White Chocolate and Victorian Cheesecake

by Diane Echelbarger, unaffiliated

Time: 9:30am
Place: NatPack Hostel

Karen Weston answered the knock on the door. A delivery man with "Speedy Courier" printed on his cap smiled at her. "Natalie's Bed and Breakfast?" he inquired politely.

Karen frowned slightly, then nodded. He handed her a large flat envelope and a clipboard. "Sign here, please."

She signed, and he departed. As she closed the door, she glanced down at the envelope in her hand. It was for Jennie Hayes, and there was no return address.


Time: 15 minutes later
Place: University of Toronto Chemistry Dept

A delivery man (who would have been instantly recognized by Natalie, to whom he had delivered a package in War4) approached Jennie where she was bent over a Liquid Gas Chromatograph.

"Jennie Hayes?"

"Yes?" She put down the sample-loaded syringe.

"Sign here, please."

She signed, and he handed her a small box, about six by eight inches square and one inch deep, and departed.

Curious, she unwrapped the parcel and found a box from Chocolate Caper, the truly decadent confectionary only minutes from Diane E's home town. Cautiously, using forceps and protective gear, she opened the box.

Inside was a piece of paper, folded in half. Printed on the front in large, clear letters were the words "You could have trusted me...."

Still using the forceps, she unfolded the paper. The interior said, still in the same able-to-be-read-even-without-your-glasses type, "Now you know how I felt last War! Diane E."

With unabated caution, she removed the paper from the box.

It was full of white chocolate truffles, the only kind of chocolate Jennie could eat.

Before Jennie could decide if her friend would be angry enough to commit the near-sacrilege of adulterating Chocolate Caper chocolates, another messenger entered the room.

When the sign-and-handover procedure was completed yet again, Jennie was left with a plain manilla envelope.

She opened it cautiously, and slid the contents out.

It was another envelope, white this time, with the following inscription: "The orginal has already been delivered. D.E."

Suddenly uneasy, Jenny upended the thing over the lab bench. A color xeroxed copy of a photograph fluttered out.

A photograph of herself, in the Victorian bathing dress Diane had made her for the Rose Festival several years ago. The navy-blue cotton bodice hugged her generous curves and minimized her waist, the short pantaloons stopped just below the knee, and her calves were encased in and accentuated by demure white stockings. She was posed in the grotto at the Boerner Botanical Gardens, smiling flirtatiously at the camera while pretending to dip one stocking-clad foot in the stream in front of her.

And over this decidedly racy (by Victorian standards) image was inscribed, in vivid white ink, "To Screed-- Hugs and kisses, Jennie."

[War Stories]