Scene 3

Melody began to mumble incomprehensibly under her breath as she worked frantically on securing her most important papers into bankers boxes.

Her father stomped into her room, eating a banana.

Melody looked up at him with a sweaty and nauseated look on her face. “What are you tramping around so heavily about?” she asked him.

Bernie finished the last of the banana, and then held the peel in his hand as though it were a washcloth he had just found on the floor of a gym locker room.

Melody pointed to her trash can with her eyes.

“I make an insane amount of noise when I approach, because you once yelled at me claiming that I was 'sneaking up on you',” Bernie replied, using finger quotes on the last phrase. “That kind of treatment stays with a guy.”

Melody shook her head. Her father knew how much she hated finger quotes. Why he insisted on using them was beyond her. “I was five at the time,” she said.

“Ah,” Bernie said, with a knowing grin on his face. “The angry period.”

Melody pointed to the boxes she had been compiling. “I don't suppose you want to make an attic run?”

“Not especially. Though I'm not sure how packing up everything and placing it in storage is baby proofing. It might be easier to just put the actual boy behind concertina wire in the back yard.”

Melody shrugged her shoulders. “I don't have a problem with that.”

“That's where you and social services probably would disagree,” Bernie murmured. “Anyway, Jimmy's not that bad. Sure, he's a little rambunctious...”

“Did Mom make you come in here and say all of that?”

“I'm not going to lie to you.”

“The tip off was you using the word rambunctious. That's not usually a word that comes out of Bernie Jackson's mouth - except under coercion.”

“Anyway, if you really want to load your stuff up into the attic, I'll gladly hold the ladder for you.”

The Jackson family attic access was simply a hole in the ceiling in the middle of the hallway. If one wanted access one had to place a ladder, the more rickety the better, underneath said hole and then pull one's self up.

Prerequisite: Upper arm strength and constitution of an Olympic athlete. The belief that one is completely immortal unnecessary but highly recommended.

“I can't believe we haven't installed one of those nice pull-down ladders yet like normal people have.”

“Well,” Bernie mused, “the next time I find five hundred dollars worth of change between the couch cushions, we'll head over to the local Handyman store.”

Melody pursed her lips. She wasn't sure if she wanted to continue with this argument. She was fairly certain those ladders didn't cost that much. However, even if they were only a dollar the likelihood of its installation prior to the necessary completion of this task was nil. The one thing she DID know was that she really really did not want to go up into that attic. Melody had never heard good things about the place.

She began to shuffle her feet. “You guarantee there's no bats or rodents up there?”

“No guarantees,” Bernie said with a straight face.

“Can you at least guarantee that I won't fall through the floor once I'm up there.”

“I'll say this, if you just stack the boxes around the rim of the opening and stay on the ladder you definitely won't fall through the floor.”

Melody shook her head. The place was sounding more and more like a deathtrap by the minute.

“I wouldn't go exploring up there, in other words,” Bernie finished.

Lonnie breezed through the hallway and into the bathroom. She then stuck her head back into view as though surprised to see them both standing there. “The attic's just fine,” she said, somehow guessing the conversational topic. “It's just a little hot and stuffy. Don't listen to your father. There's nothing dangerous up there in the least.”

Bernie pointed in the general direction of his wife with his thumb. “Your mother exaggerates,” he said.

“It's mostly fabric, baby toys and old clothes.”

“Fabric?” Melody appeared confused. She wondered how many textiles her mother owned. There was an entire room in the basement dedicated to the stuff, and now the attic? It was odd, mostly because she rarely saw her mother doing any sewing.

“Yeah,” she said, stepping out of the bathroom with a toothbrush in her mouth. “I'll tell you why someday... when you're really really bored.”

She jammed a toothbrush into her mouth, and began to brush vigorously. She then turned back to the bathroom sink and turned on the water. Melody closed her eyes when she heard the faint spitting sound in the background, but didn't say anything. There were just certain disgusting noises which should be kept private. Minus the toothbrush, Lonnie stepped back into the hallway. “Just hold the ladder for your father. He can put the boxes up there for you.”

Bernie groaned and then plastered a fake smile on his face. “Yes, dears,” he said.

It Happened on Lafayette Street

Season One: Episode One

Melody Jackson

vs. The Hound from Hell

by BMB Johnson

Scene 3

Please support our efforts

Please support our efforts

Support the author -- buy him a coffee to keep him awake and writing

Read Bark, the first of the Bill Swagger stories, free on our site.

Tales of Fastlegreive

Our new ongoing series of stories in the Fastlegrieve realm.

Read the "Tales of Fastlegrieve" for free on our site.