*** Chapter 4 Part 8
Nature knew what to do. Nature always knew what to do. Without the human virus mucking up the oceans, lakes, streams, air and land, the eco balance could be restored without further ado. As Panda and Dell watched the hyena eat it’s lunch, Panda realized how all the parts would fit together again and begin to heal the planet. The animals would roam and repopulate their species, no longer endangered. At least not by Man. The dogs were gone. The potato’s a mess. And chickens were –say it—as scarce as hen’s teeth. But the remaining flora and fauna could breathe again. Breathe and create life.
Panda felt it all beginning to happen around her, watching the hyena feed. She half-remembered a line from Gone With the Wind where Melanie is talking to Rhett: “It’s life renewing itself, Captain Butler. And when life does that, no fears can stand in its way!” or something like that. Panda felt that nothing could stand in the way of life renewing itself, now. The things of man—the structures and pollutants—would all fade away and crumble into dust. Life would renew itself and thrive. Panda knew it was up to her to make sure that she and Dell would thrive as well.
With Panda leading the way, the girls drove out of Land Park and back into the heart of the city.
“Now what?” asked Dell.
“Now we take a break from animal management and have some dinner.” Panda replied. “What sounds good?”
“Steak!” laughed Dell. “I know how awful, huh? But watching that hyena chomp down kind of made me hungry for red meat!”
Panda looked at Dell and shook her head. This was why she loved her cousin: you never knew how things were going to affect her and you never knew what was going to come out of her mouth. 9 times out of 10 it was going to be off the wall, self centered and oblivious. But she also knew that there was not a mean bone in Dell’s body and if she had to be stranded on an empty planet without zombies and only one silly girlfriend as companion, she would choose Dell hands down every time.
“Well then I’ve got the best restaurant in mind. No crowds, great service, and the price tag is perfect for two girls with no budget. Let’s go to Morton’s!”
Morton’s Steak House was in the downtown Plaza, an open air mall that had been dying for ages but still had a great food court and two Macy’s. It had underground parking but the entrance was blocked by a stream of vehicles so Panda just pulled right up onto the sidewalk by the mall doors and parked there. Dell swung in behind her and hopped out.
“Better than Valet!” quipped Dell.
Like Pavlov’s dogs, the site of a mall made her salivate to go shopping. There was nothing like a good shopping spree to heal her sore heart after the day she had!
After dinner she would just take a quick tool through the shops…
If it was one thing Panda knew it was how to sear a steak, so she scraped and oiled the grill while Dell raided the bar for a bottle of wine. Morton’s was famous for its wine selection and also for its rare and expensive Scotch Whiskey. Dell enjoyed the opportunity to raid the top shelf for it’s finest.
Morton’s had not yet started serving lunch on that day, and therefore the place was clean and tidy, the pre-prep work done, the food safely in lockers and fridges…and there were no messes to clean up. Dell made a mental note to eat at more uppity restaurants that had not yet opened for lunch. A life spent cleaning up rotting food court options before she could relax and eat did not fit with her world view.
“SCORE!” she called out to Panda at the grill, waving a bottle of Glinfiddich 1937 and two highball glasses.
Panda’s eyes grew wide when she saw what Dell had. “I read there are only 61 bottles of that in the whole world!”
“And at the end of the day there will still be 61 bottles…it’s just that one of them will be EMPTY!”