HYACINTH and ORCHID in
“THE CAJUN COUNTRY COOKIN’ CAPER”
A Short Story by James D. Pratt
Copyright 2010 James D. Pratt
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On the outskirts of St. Samara (a city that looks suspiciously like New Orleans) sits Strangis Mansion, the centuries-old ancestral home of a proud aristocratic family whose roots can be traced back to the royalty of pre-revolutionary France. The mansion is filled with treasures and artifacts accumulated by generation after generation of the adventurous Strangis bloodline. Its most interesting feature, however, is one kept secret from the rest of the world. Hidden behind a secret panel is an elevator accessible only through a six-digit code entered onto a keypad. The elevator leads to a single destination, a large subbasement. Covertly added to the mansion and barely a decade old, the subbasement is filled with state-of-the-art technology that would put even the most advanced police crime-lab to shame. One corner of the room is dominated by workout equipment and it is here that we find two women facing each other across a large wrestling mat. Both are dressed in purple tights and leotards and are obviously in great shape, but the similarities end there. One is a statuesque redhead in her early thirties, the other a petite teenage brunette. Silent, they eye each other warily. Then Deidre Strangis, the tall redhead and latest in a long line of Strangis daughters to take up the mantle of crime-fighter, smiles, drops into a fighting stance, and says-