Wednesday stirred the cauldron widdershins, a serious look on her face. "Grandmama?"
"Yes, child?" Eudora looked up from her recipe book, firmly keeping one bony finger pressing the words on the page to keep them from running amuck. You don't want to know what happens when Eudora's recipes rewrite themselves. The black plague started the last time they got frisky.
"I've thought about it, and I don't really like Pugsley."
"Of course not, child. He's your brother."
"If I could turn him into a toad, I think I could quite like him. I could carry him to school in my pocket, and frighten Mrs. Beasley." Wednesday's eyes were calm as she gazed off vacantly, a small almost smile on her lips.
Eudora grunted as she tried to decipher her handwriting. She'd written 'Head of 'something' Soup' back when she'd told Elizabeth that marrying to please your people just gave them a foreign king, whereas a homebody queen could take care of things quite well on her own. Spelling was optional in those days—so was it 'cabbage' or 'Babbage'? It makes quite a difference between a vegetable and a genius. Genius is less likely to give you gas. "Turning people into toads to frighten your teacher is wrong, Wednesday."
"Oh. Well, could you show me how to make him a lizard?"
"That's not the point, darling," Morticia said as she swept into the kitchen and took the ladle from Wednesday. "You should be able to frighten her by yourself," Holding her trailing sleeves carefully out of the way, she tasted it and said thoughtfully, "More seasoning, I think, Grandmama."
"It's already got two boxes!" Eudora protesting, holding up a cardboard box bearing a cartoon of a rat with crossed out eyes.
Morticia took the box from her and sniffed delicately. "They've changed the formula. There's no arsenic at all."
"Drat. So they have," Eudora agreed after she took a much less gracious sniff. "Wednesday, dear, do you still have your chemistry set?"
"Yes, grandmama, but I've run out of nitroglycerin." Wednesday had helped out in the kitchen before and was accustomed to Grandmama's flexibility—the neighbors were never willing to lend a cup of eye of newt so you had to make do with what was on hand. Sometimes it was Pugsley's turn in the kitchen, but he was building a pyramid in the back yard today. That sort of thing took time. It wasn't so much getting the big blocks in place, it was putting all the death traps in neatly and testing them out on his schoolmates.
Morticia nodded. "I did think you could have used just a smidgeon less when you blew up City Hall, Wednesday." Morticia smiled. "Still, it was a holiday, and what's the Fourth of July without exploding politicians? That reminds me, I have to send my best black silk umbrella to the cleaners."
Eudora tasted the contents of the cauldron and shook her head. "Vulture stew just isn't the same without that kick."
"The postman kicked Thing last week," Wednesday said in a thoughtful way. She didn't like the postman. He'd smiled at her and called her 'miss'.
Morticia and Eudora exchanged glances. "He wouldn't fit in even the large stock pot," Morticia finally said ruefully. "We'll have to settle for jalapeño peppers. It's wrong to waste half a postman."
"It's not like the old days," Eudora said as she began chopping peppers. Some of them screamed when the knife came down, the rest just cringed. "In the old country we had kettles large enough to boil anyone!"
"Even big, fat people?"
"Anyone," Eudora said absently. She didn't feel that screaming peppers were quite enough. Perhaps there was some deadly nightshade in the sachets Morticia had given her last All Hallow's Eve. Dried wasn't as potent as fresh, but...
"Even Santa Claus?" Wednesday asked idly, as she munched on a raw pepper, ignoring the writhing and shrieking.
"What?" Eudora dropped her knife and whirled to look at Wednesday, shaking her finger in annoyance. "Who told? I mean... you're too old to believe in Santa Claus."
"Grandmama," Morticia said sternly, "tell me that you didn't boil Santa Claus?"
Eudora hastily closed her recipe book which was helpfully turning to Reindeer Dumplings to be added to Santa Stew. "It wasn't my fault! If something falls down a chimney into the stock pot, it's got to expect to be boiled!"
Wednesday blinked. "But if you ate Santa Claus, then what happens to all the letters children write to him?" Wednesday's letters to Santa had been more along the lines of blackmail. What sort of grown man watches children while they sleep? She slept with a knife under her pillow on Christmas Eve, just in case he decided it would be better to get rid of her than to continue bringing her beheadable Barbie and her Chamber of Horrors playsets and the like.
"The Yeti took over. He's big and hairy and likes snow." Eudora grabbed the writhing peppers and threw them into the pot.
"Does he also like cookies and milk?"
"Of course, he does."
"What kind of cookies and milk?"
"Yak milk and spicy snowdrops." Eudora looked at Morticia who was tapping her foot. "Didn't you have a report due on the Spanish Inquisition?"
Wednesday nodded solemnly. "Yes,. I'm calling it 'Fun with Thumbscrews and Racks'. Mrs. Beasley didn't care for the technical diagrams, so I have to redraw them without the blood." She turned and left the kitchen.
Morticia looked at Eudora. Her arms were crossed and her expression stern. "You lied. The Yeti eats goats. And slow Himalayan goat-herders."
"Hard to get goat in this neighborhood, and I haven't seen Himalayan goat-herder at the butcher's in years. I didn't want to disappoint the child."
"And you always said you only liked lean meat."
Eudora shrugged. "I was expecting Gomez at the time. A woman gets cravings."
"Ah." Morticia glided over to the cauldron and nodded. "Much better. I don't care for overly sweet things, do you, Grandmama?"
Their eyes met in a moment of perfect understanding. Morticia smiled reminiscently. "The Easter Bunny needed salt."