Copyright Nancy G___, 18th Jan. 2010. May not be copied or used without permission. Based on a one-act play by same author, copyright 2005.

The Unwanted Guest
an original short story by

Nancy G.


Rain came down in sheets, slashing against the blank windows and weathered, graying boards of the sprawling Victorian home. The late afternoon sky was dim and low, pearl grey threads of fog obscuring the leafless trees and pines on the nearby mountaintops. The old house hugged the hillside it was perched on, as if for protection from the storm.

Out on the nearby two-lane country road, a Chevy Blazer truck was being patiently nudged along by its driver. The vehicle's engine suddenly was silenced. It slowly rolled to a stop on the muddy shoulder, near a faded white-painted wooden sign by the road, which read in neat black letters, "Bishop House." Red tail-lights made the sign glow red periodically, as the driver activated the truck's emergency flashers.

The ancient black wrought-iron fence surrounding the property looked slick and oily in the driving rain. It's gate was propped open, the open end tilting, its bottom edge half-buried into the soggy ground. The truck door slammed with a solid thunk, but the sound was muted by the storm. A figure wearing a battered old cowboy hat and a long black rain slicker, scuttled through the sagging gate, hunched against the brutal weather, with well-filled red backpack flung over one shoulder.

Running up the overgrown flagstone path leading to the wide front porch, the tails of the driver's coat flapped in the storm-tossed wind, like the wings of an ascending raven. Booted footsteps rapped hollowly on the warped boards of the steps, and then the driver was partly sheltered from the storm by the wide overhang of the porch roof.

Several minutes of frantic knocking got the driver nowhere. From the front brim of the grey cowboy hat, water dripped in a steady stream on to the porch floor, every time the person's head tipped downward. Looking into one of the front windows of the home, the rain-soaked driver stepped back and shrugged. Then, tried the front door. It opened on creaking, rusting hinges. The person crept cautiously inside.

"Wow! It's raining buckets out there!" A young female voice exclaimed. "So much for the weather report. Light showers today my as---ow!" She yelled, as she stubbed her toe on something in the darkened foyer of the home. Looking down, the young woman's hat dripped water on the rim of the waist-high ceramic urn, which she'd rapped her kneecap on.

Rummaging through her pack, the young woman pulled out a flashlight. She saw that she appeared to be in a living room. Dust and cobwebs coating everything. It had the look of having not been occupied for a very long time. Tossing the pack on the floor, the girl walked over to a sheet-covered sofa. taking off her coat and hat, she flung them over the sofa back. The dark haired young woman appeared to be about 20 years old. She was wearing a blue and black plaid flannel shirt, faded jeans and work boots. Turning, she retraced her steps to her backpack, heaved it up, and began sorting through the contents.

Unbeknown to her, she was being watched. Standing in a small shadowed alcove off the main living room, which lead to what had once been a small library, two people watched, hidden in the dark.

"Gosh, don't these people have a maid?" The girl exclaimed, looking about her. "Jeez, this place is untidy." Running her finger over a nearby side table, she grimaced with disgust. "Yuckie-poo! Good thing I don't have any allergies." So saying, she promptly sneezed. "At least, not until I came here." the girl muttered.

"Hello? Hello, anybody there?" she called out, with hands cupped around her mouth. The girl was greeted only by the sound of the rain lashing the windows, and the usual creaks and groans one supposedly finds in deserted old houses.

Playing her flashlight around the walls, the girl made a circuit of the living room, noting a large marble fireplace, the geometric parquet wood flooring, and intricate moldings around the top of the walls.

"Must be late Victorian, if I know my architecture properly." She said to herself. "Gosh, I love historic homes. There's just something about them--" her words were cut off, as a huge crack sounded from outside, startling the girl, and causing her to give an involuntary yelp of fear.

Going over to the window, in the fading light of the encroaching early evening, the young woman could just make out a large tree which had fallen across the road, right in front of her truck.

"Damn it! That's all I need." she muttered. Cupping her hands, she tried calling out again. "Hellloooooo!" Anybody home? If there is, sorry to barge in like this, but it was sort of an emergency."

There were still no signs of life in the old house, so the girl flopped down on the sofa. Immediately, her actions raised a dust cloud.

"Yuck!" she said, waving the dust away with her hand.

One of the figures, standing in the alcove watching the girl, nudged the other person.

"Did you hear what she said about our home? She said 'yuck.'" A cultured, older woman's voice with a hint of a British accent, whispered indignantly to her companion. "And the language!" She tsked in disapproval.

"Hmmmm--yes." Drawled a suave, sophisticated male voice, also with a British accent. "She said it twice, I believe. Oh wait, that's not quite right. I think the first time, she actually said, 'yuckie-poo,' whatever that means." He gave a low, sarcastic chuckle. "As for language, I've heard you say worse after losing a hand of whist."

"I beg your pardon. I do not use rude language in public dear, and you know it. That would be beneath me." the woman sniffed. "But not beneath you, on more than a few occasions, that I can recall. Especially with a few Manhattans under your belt."

"Keep your voice down!" the man shushed her.

"You know perfectly well she can't hear us from over there." The woman retorted, "You're just trying to shut me up because you don't like hearing the truth."

"God, this place is a mess. Glad I'm not the one who'll have to tidy it. Whoever lived here must've been a real slob." the girl said, putting her feet up on the sofa. She looked out at the wide front window at the darkening skies, contemplating her next course of action.

"What! What! Did you hear what she said?" the woman in the shadows huffed. "How dare she! I always kept a perfectly clean house."

"You mean the maid did." the man corrected her.

"Whom do you think told her what to do?" she snapped at him. "And don't talk to me about the maid. You really don't want to bring that up again, do you?"

"Looks like I'm stuck here for the night," the girl said out loud, "might as well get comfy." She picked up the cowboy hat, and placed it over her face, then grabbed a sofa pillow and put it behind her head.

"Just look at that girl, putting her feet up on my sofa." The woman fumed.

"Our sofa, dear." the man in the shadows politely reminded her.

"Mind you," the woman went on, ignoring him, "I assume it is a girl. One can't really tell in that get up. She reminds me of that film cowboy, Tom Mix."

"And you remind me of his horse, Tony." the man quipped.

"Oh do shut up, sweetheart. I'm just saying that I don't understand any mother who'd let her daughter go traipsing about in public, dressed like that. Harry our gardener wore nicer clothing when he was trimming the shrubbery."

"Damn it!" The young woman on the sofa suddenly exclaimed. "Why didn't I think of that before?"

The girl got up abruptly and picked up the rain slicker. She put it back on, then dashed outside back to the truck. Five minutes later, she came dashing back inside, with a box full of stuff in her arms. She set this down on the end table beside the sofa, and took off the rain coat, shaking it out, before throwing it on a nearby arm chair.

"Oh look! She's dripping water all over my beautiful wood floor! Was she raised in a barn?" The woman in the dark alcove lamented.

"It hasn't been your floor, in over seventy-one years, sweetheart." the man reminded her.

"And whose fault was that, darling?" the woman bridled.

"Oh, let's not open that old wound again." the man said, giving a martyred sigh.

"You're the expert on wounds, not I." the woman chided him in a sweet yet sarcastic voice.

"Believe me, sweetheart, if I'd known how it all would've turned out, I'd of run away and joined the Foreign Legion instead." He countered.

"Somehow dear, I can't picture you riding a camel. Now a jackass, maybe..." she pondered.

"Man, I'm beat." the girl said, once again ensconced on the sofa. "If I had to have my truck go kaput, at least it happened on the way home from my camping trip, so my vacation wasn't ruined." she sighed. "Would've been better if it had broken down somewhere where there was people and a phone. It's 1980. You'd think science would've come up with a portable phone by now. I mean, if Maxwell Smart could have a shoe phone, and Dick Tracy could have a wrist phone..."

She got up and began rummaging through the box on the table, continuing to talk out loud.

"Good thing I thought to bring in my camping gear. This is better than sleeping in the truck, but it's not exactly the Holiday Inn. Too bad. I could use a hot bath and a proper dinner, right about now. I'd even settle for a warm shower and a pizza. Extra cheese with pepperoni, please. All I've got is...."

She reached into the box, and pulled out a paper bag. The girl peered inside the bag, and then looked up with a disgusted expression.

"...a half a dozen Pringles and a warm can of Pepsi."

The girl put the food on the table. Then, took a camping lantern out of the box, as well as a portable radio. The room was growing quite dark, by now, as the storm made the night come early. She bent down, concentrating on lighting the lantern.

In the blackness of the alcove, the man gave the woman a sly grin. As the girl was busy with the lantern, he reached up to the wood-paneled wall behind him, and gave it three sharp raps with his knuckles.

"What in the billy blue blazes was that?" the girl looked up, momentarily startled. "God, I hope this place doesn't have rats."

On hearing this, the woman in the alcove gasped indignantly and made a threatening gesture with her fist, but the man restrained her, shaking his head.

"Wait. The party's just starting, dear." he admonished her.

Meanwhile, the girl pulled the handful of potato crisps out of the bag, and sighed.

"This is so not good. I'm starvin'. I knew I should'a stopped at that pizzeria in the last town. Pepperoni with extra cheese would go down a treat, right about now." she said ruefully.

"What on earth's a pizzeria?" The man asked the woman, curiously.

"I'm quite certain I wouldn't know. And, let me tell you, husband of mine, I'm also not sure what this pepperoni with extra cheese thing is, exactly, but it must be something positively tacky and disgusting if someone like that eats it." the woman said to the man with authority.

"Darn lantern! I can't get it to turn on. What's wrong with it?" the girl said, shaking the camping lantern. "Has it still got fuel?"

"I wonder, my dear, if I should turn the lights on for our unwanted guest?" the man asked.

Rain beat harder against the windows. Lightning flashed, but the rumble of thunder was more distant, now. The inside of the house was nearing pitch dark in the encroaching night.

Suddenly, the lights came on in the living room. Then, went off. Then, came back on again. Then went off...and continued to do so.

"Oh, really dear, must you? I thought you'd gotten over these childish pranks of yours, years ago." the woman chided the man.

"But they're so much fun. I haven't had any proper distractions in years, you know." he told her.

"That's not true. There were those three boys who came here, just last Halloween, remember?" she reminded him.

"Yeah, but that doesn't really count. They didn't last five minutes. Ran away screaming, as I recall. Like little girls, calling for their mum's and dad's." Suddenly, he ran out into the living room, taking a jog around the sofa, waving his hands in the air. "Like this dear, remember?" he called out to her. "Ahhhh--! Mummy, daddy, help us!"

"What the hell?" the girsaid, looking around, bewildered, as the lights continued to flicker like strobe lights. "Must be the storm. Starting to feel like I'm in a disco."

Then, the young woman laughed and began to make some dance moves.

"Look at me, I'm John Travolta!" she chortled. "Ah-ah-ah-ah, stayin' alive, stayin' alive..." she sang out loud, striking a disco pose with her arm and gyrating her hips.

"Somehow I don't think it's working this time, sweetheart." the woman sympathized with the man. "Maybe you should try something else."

The man stopped and stood next to the girl, looking her up and down, with his hands on his hips. He was wearing a dark gray expensively tailored double-breasted suit, with a short red silk tie, and a red silk handkerchief neatly tucked into the suit's breast pocket. The cuffs of his starched white shirt sported diamond and gold cuff links. The man's dark hair was neatly combed back. His dark, smoldering eyes took in her loose flannel shirt, seeming to focus on the young woman's chest. Suddenly, he snapped his fingers and the lights stopped strobing and stayed on.

"Tough nut, huh? Well, we'll see about that. There must be something I can do to push your fear button." He said grimly.

He stood in front of her and waved a hand in front of her face. She opened her mouth and cracked a big yawn, covering it at the last minute with her hand.

"You sure she can't see me?" he said to the woman still standing in the dark alcove. "She's not going to provide much entertainment if I can't scare her, is she, dear. Not like that family that moved in here, ten years ago."

"Oooh, that was a chilly breeze on my face. Glad I've got my sleeping bag. I only hope that sofa isn't crawling with bugs." Said the girl, eying the sofa unhappily.

"Crawling with bugs, my house?" the woman said, her indignity rising. "Well, that sort of ignorant remark just gets right up my nose."

"I bet this place is just one big pest hole." the girl added.

Well, I never!" the woman replied stiffly.

"As I recall, your never was the main thing that started us on the road to being here in the first place." the man said dryly, arching an eyebrow at her.

"Shut up, dear." She told him. "And, all I have to say, is that it takes two to tango....which is precisely what I believe I found you and the maid doing in our bedroom...without your clothes on."

"Yes, well," the man cleared his throat, "at least I was doing it with someone, sweetheart."

"Really, must you always be so crude? This isn't a pub, you know." the woman bit back at him.

"More's the pity." the man countered, shaking his head. "Now, if I may get a word in..."

"You got much more than a word in the maid." the woman answered.

"Now who's being crude?" the man answered back, in a huff.

"Gosh! This is going to be a very long night, I think." the girl sighed, sitting down on the sofa and reaching for the backpack. She untied a sleeping bag which had been rolled up and strapped to the outside of the pack.

There! Did you see that!" The man suddenly cried delightedly, snapping his fingers. The lights went out.

"Whoops." He snapped his fingers again and they came back on.

"See what, dear?" the woman asked. "All I see is a badly dressed young lady dripping water on my floors and making disparaging remarks about our home."

"No, but," the man said, "you weren't paying attention. Look sweetheart. The sleeping bag. She's said she's staying...all. Night." He grinned at her, rocking back and forth on his heels in delight. "Isn't that wonderful? Think of the fun we can have!"

"Time for a little fun, I think." the girl said out loud.

Getting up from the sofa, the young woman turned on her radio. Without warning, loud disco music blasted the room.

"Ahhhh---! Help! Mummy!" the man shrieked, running over to his wife standing in the dark alcove, he cowered behind her, starring horrifically across the room at the radio. The young woman had begun to dance the hustle.

"What is that awful noise?" The woman shouted, holding her hands over her ears. "Someone make it stop!"

"Whoooooo! Party hardy!" the girl yelled.

The man, watching the girl dance, came from behind his wife, and watched the young woman swaying her hips in front of the sofa.

"What an awful racket!" his wife moaned, "Is that the rubbish they call dance music these days? And, what is she doing to her body? It seems as if she's having some sort of seizure."

"Oh, I dunno', dear. It all looks rather....fascinating, to me." the man murmured, sticking his hands in his coat pocket and sauntering back into the living room for a closer look.

The woman frowned deeply at her husband, and walked out of the alcove. She was wearing a frilly chiffon sleeveless evening gown, in sea foam green, tightly tailored at the waist, which came down to just above her ankles. On her hands were a pair of matching green gloves. Her hair was blond and carefully coiffed, cut rather short, and done up in soft curls. Around her neck was a diamond necklace, and there were diamond earrings in her ears, as well as a diamond ring on one gloved finger.

She watched as her husband took a stroll around the dancing woman, admiring the view. Then, she reached up her arm, as if for dramatic effect, and snapped her fingers. The music cut out and was suddenly replaced by Glenn Miller's "In The Mood."

"There," the woman sighed with relief, "that's much better."

"I say! What'cha do that for?" the man complained to his wife.

"Would you care to dance, dear?" the woman replied sarcastically, smiling.

"What the hell?" the young girl had stopped dancing and was staring at the radio. She tried fiddling with the dial, but couldn't change the music. Shrugging, she flopped down on the sofa. "Old fart's music. Bleh. I might as well start eating prunes and get myself a rocking chair." She said, disgusted. "This stuff's OK for weddings and ballrooms, but you sure can't party to it worth a damn."

"Hmmm--I'd like to party with her." the man said, with a lecherous grin.

"You'd party with anything that was female and has two legs." the woman walked over and scolded him.

"Not true. I wouldn't party with you. You're too dull." He said breezily. "It'd be like partying with Winston Churchill's mother. And I have, by the way. That woman had all the personality of a bowl of jellied eels."

"How dare you!" the woman said to him, fury in her eyes.

"I often wondered that, myself. How I ever dared to stay married to you as long as I did. I thought that was quite an act of bravery on my part." He told her, bitterly.

"Oh, will you two shut up!" the girl shouted from the sofa.

The older couple gave startled yelps, and turned to stare at the young woman in horror. The older woman gripped the man's arm, her fingers trembling.

"Did--did she just speak to us?" she asked her husband. "How is that even possible?"

"I just opened my mouth and used my tongue and vocal chords." the girl replied casually.

"There, did you see that, dear? She did it again." the woman said anxiously.

"Yes, sweetheart. I did." the man said. Detaching himself from his wife's clinging arm, he walked towards the girl. "OK, so you can hear us. Can you see us, as well?"

"Yup." the girl said, looking up at him with a smug grin. "Nice suit, by the way." She stood up. The man and woman involuntarily backed away, fear showing on their faces.

"Erm--look, we didn't really mean any harm, just a spot of fun, you see." the man said nervously.

"We? It was all you, dear." the woman sniffed.

"Oh don't start that again." the girl told them. "I'm not sure if I'm in a haunted mansion or some sort of Gothic soap opera." She smiled, walking towards them. They backed away. "Will you two relax, for pete's sake? Jeez, for a couple of ghosts, you sure do scare easily."

She gave the man a long look, shaking her head in disapproval.

"As for you mister ladies man, I saw you staring at certain parts of my body, and let me tell you sweetcheeks, it's a damn good thing for you that you aren't solid flesh and bone any longer, otherwise one of my boots would've connected to a certain very tender part of your lower anatomy."

"What is that supposed to mean, dear?" the baffled woman asked her husband.

"Er--um, I...." the man stammered.

"It means, madame, that no man who values his family jewels, should ever get fresh with a woman wearing steel-toed hiking boots....unless she invites him to...which I most certainly didn't." the girl said.

"Ah, I see." the woman said, a smile of understanding slowly playing across her face. "I think on that, young lady, you and I are quite simpatico. Oh, bravo! You young people today are rather liberated, aren't you? I've been dreaming of doing that very thing to him, for years...only with high heels, naturally."

"Erm--you have?" the man gulped, a shell-shocked expression appearing on his face.

"Yes, dear." the woman said matter-of-factly.

"Oh." he said, humbled.

A rumble of thunder sounded far off in the distance, and the rain was only a muffled gentle patter on the porch roof. On the radio, a woman was singing, "Stormy Weather" in a melancholy voice. The man had fallen silent, walking away with his hands in his pockets, pondering the sudden odd turn of events.

"Steel toes, lower anatomy. Isn't that amusing, dear?" the woman asked her husband.

"No." He said petulantly, looking in a dusty mirror on the wall, pretending to adjust his tie.

The woman walked over to the sofa and gracefully sat down. She patted the sofa, indicating for the young woman to sit.

"I think introductions are in order. "I'm Mrs. Weatherbee, and that of course, is my husband, Mr. Weatherbee. And you are?"

"Julia Cole." the girl said, sitting down beside the woman. "And, I'm only dressed like this, because I spent the weekend camping in the mountains. I do own dresses, you know. I even have a gown nearly the same color as yours. I wore it to a dinner dance at my university, last month."

The woman's husband, Mr. Weatherbee, had sauntered over to the front windows, and stood aloof, hands behind his back, looking out at the darkness.

"How very quaint." Mrs. Weatherbee said, looking a bit put out that anyone of Julia's class would own something similar to her. "Tell me," she said, deciding to change the subject, "are you one of those people who travel around, looking for haunted houses. Are you writing a book or something? Not one of our "guests' has even spoken to us. Usually they just scream and run away."

"Oh, good question, dear." the man said sarcastically, "I wouldn't want to think that I'd wasted my talents on some college research paper or something like that."

Mr. Weatherbee now leaned against the wall, and took a pipe out of his suit pocket. He stuck it in his mouth, with a disgusted scowl, then took it out, looked at it, and put it back in his pocket.

"Not the same without tobacco in it." he muttered crossly.

"Actually, you're my first ghosts." Julia shrugged.

"If you don't mind, Julia, we prefer to think of ourselves as 'dimensionally challenged.' Mrs. Weatherbee told her.

"Oh." Julia shrugged again. "OK, sorry. This is nothing like a thought a haunting would be like. This is more like something out of Rod Sterling's 'Twilight Zone.'"

"Whom, dear?" Mrs. Weatherbee asked politely. "Is he from around here? I don't seem to recall a family by that name."

"No, he presented a television program." Julia replied.

"Television?" the woman queried.

"Television is like the cinema in a small box, that everyone can watch inside their own living rooms. Pictures and sound are sent through the air, same as a radio signal. You can watch original series like police dramas or old films on it, any time you want. There's three television networks which run game shows, soap operas, cartoons, TV series and news, plus some people can also get public television, which has stuff like classical music, documentaries and period dramas. she added, assuming that someone from the ghost's era, might not be acquainted with TV. "And there's this new thing called 'cable TV' which they say can give you up to fifteen or twenty channels, but we don't have that where I live, yet.

"Really?" Mr. Weatherbee said, sauntering over, deciding it was unmanly to pout for so long. "How fascinating. Do they have any shows on there with chorus lines?"

"Oh don't start." Mrs. Weatherbee snipped at him.

The girl heaved a big sigh, and shifted to a more comfortable position on the sofa, thinking that this was going to be a very long night, indeed.

"So, like, do you two fight all the time, or do you take a vacation once in a while?" she asked them dryly.

"No, Julia," Mrs. Weatherbee smiled sadly, "just those of us condemned to remain forever with out spouses throughout eternity. It's Hell without the fire and brimstone."

"Do you fight all of the time, or is it just a sort of hobby with you two?" the girl asked curiously. "I don't know. I guess I always assumed that when someone died, they left all their unhappiness and emotional baggage behind them. I take it that's not the case."

"You're thinking of heaven." Mr. Weatherbe said, sitting on the back of the sofa. "Since we're still, technically, here on earth, we have all our 'baggage' as you call it, still checked in. Actually, since you mention Hell, I my idea of Hell is not being able to smoke my pipe...or make love, ever again."

"Oh, you and your poor whoopie-maker." Mrs. Weatherbee said, sarcastically.

"Whoopie-maker?" Julia repeated, raising an eyebrow. "Nowadays, we call it what it is, a pe--"

"Julia," Mrs. Weatherbee hurried to stop her from saying something rude, "what I miss, is cigarettes and cocktails and those delightful deviled crab canapes our cook used to make."

"I can see where being deprived of the little things that make life bearable, might make you feel a little crazy sometimes...." Julia admitted.

"I'm not the one who went insane." Mr. Weatherbee asserted. He got up from the back of the sofa and walked over to stare down at his wife.

Getting up from her seat, she stared him back in the face.

"Uh-oh. Here we go again. Round three. Ding-ding!" Julia sighed. She reached over to the end table and picked up her cowboy hat, then placed it over her face as she reclined back on the sofa. "Just wake me up when you're both done."

"Stop confusing insanity for justice. If you had kept mister happy in your pants, we might still be alive, right now. Or at the very least, in a better place." Mrs. Weatherbee told him.

"Mr. happy?" came Julia's voice from under the cowboy hat, followed by a muffled snort of laughter. "Sounds like Mr. Weatherbee had a regular party going on in his pants."

"There you go again, Mrs. Weatherbee" Mr. Weatherbee said, pacing in an agitated manner, "nag, nag, nag."

"Well, if you'd stop lashing out at me, making such cutting remarks...." she insisted.

"As I recall, I'm not the one whom did the cutting, dear." He retorted. "Ever since that awful day in 1934, I've done nothing but regret taking down my pants, believe me. That's the day I got stuck with you forever."

"My only regret is that I only stabbed you, and that the maid got away." Mrs. Weatherbee told him. "It was probably all that scented oil you'd rubbed all over her. She slithered right onto the floor."

"Oooh, this is getting interesting." Came Juilia's voice again, from beneath the hat.

"Nag, nag, nag, blah, blah, blah. You're like a mono meter, tock-tock-tock, you say the same things, over and over again. And you know what? I stopped listening to you decades ago!" He yelled back at her, still pacing behind the sofa.

"Did you think that I didn't know about Mimi? We didn't need to hire another maid. Bridget and Hannah were perfectly able to handle the cooking and cleaning." Mrs. Weatherbee stalked her husband, trying to confront him face-to-face.

"I distinctly remember you telling me that we needed more help for the holidays, dearest." He bit back at her, turning to face her at last.

"I meant kitchen staff for our annual Christmas ball, and you know it." she told him. "I gave you a brand new Packard automobile for Christmas that year, as I recall. What I didn't know, is that you gave yourself a present of your own...a French maid!"

"Oooh la-la, le Santa Claus he was good to you, monsieur." Said Julia, stretching her legs and folding her hands across her stomach.

"Oh come now," Mr. Weatherbee said, throwing his hands in the air, "it was all perfectly innocent!"

"Innocent?" his wife responded, stepping back, dumb-founded. "In-o-cent?" she repeated.

"Well, at first, anyway." He conceded, turning away with a sigh.

"Boys will be boys." Julia commented.

The radio had stopped playing music several minutes before, and now the rain had stopped, and the only sound in the whole house, was the argument playing out in the living room.

"It was never anything like innocent!" Mrs. Weatherbee shouted, once again following her husband's retreating back.

"And how would you know?" he said, turning around to confront her, his hands balled into fists. "You were too busy to even remember I existed, except when you wanted to tell me some of your deadly dull gossip about your lame society friends. You were always attending meetings at the garden club, the bridge club, the Ladies Aid Society...."

"I knew it on New Year's Eve, when you bought her that skimpy little French maid's uniform to wear."

"....And men are pigs." Julia concluded.

"And I certainly knew about your lack of innocence, the night I came home from early from Mrs. Featherly's party, and heard a strange noise coming from the stables."

"Ey?" said Julia, pushing the hat off her face and sitting up.

"I didn't see any lights on in the groom's quarters over the stable, so I thought I'd check and see if everything was alright. It was just before the summer matches, and I'd dread to see one of our polo ponies getting ill at a time like that." Mrs. Weatherbee reminisced.

"No, you were just being a nosy old busy-body, stop lying about the horses. You never cared about anyone but yourself, forget some poor horse." her husband argued.

"Not true. I was worried. I wandered inside, and that's when I heard something odd coming from that room where all the horsey stuff is kept." She went on, ignoring him.

"You mean the tack room." Julia corrected her. She'd shifted and was now facing the back of the sofa, leaning her arms on the back, watching the pair with rapt fascination.

"I opened the door and got the shock of my life. There you were, stark naked, sitting on a saddle, swinging a polo mallet. That in itself I could have lived with, but to see you riding the maid like that...."

"Holy smokes! I would've paid to see that little polo match." Julia said, wide-eyed and grinning. " Gooooaaaaal!"

"Oh do shut up." Mrs. Weatherbee told her.

"Erm--well, if you insist on airing your dirty little secrets in front of your guests...." Julia remarked.

"I rather think I like these modern women." Mr. Weatherbee leered at Julia, "Alas, I was born too soon, and died too young."

"Stop mentally undressing me, you oversexed dimensionally challenged Neanderthal." Julia admonished him.

"A man does have to get his Jollies now and then." He winked at her.

"Well, do try to keep mister happy in your pants while you're doing it, yeah?" she responded. "So, what happened to Mimi?"

"After I stabbed her in the bottom with a pitchfork, she got up off the floor and ran out of the stable, screaming bloody murder." Mrs. Weatherbee said smugly. "But at least I had the satisfaction of knowing that she wasn't going to be doing it from behind, any time in the near future."

"I wanted to shove that pitchfork right up my wife's arse..." Mr. Weatherbee growled.

"But, I beat you to that, didn't I dear?" She smiled sweetly, but with a mad glint in her eye that suddenly made Julia's insides suddenly go cold.

"You got the pitchfork from me, but I managed to grab that utility knife that was sitting on the shelf behind me. I'm sure you were tired out from your...ride, or you might have managed to dodge my throw. Pity that. Right in the chest. Not bad aim for a society lady, I dare say. Now, you're stuck with me forever, aren't you, poor dear?"

"Yeah, but still I managed to skewer you with that pitchfork, sweetheart. Even-stevens, tit for tat. All's fair in love and hate." he said, with a bitter laugh.

"Erm--you know, maybe I should go and sleep in the truck, after all, since it's stopped raining." Julia said, feeling very unnerved all of the sudden.

"Oh must you," Mr. Weatherbee said, with mock disappointment. "Just when we were getting used to your company."

"Now, you don't have to leave on our account, my dear. We'd be perfectly willing to let you stay the night, no rattling chains or playing with the lights, we promise." Mrs. Weatherbee smiled.

"Er--thanks, but I really should be going," Julia said, quickly packing her things. "Nice to meet ya'." With that, she scooted out the front door, thumped down the porch steps, and a few seconds later, there was the sound of her truck door slamming shut.

"Oh, thank heavens! I'd thought she'd never leave!" Mrs. Weatherbee exclaimed, sitting down on the sofa.

Mr. Weatherbee joined her, and they held hands, smiling at each other.

"You know Mrs. Weatherbee, I do believe the old saying is right." he told her.

"What saying is that, dear?" she asked him.

"The one about guests overstaying their welcome." he answered.

"I will say this was one of your better ideas, love." Mrs. Weatherbee told him, "It can be dreadfully exhausting, making noises and playing with the lights, trying to scare people into leaving. So much better to use our acting skills, instead. I think this was one of your best performances, yet. Even better than your performance in The Rivals on Broadway...when was that? 1923?"

"Sweetheart," Mr. Weatherbee said, taking his wife's hand in his, "I do hope you'll forgive me for some of the dreadful things I said. It was all in good fun you know, I never meant a word of it."

"Oh, I know that dear. I was going to say just the same thing." she smiled at him.

"A murder is so much better a story than telling her we both died in a train wreck on our second honeymoon, wasn't it?" Mr. Weatherbee said, and kissed his wife passionately.

Back                         Home

Your Name or Alias:      Your E-mail (optional):

Please type your review below. Only positive reviews and constructive criticism will be posted!