Applying principles, to date, untried and tested (save by Vina), she prepares a rare elixir.


Hornbills ogle.






Her whole menagerie is alert, aware of something rather serious, something turning-point significant, something grand or just plain odd;
the gray macaque

the barking deer

the bandicoot

the babirusa

pay particular attention from their cages, each enthralled while Vina measures, mixes, modifies, finally microwaves ingredients, then suspends them in a kind of sloppy gel, a thick shampoo, that she proceeds to pour on the crown of her blue-black scalp.

Rubbing energetically, pint-size fingers work up lather that enshrouds her coif in a cumulous cloud. Ill-omened or benign? Where there are thunderheads, there is lightning; brainstorms often lead to migraines. Vina reaches for a garden hose and gives her scalp a rinse... with the result: her mane, if anything, looks even blacker.

"Stupid goop!"

She wraps it in a towel, and breaks for lunch.