Thursday, May 19, 2016

Death Warmed Over Series--story four

Hello All:
I haven’t updated the blog with a new short story since May 2nd. I know I have fans that follow this blog and look forward to the weekly updates. I’m sure you are accustomed to two or three new writings per week. It will eventually resume. It’s just that life is pulling me in a few different directions which make it difficult to find free time to write. But don’t worry! Author Tom Raimbault, his blog, and published books are still here. I haven’t gone anywhere. For a brief while there might be a week or so between updates. It’s only temporary
***
We are now into story four of the Death Warmed Over Series. If you’ve been following these short stories, then you know they detail Samantha’s horror of coming back to life in the funeral home, just before being embalmed.
When this rare phenomenon does take place, the mortician or funeral director is sure to call an ambulance, and then notify the grieving family of what happened. But what if the sole funeral home owner and mortician is evil and demented? What happens then?
If you’ve never read these stories, then at this point I’m sure you have plenty of questions. Do read the first three stories in this series if you haven’t done so already.
Death Warmed Over:              Story One
                                             Story Two
                                             Story Three
Death Warmed Over—story four
Henry (Hank) Wolmarsh; husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather; a successful business owner, and a much-decorated World War Two veteran. Hank recently passed away, just over the weekend to be precise. His wake was now at the Grossenbury Funeral Home in downtown Mapleview, a Monday. Just like all wakes, a crowd of family and loved ones congregated in funeral home's parlor, lobby and hallways. It's not a favorable scenario for most people. Losing a loved one never is. As for children, it can be considered downright boring to stand or sit around the funeral home with adults who aren't in the greatest mood. Oh but don't worry about Hank's great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and the likes. You see, Mr. Grossenbury had an exciting form of entertainment for them. Along with the recent improvements to the funeral home, Mr. Grossenbury had an in-ground pool installed in the backyard. Children could now swim, splash and play in the pool while adults peacefully mourn the loss of their beloved inside the parlor. Children love swimming pools because they are so much fun. And who can forget that the first three letters of funeral spell fun?
Most of the children on that Monday afternoon had a blast diving off the board, or swimming to the bottom of the pool with snorkels and masks. But then there was nine-year-old Timmy who suddenly exited the pool and sat at the edge with towel wrapped around him. Some moments later his little brother, Johnny, came over to encourage him to come back in the pool.
"You know what's wrong with this pool?" began little Timmy.
"What?" asked Johnny.
"You see that thing that looks like drain at the bottom?"
"Yeah..."
"Well, when they drain the blood out of the dead people, the color is filtered out and it's pumped into the pool. And that's what everyone is swimming in. We're swimming in dead people's blood."
"Really???" asked Johnny.
"Yup. And sometimes when they drain the blood out, pieces of the dead people's organs comes out with it. It's no problem for the workers at the funeral home. They just run the chunks of organs into a machine that chops it up into liquid while removing the color. Then it's pumped into the pool through that drain-looking thing at the bottom. So we're all swimming through the blood and guts of dead people."
Just then, Timmy and Johnny's cousin, Mark, swam over. "Hey guys, what are you doing? Are you done?"
"You're swimming in dead people's blood and guts." informed Johnny.
"No we're not!" argued Mark.
"Uh-huh!" insisted Johnny who had just learned this horrible news from his older brother.
"You see that drain-looking thing at the bottom of the pool." pointed Timmy.
"Yeah..." acknowledged Mark.
Mark was soon educated of the horrible machines that drain blood from the old people and pump it into the pool along with the other machines that liquefy chunks of organs that just so happen to come out with the blood. But rather than become disturbed with this information, Mark turned it into a fun game. The first three letters of funeral, after all, spell fun. "I'm going to see how long I can swim under water through all the blood and guts." announced Mark. With that, he took a deep breath and went under the water.
It didn't take long for this fun game to catch on with the other kids in the pool.
"I'm going dive into Grandpa Hank's blood and guts!"
"Don't drink any of Grandpa Hank's nasty blood when swimming under water!"
Soon another family's children, three girls, entered the pool area in the bathing suits. They had just lost their grandmother. Mr. Grossenbury was planning the funeral arrangements, inside, with Mother and Father.
"Hey, I wouldn't come in here!" warned one of the boys. "They pump the blood and guts from the dead people in here."
"Oh yeah, well how come the water isn't red?" cited the older sister.
"Because they have filters to remove the color. Duh! Don't you know anything?" snapped Timmy.
"They're not going to come in." called out Mark. "They're girls, and they don't like blood and guts."
"Yeah we do!" retorted the older sister.
Soon the pool was joined with the newcomers. All the kids were under this strange belief that the blood and guts of their great grandpa, or grandpa had been pumped into the pool. Although such a disturbing thing to consider, it was an afternoon of fun for all those children.
***
Fun was not to be had by Samantha who, the following Tuesday morning, sat on the mattress on the floor in the storage closet—her prison cell while being held captive at the Grossenbury funeral home. This was nearly 48 hours after her initial weekend of sexual assaults along with extensive brainwashing into her new existence. No longer was Samantha a loving wife, loving mother or receptionist at her day job. She was dead as far as family and friends believed. And since Samantha was dead, she was now Mr. Grossenbury's slave. He kept speaking about a "partnership". But those details had yet to be revealed to Samantha.
Suddenly, Samantha could hear the elevator door open. Mr. Grossenbury was apparently returning for another visit. What would it be this time? Would it be more hours of sexual humiliation and assault, followed by a meager amount of food as a meal so that she remains weak?
The keys from the outside could be heard as Mr. Grossenbury fumbled for the right one to open the door. How Samantha wished she could hide and avoid seeing his demented smile.
"Well good morning!" greeted Mr. Grossenbury with—of course—a wide smile. "You are glad to see me, right?"
"Yes, it's very nice to see you." agreed Samantha. The weekend's unbearable hours of physical abuse, torture, and brainwashing motivated her to appear happy to see Mr. Grossenbury. You see, during those hours she was made to understand that being happy to be with Mr. Grossenbury was expected of her.
"Very good!" congratulated Mr. Grossenbury. "And how are you feeling, today?"
"I'm feeling pretty good." answered Samantha with a smile.
"Excellent!" exclaimed Mr. Grossenbury. "We are right on schedule. But I'm not so convinced just yet that it's 100% in your heart to be this way. Right now you are simply playing along to avoid any punishment. Deep down inside you still resent me. But that will change. Am I right?"
Samantha nodded with a half-hearted smile on her face.
"That's okay." reassured Mr. Grossenbury. "I think we can still reward you with a little time outside during your breakfast. What do you say?"
"Sure..." answered Samantha.
"Well get up and come over here." ordered Mr. Grossenbury.
Very weak, Samantha struggled and pushed herself up off the mattress on the floor. She slightly staggered on her feet while gaining balance. When finally stable, she walked over to Mr. Grossenbury.
"Are you sure you are okay?" asked Mr. Grossenbury. "Why so much work to stand up and come over here?"
"The blood probably needed a chance to get to my head." offered Samantha with an eager smile. She wouldn't dare use the excuse that she was starving and very weak. That could bring her back to square one as the captor and slave.
"The blood needed to rush to your head?" questioned Mr. Grossenbury in somewhat un-accepting tone of voice. "I don't see why that would be necessary. You are alive. I have dead people upstairs who have no blood flow. Maybe you are just in really bad shape."
"That could be." agreed Samantha.
"Well take my hand." ordered Mr. Grossenbury. "Let's bring you upstairs and outside to the pool area for breakfast."
Mr. Grossenbury guided his weak business partner down the hallway to the elevator. During the elevator ride, Samantha did everything in her power to fight the dizziness. If she could just get outside to get some fresh air, maybe that would make her feel better. It had been nearly a week since seeing the light of day.
Then again, maybe she shouldn't have wished for the outside so badly. Upon being escorted to the pool deck—a large paved area surrounding the in-ground pool, complete with chairs and tables with umbrellas— it was necessary to close her eyelids. The sunlight was quite a shock to Samantha's eyes, being that she had spent some days in partial darkness.
"What's wrong?" asked Mr. Grossenbury with a demented smile on his face.
"It's the sunlight." explained Samantha. "I'm not used to the light."
"Not used to the light?" mocked Mr. Grossenbury.
"Do you have sunglasses?" asked Samantha.
"No, you don't need sunglasses." declared Mr. Grossenbury. "Your eyes are fine. Sunlight is good for you. Come here and sit down at the table."
With Mr. Grossenbury's guidance, Samantha sat down at her breakfast table. Through partially opened eyelids, she could see a small bowl of what looked to be like Cornflakes with a half-cup of milk at the side. Samantha was famished. Immediately she poured the milk into the small bowl and dug the spoon in.
"My my!" exclaimed Mr. Grossenbury upon sitting down across from her. "It looks like you are hungry."
Samantha said nothing in return, only chewed the cereal while continuing to struggle with the overwhelming amount of sunlight to her eyes.
"Open your eyes." ordered Mr. Grossenbury. "You can't leave them partially closed like that. Not when you are with me and discussing business."
Samantha did as ordered, but received an unbearable amount of pain to her eyes in doing so. Instinctively she closed them for relief.
"I said open your eyes!" ordered Mr. Grossenbury a second time.
"I'm sorry." apologized Samantha. "The light is hurting me."
"The light is not hurting your eyes." corrected Mr. Grossenbury. "And didn't we talk about this? When I make a rule or a truth, you are to obey. Isn't that right?"
"Yes..." answered Samantha.
"And right now I have given you a new truth to follow. The sunlight is not hurting your eyes. You can open your eyelids. Now do that."
Carefully, Samantha opened her eyelids. Of course the light hurt. But she discovered that rapid blinking helped ease some of the pain. She did this while continuing to wolf down the small bowl of cereal.
"Why are you blinking your eyes so much?" probed Mr. Grossenbury.
"It's probably my allergies." offered Samantha.
"Allergies?" mocked Mr. Grossenbury. "Funny, this isn't the allergy time of year." There were a few seconds of pause before Mr. Grossenbury stated, "You're pathetic... a real mess... weak, and can't walk. Now you have trouble opening your eyes because of allergies?"
Samantha continued to nervously eat her small bowl of Corn Flakes. She worried if there would be any punishment for what Mr. Grossenbury cited as being her pathetic state.
But instead of continuing to scold and humiliate Samantha, Mr. Grossenbury introduced Samantha's role in her new purpose of being a business partner. "My father started this business before I was born, and I took over for him many decades later. The Grossenbury Funeral Home was the only funeral home in town, until 5 years ago when the Zimmerman Funeral Home moved in. Mr. Zimmerman has been taking customers from me long enough. I'm close to going out of business. You need to kill Mr. Zimmerman for me. And then you need to start killing more people for me so I can do more funerals and make money. No one expects a dead person to kill people, so you would be perfect for the job."
Samantha raised the nearly empty bowl of Cornflakes to her lips and slurped up the remaining milk. "I see..." she answered with the last gulp. Samantha wasn't much in favor of what was expected of her in this new role as business partner. But, surely, killing people for Mr. Grossenbury would mean leaving the premises of the Grossenbury Funeral Home which would certainly increase the chance of eventually escaping.
"Could I have a little more cereal... maybe a bagel?" asked Samantha. "I'm still hungry."
Mr. Grossenbury sighed. "No, I don't think so. You're still not fully converted. You're still an escape risk."

To be continued...

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Refrigerator

Hello All:
I’ve always been fascinated by those peculiar, vivid and sometimes lucid dreams that we get just a few moments before waking up in the morning. I’ve actually turned some of these into stories. And today’s new story was an actual dream that I had a few mornings ago.
Dreams can often be used to help analyze the subconscious. But I’m afraid I have no answers for this one. I can only guess that it reveals a certain aversion towards socialism.
The Refrigerator 
It was a Sunday evening as my wife and I rolled the refrigerator out of the kitchen, through the main hallway, into the foyer and then out to the garage. From the garage, we struggled with guiding the small wheels of the refrigerator over the bump that separates the garage from the driveway. But once it was fully outside, it was easy to roll the refrigerator down the driveway and over to the parkway.
Now I really thought that dragging the large and bulky appliance across the lawn of the parkway would be next to impossible. But surprisingly it was quite easy to drag it over the curb and position it just right. My wife and I discussed earlier that day whether or not the doors of the refrigerator should face the street, or face our house. But we eventually decided that it would be safer to go outside for food without standing in the road. For this matter, the doors ended up facing our house.
At this point you are probably wondering why we had moved our refrigerator outside, and spent so much time positioning it just right in the parkway against the curb. And you are probably even more curious of this mention of going outside to the street for our food. Well, you see, after about a week's worth of careful planning, it was realized that the optimal location for our refrigerator wouldn't be in the kitchen, but outside near the street. For electricity, we simply plugged a long extension cord into an outlet of the garage, and unrolled it through the lawn and across the sidewalk to reach the refrigerator. It was that easy. And the refrigerator looked so nice sitting outside in the parkway near the curb.
For the first week, there weren't any problems with going outside if needing something from the refrigerator. If someone wanted some milk, they would bring the glass out to the street and pour some near the refrigerator. Eggs and bacon for breakfast? We would simply go out to the street and rummage through the refrigerator. And any leftovers from dinner would be carried out and stored in the refrigerator for future meals.
Now about those leftovers; it was late in the week—our second week of having the refrigerator outside—when my daughter accompanied me to the street side curb to gather up leftovers in the refrigerator from previous meals. Thursday nights are usually designated as leftover nights.
Halfway down the driveway, I saw something startling. "Whoa!" I exclaimed, and blocked my daughter with the back of my hand from walking any further. I pointed to my car. "Who is that underneath?”
Lying under my car was a strange black man who looked like he was homeless, or at the least spent much of his time out in the streets. He wore a stocking hat on his head, and had a scraggly beard. And he started back at me with his beady, black eyes. I wasn't supposed to see him. From the looks of it, he was up to no good. Maybe he was casing out the neighborhood with plans of burglary.
"Let's get back in the house!" I urged my daughter. We both ran inside, and I immediately reached for the phone to call the police. While doing so, I watched out the front room window and observed the strange, black man crawl out from under my car and scurry back to his own that was down the street. From what I could see, it was an old 1970s beater Cadillac with no license plate.
"Hello, yes, I would like to report some suspicious activity taking place in my neighborhood." I told the 911 dispatcher.
Within a minute, two squad cars sailed down the street and parked near the curb of my house, right where my refrigerator sat.
"Unfortunately, I couldn't get much of a description of the suspect or the vehicle." I told the officers. "He was just some black guy with scraggly beard and a stocking hat. He looked like someone who lived out in the streets. And he drove an old Cadillac that had dulled and faded maroon color."
"And you say he was lying under your car?" probed the officer.
"Yes." I affimed. “It looked like he was hiding.”
"And when did you first see him?"
"It was when my daughter and I came outside to the refrigerator to get dinner for the evening."
The officer said not a word, just continued writing. While this happened, the other officer walked around my car, probably looking for any evidence left behind from strange black man.
"Well..." began the officer after jotting down all the information. "At this point all we can do is keep an eye on the neighborhood. Give us a call if you see him again, or notice any suspicious activity in the neighborhood."
"Will do." I reassured the office. And as the two walked back to their squad cars, I dashed over to the refrigerator and called out, "Hey, want something to drink?" I pulled out two cans of Coca Cola.
Both officers shrugged their shoulders. "Sure, why not."
I handed the sodas to the officers. "Thanks for doing a great job in protecting our community."
***
A few days passed, and there weren't any further sightings of the strange black man who was hiding under my car. But there was something peculiar that we noticed. When going out to the curbside for breakfast in the morning, the inside of the refrigerator appeared messy and unorganized.
Then we started to notice that food was missing, "Now I know that I put that leftover pizza in here." I insisted to my wife. "And nobody else here ate it?"
"No..."
"No..."
"Wasn't me..."
Then came the morning that I discovered that one of the shelves in the refrigerator had fallen off the track and collapsed to the lower shelf. There were a couple of broken eggs at the bottom of the refrigerator, and something sticky had spilled over the bag off tossed salad.
"What the hell is going on?" I exclaimed. I nearly yelled at my kids. "Just because we put the refrigerator outside doesn't mean that you can now be messy. Come-on, kids! That's our food! Now we have to clean that mess up."
"But, Dad, I didn't go out there last night." sweared my daughter.
"Yeah, Dad, me neither."
"Well someone made that mess out there." I pointed. "And it wasn't me or your mother."
The only other explanation I could think of was that maybe the strange black man had returned to the neighborhood and was helping himself to our food at night while we slept. But I wasn't ready to jump to such a conclusion.
***
There came a Saturday when I happened to glance outside the front window and was shocked by a new disturbing sight. The strange black man had returned, and he brought with him a few friends. And they were all hiding under my car in the street.
"Son of a..." I exclaimed. Curious of what they were doing under my car, I dashed away to the closet for a pair of binoculars and returned. If a bunch of dirty street appearing people hiding under my car wasn't disturbing enough, I could now see through the binoculars that they were using drugs. Smoking crack cocaine and shooting up with heroin; these people were nothing more than a small group of drug addicts who camped under my car in a means to hide from the police so that they could use their drugs.
And that's not all that was happening! From under the car emerged a zombie-appearing, emaciated girl in a black t-shirt, shorts and a pair of leather boots. She had ultra-short blond hair and heavy dark under her eyes, probably from neglecting her health. She had infected needle tracks all up and down her arms, as well as burns all over her lips from—probably—a crack pipe. She opened our refrigerator and actually crawled inside of it. Yes, her entire body slithered and wedged itself into the refrigerator. She was thin enough to actually slip behind the shelves while browsing the selections of food.
I was outraged to see this, to say the least. I did not want a filthy drug addict with sores and burns all over her body—not to mention whatever diseases she might have had—crawling through my refrigerator and touching my food.
In horror I watched as she opened a Tupperware bowl of barbecued chicken and started to help herself. "No, not the barbecued chicken!" I cried out. "That's it, I'm calling the police. Enough is enough."
The windows of the house were not open that afternoon, so there would have been no way for them to hear me. It was as-if they could somehow sense or read my mind that I was calling the police. With phone in hand I watched in disbelief as about a half-dozen drug addicts hopped out from under my car and ran down the street to their own cars. The girl in the refrigerator, of course, followed. She, too, did not want to get busted.
"Yes, there is a group of people using drugs under my car. And they are stealing my food. You need to send the police!"
While stepping outside to wait for the police, I noticed that the drug addicts had pushed my refrigerator over, probably to punish me for calling the police. Spilled food now stretched across the road.
That wasn't very nice of them.

The End

Friday, April 29, 2016

One Friday Night at Barbie's Dream House

Hello All:
The challenge: can a short story (possibly a small series of short stories) be created out of a vintage Barbie commercial from the early 1960s?
The answer: at the Literary World of Tom Raimbault, this certainly is possible. What you will read, below, just might evolve into a small collection of Barbie doll stories.
***
Have a great weekend!
One Friday Night at Barbie's Dream House
One Friday night, at Barbie's dream house, Barbie lay on the floor of her bedroom, alone, while studying the many photos in her modeling portfolio. You see, Barbie is a highly successful teenage model. She travels the world and earns on average a million dollars per shoot. She's been on the front cover of many fashion magazines; been featured on billboards, and has even appeared on TV commercials.
So why would someone as successful as Barbie need to study her modeling portfolio?—you might ask? Was she looking for the perfect head shot to send to an agency?
No, Barbie doesn't need to impress a modeling agency in hopes to find work like an average commercial print model. She actually has a personal agent who receives countless requests every day for Barbie to do shoots. Whoever bids the highest, wins a shoot with Barbie.
How about studying her countless poses and headshots while thinking of ways to take her career to the next level?
Well... come on... How much further can the world's most successful teenage model take her career? The next step would be acting and appearing in movies. And Barbie doesn't want to do that.
So why was Barbie lying on her bedroom floor on a Friday night, studying her modeling portfolio? Well, you see, Barbie has a little problem with making friends at school. Yes, although she is a highly successful teenage model, Barbie attends the local high school like all the other kids in her neighborhood. But being that she's a model, most of the girls at school are jealous. And Barbie spends many nights with her burning question in mind of why kids don't like her. She often does this while studying her portfolio.
As for the boys, they are only after one thing. They automatically assume that a female model is nothing more than a sex object. Oh, there are nice boys who truly like Barbie for who she
is. But they all think that Barbie is too good for her. At least Barbie has Ken, an older boy (actually young man) who is equally successful in modeling as Barbie. Their paths crossed during a commercial print shoot in Chicago last year. As for tonight, Ken was in Hong Kong, doing a shoot for Asian sportswear—something peculiar because Ken is not Asian; he's white.
"I look so pretty in this shot." sadly commented Barbie to herself. "And I bet all the other girls at school would love to wear an outfit like this. I get plenty of clothing gifts and accessories from fashion designers, and would love to share them with everyone. I mean you think more kids would like me." Barbie sighed, turned the page and examined another photo of herself playing tennis on the court.
Just then the doorbell rang downstairs.
"Barbie!" called out Mother.
"What????" shouted Barbie in a somewhat irked voice.
"Come down here and see who's at the door."
Who could it have been? Whenever Mother ordered Barbie to see who was at the door, it was usually a surprise visitor for Barbie. It couldn't have been Ken. He was in Hong Kong, and wouldn't return to America for a couple of days.
Like a teenage girl, Barbie skipped down the stairs of her dream house in anticipation of who might have been at the door. When finally opened: SURPRISE, there stood her friend, Midge!
"Friend?"—you might ask in a challenging tone of voice. "But I thought Barbie doesn't have friends."
Yes, despite how Barbie complains that she doesn't have any friends, she actually has Midge who has been a close friend for a number of years. You know how teenagers are: they think they don't have friends—depends on what mood they are in.
"Oh, hi, Midge." greeted Barbie with a somewhat confused look on her face.
"Hi!" returned Midge.
And then the two stood there in an awkward few seconds of silence. Barbie couldn't remember inviting Midge over.
"Did we have plans?" asked Barbie.
"Your Mom told me to come over." explained Midge in a somewhat nervous tone of voice. You see, Mother is often concerned with Barbie. Barbie isolates herself, and rarely goes out with friends. Mother is friends with Midge's mother, and often requests that Midge come over to spend time with her daughter.
Barbie sighed, "Well come on in." Then she explained upon closing the door. "I wasn't doing anything terribly important. I was just studying my modeling portfolio.”
"Oh, how exciting." answered Midge. Midge is thrilled that Barbie is a highly successful teenage model, and really adores her for this.
Well... then again... that's only partly true. You see, this is what people are made to think. Both Mother and Midge's mother re-assert Midges adoration to Barbie. And to be nice, Midge goes along with it—pretends to be thrilled that Barbie is a successful model. But secretly, that's one of the things that Midge doesn't care too much for with her friend Barbie. It's almost as-if Barbie is supposed to be worshipped. And this sickens Midge.
"Well hello!" cheerfully greeted Mother while stepping into the foyer. She was wearing an apron.
"Hi!" returned Midge with a friendly smile.
"I was just baking some cookies." informed Mother. "They're almost done. In a little bit, I'll order a pizza for you girls."
"Awe... Your mom is so nice." commented Midge. "But maybe Barbie won't be able to eat because she's a model."
Barbie laughed through her lips, "Pff! That's not true. I'm a teenage model. I can eat like a horse and never gain weight."
"That's so very true." reassured Mother. "I don't know how you do it. There's not an ounce of fat on your body. Oh, and the same goes for you, Midge. How do you girls stay so thin?"
Midge shrugged her shoulders.
Then Mother looked over to Barbie to remind her, "Hey, don't forget that you have nearly a wardrobe of designer fashion wear given to you as gifts from all your shoots. Why don't you let Midge try some of these on? She's the same size as you."
It sounded like a great idea to Midge. Often, Midge gets to take some of these clothes home with her to wear at school. But then the other kids tease her, citing that she is Barbie's only friend and obviously got these nice clothes from her. Midge never cared. It was still nice to wear fashionable clothes.
The two skipped upstairs, together, into Barbie's bedroom where they stood before Barbie's walk-in closet.
"Wow, Barbie! Holy crap! You get all this stuff for free?"
"Yup!" affirmed Barbie. "The more popular of a model you are, the more gifts you get from fashion designers. They want you to wear this stuff for them in hopes that other people will notice you wearing them and then buy it themselves."
"Nice deal for you." commented Midge.
"Go ahead!" encouraged Barbie. "Try some stuff on. See, there are benefits to being my friend."
Midge smiled, stepped into the closet and began browsing the many never-worn-before blouses, denim jeans, shorts, sundresses and even swimwear. It was like stepping into a miniature store in the clothing department where she could privately shop around. The best part; it wouldn't be necessary for Mother to pay if she found something she liked.
In the meantime, Barbie lay back down on the floor to examine her modeling portfolio. Within a few minutes, Midge emerged from the closet in a pair of tight shorts with sleeveless t-shirt that showed off her cute figure. She was definitely ready for summer.
"Nice!" encouraged Barbie.
Midge noticed that Barbie was examining pictures of herself from the modeling portfolio. And whenever Barbie introduces or even remotely suggests her modeling career at a particular moment, it's Midges job to show interest. She walked over and commented on an image that was taken during a prom dress shoot. "They made the color of the dress match your pretty eyes." commented Midge.
"Eh... I didn't care too much for the dress." answered Barbie. She flipped the page over to a shoot in which Barbie laughed in the passenger seat of a convertible Corvette. Her long hair freely blew in the wind. Sitting next to her was her boyfriend, Ken.
"And that's the shoot where you met Ken." pointed Midge.
"Yup!" acknowledged Barbie.
"You're pretty lucky to be going out with a male super model like Ken." cited Midge. "I'm sure most of the guys at school are intimidated by him."
"And they should be." agreed Barbie. "Ken is a great guy."
Midge glanced at herself in the mirror and noticed how cute she looked. And she definitely had a nice body. "Hey Barbie..." began Midge. "You know what I don't understand?"
"What's that?" asked Barbie.
"I think I've got some good looks, and I have the same figure you do. I mean I'm fitting into all of your clothes. I've tried getting with a modeling agency, but I just don't have any luck. How come I can't be as successful as you? I mean you would think that some agent at last year's model search conference would have noticed me and selected me as a potential candidate. There were so many people there, and I really think I looked better than a lot of the girls there."
Barbie sighed, "Midge, we've been through this before. And you can't take this personal or let it bring you down. Yeah, you're cute and you've got a nice body. But you don't have the look. You don't have what modeling agencies require right now. And I'm really sorry, but the intellectual girl with short red hair and freckles really isn't in right now. Girls who are in all honors AP classes are not considered sexy or cool. So just be yourself and don't worry about it."
"I know..." agreed Midge while walking back to Barbie's closet that was crammed with designer fashion wear. She did a pretty good job of covering it up; but deep down inside, Midge's feelings were really hurt. Did Barbie actually think like that? Did she really believe that Midge's drive to be a successful, high-achieving student to be uncool and not-so-sexy?
As the evening progressed, Barbie's comment of Midge being un-cool continued to eat away at poor Midge to the point of nearly hating Barbie. Somehow Midge was going to have to prove Barbie wrong. Somehow, Midge would have to find a way to destroy Barbie.
To be continued...

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Slide Zone

Hello All:
If you're old enough to remember (and you would have to be really old) then you can recall a time when MTV used to air something called music videos. In fact, that's what MTV originally stood for: Music Television. These music videos would have been popular throughout the early to late 1980s. Yes, you would have to be old to remember them!
What is a music video?--a younger reader might ask?
A music video could have been described as a three-to-five minute short movie that was accompanied by some popular song by a well known artist--usually rock, pop, or rap. Sure, some of these music videos would simply be the artists performing before the camera. But most music videos aimed to really entertain the viewer by showing scenes and action. Sometimes the video would play for about thirty seconds to a minute as a scene unfolded before the music actually started.
I mention all of this because that's what came to mind when originally conceiving today's featured writing. It's based an old, mostly unheard-of song from the late 1970s from a well-known artist. I'm going to leave the name of the song and the artist unmentioned for now. It will be revealed towards the end of the story. See if you can figure it out while reading it.
The particular song that inspired this story is unusual for the artist. Released in 1978, I believe they were experimenting with what would have considered the up and coming high tech, electro sound that would dominate much of the 1980s. The artist was mostly acoustic. Now they were integrating synthesizers, electronic sound effects, along with a higher than usual tempo.
In analyzing the lyrics I thought to myself, "Hmm... That's a really interesting story... That almost sounds like something that would happen to our friend, the Cableman." And there we have it! A short story about the Cableman put to music video.
Just a sidenote: at the end of the story I do include the You Tube video. In the first 30 seconds of the video there is the sound of crickets and some other noises. Just be patient. The music will begin after 30 seconds.
Have a great weekend!
The Slide Zone
The Cableman has had more than his share of strange experiences throughout his life. If you've come to know him in our series of short stories, then you certainly know all about it. And despite how strange they can get, these occurrences have been so common for the Cableman that he tends to forget most of them. Take for example that peculiar stranger that he met some years ago on a late night ride home from the airport. No, it wasn't lady who he would end up going to bed with, which is a typical scenario for the Cableman. This was someone completely out of the ordinary who would catapult the Cableman into an unknown place.
As stated above, the occurrence took place some years ago after landing at the airport from a week-long job training seminar. The Cableman retrieved his luggage from the carousel, and then walked out to the taxi pickup area. Supposedly his boss arranged for the Cableman's transportation home. Sure enough, there was man standing out on the sidewalk with a large, handwritten sheet of paper that said, Cableman. Apparently this was the cabbie who would give him his ride home.
But what was this?
Much to the Cableman's surprise, it wasn't a taxi cab that he would be riding in. Rather it was a large, white limousine! Wasn't that nice of the boss to arrange for a stylish limo ride home from the airport? Maybe it would be complete with a couple bottles of beer from the cooler.
Then again, maybe the Cableman shouldn't have been so impressed, much less gotten his hopes up for a stylish, luxurious ride home. It would appear that the boss had taken advantage of some sort of share ride discount. Upon entering the backseat, there was an old man sitting there who briefly glanced over at the Cableman, and then resumed facing forward. What sort of cheapskate deal did the Cableman fall victim to?
One of the first things that the Cableman noticed was that the old man was wearing a torn coat. It was battered and shabby, looked to be made of the skin of some animal—perhaps suede or leather. And once the limousine had driven off from the pickup area of the airport, the Cableman glanced back over to the old man and noticed that his face was terribly worn. He had certainly experienced a considerable passage of time in the duration of his life.
Suddenly, the old man turned and faced the Cableman which revealed, for the first time, a pair of exceptionally clear eyes that for some reason suggested to the Cableman a certain level of awareness and superior wisdom.
"A river will always flow downhill." the old man suddenly said to the Cableman. "It's born out of a mass of water that becomes so great that it must move. Movement is always downhill for a river. A river will always start high up on a hill, or in the mountains. From there, it flows for a very long time—sometimes joining with other rivers—until finally reaching a lake or the ocean. This is where a river flows."
The Cableman was taken aback by the random piece of information suddenly given by the old man. And it was the first thing that the old man had said to the Cableman. Such a peculiar introduction.
"Interesting..." finally commented the Cableman. "I guess I never looked at it that way. Yes, you are right. Rivers always flow downhill and into a lake or ocean."
The old man smiled, nodded, and then resumed facing forward.
"I'm the Cableman." introduced the Cableman while extending his hand to shake.
But the old man said nothing in return. He simply kept his face forward while maintaining a stoned, blank expression.
The Cableman shrugged his shoulders, sat back in his seat and looked out the window of the limousine. Apparently the old man felt it was okay to dish out wisdom to people without extending common greetings and courtesy. He was, after all, an odd fellow. Maybe it was just some homeless guy who managed to get a free ride in a limousine for the evening.
Five minutes later, as the Cableman started to dose off, the old man suddenly announced, "Apple trees need honey bees to cross pollinate during the flowering season. This is crucial if the apple is to grow."
Startled, the Cableman turned to face him. Unsure of what to think, he simply agreed with the old man. "Yes, that's right. Bees are very important in growing fruits and vegetables."
Just like before; the old man smiled, nodded and resumed facing forward.
"Yeah, I just got back from a week long training seminar for my job." said the Cableman. "I have to admit that this sort of conversation is refreshing. It's nice not to have to hear about installing cable. That's what I do for living."
The old man said nothing in return.
"So where are you off to?" asked the Cableman. "Home, I assume."
The old man resumed his stoned, blank expression as if in some sort of trance. This went on for nearly a minute before he turned to face the Cableman to say, "There's an old stream that no one has ever heard of that has been dried up for many decades. Once upon a time, people would go there for its healing power. Some say that the gods have taken it away."
"Yeah?" asked the Cableman while beginning to conclude that the old man was crazy. "Is that where you are off to?—to find the magick stream that can heal people?"
"No..." answered the old man. "And you certainly are interested in where it is that I'm going. If you must know then I will tell you. I'm going to find a shooting star. It should be just around the bend up there. That's where they are."
With a somewhat amused look on his face, the Cableman gazed out the window and up the highway. "Oh, right... I know the bend you are talking about. It's sort of a fork in the road up there that—I think—leads to nothing but farm fields. I've never driven that way before. So you think there's going to be a shooting star?"
"Definitely!" firmly stated the old man.
Suddenly intrigued, the Cableman asked, "Can I come with you to see this shooting star? I'm sorry, but those are usually random occurrences that are almost impossible to predict. I want to see this shooting star of yours."
"Sure, I don't see why not." answered the old man. "I believe you are already going along for the ride. I think it's a quick detour we need to take before reaching your destination. If you want to get out of the limousine with me, then that's your choice."
"Hey driver!" called out the Cableman. "Are you listening to this? I want to get out wherever this guy is going to see his shooting star. You wouldn't mind waiting for a few minutes before taking me, would you?"
"Sure, I can wait." reassured the driver. "But are you sure you want to do that?—agree to finding this shooting star?"
"What do I got to lose?" challenged the Cableman. "If this man says he's going to find a shooting star, I'm in with him."
The driver shrugged his shoulders, "Okay..."
The Cableman shouldn't have agreed to such a thing. For that was the very moment that marked the beginning of a most bizarre incident of non-ordinary reality. Just as the limousine turned onto the fork in the highway that leads to the bend and open farm field, the Cableman started to feel the strange sensation of gliding. Although triggering an unpleasant moment of apprehension, the Cableman attributed the unexplained gliding to some residual motion sickness brought on by riding the plane for some hours before landing.
Then the Cableman's ears suddenly plugged up. He could no longer hear anything; not the sound of air rushing against the side of the limousine or the sound of the engine. Instinctively, he wedged his pinky finger in one of the ear canals in an effort to dislodge some wax that might have gotten displaced from the altitude change during the plane ride. This didn't help anything.
"I can't hear!" shouted the Cableman in a panic. It was a like a bad dream in which he tried to talk but made no sound.
Suddenly, the Cableman found himself rising high above the ground with the sensation of a great wind rushing from every direction. Somehow the old man was before him in this strange, new reality. And despite the fact that the Cableman was deaf, he could hear the voice of the old man. He announced with a smile that lit across his face, "You will know this place."
Upon this suggestion, the Cableman looked down to some thousand feet below to where the farm fields were. There was something there that the Cableman knew. But he wasn't sure of what it was. He was actually more concerned with what has happening in that moment. I mean it's not every day one takes a limousine ride around a bend and is suddenly transported into new reality of gliding a thousand feet in the air with a stranger.
And then the Cableman began to fall. Whatever power that had raised him and the old man some thousand feet in the air had suddenly released them so that they began to fall and spiral back to the Earth.
"Help me! Please!" the Cableman screamed.
Almost immediately he heard music... or at least he initially perceived it as music. No, actually it was the sound of an ambulance siren. While pulling out of unconsciousness, the Cableman perceived the siren as music. He was now riding in the back of an ambulance.
"Sir, are you awake now?" probed the paramedic.
"Yeah, I'm fine. Much better!" answered the Cableman. "What happened?"
"Well, according to your limo driver, you were picked from the airport and started complaining about a gliding sensation. Then you passed out. It looks like you had an extreme episode of motion sickness accompanied by long term jet lag. Slipping through all those times zones, or slide zones as some people call them..."
"So I stepped into a slide zone?" inquired the Cableman. "The old man had me going through a time zone?"
"Yeah, something like that Sir." answered the paramedic.
***
Somehow, word of this incident had been picked up by the progressive English rock band, The Moody Blues. Such a strange occurrence to have happened to someone; they actually made a song about it. Yes, 'steppin in a slide zone' is all about that fateful night that the Cableman would rather forget.
Now I hear you, the reader, challenging this notion. "Wait a minute!" you might argue. "The Moody Blues made that song in 1978! The Cableman was just a wee lad in those days!"
Ah, but you see; the old man in this story made the Cableman step through a time zone which triggered a brief moment of time travel. This traversing of time manifested itself so that people way in the past actually heard about the Cableman’s experience.
If you've never heard the song, do give it a listen in this You Tube video. I think the Cableman's story would be better suiting for the music video, don't you? And for your convenience, the lyrics of 'steppin in a slide zone' have been printed below the video.


Steppin' In A Slide Zone by The Moody Blues
I took a ride in a limousine
I took a road I'd never been
I met a stranger by the way
His coat was torn but his eyes were clear

Standing in a slide zone
I could be steppin' in a slide zone

He told me where a river flows
He showed me how the apple grows
He told me of a magic stream
His face was worn but his eyes were clear

Standing in a slide zone
I could be steppin' in a slide zone
Standing in a slide zone
I could be steppin' through a time zone

He went to find a shooting star
Around the bend that's where they are
I went along just for the ride
Suddenly I began to glide

Standing in a slide zone
I could be steppin' through a time zone

The air raced by there was no sound
We drifted high above the ground
And then said you know this place
And then a smile lit up his face

Standing in a slide zone
I could be steppin' in a slide zone
Standing in a slide zone
I could be steppin' through a time zone

I turned my head and looked below
And there was something there I know
Suddenly I began to fall
I looked around and tried to call

Standing in a slide zone
He had me steppin' in a time zone
Standing in a slide zone
Falling through a time zone

Help me please I thought I said
Then something happened in my head
Music came from all around
And I knew what I had found

Standing in a slide zone
Falling through a time zone
Steppin' in a slide zone
He had me falling through a time zone

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Midnight Adventures of the Phantom Hellcat

Hello All:
On Sunday night I was sound asleep and was suddenly woken up by a deep, guttural roaring engine. It was a car that was racing through the night. You see, it was nice that night and the windows were open. I could hear everything outside.
The roaring engine came closer and closer to my neighborhood. And I immediately recognized the sound of the roar. It was none other than the trademarked Hellcat roar!. Someone was enjoying the 707 horsepower of this wonderful machine by racing down dark and empty roads.
I got up to go the bathroom.
My wife rolled over, and said something to me. (I can’t quite remember what it was.)
“Do you hear that outside?” I whispered. “That’s a Hellcat.”
Upon returning to bed, I closed my eyes and listened in delight as the Hellcat roared and screeched its tires for many miles away. By now it had passed our subdivision and kept driving. While dozing off, I dreamed of a Phantom Hellcat that had no driver—just joy riding on a warm, spring night. And that sets the premise for today’s featured writing.
Midnight Adventures of the Phantom Hellcat
707 horsepower, delivered by a supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI®, a neon purple Dodge Hellcat races through the night at clocked speeds of over one-hundred thirty miles per hour! Trailing behind is a squadron of state police cars—Dodge Chargers and an equally powerful Hellcat police car leading the squadron. In all the excitement of the dangerous chase, police are unable to determine who the driver is. You see, the license plate is somehow shielded by a tinted cover. Every time an officer nears and attempts to read the plate, the digits seem to change before the officer's eyes. It has to be an illusion or some sort of trickery of the mind.
What's more? The windows of the assailing Hellcat have dark tint which makes it impossible to see the driver. There is the possibility of the vehicle being stolen. If the police could at least identify the driver...
Plenty of people have seen the aggressive Hellcat roar through the darkened, midnight roads. It races through towns and does donuts in the middle of intersections to taunt nearby motorists and pedestrians. But just like the police, no one has ever actually seen the driver, only recognize the neon purple paint with dual black stripes down the middle of the car. But civilians and police, alike, might as well give up trying to see the driver or read the impossible digits on the license plate. You see, this car is the legendary Phantom Hellcat. It has no driver. Nobody can own this Hellcat. It has a life and a will of its own.
***
"All officers in pursuit of the Phantom Hellcat..." calls out the police dispatcher over the radio. "Be advised that there is a sharp bend in the highway and the road transitions west. The vehicle in pursuit will need to slow down to make this turn. You have permission to use the stop maneuver as needed." The stop maneuver, in case you are unaware, involves smashing into the left rear bumper of the vehicle in pursuit and then turning a hard right which forces the vehicle in pursuit to spin 180 degrees to a complete stop.
"I'm not going to do it!" declares the state trooper in the Hellcat squad car. "Not with this car! Someone else is going to have to do it." Surely you understand the officer's concern. The Hellcat squad car was a special vehicle used on the force for high speed chases—like chasing after the neon purple Phantom Hellcat that torments innocent civilians, night after night. There were less valuable police cars that could take a few bumps and dents upon executing the dangerous stop maneuver.
In answer to this concern, a Charger squad car raced ahead of the Hellcat squad car so that it was not more than fifty feet away from the vehicle in pursuit. And just as the dispatcher advised, the road curved and transitioned west. This made it necessary for all vehicles to slow down to maintain control. Speeds nearing one hundred thirty miles per hour are never advisable when following a sudden curve—even in a Hellcat.
But what was this?
The officer who moved in to make the aggressive stop maneuver suddenly discovered that the Phantom Hellcat appeared to have vanished. "What the...? He yelled out over the radio. "I can't find it! The driver must have turned the lights out."
Some moments passed as officers in the chase as well as the dispatcher argued back and forth over what happened. How could a car suddenly vanish?
Then the radio dispatcher announced, "All officers involved in the pursuit of the Phantom Hellcat; a police helicopter has cited the vehicle approaching northbound on Route 133. State troopers in the nearby jurisdiction are setting up a road block. Report to the location to assist in surrounding the Phantom Hellcat."
"That's two miles away from here!" called out one of the officers who were involved in the original pursuit.
"The driver must have neared speeds of two hundred miles per hours." commented another. "Is that even possible?"
"If the driver is crazy enough." answered another. "The Hellcat can do it. Must have a death wish..."
Five minutes passed as the original squadron of state troopers raced to Route 133. All the while, reports were heard of the Phantom Hellcat discovering the roadblock and turning around to head back. Unfortunately there were no intersecting roads or off-beaten paths to turn onto to avoid the oncoming state troopers. It looked like this was the end of the Phantom Hellcat's reign of terror. It was trapped with nowhere to go.
Sure enough, the flashing lights from a squadron of state troopers could be seen in the distance. They were gaining on the Phantom Hellcat which left it no choice but to turn around and head back towards the road block. One would think that a sensible person would simply give up. Then again, the Phantom Hellcat was no sensible person. It wasn't a person. It was a car with a life and a will of its own.
Not more than one hundred feet from the road block, the Phantom Hellcat came to a complete stop. As approaching police troopers raced up from behind, they watched as the vehicle in pursuit suddenly started doing donuts on the middle of the highway—of all things to do when just moments from being busted by the police.
Round and round the Phantom Hellcat spun with a  cloud of heavy tire smoke surrounding it.
"The driver is putting on a little show for us." commented one officer over the radio.
"It looks like he won't go down without a fight." commented another.
Then from the heavy cloud of tire smoke emerged the Hellcat that charged towards the roadblock of a dozen or so squad cars with a monstrous roar. With open throttle of 707 horsepower, the approaching vehicle matched that of a commercial jet that was taking off from the runway.
"He's not really going to do this, is he?" cried one of the officers over the radio.
"Crazy son of a bitch!" exclaimed another before jumping out of the squad car and running to the shoulder of the highway.
For the sake of their lives, a few other officers did the same. And just seconds from making impact with the roadblock, the Phantom Hellcat vanished into thin air. Two streaks of lighting zipped through the dozen or so squad cars along with a terrible blast of wind that nearly knocked down two officers who stood nearby. It was just like the movie Back to the Future when the Delorian vanished upon reaching 88 miles per hour.
One of the officers just about shit in his pants! And don't laugh! You would do the same!  There were several seconds of radio silence as officers stared at the glowing tire tracks and smoke on the highway near the roadblock.
"Where did it go?" finally asked one of the officers.
The Phantom Hellcat laughed upon reaching a main road in a nearby town. It was a fun little game to play with the police. Silly officers; they really thought they had the Phantom Hellcat surrounded. But the Phantom Hellcat can vanish and reappear at will. Now it was some miles away and in town, roaring down the main boulevard and approaching the stoplight.
The Phantom Hellcat certainly doesn't need to stop at red lights. But doing so often provides an opportunity to scope out any new sources of entertainment. This is what the Phantom Hellcat did at the approaching intersection. And just as hoped, there was something down the street; a pedestrian who had just gotten off the bus and was walking home. It was Bernard, a second shift custodian who worked at the city hospital. He used drive an old Cutlass to work, but the transmission suddenly went bad. This made his vehicle un-drivable. Now he had to take the bus to and from work until saving up enough money to get his car fixed. Maybe he should get himself a new vehicle.
While walking the lonely sidewalk, Bernard heard the monstrous roar of the approaching Phantom Hellcat. Neon purple with dual black stripe down the center and tinted windows, it was frightening in all its glory as it rapidly approached.
Poor Bernard backed up and flattened himself against a nearby building. He wasn't sure what to expect.
When close to Bernard, the Phantom Hellcat jammed on its brakes and spun around 180 degrees. Finally at a complete stop, the driver side door opened and dense cloud of vapor emerged from within.
Bernard was dumbfounded. There was no driver inside the car. There was no sign of anyone, in fact.
The Phantom Hellcat roared its engine, seemingly encouraging Bernard to get in. Poor, lonely Hellcat. It had no owner and driver; probably saw Bernard as the perfect partner in crime.
"Whoa! Wait a minute!" said Bernard. "What are you offering me? You want me to get in?"
The Phantom Hellcat roared its engine.
Bernard shrugged his shoulders, briefly glanced around to see if anyone was watching, and then carefully approached the Phantom Hellcat. But when not more than a few feet away; the driver side door slammed shut, and the tires burned into the pavement before taking off at a high speed.
Bernard was, once again, dumbfounded. "Man, that wasn't nice!" he exclaimed.
The Phantom Hellcat just laughed. Silly Bernard; doesn't he know that no one can own the Phantom Hellcat? It's a car with a life and a will of its own.
***
About an hour later, a metallic-blue 1969 Chevelle with noisy side-pipe headers roared its way down a dark, forested highway. Driving the Chevelle was the famous Cookie Monster from Sesame Street.
"Crazy!  "—you might declare? How could such a ridiculous occurrence happen in this story?
Hey, this a story about a Hellcat that has a life and a will of its own, along with a magickal power to vanish and reappear someplace else. Isn't that crazy, too?
Anyway, the Cookie Monster was on a late night run for some much needed cookies. "Me want cookies!" said the Cookie Monster while his left hand gripped the top of the steering wheel. "Cookie Monster so hungry! Oh, what me get? Maybe chocolate chip? Maybe peanut butter? The thought of all these wonderful cookies threw Cookie Monster over the edge. He shouted out, "COOKIES!" and then floored the accelerator.
The metallic-blue 1969 Chevelle with noisy side-pipe headers cried out a furious roar that seemed to agree with what the Cookie Monster exclaimed.
By now, the Chevelle was racing at speeds of nearly one hundred miles per hour. And even at that high speed, a pair of bright headlights rapidly approached the Cookie Monster from behind, slid over to the opposite lane and quickly passed him.
"What???" shouted the Cookie Monster. "Was that a Hellcat that just passed me at almost one hundred miles per hour?"
Neon Purple with tinted windows and dual black stripes down the center; No, Cookie Monster, that was no ordinary Hellcat. That was the Phantom Hellcat!
"Awwwwww!" shouted the Cookie Monster. "The Phantom Hellcat!!! Why these things always happen to me?"

See how much fun the Phantom Hellcat has in its midnight adventures?


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Creepy Doll Closet

Hello All:
I have for you some vintage Barbie commercials to enjoy that provide a nice early stage evolution of the popular toy that girls have played with through the ages. Scroll down and check out the original Barbie commercial, the introduction to her friend Midge, and then the exciting release of the Twist and Turn Barbie. I believe the girl in the third commercial is the young Marcia Brady (Maureen McCormic) from the Brady Bunch.
Bud do you know what's so sad about the third commercial? Girls are encouraged to bring their old and unwanted Barbies in for the new "Twist and Turn" Barbie. Don't you feel sorry for the old ones?



What girl hasn't played with dolls? Oh, but there are people who have a phobia of dolls. If your child is afraid of dolls, here is a nice story to make him or her feel better.
The Creepy Doll Closet
Located on an intermediate level that separates the main floor of an old Victorian two story home from the second floor is an area that has been referred to as "then den", "the office", or the "rec room". Names for this intermediate level have been designated by the various families who have lived in that old Victorian two story throughout the many decades. You see; families move in and then move out some years later. And they do so out of their own will, not because of what some might immediate conclude to be a haunting. Old Victorian homes, after all, that have stood a century or more must surely be haunted, right?
Well this doesn't hold true for all historic homes—especially this one.
Oh, but there is one peculiar thing about this home to mention. It's on that intermediate level that we were just discussing in the above paragraph. There's a closet in the corner that is nearest the radiator that might have been intended to be used as storage. But over a hundred years ago it was considered ideal to be a small play area for a young girl who lived there. Outlined with a couple rows of wooden shelves, it was home to her prized collection of dolls that sat on them. A wool carpet had been fitted and laid on the floor so that the young girl could have a nice place to sit and play with her dolls. To this very day her collection remains in this closet. It's unclear as to why the original family had left the dolls there upon moving out. Perhaps they felt that the next family might have a young girl who would enjoy playing with them. Isn't that nice?
Strange you might comment?
Well it just so happens that the next family who moved in did have a young girl who was delighted to discover the closet full of dolls. She added her own collection of dolls that were received on birthdays, Christmas, or when Father would travel on business and bring back a doll as a gift. But eventually this young girl was too old to play with dolls, and the closet door remained shut for a number of years until her daughter was introduced to the dolls. And just like before, this new girl added her own collection to the doll closet and played with them in there. These were the happiest times for the dolls; to have a human play with them. Unfortunately, it was followed by some years or a few decades of being closed up in the dark until someone new would discover them.
And so this went on for many, many decades—over a century, actually. The collection of dolls accumulated and was passed down from child to child whether it be daughter, granddaughter, or a new girl who moved in. By the time that closet reached the modern age, it included newer Barbies, Brats and the likes.
Today there is a young girl who lives in that old Victorian two story home named Shelly. But unlike the girls who lived there before her, she wants nothing to do with the dolls. For her, the doll closet is used for punishment. You see, Shelly doesn't like the dolls in that closet. They're old, creepy, and give her an eerie feeling. Mother and Father usually find some way to integrate the creepy doll closet into dished out punishment. And with as much of a dreadful phobia that Shelly has of dolls, one would think that she would be on her best behavior.
Shelly tries her best to avoid punishment and is sure not to do anything wrong at home. But if she didn't know any better, the dolls can come to life and do all sorts of mischief just to frame her and get Mother and Father to punish her. And when Mother and Father punish Shelly...
Uh oh! It's about to happen again!
"Shelly!" Father yells up the stairs to his daughter. "Shelly, come down here!"
Shelly is in her bedroom and practicing her violin for an upcoming concert. And with the tone of her father's voice, she immediately gets nervous. What could it possibly be now?
"I'm coming!" yells Shelly as she scampers out of her bedroom, through the hallway and down the stairs. She passes the intermediate level; the office as Mother and Father have named it which contains a desk, and some file cabinets. And don't forget the creepy doll closet next to the radiator!
Shelly reaches the main level.
Father has a stern look on his face. "Now I'm only going to ask you this once, and I want an honest answer."
Shelly grows all the more worried. What did those blasted dolls do this time?
"Come in here!" orders Mother.
Shelly carefully enters the kitchen and sees Mother standing over a collection of items on the linoleum floor which had apparently fallen out of her purse.
"Do you know anything about this?" asks Mother.
"No!" answers Shelly.
"Well my purse was up on the counter a few minutes ago." explains Mother. "It was knocked on the floor, and my stuff came out of it."
"And don't forget the forty dollars!" reminds Father.
"I was getting to that!" snaps Mother. "Where is the money? You took money from my purse!"
"No I didn't!" defends Shelly. "I wouldn't do something like that! Why would I need money?"
"Bring it back right now!" demands Mother.
"Mom, I didn't take your money!" cries Shelly. "And I wasn't going through your purse! Why won't you believe me?"
"Well who would knock my purse over?" asks Mother.
"Yeah..." chimes in Father. "Do you think it was one of the dolls from the creepy doll closet?"
"Daddy, stop it!" snaps Shelly. "You know I don't like those dolls!"
For over five minutes, Mother continues to demand that Shelly return her money. In that time, poor Shelly is accused of being a little thief who would one day go to jail. Mother is terribly disappointed in her daughter for not only stealing but repeatedly lying. Unsure of what to do for the moment, Mother sends her daughter back upstairs to her room.
"She'll fess up eventually." promises Father with a mischievous smile on his face. He says this while Shelly storms her way over to the stairs.
"Daddy, what did you?" demands Shelly.
"You'll find out..." answers Father in a spooky, mysterious voice.
Outraged, Shelly stamps up the stairs. Apparently, Father sneaked away while Mother was scolding her, and did something that involved the dolls. Maybe he put her schoolbag in the creepy doll closet. Shelly would have to go in there to retrieve it if she wanted to do her homework. Or maybe he took a dozen or so dolls and scattered them on her bed. Shelly would be expected to put them away which, of course, would involve touching the old, creepy dolls while spending time in their musty closet. Oh, what sort of horrible thing did Father do this time?
Shelly enters her bedroom and doesn't initially see anything out of the ordinary. But then she discovers that the violin is missing.
"Daddy! Where is my violin!" shouts Shelly down the stairs.
"I'm pretty sure you know where it's at." answers Father in his spooky, mysterious tone of voice.
Mother chimes in, "And if you want to be ready for your concert, you better make sure you keep practicing."
Reluctantly, Shelly descends the staircase to the intermediate level. Cautiously she approaches the door to the creepy doll closet and opens it. She is immediately greeted by the musty old smell which would remind anyone of antique dolls. As for light, it is necessary to walk inside to the center and pull the chain so that the light bulb illuminates. You see; the creepy doll closet is about the size of a large walk-in closet. I suppose in olden times it could have been used as a small bedroom for, perhaps, a newborn. Instead, it was used as a play area so that girls could spend time with their dolls. How anyone would want to spend time in that closet and actually touch those dolls is beyond Shelly's comprehension. People must have been very strange way back then.
As Shelly scopes out the area for her violin, the dolls all stare back at her from the shelves and the floor where they sit against the walls. Who has her violin? Father brought it in here a few minutes ago and hid it underneath a group of dolls. Within a few seconds, Shelly sees her violin case being used as seat for about a dozen of dolls.
Shelly would never touch those hideous dolls! She uses her foot, and kicks them out of the way so that she can finally reach the violin. While lifting it off the floor, Shelly hears the most dreadful sound; the closet door slamming shut!
Shelly lets out bloodcurdling screams while dashing over to the door with violin case in hand. But the violin was the least of her worries. You see; the doorknob would not turn. Mother or Father was on the other side and gripped the knob so that Shelly could not get out.
"Daddy! Let me out!" screams Shelly while pounding and desperately pulling at the doorknob. "Please let me out!"
"The money..." answers Mother. "As soon as you tell us where the money is, we'll let you out.”
"I didn't steal your money!" cries Shelly. "You have to let me out of here! Please let me out!"
"Not until you tell us where you hid the money." reminds Father in his spooky, mysterious voice.
Just then, Shelly sees something out of the corner of her eye. It looks like one of the dolls jumping off the shelf and onto the floor. Startled and still crying, she looks over. And there on the floor is an old doll with a pair of twenty dollar bills lying nearby. It's just as Shelly suspects; the dolls had been in Mother's purse and took her money so that Shelly would be blamed.
"The money is in here!" shouts Shelly. "Please let me out!"
With that, the door to the closet is partly opened. Father peaks his head in. "Where is it?” he asks.
"Shelly points over to the doll with the money lying nearby."
"Oh..." exclaims Father in his spooky, mysterious voice. "So one of the dolls went through your mother's purse and took the money. Then she brought it back in here to the creepy doll closet."
Mother slips into the closet and snatches up her money. "We're not done in here!" she declares. "You're not getting off Scott-free after taking my money. As punishment, you can stay in here for the next half hour and practice your violin with the door shut."
"Mommy, no!"cries Shelly. "I didn't take your money!"
"I'll tag another half hour onto that for lying." warns Mother.
Defeated, all Shelly could do was cry. She hates those stupid dolls. Even more, she hates the way Mother and Father never believe her. She cries all the more once Mother exits the closet and closes the door behind her.
"Stop your crying!" yells Mother. "And start practicing your violin!"
Shelly kneels down and opens her violin case. Then she screams upon discovering that Father had placed one of the dolls in there before hiding it.
"What's wrong?" asks Father through the door with his spooky, mysterious voice. "Was there a creepy doll in your violin case?"
Shelly ignores him. Instead of answering, she smacks the doll out of the case and picks up her violin with bow. Then she starts playing.
Now in that half hour, something strange happens in the closet. No, the dolls don't come to life and torment Shelly. Rather, they remain motionless with eyes fixed on her, seemingly admiring Shelly's ability to play such beautiful music on the violin. They seem to really like Shelly; seem to wish that she would be their friend and play with them.
***
Later that night, Shelly sleeps soundly in bed. But she is startled out of her sleep about a minute to midnight from the sound of an eerie music box that plays on her bedroom floor. Being that Shelly plays the violin, she is familiar with classical pieces and recognized the song coming from the music box. It is Nocturne—opus nine, number two from Chopin. Very frightened, but at the same time curious, Shelly carefully looks down towards the floor that receives just enough illumination from a nearby nightlight. And there in the middle of the room is one of the creepy, old dolls sitting next to a music box. Shelly recognizes this box as being the one that sits on one of the shelves in the creepy doll closet.
The doll misses the days of many decades ago of when a little girl used to dress her up like a ballerina, and help her dance to the music that came from the music box. Couldn't Shelly do the same with her now? She is, after all, a talented musician and surely has an appreciation for the fine arts.
But Shelly screams in horror at the sight, and runs out of the bedroom.
"What's wrong?" asks Father. "Did one of the creepy dolls come out of the closet to play with you?"
To be continued…?