,” Rose said as she looked at Countess Jennifer. “Do you think it might be Eben?”
“No,” Countess Jennifer said with an adamant shake of her head. “That’s not his style, he likes to create chaos, not fix it.”
“But Mick’s right about one thing,” Sir Sven supplied. “Whoever did this, it seems clear that maybe they were trying to help Adam, Lady Beth, Lady JenniAnn, and Rose out of a tight spot. I mean; forgive me if I seem a bit presumptuous, but whatever this individual did, they did help you guys, right?”
“Yeah,” Lady JenniAnn said. “But, Sir Sven, how would Yva feel if some stranger went through her unmentionables?”
“I think she would be a bit concerned, just as you are,” Sir Sven said honestly. “I think we should focus our energies on finding out who cleaned out Lady JenniAnn’s closet. I mean, it’s sort of is breech of security here and her safety is very important to all of us.”
“Agreed,” Mick said nodding.
Seconds later, the door opened and Yva and Willy stepped into the café. “Hey everyone. Is there anymore pound cake, Monica?”
The angel nodded and began to cut her a piece while Willy went over to an empty table and sat down. The large metallic object, he placed on the ground next to his chair and waited for Yva to join him.
Before she could, Lady Beth got to her feet and went over to Willy and pointed a single finger at his chest. “Willy Wonka, did you, or did you not, save my bacon today?”
“No, I don’t think so, but on our way over Yva told me that you needed some chocolate,” Willy began. “I hope you were able to get enough.”
“This isn’t about the chocolate, it’s about you baking the brownies for Easter Sunday,” Lady Beth said.
“I didn’t bake them, Lady Beth,” he said simply. “I wasn’t at Serenity City all day today. But, I do think that based on what Yva has told me, I can safely surmise what might have happened.”
“You didn’t? I mean; you can?” She asked.
“No, but something tells me that there is something that I must explain to all of you,” Willy said.
“Yva, you’re not involved in this fiasco, are you?” Sir Sven asked.
“Not directly, Honey, but I was present when some of it happened,” she said. “Just give Papa a chance to explain.”
“So, were you or were you not the one who saw fit to dig around in my sock drawer?” Lady JenniAnn abruptly demanded.
“JenniAnn, my father would not do such a thing,” Yva said, her expression laced in absolute horror. With the plate in her hand, she walked over to the table and sat down next to the chocolatier.
“No it’s alright Yva,” Willy said gently as he reached across the table and touched her hand. He hoped that this would calm her down, but the implication was still there, and everyone was now looking at him somewhat strangely. “The truth is, I was only near Willowveil this afternoon, but not inside. I was only there to retrieve this,” he motioned towards the object that was now next to his chair.
“W-what is that thing?” Lady JenniAnn asked.
“It’s one of my inventions, and I’m afraid that it sort of got out of control this afternoon and went a bit crazy,” Willy began.
“Your invention went crazy?” Adam asked skeptically.
“It was supposed to be a surprise for Easter, but when I wanted to do a test with it, the thing got away from us and left the factory,” he said. “I am guessing that some unexplainable things might have happened because of it.”
“Like my aunt’s garden?” Rose asked.
“Yes,” Willy said softly. “I lost track of it and spent all day searching for it. I later managed to find it just outside of Willowveil this afternoon. I had intended on bringing it back to the factory and dismantling it, but Rose convinced me not to. At any rate, I should perhaps explain to all of you what it is and more specifically, what it does.”
“Are you saying that that thing is what went through my drawers?” Lady JenniAnn asked.
“Yes, I think that that is precisely what happened. You see, this is programmed to take chaos and turn it into harmony. I didn’t understand what was happening with it until Yva told me about what was going on in Josephine’s garden,” Willy explained. “You see, the initial idea was to create it to be an Easter Bunny, but I think it has the capacity of doing far more than just hiding eggs. Perhaps it has the capacity of doing mundane chores with greater efficiently and ease than we are capable of.”
“You know that sort of makes sense,” Henry began. “Everything you guys described was in a state of chaos when you left it. The garden had all the weeds, Adam’s turkey pen was in pieces, Lady JenniAnn’s closets were in disarray, and Lady Beth’s baking situation was absolutely horrific. In other words, everything was literally, a mess.” He looked at Willy. "You're going to show us how this thing works, aren’t you?”
“I’d like to but fear that it might hop away if I turn it on,” Willy said. “Let me look at it over the weekend, and see if I can get it fixed in time for the Easter egg hunt. If I have it done by then, then you guys won’t have to hide the eggs and you’ll get a demonstration then.”
“Now, that sounds like a good idea,” Adam said smiling. “Don’t you think so, buddy?”
Andrew nodded. “It would prove to be an interesting scenario if Willy can get it to work properly.”
Lady Beth looked at Willy. “I think I like that idea, too, but if it can bake better brownies than me, I’m going to be very upset.”
The chocolatier smiled and nodded. “It was not intended, my dear. I merely hope that this invention didn’t inconvenience anyone. It wasn’t my intention to cause so much mystery here. I was only trying to plan a special surprise for Easter.”
“It’s alright Willy,” Lady JenniAnn said. “At least with it being a machine, I don’t have to worry about someone actually having seen my unmentionables.”
The chocolatier nodded and smiled. “Yes, and your security is important to all of us, my dear lady.”
Lady JenniAnn nodded as she looked around the room and her gaze came to rest on Mick. “Case closed?”
Mick nodded. “Yes, in fact, it would seem all four of them are closed. Now, I think that since we have managed to solve that mystery, we should get to the Tunnels and dye some eggs.”
The others agreed and they all started to get up. “We’ll meet you at Willowveil after I pick up the eggs,” Lady Beth said.
The group dispersed leaving Willy and Yva still seated at the table. She reached across the table and took his hand. Holding it, she gave it a squeeze. “I think you have already given us a wonderful surprise, Papa.”
Willy smiled and nodded. “Perhaps, but will you help me tomorrow with Hugo?”
“Hugo?” Yva asked.
“That’s the name I decided to give our little mechanical friend,” the chocolatier smiled as he got up from the table and looked at her. “Should we try him out and see if he will hop away this time?”
Yva nodded and watched as Willy flipped a switch.
Hugo’s eyes opened, but instead of moving, he remained where he was, his mechanical head shifting about the room. It seemed clear that he was somehow searching for something to do.
“What’s he doing, Papa?” She asked.
“Looking for some chaos to fix, I suppose, but aside from a few empty coffee cups, he’s not finding any, so he’s staying with us,” he said.
Yva rubbed her hand over the top of Hugo’s galvanized head and smiled when he let out a low purr. “Oh how cute, he purrs. Maybe he’s more like us than we thought.”
“Maybe he is,” Willy said with a proud smile as they left the café. Behind them, Hugo hopped along, thus following them outside.
At eleven in the morning on Easter Sunday, Hugo was in the process of hiding all the eggs. Adam sat in a lounge chair with a tall glass of freshly squeezed orange juice in one hand and a brownie in the other. He looked as though he was thoroughly enjoying the holiday, and Andrew sat in a similar chair nursing a ginger ale.
All around him the children were running about the area waiting impatiently for the eggs to be hidden so they could begin their Easter egg hunt.
Vincent was smiling happily as he watched the group. Catherine and little Jacob were making their way around the park while the Dyeland ladies were serving brownies and other assorted treats to Father as well as the other friends and supporters of Dyeland who had come for the festivities.
Instead of remaining alone, Vincent wandered over to where Willy was standing and rested his hand on the chocolatier’s shoulder. “Psyche told me about the excitement the other day. I was sorry to have missed it, but I am really glad that everything turned out for the best.”
“I am as well, and you know, I didn’t think I could feel closer to Yva than I do right now, but I do. Perhaps this has been the grandest Easter gift I could have asked for. She’s really very special to me.”
Vincent nodded and smiled. “Yes and to me as well. To have that trust and faith in another is a wonderful gift. It is also one, which you have shared freely. It would seem to be rather like that concept of passing it on. Through that, you have created a gift for all of us by the means of your ingenuity and cleverness.”
Willy smiled, but watched as Hugo hopped over to him and stopped, thus indicating that the eggs were all hidden and the hunt could now begin. “Vincent, why don’t you go and start the hunt?” He suggested.
“But, it wasn’t my invention,” he said.
“It was your wisdom,” Willy said and smiled. “It’s alright, the kids are waiting and I think that it would be very special for them to have their father figure share it with them.” He glanced over to where Yva was handing Father a plate with a brownie on it.
Vincent nodded and walked over to the group of children.
What neither of them realized was that someone had come up from behind Willy and wrapped both their arms around his legs. He started to stumble, but turned around and noticed that Jessie was his abrupt hugger. She was standing behind him and looking up at him through doe-like eyes. The child was now seven-years-old and had grown since he had last seen her. He smiled. “They’re about to start, little lady.”
“I wanted to see you first,” she said shyly as she handed him a small hand drawn piece of paper. “Happy Easter Willy.”
“Happy Easter, Jessie,” he smiled as he looked down at the card. On it, he could make out his likeness as well as that of the Easter Bunny that was now seated obediently at his feet.
Once she had given him the card, she bounded off to gather eggs leaving Willy and Hugo standing and watching. He leaned down and stroked the top of the Easter Bunny’s head. “Happy Easter Hugo,” he said softly as he heard the soft purrs emerging from the newest resident of Dyeland.
was the topic in the Unity Daily Word for Friday, the 10th
of April, 2009.