Chafing

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Drahuta Residence, Bamberg, USE

 

Julie always entered her residence with a certain suspicion.

From a husband who enjoyed wearing his cavalry armor to the dinner table to a house that could, sometimes at the same time, hold the world's greatest mathematician and a worldwide sensation who was currently on medication for that, the Drahuta household was nothing like it would have been had she remained in the year 2000 and not been tossed into the seventeenth century.

The blatant stench of garlic was only a warning—and a vague, confusing one at that.

"Logan made pizza?" Julie asked her ebullient daughter as she bounded into the entranceway which had seen its share of minor drama and arterial blood flow.

"Why does everyone assume that she made the pizza?" Karla demanded, pouting a well-used and experienced lip out before her.

"Because I don't smell smoke and burning."

"I got the oven to the right temperature, Ma! If it was a frozen pizza and I had the oven at our real home in Grantville, there would be no fire."

"There was that time you forgot to take the pizza out of the cardboard box . . ."

"When will people stop reminding me of that?"

"When the last person who remembers it, in this century, dies."

"I don't want you to die, Ma."

"That would not have been the conclusion someone would have jumped to if they had seen the kitchen. What in the name of heaven led you to believe threading a garden hose through the window, while it was on, was a good thing to do. Couldn’t you have opened the window?"

"There was fire, Ma. You don’t think during a fire. You do. I busted a hole for the hose with a cheap garden gnome, and Dad hated them anyway."

"I know there was a fire. I was there when the insurance adjuster was making notes on her clipboard. The water damage was more expensive than the smoke and fire damage. I didn’t think the fire department put that much water in my kitchen."

"You and Dad got a new stove out of it."

"Did you have to spray every electrical outlet?"

"There was smoke coming out of that one and . . ."

"Let's just focus on the pizza Logan made and leave it at that. I believe the saying is, leave sleeping dogs alone."

"She's in her room, crying."

"Okay, Karla, that was important information. Why is she crying?"

"She's sitting on her bed staring at her airplane poster."

That meant her poster of current aircraft, current for the year 2000 from whence Grantville and she had come.

"But I think it's Blaise . . . apparently he's got a new girlfriend. She thinks she's losing him."

"Oh Lord . . ."

And, true to form, speak or even think of the devil and he appears.

"Greetings all!" Blaise Pascal announced, pushing his way into the entranceway and coming to all the wrong conclusions. "I think I have found the perfect carpet to replace this one. That blood stain causes too many questions. My eyes are unnaturally directed to it and my sister, Gilberte, never fails to remind me if it seems I forget. She says she will not buy carpeting until she is sure I will not routinely bleed all over her house."

"Blaise . . ."

"It smells like Logan made pizza!" Blaise patted his stomach. "She makes good pizza!"

"Blaise . . ."

"It is hard to find just the right circular rug. I am sorry about the blood stain, Madame Drahuta," Blaise Pascal stated solemnly.

"Blaise! Forget the blood stain!"

"How do I do that? Everyone is always reminding me. I want to do something to make amends. I am told there is little that can be done about the damage to the wall but I replaced the little table you liked."

"Blaise, Logan is upstairs, crying . . ."

Blaise flinched and looked very much like a hunted animal.

"I didn't do anything . . ." he flinched.

"Karla says you have a new girlfriend?"

"Oh, her? She's just a really smart girl who knows her mathematics. That's all. Really. I have done nothing inappropriate. We are well chaperoned when we are at the chalkboard. And she is German. German women do not accept ungentlemanly behavior."

Karla's snicker was unnerving for the sudden attention Blaise gave it.

"I would like Logan in the dining room to share supper with us, Blaise. Go up and see to it."

"Alone? She's crying . . . does she . . . is she . . . armed?"

"Blaise! Now!" Julie pointed in the general direction of the staircase. She remembered Logan falling down that staircase in her overeagerness to get to Blaise who had cut himself and was lying in a growing puddle of his own blood, right there where the stain was.

Blaise, with all the alacrity of a well-trained regiment commanded by its strictest officer, went. Pizza, even theoretical pizza, was involved, after all.


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