"This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius."
Stockwell's voice filled the store, and if Kitty hadn't been so genuinely freaked out, it may have occured to her that Reeve Stockwell was a really good singer. Another voice joined in and Kitty froze.
"LET THE SUN SHINE. LET THE SUN SHINE IN."
What the heck was wrong with Longworth?
Was someone passing around Kool Aid?
Kitty finally made her way to Customer Service where an astonished crowd had gathered. Reeve Stockwell had put down the phone, but was still singing, although no longer over the paging system. He'd obviously needed both hands free to wave his arms enthusiastically over his head.
Bernice Lord sidled up to her. "Told ya," Bernice whispered.
"What happened?" Kitty asked, turning to focus on Bernice, and avoid the Haight Asbury sideshow that was going on behind her.
"No idea," Bernice said. "He was in his office for a long time, and when he came out he was acting all drunk and wild. Does he drink?"
"Stockwell? Don't we all?" Kitty asked. "I don't think he drinks to extreme, but he did hit the Captain a little hard at the Christmas party last year."
"Kitty, sing!" Stockwell screamed, and Kitty jumped so that her feet left the floor. "Sing with me, Kitty!"
Kitty was horrified as she watched Stockwell try to dismount the Customer Service desk. He did so with no grace and thumped to the floor. He rose like a toddler who was just learning to walk, awkward with no sign that he'd been at all injured.
"If I might offer some insight," Wilton Scott said, appearing as if from nowhere, holding Ada MacKenzie's million-year-old brownie pan.
"I'll take anything right about now," Kitty wined.
"I trust the majority of this has been consumed by our Mr. Stockwell. I also believe our Mr. Longworth might have helped himself to a sliver or two," Wilton explained.
"The brownies did this?" Kitty asked. "How?"
"Take a whiff," Wilton suggested and Kitty did. The pan smelled like a Grateful Dead concert.
"Holy Mary Mother of God," Kitty whispered.
"I trust she's detected the presense of some Mary Jane in this confection," Wilton Scott said triumphantly.
"Some? It smells like Woodstock!" Kitty said softly, trying not to attract any more attention. "Wilton, would you take my keys and go retrieve my grandmother? I think she has some explaining to do."
"Ms. Ada? I'd be delighted," Wilton said thoughtfully.
"I am going to kill her," Kitty practically screamed, as Stockwell and Longworth played air guitar some six feet away.
"With all due respect, Ms. Kitty, your grandmother is ninety-nine years old. In the interest of your freedom, you may want to rely on the calendar to do your dirty deeds," Wilton Scott said, obviously delighted by his considerable insight.
"Yes. Thank you, Wilton. Now, if you are willing to go collect my lovely grandmother, I'd ask you to do so now. You'll find my keys in the Front End office in the top drawer of our desk. Mine have Hello Kitty on the key chain. If my truck does anything weird, which it will likely do, tap the brakes, turn off the radio, hit the left blinker, and that should get you on your way."
"Very well, Kitty. Good luck with this...... situation," Wilton offered, and Kitty smiled weakly.
"Bernice. I need your assistance shepherding Stockwell and Longworth into their offices. You watch Stockwell and we'll have Penelope babysit Longworth."
"Certainly." Bernice turned on her heel and appeared three minutes later with Penelope Ross.
"He's good," Penelope said, pointing at Stockwell, who was obviously very well versed on the art of air guitar. He was down on his knees like Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future. Longworth had tied a Tommy Tool Town shirt around his head like a bandanna, and was doing some crazy dance likely to make it rain for years.
"If I wasn't right here, I'd never believe I was seeing this," Kitty nearly groaned.
"He is really good," Bernice said, as she and Penelope joined the band. Penelope flipped over a Tommy bucket and took air drums, while Bernice launched into a wicked air violin.
"I hate to break up the band," Kitty said, "but let's get them out of sight before someone calls the police, the CDC, or Ozzy Osborne shows up to recruit you all," Kitty said, dragging Bernice and Penelope away from the mayhem, which was progressing nicely.
"I don't really want to be alone with them. What if they turn violent?" Penelope whined.
"I don't think they will, but I agree," Kitty said, as her voice started to quake.
They wouldn't, would they?
"All right. Change of plans. Let's get both of them into Stockwell's office. I don't want either of them alone with either of you. Bernice, you are the YouTube, Google, Facebook, and anything computer oriented, kind of girl. Find me something, anything that explains how to get this out of their systems fast," Kitty begged.
"Aye, aye, captain," Bernice said with a salute.
"Here kitty kitty," Stockwell slurred, and Kitty rolled her eyes. Stockwell toddled to where the three girls stood, with Longworth behind him. Longworth was playing air saxophone and singing loudly.
"Who can it be now?" Longworth sang, as customers applauded.
"Men at Work," an older customer commented appreciatively.
"We're men at work," Stockwell said, and Miles Longworth burst out in a fit of the giggles. "Kitty, would you like to join me for some Doritos? I have some in my office. They are quite delicious."
Kitty jumped at the opportunity to get Stockell and Longworth away from customers. "Of course, sir."
"Excellent," Reeve Stockwell said. "Now, one more flavor, flavor......" Stockwell struggled for the right word. "One more thing."
"What's that?" Kitty asked, as she began half dragging Stockwell along. Miles Longworth strolled along behind, gazing up at the flourescent lights as if he'd never seen them before.
"Where exactly is my office?" Stockwell asked. He was becoming somewhat more coherent.
"We're going there now."
When both men were secured in Stockwell's office, under the watchful eye of the Bernice and Penelope team, Kitty bravely ventured onto the floor toward Customer Serice. She had a feeling, "damage control," was about to become her middle name. The crowd had dispered. Mags Davidson was controlling traffic, and the remaining cashiers, minus Bernice and Penelope, were stationed at their registers.
"What happened?" Kitty asked Mags.
"I told the customers we were celebrating our individuality, and that Stockwell and Longworth were community theater actors rehearsing an upcoming show about the sixties," Mags explained.
"That is brilliant," Kitty shrieked, raising her hand for a high five, which Mags obliged.
"One problem solved. Now I just have to figure out what to do about stall four in the Ladies Room," Mags said, looking forlorn.
"What happened to that?" Kitty asked.
"All plugged up with the brownies," Mags said.
"Oh. Gotcha," Kitty said. A mere moment later, Wilton Scott walked in with Ada MacKenzie in tow. She was dressed as Kermit the Frog, and Kitty almost fainted.
"I'd say your grandmother's here," Mags said.
"The Lord is my shepherd.....," Kitty mumbled.
"Hello, dear," Ada said, her huge frog feet flopping along on the floor. Ada teetered, and Mags reached out to steady her.
"What in the Sam hell?" Kitty said. "Gran, why are you dressed in a frog costume?" Kitty asked.
"Going to a Halloween party at the Senior Center," Ada replied.
"When?" Kitty asked.
"In an hour," Ada said.
"But Halloween isn't for another two weeks," Kitty reminded her.
"We're all over eighty-five. We may not live that long," Ada quipped, and Kitty sighed.
"She has a point," Mags said.
"She always does," Kitty replied.
Kitty had called Sonny Brooks to officiate Ada's questioning, and Sonny rounded the corner and burst into great gasps of laughter.
"It's a gas, ain't it?" Ada said, as Sonny attempted to collect himself.
"It is indeed," Sonny agreed. "So, what brings you to our store today, Ms. MacKenzie?"
"My Kitty has sent for me. I trust it has something to do with the brownies. I was rethinking them," Ada admitted.
"Gran, what's in the brownies?" Kitty asked, once all three were seated behind customer service.
"Magic butter," Ada said, hanging her head.
"Magic butter?" Sonny repeated, and although he knew this was a serious situation, he couldn't help but laugh again.
"Do you realize what you've done? Mr. Stockwell and Mr. Longworth are in Stockwell's office right now, and they're both so high they can't function. Grandma, you're going to get me fired. Actually, if anyone finds out about this, I'll probably end up in jail. I brought a narcotic into the store, into my place of employment. Grandma, what the hell were you thinking?"
"I was thinking it would be helpful if that nice Mr. Stockwell wasn't so uptight. Seth told me the brownies had a pleasant mellowing effect," Ada said, sniffling and fighting back tears.
"Gran, don't cry. Please tell me who Seth is."
"The paper boy," Ada replied.
"He told you about these brownies?" Kitty asked.
"He sold me the magic butter."
"You bought butter from the paper boy?" Sonny Brooks asked, and Kitty could tell he was barely containing his hysteria.
"He's a nice boy. He is putting himself through college," Ada said.
"By selling butter made from marijuana," Kitty said through a sigh.
"Holy jeepers, is that what that is?" Ada asked, as her eyes twinkled. "I thought I recognized that smell. I only smelled that once before, at that famous Woodstock gathering some years back. My God the air was full of it."
"You went to Woodstock?" Kitty asked, and Ada smiled a toothless smile.
"I did. It was amazing. So much music, so many people, all those naked folks playing in the mud. I didn't take my clothes off, mind you. I was already getting up there in years, and these things here~" Ada said, pointing to her chest, "they don't stand the test of time. Couldn't have these ladies swinging about. I was afraid I'd end up on the cover of National Geographic," Ada explained thoughtfully, and this time Sonny Brooks failed to contain his laughter.
"Grandma, is there more of this butter?" Kitty asked.
"I would imagine, but I don't have any. I put all of mine into the brownies," Ada said. "Are you gonna have me arrested?"
"No," Sonny Brooks said.
"Good. I gotta get home so as me and Helen can pick up Maude in twenty minutes. She's going as Wonder Woman and I cannot wait to see this. Wouldn't miss it for all the tea in China. Maude's got the vericose veins something awful, and she could stand to lay off the rocky road. I imagine we'll all be thinking, 'I wonder if Maude owns a mirror," Ada commented, earning herself another outburst from Sonny Brooks.
"Ms. MacKenzie, you are an absolute hoot, but I gotta ask you not to send any more baked goods to the store. We're gonna try to keep this under wraps, get these guys feeling back to normal, and get them home."
"You have to promise, Gran," Kitty begged.
"I promise. No more magic brownies," Ada rather whined.
"Good. Wilton Scott will drive you back home," Kitty said, walking Ada to the door.
"My gracious, it's like riding with an encyclopedia," Ada said, and Kitty finally smiled.
"I know. One more thing, Gran. Where are your teeth?"
"Well, the tops are at home. Can't find the bottoms anywhere," Ada said, and Kitty rolled her eyes. "Shouldn't be an issue. Most of what we're having at the party will be pureed. None of us can digest anything anymore. You get a bunch of centenarians in the room and the farts alone could kill you."
"Okay, Gran. Go. We'll talk more later."
Wilton Scott appeared to collect Ada, and Kitty watched them leave. Ada was a sight in the enormous costume, and from several feet away, it was obvious that Wilton was talking a blue streak.
Before Kitty could turn away from the doors, she saw Tommy's regional manager, Mick Daniels walking casually across the parking lot, talking to a dashing man in a lovely suit.
All hell was about to break loose.