Baba Osinova puttered through her kitchen. Her special gifts told her this morning that she would be needed, so all that remained was to prepare the most likely things and wait. The gifts only told her she needed to prepare, not who would need it, but at least she knew they’d come to her. She flipped long, bony fingers through a box of index cards, searching for recipes to make for the day. She didn’t need written recipes, she had memorized all of them years ago, but the way some slipped down out of reach and others leapt into her hand acted like an augury, guiding her day.
“Hmm, khashlama and gogel mogel. Someone’s having a bad day.” Baba Osinova sorted her ingredients and called her grandson Grigor. “Child, get to the market and bring me some veal. I’m making khashlama today.”
“Who’s in trouble?” he asked. “You only make khashlama when someone’s really sick or injured.”
“Never mind that,” she scolded. “Get off the phone and to the market so you can bring me some veal. And another jar of pickled plums!”
“I’m heading there now, Babushka,” Grigor said. “I’ll be by in a little while.”
Baba Osinova laughed. She’d forgotten phones could be carried now. She set her own phone down on it’s cradle and pulled out a mixing bowl and a smaller bowl with a lid that snapped on. Into the lidded bowl, she cracked eggs and strained out the yolks, putting them into the mixing bowl. One, two, three, four… hmm. Not quite right. She added two more egg yolks. Yes, that felt better. She reached for the honey and poured it out in a ribbon over the egg yolks. She added more than the nine teaspoons of the tripled recipe before it felt right. Perhaps it wasn’t two, but rather one who needed more sweetening. Cocoa felt right this time, but only a single heaped scoop. Definitely someone who needed sweetening. She whisked at the eggs with a fork, thin arms producing a furious whirlwind that rivaled those fancy stand mixers. Besides, she needed to feel it to use her special gifts. After it thickened, she added a splash of good vodka. The recipe as it was written on the card didn’t use that, but she’d read an article about diseases in eggs, and good vodka went well with everything as well as killing germs. She whisked a little more, then poured it into the sundae glasses her granddaughter Maya had brought her for her birthday last year. A sprinkle of miniature marshmallows on top and they went into the refrigerator to chill.
The extra egg whites would make good zefir, she thought, so she pulled out gelatin and a saucepan to make it in, when her special gifts told her to answer the door.
She moved towards the door, her body swaying as she reached for a balance that wasn’t there anymore, and slowly, step by step, she reached the door in time to open it for Grigor’s knock. He stood contra posture in front of her door, the soft slope of angled shoulders under a tan wool sweater opposite a brown paper bag resting on one outthrust hip.
“Come in, come in. You can help me in the kitchen,” she told him. He nodded and set the packages down on her counter. Grigor was such a good boy, carrying things for her. “Cut the veal, would you? I need my hands free to measure water for the zefir.”
“Yes, Babushka,” Grigor said quietly. Hmm, that was no good.
“What’s bothering you?” she asked. “I’ll find out eventually, you know. I have special gifts.”
“I know, Babushka,” Grigor agreed. “I’m just worried about telling Mama and Papa about something. I met someone. Someone special.”
“Oh, you found a girl! I am so happy for you! Invite her over, we can all cook together!”
Grigor pulled back. “You knew I… I like girls?”
“Don’t be silly,” Baba Osinova said, laughing. “You’re just like all the men in this family. You’re going to want a tall blonde with lots of brains on her, and you’re going to spend your life being happily ordered about by her. I know these things, Grigor. Rinse the plums, please.”
Grigor smiled a small smile. “I don’t know how you knew I’d picked the name Grigor, but I’m glad you’re on my side, Baba.”
“Psha,” Baba Osinova said. “You picked that name months ago, I already updated all the lists for presents and cards so I send them right. Now. Tell me about your lady.”
“Her name is Henrietta and she works with the news. She does the makeup for Stella Dellaway, the on-scene reporter who covers Jetta Stream and John Crow when they fight.”
“Oh, that nice flying girl who saved your cousin Panya from that buzzard man,” she said, nodding. “I like her.”
“No, Baba, that’s Jetta Stream. I’m dating Henrietta Beck. She does get to see Jetta Stream fairly often, though.”
Baba Osinova nodded and said nothing. She didn’t need to spoil all the surprises, although she knew why she’d added so much honey when the willowy blonde came over for dinner with a scratchy voice and a huge appetite.
Baba Osinova: Precognate who uses her powers almost exclusively to better care for her family.
Grigor Osinov: Trans-Man in the middle of the coming-out process. He's straight, but spent some time thinking he was a lesbian. Grandson of Baba Osinova.
Henrietta Beck/Jetta Stream: Flying superhera dedicated to protecting Glade City (Miami in Local-America). By day, she works as a make-up artist for her best friend Stella Dellaway, who gets loads of credit for always being on-scene when Jetta Stream is fighting. Dating Grigor Osinov. She's pansexual and monogamous.
John Crow: Mercenary goon-for-hire who uses an empowered back tattoo of a turkey vulture to fly and shoot chemical projectile weapons. Main nemisis of Jetta Stream.
Khashlama is a veal and pickled plum stew from the Ukraine. Learn to make it.
Gogel mogel is Jewish Egg Nog served as a throat remedy. Learn to make it. Raw egg does have health risks, although in my opinion, it is A) worth it, and B) unlikely to cause serious issues if you consumed raw egg often as a child. Life is short, lick the batter.
Zefir is a Russian marshmallow. Learn to make it.
Turkey vultures are called John crows in the Caribbean. John Crow the merc is not from the Caribbean, but he's spent a lot of time there working as security for drug runners who meet in international waters on their way north.