The Perilous Peanutbrittle Problem
by A.j.


"Look. Lacey." Wendy squirmed carefully towards the refrigerator. This was rather difficult given the sea of vegan peanut brittle between her and it. "You know I love you and I appreciate that you are getting in to the spirit of the season-"

"Yule is cool!" Came from the other side of the kitchen island. Also at floor-level.

"Yule is cool, but Lacey? Did you not think something was a little wacky with your recipe when it asked for three gallons of organic, low-sugar corn syrup instead of, oh, I don't know. Three pints?"

"I know, I know, I'm sorry," Lacey's syrup-spattered head popped up over the counter just as Wendy had to throw her arms and butt in all different directions to keep her balance. Their illegal sublet (shared with several other young, photogenic artists... except Pip) had seen its share of extreme messes in the past. When they'd first moved in, Wendy'd had no idea just how messy a job 'confrontational spoken word performance artist' was, but after two years of fake blood, food coloring, and Pollock-esque experimentation with pudding, well. She was willing to - as an observer - admit that it was pretty damn messy.

That being said, the peanutbrittle was currently giving Pennsylvania horse auction debacle of 2007 a run for its money.

Lacey was on her feet, if barely, given the sounds of her hemp-Keds scrabbling for purchase on the linoleum. "You know I get distracted when the mail comes in. Especially when we're expecting baked goods from your Tia Lupe. You know how I feel about her baked goods."

"The heavens open up shine down in their glory upon her carob-rum balls, all the while angels on high blow their horns to herald the arrival of her lemon bars." Wendy changed tactics and tried skate-sliding towards the refrigerator, and thus, the bucket of cleaning supplies that lived on top of it. She just knew she was going to have to sweet talk Chuck from Home Depot into ordering her another industrial-sized barrel of Goo-Be-Gone. Maybe she could get away with giving it to Lacey for Christmas. "I'm not sure who was more excited about Tia Lupe getting diagnosed as lactose and gluten intolerant, you or my mother."

Lacey's laugh was loud, falling in the lull between "Blue Christmas" and "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire" in their Perry Como Does Christmas! CD. "I love how competitive your mom and aunts are about their baking."

"You're allowed to love it. You don't have to spend hours on the phone reassuring each of them that, yes, their nut loaf is far superior to someone else's nut loaf, and no, I'm not just saying that to make them feel better." The skating worked a little too well. With an 'oof' Wendy did her best to wrap her arms around the fridge and stay upright. "You know I gained ten pounds on that damn nut loaf last year alone."

"Hey, you're the one who kept eating it, and that's all I'm saying."

"Fair point. Now... holy buckets, Lacey!" Wendy eyed the wreckage of their kitchen. Corn syrup was spread liberally across the floor, radiating from the impact site next to the island. Lacey had been in the process of pouring the vat - where she'd gotten the gigantic pot and how she'd managed to lift said item Wendy wasn't willing to contemplate - into the trays of recycled parchment-paper-lined cookie sheets when she'd lost her grip. Luckily, she'd waited until the candy syrup wasn't boiling, otherwise they'd be making their Yule-themed trip to the emergency room early this year. "I have no idea how we're going to clean this up."

"I'm really sorry, Dub-Dub." Lacey bent down and picked up the giant pot. Well, tried to. It took a few yanks and made a rather loud slurping noise before it finally came away. "The bell really did startle me."

"I know, but this. Yikes. We are so going to need a bigger mop." Wendy eyed their regulation-sized mop bucket. "And mop bucket."

"I think we've got bigger problems, best friend of mine." The seriousness in Lacey's tone made her refocus. Lacey hadn't let go of the pot yet and was making a serious face at the monstrosity of over-sized kitchen equipment.

"What's wrong?"

"Pick up your feet, Dub-Dub."

Wendy shot her an incredulous look. "And slip-slide onto my behind? No thank you. I have some hope of salvaging these pants."


"Fine, jeez, what is your-" she tried picking up her feet. It didn't work. "Oh, hell."

It was then she noticed that Lacey's fingers were nearly white, trying to peel themselves way from the pot.


"I followed the directions!"

"For what, airplane glue!?"

"What, that isn't an ingredient in peanutbrittle?"


"Kidding, kidding! I'm sorry! Just. I don't know. Can you move at all?"

Wendy yanked hard at her now-stuck shoes. She was in her work boots, which could normally resist everything up to and including corrosive acids and Fatboy Burgers' grease buckets. No dice.

"No dice. We're going to have to call someone, aren't we?"

"It'd probably faster than trying to eat our way out." Lacey's smile was apologetic and hopeful. And completely transparent.

Wendy glared. "You don't have your cell do you?"

Lacey shook her head. "Even if I did, my hands are stuck to the pot."

"Was this a plot? To get my boss over here?"

"It was not a plot to get sexy bossman over here!"

"I only believe you because your attempts at deception usually end with you looking like you're going to pass out from all of the blood in your body relocating to your cheeks. God, this was my first day off in like a month!" Wendy dropped her head to her chest and let out a whine. To be fair, she loved her job. Fighting evil and monsters and things had been a great addition to her life this year. Because of it, and her boss, she'd met lots of interesting people - including Tyler - and done lots of amazing things; even if most of them were borderline illegal in thirty seven separate solar systems.

But seriously, first time in a month. Not to mention all the new insults this was going to open up for Ida.

"Just call him up and have him bring some freaky solvent or gadget that instantly cleans our kitchen and de-brittles most organic surfaces. Including my hair."

Trying not to think to hard about the major mental handwaving Lacey was doing - Wendy was sure that the Middleorganization had more than a few gadgets or solvents that could and would dissolve the super-sticky corn syrup, but was a bit uncomfortable that Lacey could and was making that mental leap - she sighed and resigned herself to Ida's scorn and mocking. Her watch made its normal beeping noise as she hit the 'call' button. "Hey, boss? I've got... I've got an exotic problem."