Here we are once more on the trip to Kiev and while the chicken jokes are in short supply, we’re getting a chance to see Annie let her hair down and relaxing with someone her age. Kerry never seems to change that much when he’s away from Annie, but Annie gets to be more open and friendly when she’s away from school and/or her parents, which is how she is most of the time when it’s just Kerry and her out.
So how is the sushi setting with the East Euro Girls?
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)
Alex didn’t wait to finish her roll before speaking. “So it’s like the sushi in Tokyo?”
“I wouldn’t know—” Annie shrugged. “I’ve only has sushi in Osaka and Kyoto.” They exchanged stares across the table before both laughed. She set her chopsticks aside. “I hate to talk about that stuff: I always come off like a little rich girl.”
“If you didn’t want to look like a rich girl you should have left that purse at home.” Alex chuckled as Annie wrapped one hand around her Louis Vuitton bag. She sipped some tea so to wash down the last of her roll. “Don’t worry about how you appear; I don’t mind. And you’re lucky to have gone to those places. I’ll get there one day: Japan’s one of the places I want to visit when I do my Real Life Experience.”
“I want to go there as well.” Annie held her tea cup in both hands. “I want to visit the countryside and stay in ryokans the whole time.”
“What’s a ryokan?”
“It’s a type of inn. It’s all traditionally Japanese: you wear yukatas—it’s like a kimono—sit on the floor to eat and sleep on a futon.”
“Sounds like fun.” Alex ate another roll but waited until she swallowed before speaking. “You going to do that before your RLE?”
Annie stared off into the distance. “I’d like that.”
“You want to do that with Kerry?”
“Naturally.” Annie picked up he chopsticks and reviewed the food that remained. “We should order more.” She motioned at Alex. “Get what you want: I trust you.”
A wicked smile appeared on the blond girl’s hair. “They make a non-alcoholic mojito here: it’s Sprite, limes, and mint mixed together. We should get a pitcher and then tell everyone when we go back to school that we were drinking mojitos before we went shopping.”
Even though it seemed a bit silly on the surface, Annie knew there were times when it was necessary to break out of seriousness that usually surrounded their lives and have fun. “Why not? Penny and Kerry did something fun while they were together last week, we should, too.”
I learned all about ryokans back in the mid-90s when I was kinda seeing a Japanese woman and became interested in visiting the country and getting out into the countryside. These are a popular way of getting into the Japanese way of life, though if you really want to get down and dirty in that respect, try a minshuku, which is the equivalent of a Japanese family bed and breakfast where you are pretty much living with the family: think of if as an AirBnB with the owners still there. Now we gotta wonder what Annie looks like walking around in a kimono, though I think she’d probably be cuter dressing up with the Harajuku Kawaii Lolita set.
It is true: Annie is, deep down, a little rich girl and she can’t hide that. She’s in nice clothes and carrying a Louis Vuitton purse, so it’s difficult not to see her as someone who’s used to having nice things in her life. And she’s worldly, something impressed upon me by the Original Annie back in the days of the first Foundation novel. What this means is that she’s a bit of a princess, sure, but that doesn’t prevent her from enjoying hanging with people less well off than her. Given that Annie’s not one for dealing with bullshit she probably wouldn’t want to hang with other people from her financial demographic ’cause they’re simply no fun at all.
But wait: the girls are gonna have virgin mojitos? Sure. Because it’s fun. Like Alex says, when they return to school in about seven weeks they can tell their friends, “When Annie and I went to lunch we had mojitos with our sushi,” because when you’re thirteen and fourteen it’s all about having fun.
And this makes me want to have a mojito with dinner tonight because why the hell not?
Now that we know the girls want silly fun, what is this about Penny and Kerry? Well…
“Great.” Alex gave the order for a dozen more rolls and the virgin mojitos to their hostess, then waited for her to leave before speaking with Annie. “What did they do?”
She ran her finger around the rim of her tea cup. “They had lunch in the village of Snape.”
Alex needed a few second to digest this information. “Wait: is that like the Harry Potter Snape?”
Annie nodded. “The same. He wrote and said it was like ten kilometers north of where they were hiking—”
“They went hiking?”
“Yes. Kerry said they talked while they walked and then headed north to this village and had lunch. He said the character in the books was named after the town and he wanted to be able to tell people at school that they were there.” She took a final sip of her cooling tea. “So, you see: silliness. We can do the same.”
“Sure can.” She grew silent as their pitcher of drinks arrived and she poured them both a glass. “Is he gonna take you there?”
“He said he will—if not next month, then next summer.” Annie raised her glass and reached across the table toward Alex. “To having a good day.”
Alex clinked her glass against Annie’s. “To a good day.” She then downed about a third of the drink before setting it aside. “Can I ask something?”
So, a little left over from the last scene. When I was looking at the whole “Walking around in the Rendlesham Forest” thing I started looking at a few things beyond that area, and lo and behold, I found a little village–
I found the village of Snape. No, really.
Some rather easy looking shows that this tiny burg in the east of England is the one whose name was used by another writer who likes witches for one of her main characters, a rather dark and gloomy character with greasy hair who is an expert in, um, potions and dark magic. And into this two come two witches, both great fliers, both great with, um, “mixtures”, and one of them great with that ol’ dark sorcery stuff, and they sit down for a lunch at the Golden Key Inn and probably laughing about how there were now witches in Snape, likely leading Kerry to do at least one really bad Alan Rickman imitation. Because it’s all about fun and that’s how he rolls.
I guess tomorrow is when we find out what Alex wants, huh? I mean, that would make sense…