Dojo & Delaware
"Okay fellas, time to go!" Snowballs barges in. "Wait a second! Where's Morti?"
I barely peep up to notice Morti has vanished and April is looking all over the place frantically.
"That Renshaw is gonna drive me bonkers," Morti sighs giving up the search. "You two better go. I've got a big day ahead of me, and no time to babysit."
Sundae and I gather our things quickly and make our way out of the motel jail cell.
"Where to next?" I ask, putting my things away.
"There's another few friends I'd like you to meet," Sundae mentions with a smile. "This way."
I follow Sundae through the open fields, the sun shining down on us. We make our way down a beautiful landscape, and take a few breaks here and there. As night falls, I begin to notice a dimly lit sign further up the path.
"What is that Sundae?" I point towards the sign.
"You'll see," Sundae grins as we head towards the light.
We approach what appears to be a farm house with a flat roof and a flat window looking in. The sign reads 'Dojo'.
Sundae opens the door and we head in.
The space is dimly lit by candles around the bar area. There is music and dancing happening in one corner, and all the inhabitants appear to be having a grand ole time.
Sundae turns towards me, points to dance floor, and yells,"I'm gonna join. Wanna get us some refreshments?"
I nod and head to the bar area. That's when I spot the coolest looking inhabitant sitting on a stool, wearing a beautiful jacket, full of colorful patterns resembling the flowers on the farm. I can't help but say something...
"That's a beautiful jacket!" I yell over the music. The inhabitant turns towards me a big old smile.
"Why thank you! You're too kind." They motion for me to sit next to them. "I'm Louis Walton, but people call me Lil Louis." Louis reaches over to shake my hand. "And you are?"
I shake Louis' hand and utter, "I'm Astrid...but people call me Ø."
"Well it's nice to meet you Ø. Can I offer you and your friend a drink?" Louis motions to the bar. I nod.
Soon after, I am drinking delightful dark lager with tons of nutty, malty, and biscuity flavors and a smooth bitterness. I almost can't help but drink Sundae's glass, it's so good!
"So, what brings you to the Springs Ø?" Louis asks, taking a sip from their drink.
"It's a long story, but I was hoping to find Bowski, or at least visit their home," I look down at my glass.
"Oh Bowski! Hah, I've known them for many years. Their family estate is not too far from here actually."
Sundae and another inhabitant approach us. "Lil Louis! Great to see you my friend," Sundae gives Walton a big hug.
"You too Sundae. How've you been?" Louis grins. "Ø right here speaks very highly of you." Sundae blushes.
"Ahem..." the beautiful inhabitant next to Sundae cuts in.
Sundae turns around. "Whoops, my bad! Everyone, I'd like you to meet Chauncey Delaware. They make the meanest lemon meringue pies in the Springs."
"That's all I am to you?" Chauncey jokes. "Well it's an honor to finally meet you Ø. I hope Lil Louis here isn't talking your ear off too much over here."
"Oh just a friendly chat Chauncey, always a friendly chat," Louis chuckles.
"Mmmhmmm," Chauncey responds. "I'm sure you are. I was telling Sundae, you are all welcome to come visit my farm. I've prepared a lovely meal, and that lemon meringue pie of course."
Lil Louis jumps from their seat in joy. "Oh yes! Let's go!"
Soon after, we're heading over to Chauncey Delaware's farm. As we enter I notice a little gravestone by the farmhouse and mention,"Who's Azul?"
Chauncey turns around and smiles, "Oh, well now that's a long story. Good soul that one. Good soul."
We make our way through a beautiful grassy hill overlooking a lovely orchard full of ripe fruits and vegetables as we enter the quaint little yellow farmhouse with a cobblestone entrance.
Chauncey points to their beautiful feast on the wooden table,"Alright everyone, I've got plenty of good eating and rye saison to keep your tummies happy. So dig in!"
There's a beautifully made smoked trout salad, beet hummus, and pates with pickles vegetables. The food is astounding and washes down beautifully with pints of Chauncey's rye saison, with hints of lemon, spice, and pepper.
After our meal, Chauncey prepares a fire with pecan wood out on the lawn and we all gather and share stories. As we all begin to fade, Chauncey comes back with a few of their own quilted blankets for us to warm up with the crisp night air.
"This one's for you Ø," Chauncey hands me a blanket with a beautiful pattern of flowers and plants. "This was Bowski's favorite."
"That's very kind of you Chauncey," I hold the blanket very close and drift off to sleep.