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Canoli walked along the riverside with Pizelle. She listened to the wind along the water. She came upon the house of her friends from Venice Elementary. She walked up their walkway and rang their doorbell. Mika answered the door and Declan ran up to the door soon after. Declan is Mika’s younger brother and Mika was eight years old. They showed Canoli their computer game that they were playing. They said “Look we made a Minecraft Pizza Parlor that you can get to on a roller coaster!” Declan was excited and ran to the corner of the room where he grabbed the lamp and in the light he made a face glowing that was in a word, disturbing. Canoli said “Let’s go down by the beach.” They walked down their walkway and along the river that led to the Ocean. They walked over the dunes and found an abandoned house on stilts. They walked along the outer porch with the Mediterranean Sea wind blowing in the white caps. The four jumped down onto the sand and saw two classmates walking by with their dog. Allie and Renee greeted them and their large husky barked. The group walked along the shore and came upon some caves. They stood at the entrance to the caves and Canoli said “Old Man Jenkins has wine cellars in this cave.” Mika looked at Canoli with skepticism and said “It doesn’t seem like wine cellars, there is more going on there.” The group walked in the cave and both dogs barked. “There is more going on here”, Canoli said. “It smells like milk and the town has been missing their supply of milk which means no milkshakes or gelato.” Declan looked very sad.
They walked into the cave and heard the reverberation of the waves whistling and saw bats hanging high in the tops of the cave. Then they came to a door. It was the entrance to the wine cellars hidden away. They walked through the door and saw the high expanse of the cellars. They smelled the wine but also something that could be milk. They went around a corner and into a small room that had a back wall. It was a dead end and then suddenly a door shut behind them and they were trapped inside. They pulled on the door but it was locked. Old Man Jenkins laughed on the other side of the door. “We’re coming for you Old Man!” Canoli said. They tried and tried to get out but had to quit. They all sat down and waited for a long time. Renee and Allie were lying down and Allie said “I’m so hungry. I remember grandpa’s brownies that he kept in his cookie jar. I wish I was at grandpa’s right now.” Renee said “let’s eat his brownies right now.” Allie and Renee both reached in the air and ate the brownies. Renee said “mmm, now I feel like a nap.” They closed their eyes and slept for a few minutes then Renee realized, “my dog’s name is Juggernaut. And it is Juggernaut for a reason. He is half wolf.” She took Juggernaut off his leash and Juggernaut walked up to the door, looked at it, shrugged his shoulders, then bit the door knob off. They ran out of the room and through the caves until they came to a room with metal vats of white liquid. Canoli put her finger in a tub and licked it and said “la leche, white gold.”
They walked out of the room with the milk and could hear fluttering in the floor boards below them. Canoli said, “What is that fluttering?” Pizelle and Juggernaut barked and sniffed below. Old Man Jenkins came out of another room and wasn’t expecting to see them. Declan had an idea. He hid behind the others then got on Mika and Renee’s shoulder and grabbed a lamp that was high against the wall. He put the light to his face and made a disturbing look. Old Man Jenkins went running out the doors that open up outwards like an attic door opening in a roof and ran into the beach with the waves crashing.
As Old Man Jenkins ran out Mika put her ear to the floor boards. She looked and there were caterpillars in the cracks. Canoli said “Old Man Jenkins has robbed cocoons and milkweed.” There are probably things flying down there ready to come out.” Mika opened the latch to the door in the floorboard and millions of butterflies flew out and out the opened doors to the trees by the sea side. The sky was fluttering with color as the bright Orange Monarchs filled the trees.
The group walked out of the doors amidst the millions of butterflies. They laughed. Declan asked Allie and Renee, “What kind of dog is that you have?”
“A Mallamew”, she said. “That sounds like marshmallow”, Declan said.
“Ah, Dessert” Allie said. And they all walked along the shore and told the town where the milk could be found. They saw the shimmering of the water beneath their feet and it looked like white gold.
Andy Palasciano was born in Connecticut and has lived in San Diego for sixteen years, where he is a part of the Full Moon Poetry Circle. His work has appeared in The Penwood Review, The Journal of New England Writers, and the San Diego Poetry Annual.