Night Of The Cookie

Stir-crazy! That's what I am. Don't get me wrong, I love my work and I enjoy the company of my partner. But have you ever tried to spend three whole weeks locked up on the same train with James West? I'll answer that for you, no you haven't and chances are you never will either. But count your blessings and run with it. I lost my mind doing it. Yup, I went officially crazy! How, you ask? The first time I'm alone, the first time in three weeks that I finally have the train to myself, I decide I'm going to entertain Dr. Miguelito Loveless. That small little man with the incredibly long fingers and annoying laugh. I don't think I've ever met anyone who could laugh like Miguelito Loveless.

You see, Jim and I had stopped about ten miles from a town to get supplies. We both wanted to go, but naturally someone had to stay at the train, and of course that someone ended up being me. We had tossed a coin, to see who was going to go, but secretly I think Jim cheated.

"No matter," I thought with a shrug, "If he's going to go, then I'm just going to make the most of my time here alone." How I relished that thought, and as Jim rode away with a smug look, I was able to return it.

So, my time alone, how did I spend the first hour? Cleaning that train from top to bottom. James is the messiest person I have ever known. With that job out of the way, I, with an exhausted but happy sigh, sank into the couch in the clean parlor, and finished my newspaper. That lasted until midafternoon. I tried entertaining myself in my lab, but for once in my life couldn't think of a thing to do. So back to the parlor I went, and suddenly I had the most overwhelming desire for something sweet, sweet and chocolaty.

"Why not? I have nothing else to do." I thought, and off to the kitchen I went.

Cookies sounded great, easy, and you could eat them as soon as they came out of the oven. So I dug in to my recipe book from my Great Aunt Maude and found absolutely nothing. Not a single one in there had anything to do with chocolate.

"Well fine!" I huffed. "I'll make my own," and with that I donned an apron and plunged into the flour.

I was just beginning my experiment when a sudden sound caught my ear. Intently I listened, and my heart quickened as I did so. "Short stride, that of a child's, uneven walk, as if they had a limp, trying not to snicker," I mumbled, nocking each thing off in my head as I went down the list.

"No way! I know Loveless so well, that I can guess him by his walk?" Slightly unnerved by that thought, I glance around the kitchen for something to defend myself with, but soon realize that it's already too late for that.

Turning back to my work, I waited until I knew Loveless was in the room, and about to make his move.

"Hello, Doctor!" I greet warmly without turning around. I can feel his frown on my back.

"Mr. Gordon!" he whines. "This is infuriating! How did you know it was me?"

I turn smiling, holding a spoon in one hand and an egg in the other. "Loveless, you're too noisy. If you ever hope to sneak up on a Secret Service agent, you have to do something about your tread." Voltaire is standing just behind the Doctor, bigger than ever, and just as dumb.

Loveless' face falls and he puts on a pout. "Really, Mr. Gordon, you bore me."

"Do I? Well, the feeling's mutual."

The dwarf continues to frown and look about the room, "Where is your partner, Mr. Gordon? It is he I have come to see."

"Jim? He's not here, and I don't expect him until tomorrow."

"Oh?" Loveless looks truly disappointed. "I guess you'll have to do." He motions to Voltaire, but I stopped him.

"Please, Doc. Can't this wait for another day? I just spent three weeks cramped up on this train, and I'm really in no mood to play one of your games, so can't we call it a truce for a day?" I plead wholeheartedly.

Loveless' face is priceless. "What do you propose I do? Just go home?" he stutters, unsure if he heard me right.

"You could, or you could help me with an experiment." I smile recklessly.

"What experiment?" His face is somewhat interested.

"Cookies! I'm going to make a batch of cookies, and I'm going to make them chocolate and then I think I might throw in some chocolate chunks for good measure," I muse turning back to my bowl and cracking my egg into it.

I can feel the Doctor's eyes on my back, and for one agonizing moment I'm unsure what he'll do. The Doctor's liking for sweets wins out, and the next thing I know he's by my side, with his sleeves rolled up, ready to helping me create a double chocolate chunk cookie.

The whole situation is rather comical, and I had to control myself before I burst out laughing. After all, I don't want to make Loveless mad.

"What have you done so far, Mr. Gordon?" Loveless asks.

"Nothing yet, besides crack this egg in this bowl."

Voltaire comes to have a look, and nearly knocks Loveless from his chair.

"Oh, go outside and play!" he snaps. "We'll call you when they're done."

I love how he used the term we'll, as if we're a team. I smile slightly, but quickly hide it.

"Well if we're going to attempted to make them from scratch, I suggest we start with the dry ingredients," Miguelito states in his scientific voice.

Makes sense, and I tell him so. He smiles in return, and I can tell his ego was inflated. Digging into the pantry, I find the cocoa and flour. Loveless measures out a cup of flour and dumps it into his bowl. He stares at it for a moment, then with a shrug he throws in another cup. I grab the flour sack and put it back in the pantry. When I return he has already thrown in a cup of cocoa and is reaching for the salt.

"Just a little of this," he tells me. "It's only for flavor."

I roll my eyes and hold back a sigh, "How long have I been cooking?"

He seems to understand my irritation, and for the first time in my life, I heard Miguelito apologize, and he means it.

"I am sorry, Mr. Gordon. I'm so used to talking to people like Voltaire that I sometimes forget everybody isn't as dumb as he is."

"I can understand that," I smile. "So now what?"

We turn our attention back to the problem at hand.

"I've sifted flour, cocoa, and salt together, Oh, I was wondering if you had any baking soda?" He looks at me expectantly, and I stand there and ponder for a moment.

"I think I might have some in my lab," and I dash off.

Proudly I return and brandish a bottle of baking soda. Loveless almost jumps with excitement.

"You know, Mr. Gordon? This is the most fun I've had in years."

I smile, "This is the first time I've ever made cookies with an enemy." My eyes twinkle with amusement.

To my surprise Loveless laughs, "That is a first for me too."

Grabbing up the bowl with the egg in it, I toss in another. Then grabbing the sugar I put in the same amount as flour. Loveless watched pondering.

"We need some butter," he sighs.

"Loveless," I smile, "today is your lucky day." Opening the cabinet under the sink, I produced the last of the butter I had.

"Good!" he smiles and spoons it in with my eggs and sugar.

Then as I whipped that together he finds a chocolate bar and chops it up. After throwing his chocolate into the batter, I take a taste.

"Mmm!" I smile. "That is the best cookie I've ever had."

Loveless greedily spoons some out for himself and tastes. "This is very good!" his eyes light up.

Batting his spoon away, I grab a cookie sheet and dish the batter onto it. "Why don't you make some coffee, and I'll finish these?"

"Oh, but Voltaire doesn't like coffee."

"Well, I think I might have some lemons."

He starts going through my cabinets looking for them. Then with a cry of satisfaction, he produces them, and goes about the task of making lemonade.

One hour later the three of us are seated around the dining room table munching on cookies and drinking lemonade. Loveless is humming and swinging his legs happily, Voltaire is stuffing his face full. I've counted eleven cookies so far, and he's still eating. Loveless looks at him annoyed.

"That's quite enough!" he snaps.

I smile; Loveless never could stand being out done.

Slowly he rises and reaches for his coat. I rise as well, and so does Voltaire.

"Thank you, Mr. Gordon, for a wonderful time," he says slowly as if he's trying to make up his mind.

I stand there poised, unsure if I should run or fight. The dwarf shrugs.

"I'm not really in the mood anymore," he finally says with a smile. "Come, Voltaire."

They head out the car door, and I follow.

"Goodbye, Loveless," I smile.

"Send my regards to Mr. West," he says as he climbs into his buggy.

"I will," I reply as I ponder why I didn't hear his buggy approaching. "Loveless," I finally decide with a shrug.

Voltaire cracks the whip, and the odd couple starts on their way. I watch them, from my perch on the "porch" as they scurry across the prairie, now brown with summer. The sound of another wagon catches my attention, and I turn to see Jim just topping a hill.

"He's early," I muse as I watch the sun set.

Jim parks the wagon next to where I'm standing and jumps down. I glance over my shoulder, and I see Loveless disappear over a hill.

"You're early!" I call.

"Yup," he smiles. "I decided I could make it back to the train tonight. Thought you might get lonely."

His eyes twinkle with humor, and I sigh. It's going to be a long trip back to Washington. He bounds up the steps and into the parlor. Three glasses are still sitting on the table, along with a plate of cookies. Stopping in mid-stride, he turns to me eyebrows raised.

"You had company?" There's a slight hint of irritation.

"Would you believe me if I told you the truth?"

He nods his head.

"I made cookies with Loveless, and Voltaire ate just about all of them." I replied surveying the almost empty plate.

Jim shrugs, "Well if you don't want to tell me…" He stuffs a cookie in his mouth and smiles. "Hey Artie! These are really good!" He grabs three more and heads to his room to wash up. Two minutes later he pokes his head back in the room.

"Loveless? Did you say Loveless?"

I smile, "Yes. Do you like them?"

"Artie, you're crazy! You just spent the whole afternoon with Loveless, and the two of you didn't kill each other?"

I nod.

"I don't think I'll ever understand that man." He shakes his head and goes back to his room.

I smile. It's going to be a long ride back to Washington.