Shego slid the last of the hamentaschen off the baking sheet and on to wire racks to cool. At five years old the twins valued speed more than accuracy in making the cookies. Theirs would taste the same, but wouldn't be going out to friends -- although Kim's parents and a few others would appreciate effort as much as execution. Shego's still weren't as good as Ron's, but he was too busy working on the BS in organic chemistry to be much help this year. Kim and Shego wondered if he'd find a job after he added it to his two BAs or start another program.
While they cooled she checked her other supplies: raisins, candy, peanuts in the shell, small bags of dried fruit, pouches of trail mix, granola bars, bottles of grape juice and a few miniature bottle of hard liquor. “Girls,” she yelled, “have you finished decorating the bags for shalach manos yet?”
“Then where are they, and you? Move it people, these bags aren't going to pack and deliver themselves. And wash your hands if you've been playing with Smaug!”
The girls opened the bags as Shego did a fast count and compared it with the number of names on the list. “Good job girls, these are beautiful.” She separated six out for the liquor, the rest would have grape juice.
She and the girls quickly divided up the various goodies to the bags, then dumped in the peanuts in the shell. Sheki wanted to count the peanuts and make sure every bag had exactly the same number, but was over-ruled.
The bags were stapled shut, along with a slip of paper saying who it was going to and the names of the twins, then they headed down to the garage with a box full of goodie bags. “We need to get these all delivered and pick up the grown-up costumes before tonight. Take the shalach manos up to Jim and Tim -- just leave it outside their door if they aren't there, then we have to run.”
Deliveries went smoothly, except for the Mankey stop. Jessica was home and Shego and Tara had to pry the twins away. Fortunately the Drs. Possible were both working, Shego had budgeted time for a longer stop there. There were still four more bags to deliver, but they were close to another stop they needed to make.
“Why isn't aunt Bonnie going to be here?” Kasy demanded as they headed for the costume shop.
“Because she's in a movie and it's being filmed now,” Shego reminded her. “She's promised to be here next year and even have a part in the Purimspiel. The rabbi is very excited -- it should get some good media attention for the synagogue.”
The girls went over to stare at a range of masks on the wall while Shego picked up the costumes at the counter. “My name is Sharon O'Ceallaigh, I'm picking up a Glinda, a Wicked Witch of the West, and a Scarecrow costume.”
As the clerk located the boxes she called out, “Has a John Honig been in to pick up the Tin Woodsman and Dorothy costumes?”
“He wasn't, but his wife was in and got them yesterday.”
“How about a Cowardly Lion costume for Drew Lipsky?”
“Um, I think that's still here, let me check… Yeah. He hasn't picked it up.”
“Damn. Well, I'm headed out to see him right now, let me pick it up for him.”
The three ran into Jim as they headed back to the lab to find Drakken. As the twins got hugs from their uncle Shego demanded, “You aren't blowing off classes again to be out here, are you?”
“Gimme a break, Shego. Tim is taking notes for us. We learn a lot more out here than we do in the classroom.”
When they found Drakken Shego handed him the costume and Kasy gave him the bag of shalach manos. “Girls, I had some special groggers made for you.” He handed each of them a small noise maker.
The girls gave their groggers a little whirl, and Shego dropped to her knees -- covering her ears, as much in surprise as pain. She steeled herself against the noise and managed to grab the noisemakers. As she reduced them to small puddles of molten metal she growled at the blue man, “Handing out noisemakers to five-year olds might be your best idea yet.”
“For taking over the world!”
“You could conquer the world like that.”
“I'm sorry, Shego, I can't hear you,” Drakken explained as he pulled out the ear plugs. “What were you saying?”
She sighed, “I was telling you what you could do with your groggers. We'll be back at six to pick you up. The Methodist is driving tonight so you can perform your religious obligation if you want.”
Sheki scampered off to find Wade and give him a bag.
After dropping off the last two bags the trio headed home. As she drove Shego considered the post-party celebration and wondered if she should have asked about possible repair costs at the costume shop. They'd get home after the girl's bedtime, so they could send the twins off to bed immediately. Then into their own bedroom, and before Kim even had a chance to think about taking off the Glinda costume a long sweet kiss followed by the question, “Are you a good witch, or a bad witch?” It didn't matter which answer Kim gave, Shego would demand she prove it. Of course, Kim might have expectations for the Wicked Witch also. What could be suitably naughty…
“Eemah! Pay attention to the road!”
“Oh, uh, sorry girls.”
Ron came downstairs when he heard the backdoor open. The twins gave him hugs and then ran off to put on their costumes. “Have you got time for a cup of tea?” Shego asked.
“I hope so. I got most of tomorrow's homework done.”
After she put the teakettle on the stove she handed him the box with his costume. “I promised Drakken we'd be out to get him at six. Kim promised to be home early.”
They were sipping tea and eating some of the more unusually shaped Hamentashchen when the yelling started.
“Any chance the noise will stay upstairs?”
“I doubt it. They'll want me to settle it.”
Shego's prediction was right. A minute later they heard feet clattering down the stairs and little voices shouting, “Eemah!”
The pale woman considered hiding, but decided to face the music. “What is it, girls?” she asked as they burst into the kitchen.
“Kasy says I can't be Esther for Purim 'cause she's Esther.”
“Sheki said she was Esther and I can't be Esther.”
Shego set the five year olds down on two chairs. “Okay, why can't you both be Esther again this year? You were both Esther last year. Every girl in the shul was Queen Esther last year, except for, what's her name? The girl who came as the black cat?”
“Wasn't there even some boy who came as Esther last year?”
“Yeah, Aaron Swartz.”
“So why can't you both be Esther again this year?”
The girls stared at her as if she had two heads, how could she miss something so obvious. “None of the other girls have sisters,” Kasy explained.
“And we were just kids last year. We didn't know any better.” Sheki added.
“You know, we offered to let you both be flying monkeys and go for the group costume prize with us.”
“Eemah! Flying monkeys aren't queens. Queens are pretty.”
“Look, my little princesses. There is nothing wrong with two Queen Esthers in the family.”
“No. Only one!” “I don't want us to both be Esther,” they said together.
“Flip a coin? Winner is Esther, loser has to be someone else?”
“Ron, you got a quarter?” He reached into his pocket and handed her a coin. “Okay, Sheki got to call last time. Kasy, heads or tails?”
The two watched the arc of the spinning coin in the air. Two little girls held their breath, hoping fate would be with them. “And it's… Heads. Kasy is Esther. Sorry Sheki.”
Kasy gave a squeal of delight and raised her arms in triumph, “I win! Uh-huh, uh-huh! I win!” She ran back upstairs while Sheki sat, crestfallen, staring at the coin.
“What am I going to be Eemah?”
“Well, do you remember there are two queens in the story?”
“Yeah, Queen Vashti.”
“Nobody comes as Queen Vashti.”
“Well, you will.” The pale woman pulled Sheki onto her lap and gave her a hug. “And Vashti is really special.”
“She was the first liberated woman.”
“She had self-respect. Even though her husband was the King of Persia, the most powerful emperor on earth, she wouldn't let him show her off to his drunken friends. She spoke her mind and told him no.”
“And saying no was good?”
“It showed she was very brave. She stood up for herself even if it got her in trouble.”
“But I heard somebody say she wasn't nice.”
“Ha! That's what the men said. They said she didn't listen to her husband so the king should have had her head chopped off. They're scared of women with brains.”
“So she was smart?”
“Brave, and strong, and smart. She stood up for what she believed and wouldn't back down to the most powerful man on earth. Well-behaved women seldom make history.” Shego kissed her daughter on the top of the head, “Be a Vashti, Sheki, be a Vashti.”
“Smooth,” Ron told her as Sheki ran upstairs to work on her costume.
“Yeah, I think I'm getting this parent stuff down.”
The twins were yelling at each other when Kim came in the front door ten minutes later. “Girls, what's wrong,” the Global Justice agent called up the stairs.
“Eemah's no fair!” Kasy cried from the top of the stairs and running down to the comfort of mommy's arms.
“What has she done now,” Kim sighed.
“She said Sheki gets to be Queen Vashti and I don't!”