Alexandria's hound Mignonne pranced around the table. "Mignonne, cut it out," she said. "Shit, anything decent to eat in this house?" she continued, looking at the pile of French parsley on her plate.

Marquise Waltari giggled. "Your manners are so stimulating, my dear."

Alexandria gave her the finger, stood up, and stalked out of the elegant dining room. She hated her aunt. And why did those two awful Finns have to be staying here? All they did was sit in the sauna all day, and then jump out into the pile of ice cubes the Marquise had prepared for such occasions.

On the other hand, it could be worse. She could be with Grandma Radziejowski. She shuddered. Even French parsley was better than cabbage rolls.

She heard the sound of the Marquise's heels on the tiles of the hallway, which was even more infuriating. Why couldn't she just leave her alone? She dashed up the stairs and into her bedroom, locking the door behind her. It wouldn't do any good, of course, because her aunt had keys to all these rooms, but maybe it would give her a hint.

Her aunt's footsteps came up the stairs and up to her bedroom door. She held her breath, but the Marquise didn't even try the doorknob, but went back downstairs--to the parlor, presumably, where she would sit and smoke ladylike cigarettes and let the Finns pay court to her.

Then she heard a quieter clicking coming up the stairs and then a whining and scratching at her door. She quickly unlocked and opened it, admitting Mignonne, who proceeded to start prancing around the room again. After closing and relocking the door, she lay down on the bed, where Mignonne quickly joined her. She buried her face in the dog's fur and cried.

Based on the words: Hound Prance French Parsley

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The Den of Ubiquity/ Aaron V. Humphrey / alfvaen@gmail.com