Fun with Imaginary Friends

I tap the keys of my computer, waiting for inspiration. You see my muse, that sniveling little coward, has forsaken me for the party next door. I am about to give it all up, and apply to be a Walmart helper when suddenly the phone rings.

Banging my head into the lamp on my desk, as I reach for the phone, it dawns on me. I’d forgotten all about our fall cookie swap. Blame it on too many hours at the computer.

We’d agreed to spend a day together at Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother’s house baking cookies and catching up on our adventures. Each one is to bring her special cookie recipe. 

“Get a move on,” Little Red Riding Hood yells in my ear. “We’re parked in your driveway waiting for you.” I flip my computer closed and go out to see for myself. 

There they are. 

Miss Piggy just off her second European tour and anxious for a little R&R is seated in the front with Little Red Riding Hood. Betty Boop, looking totally curvaceous in a skin-tight red dress, waves from the back seat. I hear the excited screech of Dora the Explorer, her perky face grinning at me through the glass of the rear seat window. Last but not least, Carmen Sandiego, her hat tilted just so, her body glowing after all the beach vacations she has during her travels as a detective, is sitting next to Dora. 

 “Wait for me,” I yell, as I grab my cookie recipe, shut off the computer and set the alarm system.

As you all know Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother has left for her heavenly reward, thanks in no small part to Little Red Riding Hood’s misplaced trust in the big bad wolf. But that’s a story for another day. 

There isn’t a lot of space in grandmother’s kitchen, so we have to take turns cooking. We start with Little Red Riding Hood because she knows her way around her grandmother’s kitchen. 

Once settled in and comfy I place my investigative reporter’s hat firmly on my head, and ask her why she played friendly with the wolf and let him take the food to her grandmother’s house, exposing granny to the horrors of the wolf.

As she beats the batter for her wolf-burger cookies, she offers little by way of explanation except that she felt sorry for the hungry wolf.

Word to the wise–oh silly girl–watch out for the next wolf in your life!   

Just as Little Red Riding Hood is finishing her cookies, Miss Piggy pushes her way into the narrow kitchen, tosses her mane of golden locks and with a loud harrumph, she says, “I’ve always LOVED Kermit! Sure, I’ve been pursued by other more eligible men, but Kermit is mine, all mine…a little timid, but oh so sexy! My cookies,” she flounces past me and puts her recipe on the counter, “are called ‘It’s not easy being green’ and they’re named just for Kermie who is always talking about his plight as a frog.” 

“Is that right?” I ask, dumfounded by her comment.

“Of course! I first met Kermit and the other Muppets when I won the Miss Bogen County Beauty Contest. Oh, my, but I was a beauty back then…still am.” She rolls her eyes and winks. 

Suddenly Miss Piggy stops stirring and waves her pinkies at me, licking each as she checks them out. “This green dye is SO hard to get off my lovely piggy fingers.” 

We listen fascinated by Miss Piggy’s stories of her days on the Muppet Show, her exploits as one of the world’s most famous pigs. When she finishes baking her cookies, she has to lie down on the living room sofa, exhausted from all the effort.

Next up is Dora the Explorer, otherwise known as Dora Marquez, a world traveler and champion of anyone who needs her. And so sweet! She sidles up to me, clutching her recipe. “I hope you don’t mind, but I really need to get these cookies made as I’m about to catch a flight to Sydney Australia. I know it’s short notice and all, but I really must go. I brought my favorite cookie recipe, which comes from my gram—the best cook I’ve ever known. I changed the recipe in honor of my dear friend Boots the Beagle. I call them Red Boots and they’re made with bananas and real oats just the way Boots likes them.” She gives me a demure grin as she begins to organize her ingredients.

“But Dora, why do you travel so much?” I ask, fascinated with the way she dumps all the ingredients in the bowl together, flour wafting around her head.

“I love to travel, and so many people need me, especially with all that’s going on in the world. But I’m not the only one who travels. Carmen Sandiego spends a lot of time away.” She points her spatula at the woman perched on the edge of the sofa listening to Miss Piggy’s story that seems to be made up mostly of hand gestures. 

“I suppose…you’re both famous for helping people in trouble.”

“Yeah, except I’m not a detective like Carmen.”

“But you’ve both helped a lot of children learn more about the geography of the world, right?”

“We sure have.” Dora’s smile is adorable. “So, Stella, what kind of cookies are you making?”

“After everyone is finished, I’m making Bear Paws. They’re my favorite molasses cookies made the way my gram made them.”

“We’re all lucky to have had grandmothers who loved us,” Dora says, her voice sugary. 

“So true,” I offer feeling a special kinship with Dora.

Just then, Betty Boop appears at the door, struggling under a large cardboard box. “Help!” she exclaims, her Betty Boop eyes wide. “I’ve got to hurry!  I mixed my cookie dough before I left home because I can’t stay long. My agent called and I’m to be recognized by the Academy as the sexiest cartoon star ever! I can’t wait! And oh! The dress I’ll need…why I will be shopping for days.” She puts the box down on the counter with a thump. 

“Congratulations, Betty. This is so exciting for you.” 

“No kidding!”

I help her open her box and pull out a package of sparkles and a can of Betty Crocker chocolate frosting. “What’s the story on your cookies?”

“Oh, they’re nothing special, just sugar cookies coated with chocolate frosting with sparkles. I call them my Bimbo cookies.”

“That’s because you’re a bimbo,” chimes in Miss Piggy who hauls her butt off the sofa and prances over to the kitchen.

“I’ll have you know they’re named for my boyfriend whose name happens to be Bimbo.”

“You’re putting me on!” exclaims Miss Piggy.

“Okay, girls, we’re running out of time,” I say, hoping to avoid an argument between Betty and Miss Piggy. Last year they got into a hair-pulling match that nearly ended our cookie making time together. “We still have Carmen Sandiego’s cookies….”

“Not to worry,” Carmen says in her deep throaty tone, her signature hat tilted at a rakish angle on her head as she puts down her phone.

“Is it true you just got back from Kenya?” Dora asks eagerly from her perch on the stool next to the counter. 

“I did, and it was pretty scary. My gumshoes and I were trying to solve the mystery of who the bandits were that were trying to link up with the pirates in Mozambique.”

I want to hear more about her adventures, but there isn’t much time. I clutch the edge of the counter, ready to hear more cookie stories. “Carmen, tell us what cookies you’re making today.”

“Well, you know those wonderful gumshoes that I work with are always hungry. No matter where we go in the world, or what case we solve, they are always after food. So, while I was in Scotland solving the mystery of the missing tartan, I came up with a cookie recipe made with Gummy Bears.” She pulls a large bag of Gummy Bears from her satchel. “I call them gumshoe cookies. I presumed the other ingredients…you do have them, don’t you Little Red Riding Hood?”

LRRH, as she’s known to her friends, nods.

“This will be our trial run for Christmas baking, right?” I ask, feeling so much happier with friends rather than my lonely computer. 

They all nod and smile.

“Gonna have the biggest sugar high of my life this Christmas,” Miss Piggy says.

“Absolutely,” the others chime in.

Who needs a muse when you got friends like this?

Just to reassure you dear reader, I did get back to my writing. And the result is the first two books in my upcoming series available soon. Watch for it.

Stella

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