Double Double Cross & Sasha’s Linguini

Sasha was back. She was born in North Louisiana but for the past several years had been an expatriate living in Malta. She returned to visit from time to time. Now she and Darcey were busy in the kitchen.

After a cold, miserable winter with snow almost every day, it was finally warming. The snow was melting. Trent decided to go for a walk to enjoy the bare sidewalks.As he reached a corner, he spotted a face he had seen before. Adrian Rutherford. A killer of the worst sort. He knew the Anchorage cops were constantly on the lookout for the man. He was sitting in his car, a woman standing at the door talking to him. Trent hugged the wall, listening. “I don’t want to kill him,” the woman whined. “I can’t do it.””You don’t have to,” Rutherford said. “I’ll take care of him You just hold him until I get there.” He pressed a semi-automatic into her hand. It had the distinctive shape and gold color of an FN Herstal Tactical 509 nine millimeter. Holding it with two fingers as though it was something dirty, she dropped it into the bag hanging from her shoulder.

Rutherford roared off in his car before Trent could go after him. Instead he called homicide detective Lee Mortimer at APD.”An old friend of ours, Adrian Rutherford, is back in town,” Trent said when Mortimer answered the phone.

“Where can I find him?” Mortimer said.

“I’m not sure,” Trent replied. “I can only tell you he’s working with a woman. No doubt they have a target in mind. Also no doubt someone is going to wind up dead if we don’t get to them first.”

Trent went quickly upstairs to their penthouse on the top floor of the building, calling out to Darcey as he entered. Leaving Sasha in the kitchen, Darcey responded to the urgency she heard in his voice. She found him in the room in which they kept their weapons. He had selected an FN Herstal Tactical 509, a nine millimeter.

“Arm yourself and keep Sasha busy,” Trent said.

“Are we expecting trouble?” Darcey asked as she selected another version of the FN Herstal Tactical, this one unusual in that it used .45 caliber cartridges rather than the usual nine millimeter common to semi automatics. She slid it into a drawer while Sasha was busy at the stove.

“Just spotted a guy who always means trouble,” Trent said “I already called Lee Mortimer. Not sure what’s going to happen. I just know we better be ready.”

Trent brought the black Escalade from the garage with little hope of catching Rutherford. He drove in circles for a while before giving up and returning to their building. And then he got lucky. As he entered the building he ran into his friend and neighbor Guy Stern, a man Trent knew to be wealthy. Today Guy was as pale as a ghost. Guy barely spoke. He held a small box in thus hands

“Good afternoon, Guy,” Trent greeted hi

Guy only nodded.

Trent ran to the Escalade, anxious to follow the women. He was behind them all the way to the edge of town. Eventually they stopped in a small secluded house. He heard the shots as he got out of the Escalade. He was enraged when he thought his friend had been killed.

He dialed Mortimer, speaking as quietly as he could, telling him he was sure someone had been murdered. His FN Herstal in hand, Trent stepped inside the house. To his surprise, his friend Gus was bound but alive. Rutherford was holding a box of obviously expensive jewelry in his hands. The body of Rutherford’s companion lay dead. Trent had no doubt Gus would be next.

“On your knees, sleasebag,” Trent said, or you’ll get the same treatment your friend got!”

Rutherford swung around to the sound of Trent’s voice, measuring his chances. For a moment Trent thought he would try it with his Smith and Wesson Governor, that unusual revolver that will accommodate both .45 caliber cartridges and .410 shotgun shells. That explained the two shots Trent heard. Rutherford had given his partner one of each. He hoped Rutherford would try him. But he waited too long. APD Homicide Detective Lee Mortimer stepped into the room. He saw the body of Gayle Cobb, Rutherford’s unfortunate partner,”You’re lucky this state doesn’t have a death penalty, Rutherford. “As it is, you’ll be on a walker if you ever get out of jail.”Meanwhile in the kitchen, Sasha was regaling Darcey with the adventures of an expatriate, her weariness of Malta, and her plans to move to Germany. As they talked, Sasha guided Darcey through the dish she had made up one lonely night on Malta.

Sasha’s Linguini

1/2 pound linguini, cooked according to the diections

Far more spinach than seems called for, washed and torn into pieces

1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

7 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

5 cloves garlic minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup white wine

grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Meanwhile in the kitchen, Sasha was busy rinsing and tearing spinach leaves. She was working feverishly with far more energy than one would have thought necessary. But she knew when they were tossed in the pot they would shrink to nothing. And so they did.

Under Shasha’s direction, Darcey put half a pound of linguini on to prepare as directed.

Sasha chopped seven sun-dried tomatoes and minced five cloves of garlic. Satisfied that the spinach was rinsed and ready, she tossed it into a bowl, along with the chopped sun-dried tomatoes and the minced garlic. .

Add the spinach and sun-dried tomatoes to a pan along with a quarter cup of white wine, and the lemon juice. Stir the spinach and sun-dried tomatoes. The spinach will quickly shrivel. Add the garlic toward the end being careful not to overcook it.

When the linguini is done, use tongs to drop it into the spinach and sun-dried tomato mixture. Top with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

As they ate, the ever observant Sasha asked if, next time, she could have a gun, too.

Always a Lot of Good in Oyster Artichoke Soup But Can the Same Be Said for People? (Part Two)

Sabine Parish Sheriff Jack Blake was enjoying a Saints game on a Sunday afternoon. There were pleasant sounds coming from the kitchen. Sounds of food being prepared by people who knew what they were doing. Jack’s wife, Jennifer, was making oyster artichoke soup under the guidance of their friend, Sasha. The sheriff had been friends with Sasha’s parents when they were in college. A generation later, Sasha had befriended Jack and Jennifer’s son when they attended the same university as had their parents.

After living in New Orleans for several years, Sasha now spent most of her time in Europe. But whenever she came home to visit her family, she always made time for a day or two in Sabine Parish with the Blakes.

Now, while he waited for the soup like a Percheron after a hard day’s work, he thought about his recent conversation with Darcey Anderson. She had expressed concern about a Mr. Candy and his daughter, Lottie. They concerned her, she said, because they seemed overly friendly, especially toward Kelli.

He hadn’t mentioned the report he had received only that week regarding the disappearance of three children and their mothers. In all three instances the mothers were single parents and wealthy.He didn’t want to alarm Darcey unnecessarily. He decided to make a phone call and see if he could find a connection. But first, as the two women came out of the kitchen to place a large stock pot and three bowls on the dining table, he would enjoy Sasha’s oyster artichoke soup.

Sasha’s Oyster Artichoke Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 shallot, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon Creole mustard

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 14 1/2 oz can artichoke hearts

1 14 1/2 oz can artichoke bottoms, chopped

2 pints oysters with liquor

2 cups heavy cream

salt & pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a stock pot. Saute’ the shallot in the hot oil. Add the garlic and cook for only a minute or two before stirring in the Creole mustard. Mix well.

Pour in the wine. Let it simmer until reduced by about three-quarters.

Add the chicken broth, artichoke hearts and bottoms along with the oysters and their liquor.

Sasha’s Oyster Artichoke Soup

Finish with the cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Simmer until the edges of the oysters begin to curl. Don’t over cook.

As Sasha would say, Bon Temps!