“I don’t know about these costumes,” said Astraea, looking at herself in the mirror. “I’m not sure it’s flattering on me.”
“Of course it is,” Hebea assured her, turning around to note her own similar costume. “We look darling in deerskin. I especially like the boots.”
“But the feathers are itchy!” Lorel said, scratching the headdress she wore. “Aeakos, what do you think?”
But she could not find him. He was hiding behind the sofa. “I am not coming out,” he declared. “Are you insane? I can’t wear a loincloth!”
“But honey, I thought you liked the leather one I got you.”
I can’t wear one in public.” He hissed through his teeth, embarrassed. Hebea and Astraea tried not to giggle.
They heard men’s shouts outside, and wondered what it could be. They peeked their heads outside and saw men in breeches, boots and waistcoats tromping about with muskets.
“What are they doing to my flower beds!” Astraea popped out and waved her arms. “Hey!”
They stopped and looked at her, and approached with caution, muskets still up. “Identify yourselves!”
Hebea stepped forward in her former-chancellorial regality. “Excuse me, but who are you?”
“We come from Italia,” said one of the men in a heavy accent. “We come to find India.”
“India. Oh. Well, you’re way off course.” Aeakos was about to head back inside for a map when he heard one of the muskets click.
“We have these weapons pointed at you and we say this is India.”
“Welcome to India!” Aeakos chirped. Lorel elbowed him.
“We see you are Indians.” One of them gestured at their clothing. “Why do you try to trick us, savages?”
“This? Oh, it’s just a costume,” said Hebea. “We’re going to a party.”
They eyed the four Debs with suspicion. “Christopher,” one of them called to the leader, and motioned him over. They conferred in Italian before Christopher took his place at the front of the group.
“We think you lie to us,” he said. “We take you prisoner. Come.”
“Now look here, pal,” said Astraea angrily. “You can’t just come in here and stomp all over my marigolds and then expect us to play along. Get out of here before I call the cops.”
The four of them started to return into the house, but Christopher warned them, “Do not move, savages.”
“You’re crazy!” Lorel exclaimed. “Shoo, go eat some spaghetti or something!”
They continued to move, and Christopher was no bluffer. He shouted something in Italian to his men, and they fired the muskets. Small balls of lead sunk into the Debs, who dropped on the spot. Christopher pulled out a flag and plunged it into the ground as he and his men whooped in victory.