Pearl the dog and I are on our way to Pearl’s Busy Nest. It’s Monday, but I don’t have to go to school today. It’s a holiday for someone’s birthday, but I can’t remember who. Even on holidays, I go get Pearl before and after school and take her for a walk and then drop her off at the Busy Nest or Pearl the human’s rooms above Sanderson’s Store. She’s always right there waiting for me. She’s the kind of dog that appreciates everything. Maybe it’s because she lived in a hotel with an old man before he gave her to Pearl and then died.
Well, we’re not there yet, but we almost are.
“Hi Grace, Hi Pearl, we’re here, are you?”
I heard a lot of noise and when Pearl and I got out of the little hall, I found out why. There was a line of people clear out the front door and down the street. Grace was handing out something to the people at the end. They looked at it, and then left. Even from a distance, you could tell they were bummed out.
Pearl had herself seated on a comfortable chair next to the cash register. Beside her, was a big water cooler. She was pouring water into her Elixerfixer bottles as fast as she could.
Wait… Why would all these people pay good money to buy water out of a water cooler, even if it was in a blue Elixerfixer bottle? The bottles were a lot smaller, too.
Where were all those out of towners coming from? I decided to go ask Grace what she was handing out to those sorrowful people who were turned away.
“Grace…what’s going on here? Where did all these people come from?”
“Lan sakes, Ellie.” Grace was so out of breath she could hardly talk. “I guess they all heard through the grapevine how Pearl’s Elixerfixer cures everything from a bad back to a broken heart. We’ve even had some success with… it’s just too much, stuff.”
“It’s just too much, stuff?”
“Yes..too much eating, too much drinking, too much gambling, too much gossiping, and even too much biting your fingernails. Just look at my nails, Essie. I used to bite them off down to the quick. I haven’t chewed on them for a month, now. Uh, oh…I guess I need to get after them with an emory board. They look unkept. Do you think they look unkept, Ellie?”
“What were you giving those people that made them leave, Grace?”
“Well, Pearl wrote a bunch of numbers down on these papers so they’ll know where they are in the line-up when we get more Elixerfixer concocted. We’re making the concentrated kind, now. Kinda like grape juice that’s condensed. You have to add water to it. Usually enough to make two quarts.”
“I know that, Grace, but how did I miss so much? I was only gone overnight?”
“Have you met Pearl, Ellie? Oh, there she is hollering for us to get inside the store.
Pearl was at the door to wave us in, and then she shut and locked the door, before she pulled all the window shades down. I couldn’t really get a take on her mood.
“Come over here,” she said. We have to make a plan. It’s only 9:30 a.m. and we’re already out of Elixerfixer. I don’t have enough flat 7up, apple cider vinegar, and apple cider to mix up some more. Well, get Pearl the dog and let’s go to Pierre. I’ll put a sign on the door.”
When we were on our way to Pierre…again, I asked Pearl how all of those people waiting in line found out about her Elixerfixer. She didn’t have to say a word.
I saw the sign.
Pearl was making so much money off her Elixerfixer, she kind of let it go to her head. She was the queen to women who desired to be full of vim and vigor. It was more like full of vim and lots of vinegar. Men whose wives wanted them to quit some of their two much stuff, bought Elixerfixer, too.
The women all want to dress just like Pearl. Look at these three. I think they’re from Pierre or Ft. Pierre. I’ve seen them in the Red Owl Store before.
Pearl the dog, Grace, and I have become Pearl’s subjects. She talked the Red Owl Store into delivering her “ingredients” all the way to Murdo. The Jones County bank sends two people to accompany Pearl to the bank everyday, and the price of concentrated Elixerfixer is going up by the day.
Next week, Pearl’s niece twice removed is coming to town for a couple of weeks. They say she looks just like Pearl…Like we need another Pearl in town. Poor Grace has chewed her fingers down to the nub again. She must have put too much water in her bottle of Elixerfixer.
Pearl’s light therapy customers have gone by the wayside, and some of them are going downhill fast.
Don’t worry about it too much. Grace, Pearl the dog and I have a plan.