A note from Bright Crow: This continues the revision of a serialized adventure Walhydra first published on The Crone Thread in 1996.Part 6: The “brownie”
Walhydra glanced around to find a short, bearded, Popeye-faced fellow with a wide toothy smile and a hard-as-rocks ex-Navy handshake.
"Terry! Alright! How are you?"
Terry's wife, whom Walhydra had met a week before, nodded hello, so Walhydra asked, "And how are you? How's the raccoon?"
Puzzlement. Then a grin.
Mrs. Terry worked for Rabies Control, and she had told Walhydra about a call from someone whose pet raccoon had bit him.
"Oh," said Mrs. Terry. "He claimed he couldn't remember which pet raccoon it was. So we couldn't take the head for testing…without killing all his raccoons, that is. We had to go ahead and pay for his series of rabies shots."
Walhydra was privately happy for the raccoon. "Oh, well...," she said.
Terry looked around. "Anyone else here from work?"
"Nope. Not yet."
Terry was one of the bright, comical crew Walhydra worked with in the prison psychiatric unit. He was ex-Navy and an ex-corrections officer who had moved up to prison dorm counselor and then to clinical counselor.
He and Walhydra had become unlikely friends. Unlikely because, as a witchy faggot social worker type, Walhydra was as far from Terry's brash, high-rolling macho style as you could get and still have you-know-what between your legs.
Fortunately neither of them had prejudices sufficient to blind them to competence, intelligence and a good sense of humor in a colleague. More important, they shared that blend of utter irreverence and no nonsense compassion which is sacred to correctional staff "lifers."
Then there was their unnamed Goddess connection.
One evening when they were both at the prison on late shift, Terry had told Walhydra about the roses he was raising. He went on to talk about bird watching, animated with delight in the rare varieties he could report having seen.
As they trekked up the hill toward the parking lot, a red-tailed hawk suddenly burst forth from the juniper tree right in front of them and climbed the air to settle on top of the prison cafeteria.
Terry and Walhydra never spoke of this event to each other again, except in the most mundane terms. Silently, though, Walhydra understood it as a token of their unnamed brotherhood.
When Dr. Bob originally joined the prison treatment team, Terry became one of his favorite antagonists.
Terry had just returned from his annual gambling week in Las Vegas, and he and Dr. Bob had gotten into a debate over luck. Terry was explaining to the other staff how to watch for and ride the runs of "good" and "bad" luck on the roulette and craps tables.
Dr. Bob—of course—kept interrupting with his convinced rationalist's splashes of cold water about probability theory, random events, etc.
"Bob! Bob!" Terry finally shot back. "Ever been to f___ing Vegas? No? Then shut up!"
Dr. Bob just grinned, as he always did when challenged. And did not shut up.
They were inseparable sparring partners ever after.
Meanwhile, back at the party....
Once initial introductions had been made all around, Walhydra began to explore.
She checked briefly on spouse Jim to be sure he was happily socializing rather than in wall flower mode. Then she made her way toward the kitchen.
Here she met Dr. Bob's daughter in law, whose name she was embarrassed not to remember.
But, never mind.
The important thing was that, with no signals having been exchanged, they both recognized silently that they had always known each other, and that it needn't even be remarked on.
Daughter-in-law had that wonderful Venus of Willendorf shape. It was a shape which represented for Walhydra both the most comfortable and the most awesome form of Goddess power.
They liked each other at once, without having to say so.
About this time the imp raced into the TV room adjacent to the kitchenette and zapped the TV, to the channel for an animated dinosaur fantasy movie.
"My son," Venus of W. explained, unnecessarily.
"We've met," said Walhydra, also unnecessarily. As if that cosmic event might not have happened.
Venus nodded that she understood that Walhydra understood who and what her son was. They both smiled.
Terry was at hand, skulking casually and signaling for a private exchange.
"Do you still...you know...'smoke'?" he asked suggestively.
"Well...." Walhydra felt that adrenalin rush of unlooked for sacred moment about to happen. "I haven't in a long while."
"Listen," Terry stage-whispered. "I've got 'brownies' for you...and Jim...if you want them."
Now, it has to be explained that Walhydra was not a 1990's retro hippie, but one of the original made in America, 1960's models—granted now somewhat cleaned up and house-broken.
Walhydra also acknowledges that she more or less "threw away" ten years of her life as a pothead. This was a biographical detail which she did not hesitate to disclose to her inmate drug addict clients, who pretended that "Pot doesn't count."
She did not hesitate, either, to call herself a drug addict. Only gave thanks that pot had been "enough" for her—and that she had learned to get a spiritual high without chemicals before she moved on to more dangerous drugs.
This meant that, over the fifteen plus years since she quit smoking regularly and stopped keeping a stash, Walhydra had gradually been able to return the Weed to its proper status as a sacred plant, to be used only on rare occasions for sacred purposes.
Walhydra's rule of thumb was that she never sought the stuff out and only accepted it if the place, the time and the people were "right"—according to the leadings of the Spirit.
Spirit was leading.
"Well," she said, "Jim doesn't use the stuff, but I'll be happy to. Let me just warn him first, so he'll know what's going on...and be ready to drive me home later."
Jim looked dubious.
Walhydra did not take that as a "No." She did reassure him as honestly as she could that everything would be all right. Then she stepped aside to prepare.
Mother Father God."Ahem...," she thought to herself. "Perhaps that was a bit heavy, but it feels right."
In the name of the Christ, I affirm that this is a safe and blessèd gift from you, for celebration and for the working out of your desires through my life.
Guide and enlighten me. Guard that whatever arises, I do no harm to others or to myself.
I thank you for this gift.
In Christ's name I affirm that these things are already accomplished according to your will.
And so it is.
In a side room, Terry handed Walhydra the eucharistic brownie. They grinned and parted—after Terry had giggled and said, "I ate mine an hour ago, and it's kicking in...now. Primo!"
Walhydra now wandered to the refreshments table, casually hoping no one would notice that there were no other brownies there.
She smelled that memorable burnt odor, which was usually enough to make her look around hungrily—recovering druggie or not—whenever she caught a whiff of it on the prison yard.
She tasted the bitter, dry tang of the herb, in what the uninitiated would have mistaken for a spoiled batch of brownies, a waste of good chocolate.
Synapses and neurotransmitter receptors were not fooled, though, and they perked up at once. Oooooh, yesssss...!
"Time for my concert," Dr. Bob called from the ancient grand piano in the living room.
[to be continued]