Scene Nine

Once they were away from the restaurant and all safely in the car, Lonnie turned to glare at her daughter . “You want to tell us what that was all about?”

“Not especially,” Melody said. The girl turned to her father. “You ever going to tell us what was in the jars?”

Bernie shrugged. "Don't involve me in your slight of hand, misdirection."

Lonnie both focused her Mom-gaze and pointed sternly at each of them in turn. "From now on, no one of is allowed to change subjects...Melody!" Lonnie said, getting up in her daughters face from the front of the car. "I want to know what was up with that Donald person. He had a creepy look on his face, and I want the skinny on it. I think we all need to know if we should be worried about this or not. Bernie!" She smacked her husband on his arm to make sure she had his attention -- she didn't. "After Melody spills her guts, and I determine that it's safe to continue, it's jar time!"

“I didn't change any subject,” Melody pleaded. “Well, at least I wasn't the first to do so. Dad was the one...”

Lonnie raised her hand in front of her daughter's face, and narrowed her eyes. "Talking about changing the subject actually constitutes changing the subject. You are aware of this, and I'm nobody's fool."

“What?" Bernie said. "I think I missed something. When exactly did I change the subject?"

“Does that dumb Clowndigo business ring any bells with you?”

“Oh,” he said. “I just thought we should deal with whatever monster was currently in the In-Box.”

“FOR THE LOVE OF..... You people are a car full of cats, and somehow I was tasked with herding you. This is not the life I wanted!” Lonnie raised her hands up into the air, but only succeeded in smashing her fingers against the roof of the car. She fanned her fingers and blew on them, giving the outward appearance that she were attempting to cool her burning digits. “Melody. Stay focused. The man in the pizza thing..."


"Yes, Ms. Cheek. The man in there."


"WHOEVER HE IS! I saw that particular gentleman's face light up when your father mentioned the possibility of a well buried across the street.”

“All I did was look at the clipping on the wall," Bernie pleaded.

Melody looked sheepish.. “There may have been some prior conversation about another similar bottomless well in Oregon City which Donald, that is the white-haired gentleman with the distinguished balloon hat, might have been obsessed with his entire life. Also I purposefully might have failed to mention to him we knew of a similar such hole…”

Well to Hell,” Bernie snorted.

Melody glared at her father. “...that we have prior knowledge of because I didn’t want an obsessed, possible weirdo sniffing around our neighborhood.”

“Oh,” Lonnie said. “Is that all.”

“Yep,” she said. “And I knew that Dad would totally blow it, just for the record.”

Lonnie cleared her throat. “That is usually a given, yes.”

Bernie shook his head. “I can't believe I took a shower for this.”

Lonnie glared at him. "You were long past due, stinky."

"Anyway," Bernie said, slapping his hands together. "I'm sure everything's just fine."

Lonnie raised an eyebrow at him. "Oh, I'm sure it is. I'm sure that Donald just followed us back to our car because he completely forgot he was parked the next block over. I'm also sure that when he was writing something down in a notepad while staring at our license plate it was because he suddenly remembered he was out of mustard and was adding it to his shopping list.”

Melody shrugged. "Okay, nobody panic. Wheels, yes, may definitely have started in motion beyond our complete control, but he's just an old man with an odd hobby."

Lonnie lifted her hand, and then quickly let them drop on the steering wheel. "We're just going to have to move," she mumbled to herself. "That's the best solution at this point. Maybe we should go and live with my mother for a few weeks. Or a hotel room."

"Lon," Bernie said, tapping her on the shoulder. "It's going to be fine."

Lonnie turned his direction while starting up the car. "Maybe we should all just go our separate ways. Maybe some time apart will...."

Bernie's gaze, however, wasn't on her. It was behind her. Lonnie quickly turned her head in time to see a car slowly drove past them. In the passenger seat was the white-haired gentleman from the pizza parlor, still wearing his balloon hat. He was mouthing something indecipherable.

Lonnie rolled down the window.


"And don't even think about following us home!"

The car sped away and turned left towards the Mall, nearly hitting an oncoming car.

Lonnie turned off the car, and stared off into the distance.

“Oh God,” Bernie said, slapping his forehead with the palm of his hand. “I just remembered something about Chuck's sister."

"Bernie, I love you," Lonnie said, "or at least I'm contractually required to be, but you can't read a room to save your life." She unbuckled her seat belt, and let it slip through her fingers, as she opened the car door.

"I was trying to break the tension is all," Bernie said, defensively. "...and...wait, where are you going?"

"WE," she emphasized, "are going back into the pizza place...and do NOT say Parlor," she said pointing back to Melody. "We are going to go and ask if anyone knows anything about that crazy old man and his wife-sister."

Bernie protested, slightly. "I doubt we're going to..."

Lonnie was already out the door. "We're going," she shouted, bending down to look back at him through the window.

"Fine," Bernie said. He quickly unbuckled himself, opened the door and attempted to slide out. However, he soon found himself on the cold ground just outside the car.

Lonnie was suddenly at his side of the car. "You're not drunk, are you? I thought you just had water?"

Bernie pointed at his foot, and was seemingly unable to talk at first. "It's that stupid gasket or whatever it is, hooked on my shoelace again."

Lonnie helped to free him, which essentially consisted of grabbing his torso and shaking him a bit while Bernie finagled his ankle and was able to pull himself free.

"You are going to get yourself killed doing that one day," Lonnie scolded.

"How is this MY fault?"

"You've got twitchy OCD feet. You think I haven't noticed?!"

"Come on, old people," Melody yelled from the middle of the street. "Let's get this over with. Dad can tell us his amazing revelation as we walk back to the ...PARLOR," she said, emphasising the word, as though it were medicinal to do so. "Unless you want to sprint."

The family gathered on the sidewalk and began to trip back to the restaurant. Bernie took a deep breath, and tried to recall the memory which had struck him earlier.

"Ah. That was it. As I was escaping the house, I passed by what I guess was the den. His sister was back from school.” He turned to face his wife. “Don't think I'm crazy when I tell you this.”

“Bernie,” Lonnie assured him. “At this point, I would have thought us all crazy ten times over.”

“She was talking to something in a cage. I thought it was probably a pet parakeet, you know like normal people have. So I stopped, and was going to say something about how Chuck was acting oddly, and that I was going to leave. I guess I assumed that she would care about that. But I stopped when it became clear that she was speaking pretty nastily to whatever it was. She was cursing under her breath. Poking whatever it was with a stick.” Bernie looked away at this point. “And then I heard a little voice that said “Stop! Please stop!” Sylvia then started talking about her father, and seemed fairly jealous of this bird. She then took a pencil, sharpened it in the electric sharpener on the desk, and then shoved it violently in the cage. The creature let out a howl of pain that I will never forget. I mean, now that I finally remember it again, that is.” He looked back to his wife. “It sounded human, Lonnie,” he said. “But, you know, just tiny."

Lonnie stared at him, and grabbed his hand.

“Sylvia seemed to notice I was standing in the hallway at this point. I had been frozen in place, but I must have made a creak in the floorboards or something. She turned around, holding the pencil which now had a bloody tip. She shouted at me to get out. I ran out of the house, and didn't look back. She screamed at me through the front door... I KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE, BERNIE JACKSON. DON'T YOU COME BACK HERE AGAIN! DON'T YOU COME BACK OR YOU'LL REGRET IT.”

They arrived at the front door of the pizza parlor and found it locked. Lonnie tried to pull the door forcefully a few times before she was quite satisfied.

"All closed up," came a familiar voice from behind them, at the back of a car across the street. They turned and found that it had come from the Clowndigo. "Some kind of power outage." He was putting his gear in his trunk, and it made a sharp metallic sound. "Anyway. Have a good night." He then pointed at Bernie. "Hey, no hard feelings, right?"

Everyone was silent as the Clown got into his car, and finally drove away. Once they were alone, Melody spoke up. “Dad,” she reminded him. “You came back.”

It Happened on Lafayette Street

Season One: Episode Four

Melody Jackson

vs. The Creeping Terror

by BMB Johnson

Scene Nine

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