I rememb,er the day it dawned on me, the fact that I was dreaming the life I was living and living the dream I was dreaming. Sitting in the lunchroom, looking across the table at a co-worker who pulled a tuna fish sandwich out of a paper bag, and proceeded to pull out a clear baggie filled with chips followed by brownie bits and a thermos of milk. The plate maker stood up when the three beeps sounded and pulled a frozen dinner out of the microwave, placed it on the table and went to the bubbler with an empty container filled it with cold water and looked at the rest of us and asked “What?”.
My lunch bag, not so different from the others, had a torn piece of paper that wasn’t put in there by me along with an envious sampling of food made by my room mate which I carefully placed in my own retro lunch bag. “Staquard est” was not a term I was familiar with. My home, where I live with two room mates who are capable of trying to pull my chain, would never be up that early — neither of them are morning people. Unless they cleverly placed the note in the stack of flat brown paper bags I keep in the second drawer down along with the foil and plastic wrap, this note was meant for someone else, so I dismissed it. On my way back to my station the note was cast into the trash along with my cantaloupe rind and wad of wrinkled napkins.
The heavy workload helped the afternoon go quickly and I waved goodnight to the plate maker as we punched the clock and went to our cars.
Karin, my fair haired friend of ten years, would be throwing something together for dinner and Peter, dark and elusive, would be off to work and the nightlife, I hardly ever saw him.
Karin was tossing vegetables into a boiling pot of water, orchestrating the ingredients of a meal with perfect timing. A cook out of work, for about two weeks, was creating a work of edible art, her creative outlet.
“Karin, fess up, what the hell does “Staquard est” mean you really tested the grey matter trying to figure that one out.”
Karin turned from the over sized pot as she tasted the broth contained in the large wooden spoon.
“Welcome home Lucid, I have no idea what you are talking about and I have more to think about, like finding a job and earning my keep.”
“Oh, it’s nothing, a scrap piece of paper was in with my lunch, I thought it might be a note from you or Peter.”
“Staquard est, Greek to me.”
That gave me an idea. “How long for the culinary reveal?”
“About twenty minutes.”
“All right, I have to search that phrase online, ring the dinner bell and I’ll come running.”
Karin’s “Greek” comment gave me the idea that perhaps that was a foreign phrase, the “est” is French, enough guessing, time for some facts.
By the time Karen called, and I had to rush off to the kitchen because nothing angers a chef more than being late to dinner, I had only confused myself more. I decided to let the phrase mull around in my brain while I tasted the perfectly blended meal I was about to enjoy.
I did the dishes, although Karin always cleaned up as she cooked, one thing I appreciated about Karin, as for Peter I could tell exactly what he ate or cooked by the packaging remnants left scattered on the counters or in the sink.
A lap around the block with Dexter, the stray we couldn’t resist, and the sights and smells of the city did little to help the mulling I was attempting. A neon sign jumped out at me where the letter S had burnt out, reading ALE appealing to a different clientele, gave me the idea that perhaps the note was a similar play on words. More to mull around, one small piece of paper in addition to the minor details of my mundane life. My nonexistent love life, Karen’s unemployment and Peter’s ghostly trail of breadcrumbs reminding us that he was part of the trilogy dwelling at 557 Monray Boulevard.
Dexter, happily back in his domain, my hectic workday, and a full stomach of comfort food, demanded I climb into my bed and give in to the darkness.
“Karin, where are the ingredients? I know Chalimar had collected them for you.”
She stepped out from behind the cupboard, her fine features covered in yellow dust from the buttercups she had crushed. She gazed at me for the unexpected intrusion with her large brown eyes.
“Lucid, they are all organized and in the shed. You have come a long way to find out an every day occurrence.”
“Oh, I have two reasons, one is to ride my new charger, Mirro and the second is to get a poultice for a friend.”
“Oh, I’d love to see him, where is he? Then you can tell me about your ‘friend’ that needs my healing poultice.”
I brought Karin to see the war horse I had been given by the warrior whose life was was nearly taken by the Broktori, who I will discuss later. I found him by the dwelling I share with Peter, he’s a member of the Drokti, whom I’ll tell you about now. The Drokti are elves of the light, the protectors of life in the forest. He’s a clever elf who stands about four feet tall, he is slightly built and has fine hair that curls on the end — he can fly. I hunt for food and he collects the vegetables that grow wild in the forest that surrounds our dwelling. He is a friend more than anything, we were drawn together after the dark elves invaded and devastated most of the land, only a few of us were left alive. We were quite young in comparison to our respective species, the Drokti were busy righting the wrong. The other young-lings were taken to refuge in the towns, but we didn’t want that, we wanted to stay where we were. We needed each other at first, but we grew to depend on each other. Peter has a way with animals and I keep watch and build things.
“Hows Peter?” Karin asked as she stroked Mirro’s muzzle, he didn’t seem to mind.
“Peter is well, he’s been such a comfort to me. He keeps busy training anyone who’ll listen to him, even if they only have small paws and floppy ears. Enough, though, I have to get back if your poultice is to have any affect.”
“Be careful Lucid, you may get your wish of healing a handsome warrior, then what?”
“Karin, your over active mind is wandering down the wrong path, besides I think he’s a human.”
“Is he now Lucid, you underestimate your charms.”
She was always trying to get me ‘fixed-up’ I supposed adding matchmaker to her long list of accomplishments would please her very much.
Mirro’s swift gate and strength moved me along through the woods and back to the warrior who laid wounded in our cabin. As the wound was wrapped and Peter helped me move him to the palette we prepared for him, I grabbed a scrap of paper and wrote down what I could remember of the sign I passed that was nailed to the tree at the crossroads “Staquard est” I would ask Peter about it.