Scene Two

Bernie finished chopping onions and scraped them into the saute pan.

“Feeling better?” he asked.

Lonnie stopped whisking the eggs . “I don't know yet,” she said, and then lowered her voice to a whisper. “It was actually crawling on my hand at the end. Like it didn't want to go.” She dumped the eggs on top of the sizzling onions. “I don't know what bothered me more, the contact or the longing.”

“That's all in your head,” he told her. “Now stop talking, you're creeping out your daughter.”

Melody, who was looking at the paper with circled items, grunted. “Doesn't bother me,” she said.

A couple of times a year, the Jackson's would go on a garage sale adventure day. This was mainly Melody’s father's idea of a good time, but her mother, not wanting to add to the accumulation of clutter which already existed in their lives, wasn't especially keen on it. Melody, on the other hand, was indifferent. She could, on occasion, find something useful, and the concept of buying something “previously owned” was preferable to new. She had a short list of items she was looking for: books, cute shirts, art supplies – the essentials. Although she wouldn't say no to a mint-in-box Telescope. "Stargazing sounds like a respectable hobby, for a young woman of obvious intellect," she said, without looking up from the paper.

"Sure," her mother said. "Change the subject. See if I care." Lonnie turned around. “I do have a question for you, though,” she said. “Why were you brushing your teeth before breakfast? It's not like the aftertaste does my food any justice”

“Oh,” Melody said, and then laughed nervously. “I had a dream I was eating...something weird.” She didn't elaborate. Changing the subject again, she added. “Why didn't you circle this Estate sale on our own block? Did you miss it, or was it just out of principal?”

“Give it,” Lonnie said, pulling the paper away.

“It's the one I marked with the big Question Mark.”

“Bernie,” Lonnie said, thoughtfully. “Isn’t this Chuck's house?”

Bernie, who had just jumped in front of the oven, began frantically bulldozing the eggs with a spatula.

“And stop panicking. You have to let them cook. Here, dum dum.” She handed him the paper.

Bernie sat down and read the description. “Hmm,” he said. “Sounds like about everything he owns. Clothes, car...” He pushed his hair up his forehead and held it there. “I know we didn't really stay in touch, but do you think he died?”

Melody's eyes widened with interest. “Stay in touch? The man lived three houses down, and you consider it a failed long-distance relationship?”

“Well,” Bernie said, releasing his hair. Instead of bouncing back, it merely dropped back down on his forehead like an under-cooked pancake. “I mean he sort of became a recluse after his parents died. And he always was a little weird.”

Lonnie agreed. “He wasn't a guy you'd invite over for a glass of wine and a hand of bridge. "


Having finished tending to the eggs, Lonnie returned to the table, pan in hand. She portioned them out onto the three plates in residence. “We should go, Bernie,” she said. “We'll have the run of the place. Maybe you'll find that old G.I. Joe action figure he allegedly stole from you.”

Bernie snorted. “Alleged nothing.”

Lonnie turned her attention on her daughter, her eyes narrowed into slits. “And how are you doing with the toast, Little Lady?”

The girl sheepishly jumped from the table, removed her now cold quarry from the little silver box, and replaced them with two more frozen slices. “It's a, um, work in progress,” she said.

Bernie sat down suddenly in his chair as though his legs had given out on him.

Melody gave him the crook eye. “Maybe we'll find a cane for the old man.”

“Funny,” he said.

“What's the matter, Bernie.” Lonnie seemed concerned.

“I don't know,” he admitted. “Disturbance in the force, maybe. It's like I remembered something and then immediately forgot it again.”

Melody raised the other eyebrow. “Guilty conscience?”

“Don't flatter yourself,” her father told her.

Melody mouthed the response to herself, and then shook her head.

“Your father doesn't like to remember his childhood,” Lonnie told Melody.

Melody shrugged. “Then why is he always reminiscing?”

“I'm fine with my childhood,” Bernie protested, filling his mouth with cheesy eggs. “There just seem to be...,” he paused. “Blockages.”

Melody grinned. “Have you ever thought about Post-hypnotic regression?”

“Absolutely not. And yes I know what it is.”

“Maybe you were abducted by aliens.”

“And that's why not.”

“Eat, Bernie,” Lonnie said, placing her hand on top of his. “Then we'll go out and root through people's garbage. That always makes you feel better.”

Bernie winced but took three large bites of food in rapid succession. He then grunted something about appreciating his family’s lack of concern. Even with a mouthful of food, the sarcasm was easily apparent.

“Bernie,” Lonnie said. “It's not like you talk about these things. Or seem even able to talk about them.”

Bernie shrugged. “It would be nice to find a pinball machine, or...”

Lonnie got up quickly from the table, grabbing his empty plate along with hers. “It doesn't work when Melody does it, and it especially doesn't work when you do it. Also, no pinball machines.”

It Happened on Lafayette Street

Season One: Episode Four

Melody Jackson

vs. The Creeping Terror

by BMB Johnson

Scene Two

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