Three Ingredients II – 8: Lettuce, Shrimp, Hot Peppers

young Lucy blueThe other day I sent Pip to give everyone a “heads-up” that I wasn’t sure I could do this weekend’s episode… due to the unfortunate combination of my clumsiness and lots of stairs inside and particularly (the culprits in my misadventure) outside my home…

The story nagged at me though, so I’ll try to provide a quality episode.

However, I’m going to give my post-tumble achy self a little break, and challenge any or all of you — to leave a comment with a link to a favorite recipe that uses one of this week’s three ingredients!

This time the “ingredients” are from fellow blogger and LinkedIn member, Phuong Callaway.  You might also remember her collection of cookbooks from the conclusion of “Three Ingredients: Cookbook-1.”

Without further ado, here is Episode-8.  Bon appétit!

8.  Lettuce, Shrimp, Hot Peppers

With Unearthly

“Andy!  Annn-deee!” someone screamed hysterically, and after a moment I realized I was the one screaming.

Vintage world around us magI clamped my mouth shut.  Echoes of my own voice rang in the empty vastness of the abandoned factory.  I was alone.

Whether by accident or by design, the ghost-riders had taken Andy.  Caleb the spirit cowboy yelled at them to stop before he also disappeared, but it had done no good.

As I tried to collect my wits, I noticed a wooden box that bore a faded image of a head of lettuce.  I thought absently that it was a good thing the produce was gone; else the spoiled odor would fill the place.  But then again, maybe it rotted away so long ago that even the smell was gone.

The sudden stillness of the building felt unearthly.  I sat down on an old crate, not giving any thought to how dusty it was.  Had it really been only a little while since we drove up to the abandoned factory?  The words Andy had spoken at that moment came back to me and I shivered.

“Yeah, it’s like the hand of Fate making sure things stay in balance.  If one thing or person leaves a realm, then another must take its place,” Andy had said.

Had the hand of Fate reached out and grabbed Andy to make sure whatever mystical realms stayed in balance?  Or what might happen if someone were to escape death?  Like Marshal Myrick — he died briefly and was revived by Dr. Veronica Vale.  Could that have disturbed a cosmic balance of some sort?  Or maybe the presence of one of the ghosts upset the balance of things.  Did Daisy or the Maestro have to “move on” before Andy could come back?

As if on cue Maestro Martino appeared.  He was bubbling over with excitement.  “Signorina,” he cried.  “A wondrous thing has happened!”

I looked at the ghost chef blankly, still reeling from the drama that took place only a moment before.

“I have been given a reprieve!  My curse is cut in half!” Martino exclaimed joyously as he all but danced around me.

Yes, I should have been happy for the ghost chef.  I should have congratulated him.  buster n lucyHowever, my worry for Andy was so great that I barely heard Maestro Martino’s happy announcement.

Maestro lifted me off my feet in a great bear hug.  I thought of Andy being pulled into the air by the ghost-rider’s lariat and I shuddered.  The ghost chef must have felt my reaction because he put me back down hastily.

“Oh forgive my excitement Signorina,” he apologized.  “I did not mean to be improper,” the spirit said and then glanced around as if he had only just noticed the location.  “But where is the young Signore?”

“They took him,” I said, distracted by the chaotic tumble of thoughts rolling through my head.

The Maestro looked a question at me, but instead of answering, I asked some questions of my own.  “Maestro, where is the wooden owl clock?  The one you had to bind yourself to?  And how were you able to find me?”

He chuckled.  “Signorina, I told you. I am one powerful poltergeist!” he said merrily.

Maestro Martino reminded me that he could be away from whatever object to which he was bound for limited periods of time.  He said that he sensed the strong supernatural activity relatively nearby and it attracted him.  Then he also sensed my presence in the midst of it, so he came quickly.  I marveled at how powerful he truly must be to pick up all those things.  I could understand that he might be aware of ghostly activity, but I thought it was particularly extraordinary that he felt my mortal presence.

I told him about the Devil’s Herd and the ghost-riders.  “Is there anything you can do to get Andy back, Maestro?” I pleaded.

Cowgirl valentineThe spirit chef paced the area where the ghost-riders had charged after the red-eyed cattle.  Then he moved to a spot behind me and made tut-tut sounds.

“One of them was here, strongly,” Maestro muttered.  “He was most interested in you, Signorina.”

Then he came close to me and put out his hands, palms toward me as if he could feel something in the air around me.  He tut-tutted some more.

“What is it?” I wanted to know.

“Can you not see it?” he asked but then seemed to remember himself.  “Of course not.  My mistake,” he said and wriggled his fingers.

I marveled to see a multi-colored aura all around me.  There were bright horizontal yellow-green bands around it at my waist and shoulder.

“A poltergeist made physical contact with you, no?” he asked but it didn’t sound like a question.

In answer I told the Maestro about Caleb the ghost-rider and how he pulled me to safety as the Devil’s Herd thundered past.  His thick eyebrows went up in an expression of curiosity that was accompanied by another tut-tut sound.

“So, a ghost who is cursed for his cruelty during life saves an innocent bystander…  This is most intriguing,” he said.

Martino put his hand to the places where Caleb had stood.  Then he apologized and placed his hand at my waist.  After a second the Maestro gasped.

“Repentance?” he said in an astonished tone.  “Remorse and repentance?  I’m sure I feel these things from your ghost-rider.  It must be one powerful curse that afflicts him.  I am amazed that the curse has not been lifted.”Vintage ghosts several

I looked at Maestro Martino sadly.  He had never shown anything but kindness to me.  Yet he said he was cursed also.  Always one to put my foot in it, I asked about something that was none of my bees wax.  “Then shouldn’t your curse be lifted as well?  You said just now that it was cut in half.  Why didn’t they… whomever, just take it away?” I asked and then blushed at my temerity.

He gazed at me with the saddest look in his eyes…  Even Wriggles the pug couldn’t look that sad.  Then he abruptly smiled and chuckled.

“Ah, but you see, Signorina Pip, I have no remorse for the things that got me thusly cursed,” he admitted and spread his arms in a big shrug.

Maestro went back to the spot where Caleb had stood when he whistled at me.  His entire body started to vibrate in a frightening way.  He waivered from transparent to solid and back again, sometimes blinking out entirely.  It was like a visual version of the static on the police radio.  There was also a low discordant hum that set my teeth on edge.

The spirit chef loudly clapped his hands together.  To my astonishment, Caleb the cowboy appeared.  At first he seemed confused, but when he saw me he grinned.  I ran toward the two ghosts.

“Where is Andy?  Caleb, do you know where he is?  Can you bring him back?” I asked in a jumbled rush.abandoned factory

“Simmer down now little filly,” he said.

The ghost-rider looked a little unsettled, and I supposed he might well be.  After all, he had just been plucked out of whatever and wherever without so much as a please or thank you.  Caleb turned to Maestro Martino.  Some kind of acknowledgment or recognition seemed to pass between them.  I had the feeling they had just gauged each other’s power.

Caleb took off his Stetson and scratched his head as if he didn’t know what I meant.  However, I was pretty sure he was playing with me.

“Oh, you mean the little shrimp that was here with you?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said bouncing on the balls of my feet.  “Andy!  My friend, the one the other ghost-riders took!”

He chuckled, but I thought there was sadness in the cowboy’s eyes.  “I’m sorry ma’am.  I know who you mean.  It’s just… well you’re so cute,” he said though it only sounded half apologetic.

Caleb seemed to be considering whether or not he would be able to do as I asked.  He looked around the factory floor where we stood.

“We’ve been here before,” he said sounding a little troubled.  “Me and the other riders, I mean.  But it doesn’t feel like it’s anywhere out west,” he added and I told him that we were in Savannah, Georgia.

“This has to be a strong place, to draw the Devil’s Herd so far away,” he said in a speculative tone.  “Something else happened here too.  I think that’s why the place is so strong…” his voice trailed away.

“A nexus,” Maestro murmured.

Moss on live oaks SavannahI didn’t understand the term, but my only concern was for my missing friend.  I told Caleb about Daisy and what she had said about something horrible that she couldn’t remember happening in the factory.  Caleb nodded as if what I said made perfect sense.

“Sometimes it’s best not to remember,” the cowboy said in a flat voice.  “Tell her that — your Daisy.  Tell her it’s best, even in death, to forget some things.  Those boys… it will catch up with them eventually.”

“What boys?” I asked.

“Boys… men now,” Caleb said with a faraway look in his eyes.

It was as if he was looking at something only he could see.  However, when I glanced at Maestro, I had the feeling he was looking at the same thing Caleb saw.

“The boys who were here on the day your Daisy can’t remember,” Caleb answered after a moment.  “They did something so bad that it attracted the ghost herd and the cursed riders.  We were here that day.  It scared ‘em off, but their damage was already done.  Daisy saw us, but all things together, she blocked out all the memory,” he said.Tom Mix poster

“You mean the ghost-riders tried to save Daisy?” I asked.

“No ma’am.  It had nothing to do with helping anybody.  The herd and the riders, we’re sometimes drawn to places where something awful has happened.  And those boys definitely did something horrible.  Those boys…  They’re not young anymore.  And they haven’t paid for what they did to her.  That’s what’s bothering Daisy, ma’am,” Caleb said.

His explanation seemed disjointed and difficult to follow, but Maestro nodded in agreement.  I, however, felt confused.

“Do you mean this is where Daisy died?” I asked in a whisper.

Caleb shook his head negatively.  Maestro gave a slight movement of his head too.  Apparently they both were able to see the same past event.

“Maybe.  Maybe not,” Caleb said.  “But there was cruelty here.  It’s not something a lady should have to remember,” he added and would say no more on the subject.

“Now listen here —” I began, ready to rail against the idea that gender should have the least bit to do with what anybody should about anything.  However, that was a ridiculous concept to most non-flappers.  It would have been even stranger in Caleb’s day.  Besides, there were more urgent things to address.

“What about Andy?” I asked, and I wondered if I sounded as distraught as I had to my own ears.

“Don’t you worry none, ma’am,” Caleb said with what was probably meant to be a reassuring smile.

The ghost-rider’s smile fell short of giving comfort.  It didn’t reach his eyes.  I was sure he had doubts about being able to help Andy.  The smile faded completely when he saw my face.1920s PhotoPlay

“Well, the truth is ma’am,” he paused and ground his boot against the floor.  “It would take a lot more power than I have,” he said.  “But you never know.  I’ll try my best.”

Maestro Martino unexpectedly grabbed Caleb’s hand.  The ghost chef put his other hand on the cowboy’s shoulder.  At first I thought it was an ordinary gesture of respect.  However, Maestro started to glow.  Then his hands seemed to merge with Caleb and they both became translucent.

A blinding white glow suffused the Maestro.  Soon it covered Caleb too.  The white light became so bright that I couldn’t see anything.  I shielded my eyes to no avail.  I turned my head and closed my eyes.

I heard a fizzing sound followed by a pop.  The light was gone.  I opened my eyes.  At first all I could see were spots.  Then I realized that Caleb the cowboy was gone.

Maestro Martino looked absolutely spent.  He plopped down on a crate.  The ghost chef dusted off part of the top and chuckled.  I noticed foreign lettering on the crate.  “Peperoncino,” it said.  Was that Italian?

He sighed.  “Ah… a bit of home.  Peperoncino.  Hot peppers.  Alas, home is as far away as ever,” he said sadly.  “But all is well.  It was the right thing to do.”

Bird Girl Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil“What do you mean, Maestro?” I asked.  His unexpected behavior was really worrying me.

“As you probably suspected, I leant the ghost-rider enough power to help the Signore.  But the only way I could do this thing was to also give him his wish,” Martino said.

I was so worried about Andy that I was feeling impatient with the cryptic answers from the spirit.  I tried to control my tone. “What wish?” I insisted.

Then I remembered Caleb’s words.  “I know I did some bad things during my life.  Some truly horrible things,” he’d said, shaking his head remorsefully.  “I only wish I could be allowed to make up for it, to redeem myself somehow.

“Maestro…” I began in an awed voice.  “You didn’t?  Oh, but you did,” I said as comprehension dawned.  “You gave Caleb the chance to make amends for the things he did in his lifetime?”

The ghost chef nodded but did not speak.

“And in doing that, you somehow gave up the time that was going to be taken off your own curse,” I said.

***

Copyright © 2014 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

 

 

Three Ingredients II – 7: Baby Bok Choy, Barbecue Sauce, Aluminum Foil

Cosmo cowgirl vintageIsn’t it just the berries when with no planning at all, things just come together? Everything about our 1920’s serial is unplanned “panster” fun — even the timing of when you all send ingredients.  So I was tickled when I learned that the next set of ingredients coincided with something important for the reader who is featured this weekend.

Mary J McCoy-Dressel, who sent the ingredients for this episode, heycowboy_medjust happens to have just released a new cowboy romance novel — and you are among the first to know!  Sheiks and Shebas in Mary’s books are “Gentlemen cowboys (with a touch of bad) and their feisty heroines,” as the author describes them. So get ready for the sequel to Howdy Ma’amthe long awaited Hey Cowboy.  

Furthering the synchronicity, the fourth Saturday of every July is the National Day of the American Cowboy. I know this is unnecessary, but indulge me.  With ghosts in the story, and the cowboy references… I just can’t resist.

Right up to the very last minute, I didn’t know what I was going to do with this set of ingredients. I’m not sure what had me scratching my head more, barbecue sauce or baby bok choy.  Oddly enough, I wasn’t worried about aluminium foil. So I started writing this introduction rather than the story…  Then, after I went to bed, I remembered the Jar of Spooky Things. Naturally, with Ghost Riders in the Sky still playing in my head, I took a random ghostly ingredient from the song, rather than from the jar.

Now, hang on tight.  Here we go by the seats of our pants again!  Bon appétit!

 

7.  Baby Bok Choy, Barbecue Sauce, Aluminum Foil

With Ghost-rider

“So Andy, tell me all about Hollywood!  All the crazy stuff with the haunted wine bottle from the old factory and the ghost chef… All that started up before we ever got to talk about your new home,” I said to my old friend, Andy the Astronaute-man.

Pug episode-7Andy Avis was one of my group of friends back in a tiny town near Santa Rosa Sound, Florida.  I nicknamed him the Astronaute-man because he wrote science fiction stories and even screenplays.  I expected him to begin by telling me about his work at the movie studio, but apparently food was on his mind.  He told me about his favorite restaurant, a Chinese place.

“They really put on the Ritz!  It’s an amazing looking restaurant.  And they make this baby bok choy dish, with garlic.  I had never had it before, but it’s turned into one of my favorite foods,” he said enthusiastically.

I told him about Alastair and Arabella Wong and their restaurant, Wong’s Chinese.  “Oh yeah, he said.  “That’s the lady you said owns Wriggles, the little pug dog.  Mrs. Peabody is just dog-sitting until she gets back from vacation, right?”Vintage Asia mag

“Yes, that’s the one.  Funny isn’t it, the way this kind of thing seems to happen?” I commented.  “Alastair and Arabella leave here to visit California, while you come from California to here.”

Andy chuckled.  “Yeah, it’s like the hand of Fate making sure things stay in balance.  If one thing or person leaves a realm, then another must take its place,” he said, talking like he would in one of the science fiction stories he wrote.

The black Dodge Roadster puttered along toward the abandoned factory.  Andy had put the tan colored ragtop down when we started out, but he looked up at the clouding sky in concern.  “Do you think we should stop and put the top up?”

The old factory that Andy had bought on behalf of a studio executive was only a little further down the road.  “We’re almost there.  Why don’t we just take our chances?” I suggested, knowing Andy was probably more concerned about me getting rained on than himself or the automobile.

“So why in the world would Manny Mayer the Movie Maker want an abandoned factory in Savannah, Georgia?” I asked Andy about the executive.

Cowgirl valentineAndy Avis gave an exaggerated shrug.  “I sorta wondered that myself.  I was bragging.  Goading him a little you know.  He can be kind of a blowhard.  So I was telling him about how much better the barbecue sauce is here in the south, and how much better it is than anything he’s ever tasted.  So maybe he wants to open a huge barbecue place,” Andy said jokingly, which earned him a look from me.  “Okay, so maybe not.  To be honest, I didn’t want to ask too many questions, since he — or the studio was paying for my trip.  To me, it was as much for pleasure, for rest and relaxation, as for business,” he said and gave me a quick one-armed hug while he drove.

Something about his tone and a sad look in his eyes made me concerned.  “Are you okay?  Out there all the way across the country, by yourself?” I asked.

Andy grinned like his old self.  “Hollywood is the cat’s pajamas!” he said, though his smile waivered a little.  “But I admit it’s a big adjustment.  Everything is so different, whether I’m at the studio or just walking down the street.”

The sun came back out, clearing away the clouds.  Soon we were at the abandoned building.  It predated the Civil War.  The factory-warehouse was a sort of hideout for blockade runners back then.  We knew there might be all kinds of interesting stuff still inside because it was supposed to be haunted, and that would have kept away many thieves and vandals.

However, there wasn’t much of anything within plain sight.  There were plenty of crates
and even old trunks.  Plus the windows didn’t let in much light.  We had our work cut out for us, 1920s cowgirl grapefruit adbut we were armed with flashlights and dust-rags, and Andy had a crowbar for opening crates.

After a few minutes of stirring up dust, we spotted an old document lying on top of a tall crate.  We moved sturdy looking smaller crates to stand on, so we could see the top of the tall wooden box.  The paper was crumbling with age.  We were afraid it would fall apart into useless bits if we picked it up.  “If we just had something to put it in,” I muttered half to myself.

“It’s probably just a shipping manifest, but you never know.  Heck, even that could be interesting.  Oh!” Andy exclaimed.  “Granny is always determined to send food back with me, so I bought some aluminum foil… but I forgot to give it to her.  It’s out in the roadster.  That would work.  We can make a foil envelope around this paper.  If we’re real careful, it should hold together,” Andy said and headed back to the Dodge.

As I watched my friend’s form disappear into the dank building, I gulped.  Knowing I was alone in the abandoned factory gave me a creepy feeling, even though I knew Andy was only a shout away and would be back quickly.  Then a long roll of thunder filled the building.  It sounded close.  I realized Andy would be a little longer, since he’d need to put the top up on the ragtop two-seater.  I wondered if I should go help him.

Tom Mix poster“Just stay there, Pip!” I heard him call back to me, though he was out of sight.  “Sounds like the rain’s coming back.  There’s no point in you getting wet too.  I can put the top up on the roadster,” he said, voice fading into the distance.

A low whistle caused me to turn with a start.

“Well now, ain’t you a pretty little filly,” said a man wearing a Stetson hat.

He looked like he’d walked out of a Tom Mix movie.  Actually, he was tall, well-built, and a real looker.

“You startled me,” I gasped, stating the obvious.

He looked abashed and removed the Stetson with a sort of bow.  “Howdy, ma’am.  Pardon me. I seem to have forgotten my manners.  It’s been awhile since…” he began but his words trailed away as thunder rumbled again.

The room shook and it felt like the thunder was right beside me.  I felt the man’s hand around my waist, and he roughly pulled me against him.  My breath caught in my throat as I gazed up at his bright eyes, which shone with an emotion that I couldn’t define or even describe.  Suddenly a couple of huge red-eyed cows careened past.  They had long shiny black horns that missed me by an inch.  I realized that one of those horns would have gored me if the cowboy hadn’t pulled me aside.

“What… was that?” I said, pulling away from him.

Then I noticed a large lariat was in his hands.  I was sure it hadn’t been there before.1933 Macleans

“Dang it all…” he muttered and then sighed with frustration.  “I wouldn’t have caught them anyway,” he spoke words that rang of defeat.

He shook his head, looking after the longhorn cows, which disappeared as suddenly as they appeared.  Then he turned back to me. “Caleb Colman, ma’am,” the cowboy said and put out his hand to shake mine.

I might have giggled about the name Caleb Colman the Cowboy, but I didn’t.  Because the moment I shook his hand was when I realized how cold his touch really was.  I’d felt it all the way through my dress too, when he pulled me out of the way of the cattle.  I knew what he was.  By then, you’d think I’d have been used to meeting ghosts, but I introduced myself awkwardly.  He finished what he had been about to say before the red-eyed cows interrupted us.

“It’s my curse.  Me and all the riders.  We chase that herd of red-eyed cattle, but we never get any closer to catching ‘em.  And we’ll chase them ‘til the end of time,” The ghost-rider said seeing the expression on my face.

Caleb bowed his head, Stetson hat in hand. I didn’t know what to say.  Nothing seemed sufficient compared to the thought of an unwilling and futile chase that went on forever.  There was deep sadness and regret in the ghost-rider’s eyes.

Wild west weekly“I know I did some bad things during my life.  Some truly horrible things,” he said, shaking his head remorsefully.  “I only wish I could be allowed to make up for it, to redeem myself somehow.”

That was when everything started to happen at once.  I heard a distant rumble like thunder.  I felt Caleb’s cold hand at my waist again.  Andy called my name.  He had just come back into view, at the far end of the poorly lighted factory floor.  The room began to shake violently.  A dozen red-eyed cattle with long sharply pointed black horns charged past.  The Devil’s Herd was headed straight for Andy.

Caleb yelled at Andy to take cover, as he pulled me to the floor and out of the way.  Even if Andy hadn’t been frozen in shock, he wouldn’t have had time to move.  Immediately behind the cattle were two more ghost-riders, their horses snorting fire.

Their lariats spun circles of burning light as they tried to lasso the cattle.  One cowboy’s lariat went around a set of shiny black horns, but the beast managed to shake it off before the ghost-rider could tighten the rope.  The lasso went back into the air — and landed around Andy!

Glowing-Longhorns copy

As if by magic, a fire-snorting horse appeared and Caleb leapt into the saddle in a single motion.  He charged after the other ghost-riders, yelling at them to stop.  However, the lasso tightened around Andy, lifting him into the air as the riders thundered past.

Then with the sound of a thunderclap and a flash of fire, they all disappeared.

***

Recipe:  Stir-Fried Baby Bok Choy with Garlic

by Lillian Chou on Epicurious.com

Baby bok choy

Recipe and Photo Credit:  Epicurious.com

Yield:  8 servings

Active time:  35 min

Total time:  35 min

Ingredients

1/3 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

3 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil

1/4 cup thinly sliced garlic (about 8 cloves)

2 pounds baby or Shanghai bok choy, halved lengthwise

2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil

Equipment: a well-seasoned 14-inch flat-bottomed wok with a lid

 

Preparation

Stir together broth, soy sauce, cornstarch, and 1/2 teaspoon salt until cornstarch has dissolved.

 

Heat wok over high heat until a drop of water evaporates instantly.  Pour peanut oil down side of wok, then swirl oil, tilting wok to coat side.  Add garlic and stir-fry until pale golden, 5 to 10 seconds.  Add half of bok choy and stir-fry until leaves wilt, about 2 minutes, then add remaining bok choy and stir-fry until all leaves are bright green and limp, 2 to 3 minutes total.  Stir broth mixture, then pour into wok and stir-fry 15 seconds.  Cover with lid and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender, 2 to 4 minutes.  Stir in sesame oil, then transfer to a serving dish.

Chef’s  note:

Baby bok choy can be washed, dried, and halved one day ahead.  Chill wrapped in paper towels, in a sealed bag.

***

 Copyright © 2014 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

 

 

 

Three Things Serial: 1 – Oscillating Fan, Scent, Cowboy

????????Here begins the “Three Things Serial Story.” Mary kicked things off with Oscillating Fan, but to keep things consistent right from the start, I needed to use three things.  So I took two more “things” from Mary’s last two blog posts: Scent and Cowboy.

The Three Things Serial Story

With “things” sent from readers everywhere

Chapter 1

Oscillating Fan, Scent, Cowboy

Tic, tic, tic, grunt.  Tic, tic, tic, grunt.  The noise chipped away at her preoccupied mind while she absently gazed at the quiet street below.  It was Sunday, so hardly anyone was out.  A little boy in a cowboy costume came around the corner.  He pushed himself against the brick wall of the building across the street and peeped back around its edge at his unseen playmate.  Then he jumped out with arms spread like a bear to startle his friend, and quickly disappeared out of sight.

Tic, tic, tic, grunt.  Tic, tic, tic, grunt.  The sound of the fan drew her attention away from the window.  Some would find the low repetitive noise hypnotic, perhaps even relaxing.  To her, however, the sound was becoming downright annoying.  A dust bunny skittered out from a corner, propelled by the breeze of the oscillating fan.  The stirring air brought a familiar scent to her nostrils and she looked toward the door.