The plan was set!  Lorraine would make a start at getting even with Slim Pickens for breaking her heart. She called Stephanie at Chifferobe and they made a plan to meet at Hopey’s after the shop closed to pick up ingredients for the cookies they would make to get even with Slim. They would lace Slim’s favorite cookies with Ipecac, a syrup meant to induce vomiting, to give Slim the ride of his life.

That afternoon they found each other in the cafe section of Hopey’s. Stephanie had a cup of coffee in hand, and Lorraine ordered a cup as well, tempering it with skim milk and stevia so as to avoid extra calories. And since she had been so good about avoiding the half and half, Lorraine bought a Toblerone bar and ate half of it as she and Stephanie strolled through the Hopey Food Paradise. Both women loved Hopey’s for the surprises they might find on every aisle of the store. Stephanie had bought Romanoff Caviar for $1.99 and truffle oil at a bargain price which she doled out sparingly. Lorraine loved the imported Italian pastas and cans of organic tomatoes she got for a song. The women were on a mission to get the ingredients for the hermit cookies, but they still went up and down every aisle loading up their shared cart with goodies: Fromage D’Affinois for $1.99, quarts of organic Greek yogurt also $1.99, Irish butter, Brioche loaf, pate, and lots and lots of bargain wine.

When they got to the baking section of the store, they opened bags of flour to sniff for freshness, and gathered nuts, raisins, and molasses for the hermits. Even though Hopey’s will give money back on spoiled food, the women didn’t want to get held up on their evil plan and made sure that everything they bought was fresh. The bargains at Hopey’s came at a price. Sometimes the expiration date had long passed, so they had to be careful. They didn’t want Slim to sniff the cookies and detect a problem before he pigged out on the Hermits and learned of the surprise inside.

Back at Stephanie’s house, they were greeted by the dogs: Joey on the couch on the porch, wagging his tail,  and Pearl gallumphing up and knocking Stephanie to the ground in her joy at seeing them. They entered the kitchen, got two wine glasses from the cupboard, and opened a cold bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. Cheers!

Looking up a recipe for Hermits in a Maida Heater cookbook, they drank wine and measured ingredients, getting sloppier and sloppier with the measuring as they drank. They wanted to make sure that the cookies were sweet enough to disguise the nasty taste of the Ipecac syrup, a foul-testing syrup. Stephanie still had some in her medicine cabinet, leftover from when Natty was a baby and would put all kinds of crap in his mouth. Now Ipecac is discredited as an antidote to swallowing poison and it is hard to find it. This was a good thing, so that Slim would not know what hit him once the vomiting started. He probably had never heard of Ipecac. But he did love Lorraine’s cookies, especially the raisin and walnut Hermits.

They tripled the recommended dose and added it to the recipe with extra brown sugar to cover the taste. They read the instructions on the dusty bottle they found at the back of the medicine chest:  Milk or milk products may prevent this medicine from working properly, and carbonated beverages may cause swelling of the stomach. If vomiting does not occur within 20 to 30 minutes after you have taken the first dose of this medicine, take a second dose.  They added the rest of the bottle to the recipe.

Once the cookies came out of the oven, they drank more wine waiting for them to cool enough to package them. The question remained: how to get the cookies to Slim and get him to eat the entire box at one sitting. Also, Lorraine didn’t want to be in vomiting range once the fireworks started, and she didn’t want to feel compelled to help Slim clean up his mess. The solution they came up with was to buy two bottles of Champagne (very carbonated!) and wrap them up with a pretty package of cookies in the same gift box. Knowing swinish Slim, he would drink both bottles in one sitting and then devour the cookies. Oh, he deserved this treatment for the amount of pain he had inflicted on Lorraine!