7. Minstrels and Mayhem
When the magazine sends the O'Hare family on a six week assignment into the past at the Kansas City Renaissance Fair, Molly and Grainne find themselves embroiled in investigating a hidden crime ring.
“ You wantz me to wear WHAT?”
Grainne’ s eyes were huge as she glared at the enormous, green, fuzzy costume in my hands.
“ I notz wearin dat. Uh uh, no way. I notz doin it!”
I tried not to laugh. She looked so insulted. Her eyes hadn’t left the dragon costume since I’ d unpacked it.
I held up a pukey green piece of fuzzy material. “If I have to wear the stupid dragon hat, you have to wear the dragon costume. We’ll take turns. I’ll wear the hat on Saturdays, and you wear the costume on Sundays. When the weather is too hot, I’ll put you in your fairy costume instead. Is that fair?”
She peered up at me, from under her shaggy brows, let out a big sigh and said, ”All ritie., I guess datz fair. I can wear da fuzzy, green jammiez for one day, I guess. Butz I get a new tutu for dis faire, OK?”
She had a glint in her eye that told me I’ d just been played. She didn’t want to have to wear the dragon costume every faire day. She wanted to look pretty in her wings and tutu. However, I still had to wear the ugly, green dragon hat! I was NOT going to get to be pretty.
“I guess. We’ll see if anyone here sells wings or tutus. If not, you’ll just have to wear the ones you already have.”
She sighed and rolled her eyes.
Grainne was kind of spoiled.
Part of it was that we had the ability to communicate, unlike other dogs and masters.
There had been an accident where I fell out of a tree, injuring my brain, the first year we'd Grainne. One of the side effects of the injury was that I then had the ability to hear her thoughts. Since she already heard mine, we developed a much closer bond than is normal. It also meant that she'd become more like a human than a dog, over the past few years.
I was totally upset. I had a beautiful costume with an off the shoulder, white chemise, tapestry bodice and a lovely, blue skirt. The outfit made me look at least sixteen. It narrowed my waist and emphasized the fact that I was no longer a little girl.
We’d gotten to Missouri days before, set the bus up for camping, in a campground in Platte City, and rushed over to the Kansas City Medieval Faire to start getting the building ready. The show opened at the end of that week.
We had to camp across the Missouri river, because we had a forty-foot-long bus, and didn’t fit in a lot of camping spaces.
We traveled around in a bus, provided by my parents’ employers, the travel magazine.
My parents were writing an article about the faire, from the perspective of a shoppe owner, so we'd be running a jewelry shoppe, for the owners of Crown Jewels.
Crown Jewels has been doing Renaissance Festivals, since way before I was born, and they were a staple of most faires. Their trademark was a beautiful crown in front of each shoppe.
Today, we'd be cleaning the grounds in front of the building, planting flowers and doing any building repairs that needed to be done before setting up the jewelry.
Renaissance and Medieval Faire buildings are beautiful. They are designed to look like the ones built hundreds of years ago
Crown Jewels’ building was a gorgeous two-story Tudor. It looked like it had migrated from Olde England.
Each faire was a village, set up like the times of King Arthur, Henry the eighth or Queen Elizabeth the First. There were pubs, shoppes, a blacksmith’s shoppe complete with forge, stages and everything you would have found in a town during that time.
We were the first building on the left, as you entered the festival. The owner said we’d get the most traffic, so prepare to be busy from opening until closing,
Wooden buildings sporting dark beams and window boxes filled with Fall flowers stretched as far as you could see.
“Well, hello. Did the owner sell the building?” A man with long dark hair and a long beard appeared next to the counter. Dressed in a linen shirt and cotton pants, he was already dressed for the faire.
I stood up from where'd been pulling weeds, brushed the dirt off and stuck out my hand to shake.
“No, my parents are managing the shoppe for them this year. My name is Molly, and this is Grainne.”
She'd gotten up and wandered over to him, sniffing his outstretched hand.
“Iz Grainne, and dat silly Molly iz makin me wear da stoopid green, fuzzy jammiez wid da bumpies down da back dat make me look like a big stoopid dragon!”
Apparently, she wasn’t going to let go of her objection easily and was going to complain to everyone she met. Unfortunately, I was the only one who heard the complaints.
I ignored her as she pushed in front of me and sat down in front of the man.
She offered her paw.
“She’s introducing herself to you. I think she may like you.”
The man leaned and took her paw.
“Hi Grainne, I’ m Larry. My wife Carol and I have the shop next door.”
Grainne licked his hand. She already liked him. She was a friendly girl and liked most everybody. If Grainne didn’t like someone, you knew there was something wrong with them.
“I’m glad to meet you. We’ve been to the Texas Renaissance Festival as visitors, but this is the first time as an actual part of the faire. What do you sell?” I inquired.
“We sell candles.”
“Ooh, I love candles, but we live in a bus, and I really can’t burn them. It would be too easy for the big hound to knock one over with her tail. I do like to burn them outside though.”
“Hey, do you have a job yet? We could use some help in the candle shop.”
“I’m sorry, but I’m hawking for my parents. Grainne is going to help. She’s the bait to lure them to come over. How about if I tell the customers not to forget to visit your shoppe too? if you'd like, I can hawk for both shoppes at the same time.”
A cute woman with glasses came up to Larry and me.
“Hey Larry, who’s this?”
“Carol, this is Molly, and this fuzzy young lady is Grainne.”
Grainne, ever the performer, play bowed to Carol.
“Hi Molly. Hi Grainne.”
The woman leaned over and scritched behind Grainne’s ears. The dog loved to have her ears scratched. Grainne flipped over for a tummy scratch next.
“Has Larry told you that we’re your neighbors next door?”
Carol now leaned over more to accommodate the wriggling hound.
Grainne made me smile. She was a sucker for a good tummy scratch.
“It’ s nice to meet you, Carol. Larry told me that you sell candles. I can’ t wait to see them and smell them.”
Larry'd gone back to their building while I was talking to Carol. He returned with a beige and brown shaggy dog, a little bigger than a Golden Retriever.
Grainne jumped up from her position on the grass.
“ Who diz? Ooh, a puppy! I wantz to play wid da puppy.”
“Grainne, wait a minute until they introduce you, the dog may not want to play.”
I looked over at Larry’ s dog, its tail wagged faster than a wind turbine. I thought it might be friendly.
“This is Pucci, she’ s a Spinone Italiano or Italian Spinone. They’ re hunting dogs. She comes with me when I hunt and retrieves birds.”
“She getz to grab da birds. I not allowed to grab birdiez cuz I might hurt dem.”
I ruffled her ears and scratched under her chin. It didn't seem necessary for me to tell Grainne that the birds that Pucci retrieved were already dead. She was such a softie, it would break her heart to know that. She wouldn’t understand hunting.
Grainne sat and waited until Larry walked Pucci over to meet her. Grainne got up and hopped and play bowed, Pucci quivered, she wanted to play so badly.
“Is it ok if I let her off her leash to play with Grainne?”
“I think it will be fine. Grainne’s used to playing with other dogs and Pucci seems like she could give Grainne a run for her money. Let them play.”
As soon as Larry let his dog off her leash, she gave a play bark and ran, inviting Grainne to chase her.
Grainne set off after the Spinone like a shot. Pucci ran fast, but Grainne’ s long legs caught up to the smaller dog almost immediately. the first thing she did was roll her like a pill bug.
While the dogs played, Larry brought out chairs so we could sit.
My parents got back from the hardware store with the things we needed to freshen up the jewelry shoppe. After the introductions, they stowed the bags in the building and sat down with us to talk.
“Is this your first time at this faire?” Carol asked.
Mom answered her. “This is not only our first time at this faire, it’s the first time we’ll be managing a shoppe. We’ re travel writers and our magazine wanted us to write a series of articles about this Renaissance Faire from the point of view of the vendor. What are some things we need to know?”
Larry answered my mom’ s question first. “It’s a great faire money wise. It’s always crowded, and the people buy. It’s one of the best shows we do. On the downside, theft is terrible. Since you’re doing jewelry, you want to make sure you take the inventory home with you every night. We can’ t do that with the candles, but we put all of them in the trailer after closing. The first year we did this show, we lost a ton of candles.”
My dad looked thoughtful. “Do they know who is doing the stealing?”
“I think they do, but the faire management won’t do anything about it. They’re afraid of who the thief might be.” Carol blurted.
My parents thanked the couple for warning them about the theft and said they would be extra careful. Dad shook his head.
“We’ll be taking all the jewelry home with us every night. I can’t believe that security doesn’t do anything about it.“
“Grainne and I will keep our eyes peeled, watching to make sure nobody steals from either shoppe during faire hours.”
Molly picked up the trowel she’d been using to weed. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed Grainne trying to drag the dragon costume behind the building.
“Grainne, I see you. Hiding the costume won’t get you out of having to wear it. We can always buy another one.”
The dog dropped the costume in the dirt and gave Molly a dirty look.
“This is not over”