Author Archive: LeeAnn Rhoden

I am a writer, an editor, a reader, a mom and wife. Sometimes in that order, sometimes not.

Chapter 8 – Casey’s Story

There are very few people I actually like. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy going out with some people and having a good time, but in the long run there are only a handful of people I actually let into my sphere of privacy. Lizzy is one of those people. I think of her like a sister and so I let her come over to my house whether or not the bathroom is clean. I don’t judge her, and she doesn’t judge me.

This whole Weight Clinic thing isn’t for me; it’s for her. She feels like she needs to control the food aspect of her life and I’m there to support her. Personally, I think she gives food waaaayyy too much credit but then my mom’s idea of a home cooked meal was a vending machine sandwich we ate at home. Nevertheless, I signed up to help her with her impulse control. This “buddy” thing is just not for me.

My “buddy,” Lori, was being detained by my office security and my HR department. She lacked the proper and necessary credentials to enter the building. When she claimed to be my “buddy” I was honest and told them I didn’t know her well enough to vouch for her or to authorize a Visitor’s Pass and she’d have to go through the appropriate channels in order to shadow me. These channels were a thorough background check, her employer interview, and a completed “Request for Access” form – which had to be verified and approved. A simple text to my friend Claudia in HR and I’m assured that these channels will take several business days, possibly stretching into weeks for finalization. Claudia also assured me that security would not permit this “buddy” to be loitering at any of the exits waiting for me to leave. So, while I was at work, I was in the clear. My “buddy” did manage to squeeze in a shock every now and then as a reminder that she was still in touch with me. Bitch.

Lizzy texted me the news article on the woman found dead with her left hand cut off at the wrist. We believed her demise and the Weight Clinic were intertwined. I read the article and the updates on the online newspaper. Janice Willoughby, 35, was found in the alley between 3rd and 4th Avenues on Wednesday night. It was confirmed that her left hand had been amputated at the wrist. She lived alone in an apartment on 8th Avenue. She was a professional blogger. The comments were most interesting. There were over 250 in total. Some ranting about the safety of single women at night. Others raving about the body snatchers and that’s why her hand was missing. One woman, screen name Chunky, insisted that the victim’s friend was involved. One man, screen name Marvin the Martian, claimed to have dated the victim and he was sad.

I had briefly dated a guy whose name I forget. I forgot it when we were dating too which is why he broke up with me. I would have been upset but he failed to imprint on me sooo… So, of course I thought I should call him. And after asking the person in the opposite cubicle from mine what his name was, I looked him up in my phone. His name was Robert and he was into computers and hacking and he worked for some cyber security company. Which is why I always thought of robots around him. Robert the Robot.

“Hi Robert! This is Casey. Long time! How have you been? Oh yeah? Married? Really? A boy and a girl? Wow. Two. Well, I didn’t think it had been that long. That’s great! Me? Well, same ol’ same ol’. No, not married, no kids. Yeah, well, I’ll get to my point. I need a favor….” I explained to Robot that I needed the real names and contact information of Chunky and Marvin the Martian.

Right on cue, I received a shock. Bitch.

Chapter 6: Rubber Gloves

We paced for hours in my living room trying to come up with some ideas but each time we’d get a little shock – their letting us know they knew.

“Maybe we could cut the damn things off. Ouch!”

“Maybe we can break them with a hammer. Ouch!”

It was no use. We were stuck and I hated to admit it to Casey but she was right – it was a cult.

“The worst part about this is the damn buddy thing,” Casey said. “I can’t deal with whats-her-name for a full day again. I have to work and if she thinks she’s going to shadow me at work I won’t be responsible for my actions.”

“God. Lucille.” I shook my head and covered my face with my hands. It was dark and comforting and I contemplated climbing under the covers for the next few days.

“Well,” Casey sighed, “I have to go home. I need some sleep.” She turned with her hand on the door knob, “Look, I don’t blame you for this Lizzy. I’ll try to do some investigating on what to do about our situation but it’s probably best if we don’t talk for a couple of days.”

When she left I rummaged through the kitchen finally realizing I’d have to leave my apartment to find something to eat. Donning my jacket, I took off. I headed in no particular direction at first but I found myself in the general vicinity of where the poor girl was found. I stared at the yellow crime scene tape which still cordoned off the area. Who would cut off her hand? Did she do it herself out of desperation? The dispatcher almost admitted to Casey that the clinic did it. But did they kill her too? And just who was this group? They weren’t the weight clinic of old if they have control of the police dispatch. I had a plan.

On the way home I picked up rubber gloves and a pizza. The trip home was shocking. My plan wasn’t high-tech but my plan just might work. I’ve always been stubborn and my plan was to out stubborn these people. first task was to stuff the rubber gloves under the Right Byte band to reduce the effects of the shocks. Then? Just get used to the shocks and frustrate them into releasing me. Believe me, I could keep this up for a long time. It was an infallible plan. AND I get pizza.

Chapter 4: Shocking

Lucille and her beehive hair-do stayed with me all day. She made me exercise. She made me clean out my pantry and refrigerator. While I was in the shower she searched my secret stashes of snacks and disposed of them. All of them. Then it was time to exercise and shower again. The “meals” were tasteless and I complained.

“The idea is that food should be seen as unpleasant,” Lucille said with a smile.

“What? Why?”

“It’s Pavlovian. If every time you eat you enjoy it then you’ll want to eat a lot. If, on the other hand, you don’t like food, then you will eventually stop putting it your mouth.” Lucille smiled at me with an evil smirk.

“So, you want to starve us to death. Ouch! You shocked me! What the hell!”

“It’s part of the attitude adjustment,” she smiled. “You must stop thinking that not eating is equivalent to starving.”

At the end of the day, I was tired, sore, hungry, and really pissed off at getting shocked. It was 9 pm when Lucille and her smile left me. Except for the the next day’s breakfast there was nothing to eat in the house. I closed my eyes and imagined a juicy cheeseburger dripping with cheese and grease and ketchup. Just as I was beginning to feel relaxed a shock jolted me out of my revelry. “Bitch!”

The phone’s ringing only irritated me more. “What.”

“Cult.” It was Casey and she sounded as irritated as I was. “My ‘buddy’ is a real piece of work. She effin shocked me. All day. I didn’t exercise hard enough. I didn’t have the right food. I smoke.”

“I’m sorry, Casey. It wasn’t like this last year. I have no idea what happened. Let’s go to the place tomorrow and quit and get our money back.”

“And then we’ll go get an ice cream or something.”

“Ouch!” we cried in unison.

To be continued…

Chapter 2: Buddies and Steps

Over the next 30 minutes Linda, who was thin and perky to the point of annoying, showed us The Plan. It was a three-legged plan to include diet, exercise, and a buddy system.

Linda paced the stage and made eye contact with each and every single one of us, nodding to her won words, and hypnotizing us with her energy and optimism. “Ladies let’s talk about diet. We aaalll know that food can be a comfort. Food can be a habit. Food can be healthy. And food can be unhealthy. But for most of us, food is a problem! No longer! We have designed a special meal program!” She smiled and nodded her head and we were compelled to applaud. “You will be given prepared meals. No more work! All you have to do is heat and eat!” More applause. “Each meal is 500 calories. You get three per day. No over-eating!” More applause.

Casey leaned toward me and talked out of the side of her mouth, “Is this a cult?”

“Shhhh!” I said.

“Now, we all know that if we eat, we have to exercise,” Linda nodded. “We have to use those calories to be active. Am I right?” She nodded and glided across the stage. She cupped her hand around her ear and said, “I can’t hear you!” And thundering applause and whoots arose from the crowd. “Our new exercise program is easy and quick. Only 20 minutes of exercise done in your own home. Three times a day! You will all be given our special exercise mat and easy travel stretchy bands.”

“How much does the food and exercise stuff cost?” Casey asked.

“Shhh!”

“The third part of our plan is a buddy system.” Linda placed her hands on her heart and lowered her volume. “We all need encouragement. We all need to be built up. We all need to be heard and valued.”

Casey and I looked at each other and smiled. We had our buddy. I could count on Casey and she could count on me. We’d seen each other through a lot in our years of friendship.

“You will all be paired up with a buddy from our very own professional team! Our Buddies are certified and available to you 24 hours a day. The best part is that you don’t have to call them. They will reach out to you every day.” Linda spoke with a quiver of sincerity in her voice. Out of her pocket she pulled out a watch-looking device and held it up and spoke with enthusiasm, “You will all be given this Right Byte wristband!” The nodding and enthusiasm returned. “Your buddy can track your progress and reach out to you to give you support! Isn’t that great?” Applause again.

“And what does that cost?” Casey asked pointing at Linda.

“Shhhhh,” I answered. The reality was that I was beginning to feel uncomfortable with The Plan. Something just didn’t feel right.

“Our meetings will be every week in order to provide you with the most support possible. We will weigh in every week. Your buddies will be here to help you account for your week. And we will work through our steps. Together!”

Casey looked at me with wide eyes, “Are you sure this isn’t a cult? Someone is going to ‘account for me’ and I have ‘steps’?”

“This is different from what I remember. But hey, what can it hurt? I need to lose weight and even though you’re thin, your diet and life-style is a disaster.” I tried to paint a chipper picture of what I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable with.

“Let’s all stand and start our first of twelve steps,” Linda did the let’s rise move with her arms. The scraping of chairs and shuffling of feet settled and she began. “Repeat after me. We admit we are powerless over food – that our lives have become unmanageable.”

Casey rolled her eyes at me and mouthed, “AA.”

After a few more minutes we reached the front of the line heading out. There were several thin perky women signing us out and handing us a small box with three meal boxes inside.

“Where’s the rest of the food?” I asked.

“Your buddy will bring it to you tomorrow. Hold out your left arm please.” I did and Perky Girl placed my Right Byte on my wrist securing it with a rivet and a smile.

“How do I get this off?”

“You don’t. Next?”

Casey approached me outside holding out her left arm. “Cult,” she said.

 

To be continued…..

Chapter 14: The End?

I don’t think we were knocked out for very long and we all stirred around the same time. I took an inventory and determined that nothing was broken. Martha and Myrtle sat up and looked at each other as if looking in a mirror. Grandma was a little slower to sit up but she otherwise seemed okay.

“What the hell was that?!” Stuart said. His eyes were wide and he was looking around horrified.

“Oh my goodness!” said  Grandma, getting to her feet. “Whew, I haven’t been that knocked out since my last orgasm. Your father knew just what to do to…”

“Mom!” the twin aunties cried.

“Oh pish. Don’t act like prudes. I’m sure Louisa and Stuart aren’t embarrassed.”

“Ummm….”Stuart stammered.

“Grandma, are you okay?” I asked. I looked around at the blast zone that used to be Grandma’s living room. Everything was thrown back and over and covered in a fine purple dust. The ceiling had a scorch mark above the cauldron where only a small flame still flickered.

Grandma looked in the mirror. “Oh my. My hair’s a mess and I need to wash my face.” Turning toward the group of us she added, “And I promised to make biscuits and gravy for Stuart.” With that she bounced off, humming.

“Stuart, are you okay?”

“I think so. What the hell was that?”

Martha said, “That was a breaking of bonds. Thank you for your help. Myrtle, do you feel it? It’s gone.”

Myrtle’s silent tears cut lines through the purple dust on her face making her look rather macabre. “No, I don’t feel it,” she sobbed. “We’re so alone now. Empty.” She wiped her nose with the back of her hand leaving a lavender snot smear across her cheek. Martha helped her up and took her upstairs.

“Sorry about my weird family, Stuart. I didn’t want you to get dragged into this. My grandmother is a little….umm….er….aaa….she’s a little off I guess.”

“You’re purple.”

“Excuse me?”

“Purple. You know,” he indicated the dusty room.

“Oh crap. I probably look like shit. I haven’t even slept since I worked last night.”

“I think you’re beautiful.” Stuart’s cheeks turned pink under the purple dust making his face an odd magenta color.

The smell of breakfast wafted through the air masking the aroma of what smelled like burnt cloves. Stuart smiled and headed off toward the kitchen. The doorbell rang. Without thinking, I answered the door.

“Oh dear God! What happened? I thought I heard an explosion and I was right!” It was the next door neighbor. “Louisa! You’re purple! Everything is purple!” She stepped into the house and looked around in shock.

Grandma emerged from the kitchen. She was clean and coiffed and fresh as a daisy. “I thought I heard you Sheila. I was just making breakfast for the girls and Louisa’s boyfriend. Would you like to join us?”

Sheila stood dumbfounded. “Mavis, there was an explosion in your living room.”

“Nonsense dear. The girls were just unpacking Christmas decorations and it got a little out of hand.” Mart and Myrt came down the stairs bright and shiny and even Stuart had cleaned up. He wasn’t bad looking at that. “Louisa, go clean yourself up and let’s have breakfast.”

I headed up the stairs as the menagerie started for the kitchen. I heard Grandma say, “Stuart, let me tell you what Louisa’s grandfather used to do that made my eyes roll back….”

I think I’ll climb under the covers and stay there for the rest of my life. 

Chapter 12: Christmas Decorations Just Got Weird

I was tired. What the aunts were saying was just too weird. It had to be a farce or I had fallen asleep somewhere and this was all a bizarre dream brought on by working nights, bad pizza, and the shame of having to move in with my grandmother.

“Louisa, seriously, you have to go. You’re not safe,” said Martha.

I rose and stretched my sore back. “I’m going. I’m going to bed. I’m not falling for it.”

“Falling for what?”

“For whatever this is. This is all a little tooo unrealistic to believe. And for whatever reason you two have been trying to get me out of the house since I got here. I’ll figure out why you don’t want me here after I’ve had some sleep.” I tried to escape the room but the aunts blocked my way.

“Louisa, you can’t run from this. You have to leave to be safe.”

“Safe from what? You two make this ‘connection’ thing sound like a world-wide orgy and how it’s a big kum-ba-yah. Now, all of a sudden, it’s ‘dangerous.’ While you get your stories straight, I need to sleep.” I pushed past them and out into the hallway. I hoped I could go the three steps across the hall to my room but I was wrong.

“Ah, there you are Louisa. I’m hoping you and the twins can come downstairs and help me put out the Christmas decorations,” Grandma said. She was standing in the middle of the hallway with her hands on her hips.

“Gah, Grandma. I just need a nap first.” I tried to move past her but she stepped into my path.

“Now Louisa. Go downstairs.” She nodded her head toward the stairs, then called passed me, “Martha, Myrtle! Downstairs! Now!”

I’d never seen Grandma so forceful and I was compelled to comply. The aunts came out of the guest room with their eyes wide. We all went down the stairs – me first, the aunts, and grandma bringing up the rear.

“What the hell?” I stopped short at the bottom of the stairs. There in the middle of the living room floor was a pentagram made from tinsel garland. In the middle of it was a small cauldron with a small fire burning in it. The fire was purple!

“What the hell?” the aunts cried out loud.

“Decabra,” grandma said. 

 

To be continued….

Chapter 10: They’re Coming

“Yeah, that’s creepy,” I said as the aunts just stared at each other – occasionally shaking or nodding their heads carrying on their own silent conversation..

“It’s not simple,” said Martha. Myrtle’s eyes glistened as if she were about to cry.

“Try me.” I sat heavily on the guest bed; the springs squeaked loudly.

Myrtle closed the door. Martha sat next to me causing the springy mattress to sag nearly dumping us onto the floor.

“What we tell you could put you in jeopardy. So, we definitely don’t want mom to know. And we don’t mean that you’ll have credit issues or that you’ll have to sleep in your car for a few nights. We mean serious danger,” Martha said.

“Uh huh. Global trouble. We mean it,” Myrtle said.

I looked from one to the other. They seemed sincere which was…. unusual. “Okaaaay…. so, what are you talking about?”

Martha pulled the phone-shaped box from her pocket. “This is a baksa. Inside are the Kernels of Knowledge. By ingesting one of these, you enter into the web of global knowledge. You can call out to a single person on the web or to a multitude.”

“You call with your mind,” Myrt chimed in. “You say, in your head, ‘namaskar, maro sathi” and think of the person you want to call. The next thing you know you are talking to them.”

“It’s not talking really,” Martha said. “You feel them. Their words are your words. Their thoughts are your thoughts. Their memories are your memories. Their feelings are your feelings.”

“Sooo, you’re driving along or in the shower and suddenly someone is, what, in you?” I asked.

“No, you have to answer the call.”

“How do you know? Does the the phone box baksa thingy ring?”

“No. It gets cold. Your surroundings get cold.”

I remembered the other morning when it was frigid inside the the house. It was cold in the house all the time. “So, I’m guessing by the refrigerator-like conditions in the house, you ladies are on call all the time.”

“Some times, yes, some of it is mom is just frugal and keeps the temperature down,” Myrtle said. “More people will be calling soon.”

“Why?” I asked.

Myrtle burst into tears. Martha took her hand and said, “Because Howard died. They’ll want to give Myrt their condolences.”

My eyes grew wide. I hadn’t made the connection, but then, I don’t know if I ever paid that much attention to Myrt’s old boyfriend Howie. Or had ever met him for that matter. “Dead Howard was your Howie?”

Myrtle burst into tears again. “It’s complicated,” she blubbered. “We knew we couldn’t be together but we never wanted to be apart. So, we joined Jānna. We could have a life together without being together. We met Joannie and Howard wanted to have a life with her too so she joined us. And so many others…”

“How often do you have to take these Kernels of Knowledge?” I asked shaking the baksa.

“At first, you take one every time you want to get on the web whether you’re being called or want to make a call. But over time, you don’t need them anymore. It just happens when you think about it.”

I felt the temperature drop and a chill ran up my spine. The aunts looked at one another, wide-eyed, and then turned to me. “We shouldn’t have told you anything. You have to leave Louisa.”

“Leave? Why?”

“They know you know. You aren’t safe here anymore. They’re coming.”

To be continued…..

Chapter 8: The Offense

“Geez Grandma, you startled me. You shouldn’t sneak up on people.”

“And you shouldn’t be eavesdropping outside Martha’s door. They may open it and catch you. Come with me.” Grandma turned and lead me to the adjacent guest room. She opened the closet door and pointed to a hole in the wall between the closets. “It used to be an old flue,” she explained. “Step up on that,” she pointed to a step stool, “and you can hear plain as day what’s going on in there. That’s how I knew what they were up to when they were children.”

I was dumbfounded and just stared at her, blinking.

“What’s the matter with you Louisa? Did you go stupid on me?”

I did what grandma said and sure enough, you could hear everything that the twin Aunts were saying in the other room. Which at the moment was nothing because they had come into the room we were in!

“What are you doing, Louisa?” Myrtle asked.

I grabbed an old blanket off the top shelf and stepped off the step ladder. “Here ya go Grandma. I think it needs laundering before putting on the bed.”

“Yes, I think you’re right, dear. I’ll go put it in the wash,” Grandma gave me a quick wink and disappeared.

There was the Parting-of-the-Aunts to let Grandma pass then they reunited to block my way. I was tired and was starting to hope they weren’t going to lay into me about my unmade bed, shoes in the living room, being unmarried, helping with Christmas decorating, or some other lame thing that could wait until I’d slept. Then I remembered that I wan’t on the defensive; they were. If I could catch them off guard….

“Soooo….. I’m hoping you can help me,” I said. They blinked.

“This is missing from the attic,” I showed them a digital picture on my phone of the phone box from the crime scene. I made sure to scroll past pictures of Mr. Simon prostrate on the bed for dramatic effect. It worked.

 

“What the hell is that?” one of them asked.

“It’s a picture of a phone-shaped box.”

“No, the other picture. Is that a dead person?!” asked the other one.

“Oh, that. Yeah, he’s dead. The phone-shaped box was at the crime scene,” I stressed the word crime. Even though it’s not a crime scene – yet? – I thought it would crack their stony personalities. “I remember seeing one just like it in the attic and now it’s gone.”

“How can we help with that?” they said in unison.

“Well, for starters, you can tell me where it is. It was there, now it’s gone and I’m beginning to think that it isn’t a coincidence that Mr. Simon died the same night the box here disappeared. Let me remind you, the box, Jānna and their experiments are all part of a death investigation. If you don’t cooperate, you and grandma could get pulled into it. You don’t want that.” I tried to sound as official as I could.

The aunts turned to each other and without saying a word they carried on an entire conversation. Some sort of twin ESP I thought. Then I began to wonder…

To be continued…….

Chapter 6: To Know

I completed the necessary paperwork, in triplicate, regarding Mr. Simon’s demise. All that needed to be done was the autopsy and final report by the coroner. God knows when he’d get around to it and in the meantime, Mr. Simon was chillin’ in the refrigerator. A little work place humor. The reality was, Mr. Simon had multiple morbidities – cancer, sleep apnea, hypertension – and anyone of them could have been his undoing. The results of the autopsy would undoubtedly show natural causes, so he wasn’t high on the list of examinations to be done.

Still, there was this nagging feeling that something wasn’t quite right. Why did we not get the call until 2:15 am? If he was taking a nap before dinner and he was unresponsive when his girlfriend tried to  wake him for dinner, then what time do they have dinner? There’s a whole lot of time between, what, 7:30 pm and 2:15 am. Something for the detectives to figure out, I guess. Fortunately for me, Mr. Simon was my only call of the night so I could complete my reports and do a little digging into the phone box and candy corn pills.

 

 

My search proved futile at first. Then, I tried searching images of the phone box. There I saw the very same box. Clicking on the image lead to a website called Jānna. The company is based in Nepal and although the website was very slick and professional-looking, it was vague and lacked any substance. The last page on the website was the obligatory “Contact Us” page. I filled out the registration form, not knowing for what, and set about waiting for whatever response I’d get. Out of boredom more so than curiosity, I searched the word Jānna. It is Nepali for “to know” and in Nepali it is written  जान्न. I know I’d seen that before but couldn’t put my finger on it.

An image search of the Nepali word lead to a site which sent me into the dark web. It was all impossible and fantastic. The site claimed Jānna was experimenting with a combination of mind control, the occult, and ESP. Their pills were called Kernels of Knowledge and allowed the taker to open their minds to the knowledge of the collective, to read minds, and to be able to communicate to other takers around the world. The phone box represented the connections between thoughts and minds. The Q on the phone was because a cursive capital Q looks like a 2. Jānna, to know, 2 know, 2, Q. Now how did Grandma get hooked up with these people?

To be continued…

Chapter 4: Seventh Circle of Hell

I hoisted one heavy box up the pull-down ladder and into the attic. Even for this time of year the attic was hot and stuffy. A nice change from chilly temps downstairs. Before I brought more boxes up, I thought I should look around for the box of Christmas decorations Grandma wanted me to schlep down. At first glance the attic looked neatly organized but when you took a closer look it was more of a warehouse. Boxes stacked on boxes, floor to roof, rows in front of rows. The the idea of spending the day searching for the decoration box made my head swim. If it wasn’t in the first wall of boxes, then it was in the next, or the next. Not hours of searching, we’re talking days. The aunties had put the boxes from my room at the base of the ladder making it an acrobatic feat to get down; I managed and went in search for Grandma.

“Um, Grandma, that box of decorations you want… where is it?”

“In the attic, silly,” she said rummaging through the top drawer of the antique secretary which stood in the corner.

“Grandma,” I sighed, “there are a thousand boxes in the attic. Can you be a little more specific?”

“Louisa Jane, don’t exaggerate. There most certainly are not a thousand boxes. My last count was two hundred and eighty-three. Phooey!” she slammed the drawer shut and started into the second drawer.

“Okay, of the two hundred and eighty-three boxes where might the decoration box be?

She closed the drawer and moved to the desk and began her search anew. “Christmas is when Santa comes. Santa lives in the North Pole. So, the Christmas decorations are on the north side of the house. Oh, I give up!”

“What are you looking for, Grandma?”

She straightened up and put her hands on her hips. “What dear?”

“What are you looking for, Grandma?”

“I can’t remember now. No matter, it’ll come to me.” I left her standing in the living room scratching her head and ascended into my seventh circle of hell.

The north side of the house had a wall of boxes that was four across and four high and, mercifully, only two deep. Still, moving and searching through thirty-two boxes was daunting. Not one of the boxes was labeled and I decided that I just might do Grandma and the Aunties a huge favor and label them. Eventually, someone and some point is going to have to go through all of it.

Starting on the top left I searched and labeled and replaced. Most of the stuff was old children’s toys and clothes. The toys were certainly collectors’ items and wouldn’t pass the safety standards for today’s children’s’ toys. I made a mental note to ask about them. Maybe Grandma and the aunts would be willing to part with them, sell them, and put aside the proceeds for future use. The Christmas decorations were not just one box; there were five of them. And all five were the last boxes I went through.

Once the boxes, and I were freed from the attic, it was another staircase down to get them all into the living room. I was happy to be done with that chore, happy that I was able to help Grandma, and angry that I had forgotten to put on my fitbit. I’m sure I completed my entire week’s scheduled workouts.

“Oh good!” Grandma beamed at the boxes. “Thank you dear. Now, let’s get started and cheer this place up.”

“Grandma, I was going to take a nap. I have to work tonight so…”

“Oh please, you can nap at work. The dead people won’t care. Now, where did I put the tape?” Grandma resumed her search through the drawers. I slipped out and went back to my room. I needed a little shut-eye. Believe it or not, the dead people do care.

To be continued….

 

 

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