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Lonnie returned to the house just as Chazz was starting her car.

“So,” she said. “How's Jimmy doing.”

“Jimmy's fine,” Melody said, quickly. “Now tell us what we want to hear.”

Lonnie sat down and the rest followed. “Chazz is still sad and depressed, but she's actually coherent now. I think she's finally starting to come out of her funk. She even has a few leads on Hairy Mike and his friend, but hasn't found them yet. At some point she was cognizant enough to get her cousins to run her shop for her. I don't think it's doing very well, though, but at least she won't lose it.”

Melody wanted to learn a different part of the story. “Why did she happen to show up when the door was opened? Did she sense it? Did she say anything about that?”

“She said she didn't know why, but that she was suddenly pulling down our street and saw that it was open.”

Melody and Bernie looked at each other.

“What?” Lonnie questioned. “What am I missing?”

“We think that when the door opened...something came out of it. We think that's why Jimmy started howling.”

“Oh great,” Lonnie said. She turned around and saw that he was sleeping on the floor, his game lying at his side.

“I think we should burn that Nintendo, too,” Melody said.

“Enough with the burning,” Lonnie told her. When she looked over to Jimmy, her expression immediately changed. “Aw,” she said. “He's so peaceful when he's sleeping. Almost sweet.”

“Unless 'almost' is Esperanto for 'Light Years away from',” Melody smirked, “then we are definitely NOT on the same page. In fact, our pages are on opposite ends of the Library of Congress.”

Lonnie shook her head, disapprovingly. “Bernie, help me pick him up and take him to Melody's bed.”

“Again with Melody's bed,” Melody said. “I thought we all agreed we were going to put up a tent in the backyard and make him sleep out there.”

“No one ever said that.”

“Well, if he's possessed by a hound from hell, I don't feel safe with him sleeping in the same house.”

Lonnie turned to her husband, and placed her hands on her hips. “Bernie tell your daughter that Jimmy is not possessed by a hound from Hell.”

Bernie smiled dispassionately and shrugged his shoulders.

“Not you, too?” she told him.

“You have to admit the timing is a little odd. I'm not saying we should lock him up in the basement or anything, but maybe Melody should sleep with us tonight. And we'll lock our own door … just a little bit.” As he said this, Bernie held two fingers in front of him and pinched them together as if he were clamping a housefly by the wings.

Lonnie shook her head, but eventually agreed that under the circumstances this might be the safest thing to do. After all, as silly as it sounded, possession by a Hellhound did not seem out of the realm of possibilities lately.

The three Jacksons working together managed to put Jimmy to bed without waking him. They left the door open so they could hear any movement and quietly tiptoed back to Lonnie and Bernie’s bedroom.

“That kid is heavier than he looks,” Lonnie said, wiping her brow.

“Yeah,” Melody said. “Imagine him crazed and coming at you with a butcher's knife.”

Bernie suddenly appeared. He dropped a makeshift mattress, which had been constructed by wrapping a sheet around a large piece of foam, onto the floor in front of his daughter. “Or swinging a Cat o' Nine-tails above his head,” he said.

Melody raised an eyebrow at him. “You want me to sleep on the floor?”

“Well, you didn't think you'd be sleeping between your mother and I, did you? You're not ten years old any more.”

“The gentlemanly thing to do would be to give up your side of the bed to me and take the smelly piece of foam for yourself.”

Bernie looked at the girl as though she were crazy. “I'm your father, not a gentleman. And I also have a bad back. Just pretend you're camping.”

“Well, since you've never taking me camping that's going to be a tad difficult to imagine.”

Lonnie attempted to break up the dispute. Her eyes were droopy, and she didn't seem to be in any mood to listen to the two of them argue, however casually. “Oh, Bernie just sleep on the floor, already.”

Melody grabbed her pillow and stuck her chin out at her father. She then slid under the covers.

“Well,” Bernie said. “At least the nice TV is in here.”

Lonnie groaned as she got into bed. “No TV tonight, Bernie. I'm too tired.”

Bernie's eyes narrowed. “Don't I at least get a kiss goodnight?”

Lonnie's eyes closed as her head hit the pillow. “Melody kiss your father,” she said, sleepily.

“Yuck,” Melody said. “No thanks.” She picked up her father's pillow and dropped it on his face.

Bernie shook his head, and sighed loudly. “The perfect end to a perfect day.”

It Happened on Lafayette Street

Season One: Episode One

Melody Jackson

vs. The Hound from Hell

by BMB Johnson

Scene 10

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