Tremendous Potato Urgency

One morning Tiny Enid awoke from uneasy dreams with a sense of tremendous urgency related to potatoes. She was based in Winnipeg at the time, and had taken a room in a motel of undoubted seediness. “I could not pinpoint the reasons for my sense of breathless urgency on that grim March morning,” she wrote, many years later, in her Memoirs, “All I knew was that potatoes had something to do with it.”

The heroic young adventuress eschewed the motel breakfast, a Winnipeg-style egg ‘n’ dough platter, sneaking out of a side entrance to avoid the man with the twisted lip at the front desk. The city was still new to her, and she had yet to locate any of the potato-related premises she felt such a tremendous urgency to visit. She limped across the plaza to her rented booster car and threw off its tarpaulin in one elegant sweep. Tiny Enid had been practising her elegant sweeping arm movements for some weeks, and the superb elegance with which she swept the tarpaulin off the car won her a round of applause from a nearby line of patient pastry persons queuing outside a pastry shop.

Before revving up the engine of her booster car, Tiny Enid tramped over to the queue. She wanted to find out if she would sense an aura of potato urgency here, so close to her motel. It was possible, after all, that among the pastries sold by the pastry shop could be pastries with a potato filling. Was that urgency that cracked her awake a premonition that a Winnipeg-based criminal mad person had poisoned the potato pastries? If so, it would make sense for her to be bang on the scene rather than having to speed around the city, lost, unnerved, and not knowing quite what she was seeking, nor why. So many of the adventures of the tiny adventuress had begun from these moments of curious intuition.

But it was still early in the day, and the pastry shop proprietor had not yet hoisted the shutters, hence the queue. Tiny Enid was hopeless at small talk, and she was at a loss how to engage with the still-clapping queue which was so impressed with the elegance of her sweeping arm movements. She pulled her sprightly black gold green crushed crepe hat down low, and pretended an interest in pebbles piled close to the pastry shop shutters. If her instincts were correct, she must be first into the shop when the shutters went up, before a poor innocent Winnipegite was felled by a poisoned potato pastry pie. Tiny Enid was a girl of impeccable manners, and she flushed with shame in anticipation of having to push aside the unkempt hobbledehoy who was first in the queue and who looked as if he had not eaten for a month.

Luckily, as the pastry shop proprietor appeared with a hook on the end of a wooden pole with which by some shenanigans he hoisted the shutters, there was a distraction. Over by the statue of prominent Winnipegite Elias Conklin, who had been the city’s mayor in 1881, a swarm of killer bees appeared out of the blue and set upon a defenceless old woman wearing her widow’s weeds. The massed buzzing of the bees was nauseatingly loud, and the reaction of the pastry shop queue was instantaneous. Even the starving hobbledehoy forgot his grumbling belly as the line broke up, sprinting over to the Conklin statue flailing impromptu bee-scarifiers.

Our tiny heroine took the opportunity to sneak into the pastry shop. Thumping the proprietor in the guts with her girly bludgeon, she incapacitated him with a few kicks to the head, swiftly located behind the counter every single piping hot pastry with a potato ingredient, and stuffed the lot of them into a canvas sack. She dragged the sack over to her rented booster car, chucked it into the boot, and sped away, just in time, for the killer bees had been confounded, the widow woman was safe, and the patient pastry people were heading back to the pastry shop with coinage clutched in their fists.

An hour or so later, having dumped the canvas sack of potato pastries into the river at the Forks, where the Red River meets the Assiniboine, and then driven around until she found verdant parkland, Tiny Enid slumped onto a tuffet, dusted off her sprightly black gold green crushed crepe hat, and lit one of her high tar Paraguayan cigarettes. Soon, she knew, she would have to hunt down the criminal mad person and bash them about, but for now, the world could take a pause, and she could sit on her tuffet and smoke and watch the coots and moorhens for whom a Winnipeg pond was home.

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