The Hunt for Ruber’s Mother: Finally A Clue

Clues come when you least expect them—they’re little dadblameries that way.

~ V. Shnodgrate


Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 1.17.01 PM

Dr. Zauberer’s castle is nice—depending on where you look, I suppose. As he led us deeper and deeper into its heart (I’m assuming castles have hearts—metaphorically speaking) it got colder, damper, darker…

You know, the stones even began to look grayer—if that’s possible, which I’m sure it is.

Dr. Zauberer was in front of Lucy and I, leading with a torch, which emitted the only light we had, I fear.

“Where’s he taking us exactly?” I turned and whispered to Lucy.

She shrugged. “I dread to think,” Lucy replied. “I hope there are some sandwiches or something, though, I am getting peckish. And a little bit frightened.”

“I could use some food meself… And that’s another thing,” I whispered again. “If Sandra Salami betrayed us…it’s time to quit searching, I say. I was bush-peckered into this, after all.”

“I shall be perfectly furious, if that is the case!” Lucy hissed. “She’s supposed to be my friend! I say we spank her then go for a large lunch.”

“What are you two mumbling about back there?” Dr. Zauberer said. “Your legs can’t be tired yet. We’re almost there. My secret study.”

“I don’t know about you, Professor, but my legs were tired before we even reached this blasted place,” whispered Lucy. “What he knows about my legs could be written on the back of a postage stamp.”

I had to laugh at that. It was true, after all.

“No laughing,” Dr. Zauberer ordered. “We must keep the mood solemn.”

Presently, we entered into a rather large room, which had a fire-pit and a bear rug on the floor. Dr. Zauberer sat behind a desk—it was in the far corner of the room—and Lucy and I just stood there.

“Now, now,” he announced, looking comfortable, too. “What did you want to know again?”

“We are looking for the long-lost wife of Daddy Salami,” Lucy replied, as sweetly as she could manage. Which wasn’t all that sweet, in actuality. “Sandra Salami has some notion that she wants to know more about her family history. Apparently.”

“Quite right,” he said. “Well, this is what I know: Many years ago—when this castle wasn’t as old, and I wasn’t as old—a small, ruthless lady came to work for me. You see, I keep a staff of servants and the such. She—that little, ruthless lady—became my head cook. That’s ‘cause she’s good at it, you know. After all—”

“Get on with it,” I said. “Don’t go off on a tangent, you know.”

“Yes, please,” Lucy agreed.

“So that lady,” Dr. Zauberer continued, “was always secretive about her origins…or where she came from. But the one piece of information she was forthcoming with was this: She used to be Daddy Salami’s head cook, or so she said. Her name is Madam Zelna. I recommend you talk to her.” He nodded decidedly. “I’m sure she has more of an idea on things than I do. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some work to see to.”

“But the party?” I sorta asked.

“Heck with it,” he answered. “I’m done with it anyway.”

“Where is Madam Zelna?” Lucy asked.

“In the kitchens.” Dr. Zauberer wasn’t even looking at us anymore. He was concentrating on a mess of papers in front of him.

“Kitchens!” Lucy squealed gently to the Professor. “We might be able to find some cake.”

“True, Lucy… But, Dr. Z, where are they…?” I was getting frustrated, see. Then I whispered to Lucy: “I’m going to bash his head in!”

“Not before we find out if there is any cake,” she replied urgently. “After that, bash away, my good man!”

But Dr. Zauberer answered before I could do anything. “The kitchens are back where we just came from—in the main part of the castle.”

“You brought us all the way down here just to tell us we need to go to the kitchens?” Lucy asked. “How unusually rude.”

Dr. Zauberer looked up. “You’re both getting on my nerves, and Norton knows I haven’t many left.”

“Let’s go, Lucy,” I suggested.

And we did.

It was only a matter of seconds before we were lost in the castle’s winding and bending passageways.

“You know,” I said—you must understand the professor was very vexed at this point—“I’m about ready to give up on this adventure!”

“I know what you mean, Professor,” Lucy replied. “Apart from the prospect of cake, I am at a complete loss as to what we are doing here. And Dr. Z said that the lady was small and ruthless. I don’t like the sound of that.”

“First things first, then the seconds things second. We need to have speaks with Sandra.”

“Stern words, I should say. With arms folded and everything.”

And at that moment, we ran into two unlikely people: Ruber and Sandra Salami.

Written by Professor VJ Duke and Lucy Brazier

Copyright Beginnings


69 Responses to “The Hunt for Ruber’s Mother: Finally A Clue”

  1. 1 Lady Dunamis June 3, 2015 at 23:10

    Enjoy these stories. Too bad they aren’t in book form…….hint hint….

    • 2 Professor VJ Duke June 7, 2015 at 18:12

      *laughs* Should I really write one, do you suppose?

      • 3 Lady Dunamis June 8, 2015 at 22:07

        By the time you write it, civilization as we know it will be using the google glasses to read newspapers on another planet, so you might want to start heading in that direction…lol!

  2. 4 Heartafire May 27, 2015 at 15:06

    Though I am totally lost in the mob back at the party, I suspect the beady eyed cook is the run-away Mom, a lady can’t even find anonymity as a sous chef, believe me I ought to know. Carry on professor.

    • 5 Professor VJ Duke May 27, 2015 at 19:58

      NO way! You were a sous chef?

      • 6 Heartafire May 27, 2015 at 20:00

        no, I am lying again.

      • 7 Professor VJ Duke May 28, 2015 at 20:17

        *laughing* I was going to say…

      • 8 Heartafire May 28, 2015 at 21:36

        I must be pathological…..I apologize.

      • 9 Professor VJ Duke June 1, 2015 at 00:20

        Now that’s pretty cool, you know. Love it.

      • 10 Heartafire June 1, 2015 at 02:46

        I like to be up front about my short comings, thanks for letting me off the hook.

      • 11 Professor VJ Duke June 3, 2015 at 14:17

        Absolutely. That’s very spicy of you.

      • 12 Heartafire June 3, 2015 at 21:27

        I’m basically a good person.

      • 13 Professor VJ Duke June 7, 2015 at 18:12

        According to Hector?

      • 14 Heartafire June 7, 2015 at 18:24

        Hector was a prince, since he isn’t around to dispute this, yes.

  3. 15 Nancy Loderick May 21, 2015 at 19:32

    Well Professor,

    The mystery deepens. This story is just as good as the mystery books I love to read. I can’t wait for the next installment.

    On an entirely separate note, I think if the Professor took up martial arts like Kung Fu, he could handle anything that comes at him. :)


    • 16 Professor VJ Duke May 22, 2015 at 12:25

      Well, thank you many times, Nancy! I appreciate it.

      Ooo…you’re tempting me to do it. That would be super cool. *starts practicing his moves*

      • 17 Nancy Loderick May 25, 2015 at 21:32

        Well Professor,

        I hope you will be posting pictures of you practicing your moves! I’m sure you could find a way to weave that into your blog posts. :)

        P.S. Of course, if you are anything like me, there will be NO pictures ofme posing exercising. Whoever dares take such a picture will not live to tell the tale. :)

      • 18 Professor VJ Duke May 26, 2015 at 19:00

        You’re right: I should do this. They’d be scary, though!

        *laughing* True…it might not look to flattering, that’s for sure.

  4. 19 L. Marie May 21, 2015 at 12:59

    Madame Zelna! She sounds like a fortune teller. I don’t know that I would eat a cake she baked, especially if she’s ruthless. Still, I hope they discover her soon. And I hope Sandra gets what’s coming to her. I’m starting to think her untrustworthy.

    • 20 Professor VJ Duke May 22, 2015 at 12:24

      She can’t be all that bad, I hope. But then again…we’ll see.

      Yes…MZ…I wouldn’t trust her either! No wonder Dr. Z is crazy in the head!

  5. 21 Louis from VA May 21, 2015 at 02:55

    I’d get peckish if I were looking for the mother of someone named Salami too.

    • 22 Professor VJ Duke May 22, 2015 at 12:22

      *nods* It’s only right. It’s only what should happen. Oh, imagine.

  6. 23 Simply Skeptical May 21, 2015 at 00:29

    Hate to say I told you so; Dr. Z is a nut. So where is she? I’m confused is that on purpose?

    • 24 Professor VJ Duke May 22, 2015 at 12:20

      Of course not, we don’t want you confused. Why are you confused, madam?

  7. 25 Audrey Dawn - Oldest Daughter Redheaded Sister May 20, 2015 at 22:39

    *laughing* Sounds like the heart of a professor, if anything!! Love that description. I’ve always wanted a secret study and a bear rug. Sounds super important down there, too. I had to laugh that he made y’all walk so far. Hope Lucy gets some cake and you off this silly quest. Sandra already knows her mother, I bet.

    • 26 Professor VJ Duke May 22, 2015 at 12:18

      Do you suppose she’s beasting us? I bet so.

      You know…what sort of bear would you want as a rug? That’s the question, you know.

      • 27 Audrey Dawn - Oldest Daughter Redheaded Sister May 25, 2015 at 21:36

        I think a grizzly bear, but I couldn’t have a real one…seems unfair, I think.

      • 28 Professor VJ Duke May 26, 2015 at 19:01

        Why not? He might like you having him.

      • 29 Audrey Dawn - Oldest Daughter Redheaded Sister May 26, 2015 at 23:24

        Well, cause he’s a living creature who isn’t ready to die. I suppose I could look for a sick one. Would be nice having him, you know.

      • 30 Professor VJ Duke May 27, 2015 at 19:57

        You mean you’d kill one if you got one?

      • 31 Audrey Dawn - Oldest Daughter Redheaded Sister May 27, 2015 at 20:17

        How else would I get a rug, Sir?

      • 32 Professor VJ Duke May 28, 2015 at 20:19

        *shocked professor* Goodness me and then some!

      • 33 Audrey Dawn - Oldest Daughter Redheaded Sister May 28, 2015 at 22:13

        ….you asked if I’d like a rug….

      • 34 Professor VJ Duke June 1, 2015 at 00:21

        Well…it was a set-up question!

      • 35 Audrey Dawn - Oldest Daughter Redheaded Sister June 1, 2015 at 04:18

        Oh. I didn’t realize…I fell for your bait.

      • 36 Professor VJ Duke June 3, 2015 at 14:18

        *laughs at his wickedness*

  8. 37 walt walker May 20, 2015 at 21:30

    Now who is Norton, I wonder.

    • 38 Professor VJ Duke May 20, 2015 at 21:36

      *laughing* That was my favorite part. Isn’t he a scientist?

      • 39 walt walker May 21, 2015 at 01:26

        Well he certainly has a scientist’s name. Does he do a lot of fancy things with test tubes and coconut halves and such? If so, he probably is. A scientist, I mean.

      • 40 Professor VJ Duke May 22, 2015 at 12:22

        *laughing* Coconut halves…what can be done with them besides an eating?

      • 41 walt walker May 22, 2015 at 13:23

        Well according to my research (i.e., watching every episode of Gilligan’s Island many times as a child) you can do all sorts of sciency thingies with coconut halves. They are great for mixing concoctions in to recharge batteries to power a radio, or some such. For example.

      • 42 Professor VJ Duke May 22, 2015 at 20:04

        I’m impressed. Now I want a coconut tree, you know.

      • 43 walt walker May 22, 2015 at 20:40

        Trees are handy. For supply chain reasons. In a pinch, you can get them at most grocery stores. Coconuts, that is.

      • 44 Professor VJ Duke May 26, 2015 at 18:52

        Yes, but they’re usually inedible.

  9. 45 Angeline M May 20, 2015 at 18:00

    I’m not even going to get in to the spanking thing, but cake sounds in order…with punch of course. Adult punch. I have a feeling you are leading us down a few more twisting passageways now with Ruber and SS. I need to go make a picnic lunch to take with me on the trip.

    • 46 Professor VJ Duke May 20, 2015 at 21:34

      Oh, huff-hum…! But the adult punch sounds interesting. What sort of ingredients go in there?

  10. 47 Debbie May 20, 2015 at 14:48

    How rude! Dragging you two off on a wild goose chase, then telling you to go back where you came from and find out the information for yourselves! Some host Dr. Z is!!

    I’m with Lucy. I think Sandra needs a good whipping and you should celebrate with a nice lunch!

    As for Madam Zelna, why, she probably knows nothing helpful — and if she does, pulling it out of her might prove tedious. Perhaps Ruber and Sandra are there to have speaks??

    • 48 Professor VJ Duke May 20, 2015 at 21:33

      I know! What is with that man? I think he’s just scattered, you know.

      Lunch! I’m hungry, so that sounds awesome. Unless, of course, she didn’t do anything and DS is lying.

      I hope so, for I’m going to question them and they shall answer!

  11. 49 Susan P May 20, 2015 at 14:11

    Just what you wanted, eh? Wait! where is the clue now?

    • 50 Professor VJ Duke May 20, 2015 at 21:33

      Well, the clue is in the kitchen. Doesn’t that count for a clue just a bit?

      • 51 Susan P May 20, 2015 at 23:03

        How much wood could a woodchuck chuck
        If a woodchuck could chuck wood?
        As much wood as a woodchuck could chuck,

        If a woodchuck could chuck wood.

      • 52 Professor VJ Duke May 22, 2015 at 12:19

        Wow. That’s an interest. I don’t think I can say it very well.

      • 53 Susan P May 22, 2015 at 12:20

        Practice makes perfect. Or close anyway. I’m sure you are overwhelmed by practice by now.

      • 54 Professor VJ Duke May 22, 2015 at 12:26

        I am! And I’m not sure what to do. I never play them how I want to exactly, see.

      • 55 Susan P May 22, 2015 at 12:45

        But does it work that way? Jazz works that way.

      • 56 Professor VJ Duke May 22, 2015 at 20:02

        I’m always doing something a bit…out of the way. Oh, blast it!

      • 57 Susan P May 22, 2015 at 23:04

        What are you blasting then?

      • 58 Professor VJ Duke May 26, 2015 at 18:54

        I’m shooting a ship down.

      • 59 Susan P May 26, 2015 at 20:07

        If you are on it I hopes ye have a life boat.

      • 60 Professor VJ Duke May 27, 2015 at 19:54

        It got a hole in it, can you believe.

      • 61 Susan P May 27, 2015 at 20:00

        Maybe there is a flotation device?

      • 62 Professor VJ Duke May 28, 2015 at 20:17

        Those little things you wear on you arms…

      • 63 Susan P May 28, 2015 at 21:03


      • 64 Professor VJ Duke June 1, 2015 at 00:20

        Hate them to many deaths!

      • 65 Susan P June 1, 2015 at 00:29


  12. 66 PorterGirl May 20, 2015 at 13:27

    I think we should hurry up and find the cake and, with any luck, sandwiches. I have a feeling we shall be needing all our strength for spankings and stern words. Pah!

    • 67 Professor VJ Duke May 20, 2015 at 21:32

      Unless–of course–Sandra is being true and nice! IT’s a possibility, you know.

      • 68 PorterGirl May 21, 2015 at 05:20

        Anything is possible in TPL – that’s what makes it so exciting!

      • 69 Professor VJ Duke May 22, 2015 at 12:23

        Quite right. We never know what’s about to happen.

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