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April 15, 2024

Dream a Little Dream

By Pete McArdle

Drooling ever so slightly, Janet stared at the newspaper while her husband, Bjorn, clutched a Lotto ticket with both hands and hyperventilated.

They'd just won thirty-eight million dollars.

Janet and Bjorn, whose given name was Bradley, were still knee-deep in shock and up to their eyeballs in disbelief, despite a half hour spent cross-checking the numbers, him-to-her and her-to-him, over and over and over again. A call to the Lotto Hotline, "You Deserve To Be Stinkin' Rich!", confirmed that the newspaper numbers were correct and there was only one winner. Still, it was a difficult figure to wrap your mind around: Thirty . . . eight . . . million . . . dollars. All those beautiful zeros!

"We're gonna be so fucking rich," said Bjorn, shaking his shaggy head at the thought of it. Until now, Bjorn had kept the two of them in cold beer and hot pockets by washing cars in back of Hainey's Garage -- cash only, thank you -- but liked to tell strangers he was president of a car-detailing conglomerate. The mobile home they lived in he'd inherited from an uncle, who died of cirrhosis.

"I'm sorry, Boots," said Janet, wiping her mouth on her sleeve, "but I just can't believe we won." Janet loved TV, painting her nails, and kinky sex, 'Boots' having originated from an unfortunate game of 'Cowgirls and Indians.' Although the couple was childless after a decade of marriage, it was not for lack of effort.

"Well we did win, Jan," crowed Bjorn, "the whole friggin' enchilada! This calls for a celebration." He whipped out a joint, sparked it, and took a long, deep drag.

"I can picture a black Mustang GT," he said, smoke billowing out his nose, "with me sittin' behind the wheel." In his vision he's wearing shades, a turtleneck sweater (despite the sub-tropical clime), and a million-dollar grin as he tools through town, top down and the music loud enough to break glass.

"And I can get my boob-job," said Janet, looking down at her girlish chest. The two of them had discussed many times whether she'd look better in B-cups or C-cups, even going so far as to tuck different-sized balloons under her shirt for comparison. Now that financing was no longer an issue, D-cups seemed the obvious choice to Bjorn. He imagined Janet riding shotgun in the Mustang, her straw-colored hair streaming behind her, her enhanced bosom bravely pointing the way.

"First thing tomorrow, we'll take this to Patel and get our money," said Bjorn, giving the ticket a big smooch and heading for the kitchen. "He's gonna freak when he finds out he sold the winner."

Bjorn opened the fridge and grabbed a couple beers. Closing the refrigerator door, he noticed a shiny streak of syrup on the wall, where it had petrified. How many years ago had he thrown that French toast at the cockroach? Missed it too, he recalled.

Bjorn twisted the cap off Janet's beer before handing it to her.

"To Mustangs and D-Cups!" he toasted, and the couple clinked bottles and practically drained them in a swig.

"And to hi-def, wide-screen TV's" said Janet, "I'd like a really big one."

"Baby, we'll get you the biggest they got," said Bjorn, imagining the TV equivalent of a D-cup and taking a monster hit on the joint. Some ash fell on the ticket so he transferred it to his beer hand, spilling some beer on it in the process.

"Maybe we should put that somewhere safe, Boots?" said Janet. "We wouldn't wanna tear it, or lose it, or roll a joint with it."

"You're never gonna let me forget your Social Security card, are you?" said Bjorn, still embarrassed at the memory. He set his beer down, balanced the joint on top of it, and took a moment to behold the lovely, amazing, life-changing ticket. Between the clutching and smooching and smudging, it already had a distressed affect to it, like some relic from a bygone era.

Bjorn walked through a doorway of hanging beads into their bedroom which was painted hot-pink and reeked of nail-polish remover. He put the ticket in the safest place he could think of, his sock drawer. Under the girly magazines. Then he peeled off his shirt and struck a muscle pose in the mirror. Somehow his arms looked even scrawnier when flexed and his chest seemed more concave.

He wondered where he could buy steroids -- he hoped to find the kind you rub in since he hated needles -- and imagined himself after six months of juicing and jacking iron: him and Janet cruising down Main Street in their low-riding GT, their massive chests straining against spaghetti-strap tops, their bleached teeth shining in the sun. Living la vida buena.

Bjorn looked out the window, down the weed-infested road separating row upon row of weather-beaten trailers, all the way to the trailer park entrance. Over the entrance hung a wrought-iron sign, ENCHANTED ACRES, and in the distance, the sun was setting over the tractor factory, gray smoke snaking upwards from its solitary smokestack. Bjorn could hear the twilight chorus of crickets from the swamp and if he were still, he could feel the thrum of the nearby Interstate. I'm glad we won a shitload of money, he thought, but I'm sure gonna miss this place.

Janet came in and plopped herself down on the bed. "If I'm getting D-cups," she said, pulling her top over her head and tossing it to the floor, "you better enjoy these while you can."

Though not the silicone dirigibles Bjorn dreamed of, Janet's breasts were nonetheless quite entertaining and possibly the only thing that could've taken his mind off money. He tackled her on the bed and they made long, sweaty love, for perhaps the last time in the Acres.

* * *

Jerome, the English butler, exited the mansion and strode towards the pool. His left arm sported a small, white towel while his right hand balanced a tray of martinis without spilling a drop. Condensation glistened on the glasses as skewered olives stared out morosely.

Janet lay on a lounge near the pool house. She wore a string bikini, the top reinforced with piano wire on the advice of her surgeon, and a floppy, pink sun-hat. As Jerome's metronomic footfalls drew near, Janet pushed up the brim of her hat, nearly poking her eye out with a fake fingernail.

"Your mid-morning martini, Miss Janet," said the butler in his best British accent. Jerome had come with the house, Grimsby Manor, and was always impeccably groomed. Even his boxers had perfect creases.

"Thanks, Jerry," said Janet, taking a martini and spitting her gum into a napkin.

"And your martini, Sir," said Jerome, extending the tray to Bjorn who sat fidgeting in the chair next to Janet.

Bjorn glared at the butler and said, "If I want a goddamn drink, I'll ask for it!"

Jerome straightened up, stiffened his already-stiff upper lip, and walked away displaying only the teensiest hint of hostility.

The steroids Bjorn was taking, in addition to causing muscle growth, hair loss, and horniness galore, were making him moody. He missed the Acre's rural charm, getting high in the privacy of his trailer, and the feel of his long, full sideburns. He'd shaved them off after Crichton, at the club, joked that they made him a dead ringer for John Adams. Whoever he was.

"What's the matter, Boots, you seem unhappy," said Janet, using her martini to hold up her hat.

"I dunno," said Bjorn, inspecting a new bald spot with his fingertips. "It sounds crazy but I think I miss washing cars."

"Well why dontcha go buy one and then wash it?" suggested Janet. "Maybe a Maserati, I don't think we have one-a those."

They were interrupted by the arrival of Janet's masseuse, Rolf, and his cologne, Muskrat Lust.

"Goot morning, dah-link," said Rolf, bending over and kissing Janet smack on the lips as if Bjorn weren't there. The masseuse rolled Janet over on her stomach, unfastened her top using special pliers, and began slowly rubbing her back.

She's enjoying this a little too much, thought Bjorn, as his wife began to moan.

Rolf poured a puddle of oil in the small of Janet's back and began kneading, deeper and deeper, lower and ever closer to her firm, full buttocks. When the masseuse's slick fingers suddenly slid under her bikini, Bjorn jerked backwards and tipped over, slamming his head on the hard concrete. As the fog in his head began to clear, he heard someone say, "Boots, are you OK?"

Bjorn was on the floor of his trailer looking up at the water stain on the bedroom ceiling. From this vantage point it looked like a turtle, albeit a three-legged one. "Yeah, I'm alright," he said, "just a really bad dream."

He sat up and rubbed his head. "But do me one favor, baby."

"What's that?" asked Janet.

"Don't ever buy a big, pink sun-hat!"

"Oh . . . kay, if you say so."

Bjorn checked the time on the clock radio -- it was the ungodly hour of eight A.M. -- and said, "Hey, let's get up and head over to Patel's. There's thirty-eight million dollars just dyin' to meet us."

While Janet showered, Bjorn took a couple hits from a bong and trimmed his sideburns. Later, when he emerged from his own shower, Janet was sitting cross-legged on the bed in her birthday suit, painting her toenails.

What's the big rush? thought Bjorn, and tossed his towel aside.

As the squeaky-clean couple rocked their way to nirvana, the lazy southern sun cleared the horizon and a family of raccoons scurried under their trailer to sleep, perchance to dream.

* * *

When Bjorn and Janet banged through the front door of Vishnu's Pharmacy, Grocery & Bait Shop, Patel, the owner, was handing a customer change. Sitar music and sandalwood incense filled the air while Elvis surveyed the room from a hand-woven tapestry on the back wall.

"Patel, ol' buddy, you'll never guess," said Bjorn.

"Oh goody!" said Patel. "I like games of guessing." He stared at Bjorn whose eyes were especially red and puffy after his morning bong and poor night's sleep.

"You are needing rolling papers?" the proprietor guessed, wringing his hands with excitement.

"Nope, not even close," said Bjorn.

"Hmm, let's see," said Patel, turning his attention to Janet. Janet was glowing from her morning romp, her hair was a mess, and she'd neglected to zip up her jeans.

"Aha!" said Patel, his dark eyes gleaming, "You wish to buy test of pregnancy. That is it, is it not?"

Janet blushed. "I am a little late," she said, grinning at Bjorn. "But that's not it, Patel."

"Here's a hint," said Bjorn, producing the precious but increasingly gamy Lotto ticket and waving it in the air.

"A-a-h, you want to buy tickets," said Patel, scooting behind the Lotto machine. "How many?"

"Sorry, no tickets, Patel," said Bjorn. "This here's the last ticket we're ever gonna need. It's the blue-ribbon baby, the prize-winning pooch, the mother of all, um . . . never mind, this is the thirty-eight-million-dollar winner. Check it out," he said, handing the ticket to the store owner.

Patel scanned the ticket and gasped. Holding the ticket as if it were sacred or radioactive, or both, he turned it over and gasped again.

"Quick, sign this," he said, handing Bjorn the ticket and a pen. "It is a bearer instrument!"

A bearer instrument, thought Bjorn, signing the back. Whatever.

He held the ticket out to Patel and said, "All signed, ol' buddy. You got our money?"

Patel laughed heartily and slapped his chest. "Good golly, Bjorn, you are cracking me up. I have maybe three hundred dollars in the whole place. You must take this ticket to the State Lotto Office, which is in the state capitol, and they will write you a check."

"But Boots," said Janet, "we ain't got a car. How we gonna get to the state capitol?" She thought for a moment then frowned. "And what is our state capitol, anyway?"

"It's Miami, ain't it?" said Bjorn.

"No, no, no," said Patel, "it is Tallahassee."

"Talla -- what? You making that up?" said Bjorn.

Patel looked to Elvis for help but the King was wisely staying out of it.

"Look, folks," said the proprietor. "I shall get much publicity for selling the winning ticket, people will line up to buy their Lotto tickets from me. I'll probably have to hire someone to handle the bait. So please, allow me to drive you to Tallahassee."

"You know, Patel," said Bjorn, scrutinizing the man's linen Dhoti, "you look good in black. I bet you'd make a great chauffeur."

"I am a great driver," said Patel, "and my car is a real puff of cream. But before we go, here is a small gift for winning." He handed Janet a pregnancy test. "May your life be full of riches and dirty diapers."

"Well ain't that beautiful," said Janet, holding the urine test close to her chest.

Patel came out from behind the counter, put a CLOSED sign in the door, and said, "Good golly, let's go!"

* * *

As Patel's oil-burning Buick swerved and swayed down the highway, Bjorn wished he'd brought a joint to calm his nerves. They were doing almost seventy-five and using all of the middle lane and parts of the others. Fearing not only for his fortune but his life, Bjorn glanced back at Janet who looked ready to hurl. Her eyes were squeezed shut and she had both hands flat against the seat, a seat which had been patched so many times it was impossible to tell the original color.

"I'm thinking just a couple more miles," said Patel, the lenses of his driving glasses so thick they seemed impervious to light. They had been driving for hours down ruler-straight freeways, the broiling-hot road surface making mirages dance in the distance. They'd zipped through swamps, shopping centers, and small towns, flown past tourist attractions, fast-food places, and shiny soaring cities, and been the target of curses, angry horns, dozens of raised middle fingers, and an inordinate number of kamikaze flying-insects. And now they were nearing the exit for the State Lotto Office, which in the finest governmental tradition was located in a down-in-the-mouth suburb outside of Tallahassee.

"Sure is good-a you to help us, Patel," said Janet, covering a burp.

"It is no thing," said Patel, "After all, I will get a sign to hang in my window, $38,000,000 Winning Ticket Sold Here, and I'll get to tell everyone I know the winners."

A passing trucker leaned on his horn and flipped them the bird.

"Also to you!" yelled Patel, fogging up his glasses yet somehow managing to stay on the road.

"Well you deserve somethin' for driving us," said Bjorn. "How 'bout a big, old Cadillac like the King drove?"

"If we make it," qualified Janet.

"Many thanks, but no," said Patel, abruptly changing lanes to the sound of screeching tires and strident hyphenated curses. "I like my car. As Elvis would say, it is a hunk of burning love."

"A hunk-a junk is what I'd say," muttered Bjorn, earning himself a whack in the head from his wife.

"Then how'd you like our trailer, Patel?" said Janet. "You wouldn't have to live in your store any more, plus we just had the septic tank drained."

"Gosh, that is a most tempting offer," said Patel, "but I am happy only to help. I have all that I need: my health, my friends, and of course, my smoking hot wheels."

Patel jerked the wheel, causing the big Buick, which was in fact smoking, to bounce over a curb, past a light stanchion, through some construction debris, and up a windy ramp full of potholes, a maneuver that left his passengers both shaken and stirred.

At the stop sign, a teenaged girl was trying to hitch a ride. She had lime-green hair and various and sundry piercings to go along with her pimples. In the car, a brief conference ensued regarding the girl.

Janet argued for helping the poor thing out while Patel felt picking up strangers was unsafe. Bjorn thought the girl might have pot and cast the deciding vote in her favor. He waved her over and she got in the back with Janet.

"Miss, which way do you go?" said Patel.

"Strictly hetero, man," the teenager answered, idly picking at one of her pimples. Patel nodded and turned right.

"Do you need help?" said Janet, touching the girl's heavily-tattooed hand.

"Like I told him," said the girl, pulling her hand away, "I'm strictly hetero." Whether the girl needed help remained unclear but her rancid odor confirmed a pressing need for soap.

"What's your name?" said Bjorn, and never one to dilly dally, added, "Got any weed?"

"Rage," she said, "after my grandma. And yeah, I got some good shit right here in my bag." Rage reached into her little bead purse and pulled out a surprisingly large knife for such a small purse. Holding the blade to Bjorn's neck, she said, "Gimme your wallet, asshole!"

"Please, Rage, don't do this," begged Janet.

"Back off, lesbo," said the girl, "I do what I want." True to her word, Rage pocketed Bjorn's wallet, made them drive her to a local mall, and nonchalantly strolled inside without once looking back.

Janet burst into tears in the back seat, her narrow shoulders shaking.

"Don't cry, baby," soothed Bjorn, "Everything's gonna be all right." He reached into his sneaker and with a big grin on his face, pulled out the increasingly tattered-looking ticket. "My license is in my other sneaker and our cash is safe too," he said, patting his crotch.

"I was afraid she was gonna hurt you," said Janet, still sniffling.

"With guns like these?" said Bjorn, flexing his long scrawny arms.

Janet laughed and wiped her nose with a tissue. "So we're still gonna be rich, huh, Boots?"

"Filthy," said Bjorn.

"And soon," said Patel. He pointed across the road at a sign which read State Lotto Office. Behind the sign lurked a concrete building that was perfectly square and perfectly ugly, despite the quarter-million dollars of taxpayer money that had gone into its design.

After making sure Janet was O.K. and the ticket secured, Patel pulled away from the curb, almost running over an elderly gent wearing a Yankees cap.

When the trio entered the State Lotto Office, the lobby and waiting room were empty and the service counter was deserted. On the wall, a poster depicted a derelict handing over his last dollar to a Lotto agent, the caption reading, "Hey, You Never Know!" Overhead, fluorescent lights flickered and a dwarf palm pouted in the corner.

Bjorn tapped a customer-service bell on the counter, gingerly at first, and more forcefully as time went by and no one showed. Finally, a door opened and a red-faced woman waddled to the counter, her ponderous behind trailing her otherwise slight frame like a barge behind a tugboat.

"I'm Ms. Grackle," she said. "Can I help you?"

"Well Miss Grackle," started Bjorn, "we're here --"

"That's Mizz, not Miss," she interrupted, glaring at Bjorn.

"No problemo, Mizz Grackle," said Bjorn, reaching down and pulling out the ticket. "We're here to cash the winning ticket and get our check for thirty-eight million dollars." He triumphantly held out the ticket.

The woman took it from him like it was a vile, germ-laden piece of trash -- which it quite resembled at this point -- and confirmed the numbers, showing no more enthusiasm then she'd have for an empty cookie box.

"I need to see I.D," she said.

Bjorn reached into his sneaker and produced his driver's license.

"Hmm," said Ms. Grackle. "The first name on your license is Bradley but you signed the ticket 'Bjorn'."

Bjorn was reminded of his first-grade teacher, Miss Van Snert, who'd used his homework to illustrate to the class how not to do assignments.

"Bjorn's the name I gave myself when I dropped out of school," he said. "'Cause chicks dig Swedish names, y'know?"

Ms. Grackle's icy stare inferred that she dug neither Swedish names nor Bjorn, nor people in general for that matter. She handed him the ticket, a pen, and a clipboard with forms on it.

"On the ticket sign 'Bradley' in front of 'Bjorn,' fill out forms 107M and 22C, as well as Schedules B and Z, neatly and completely."

Bjorn and Janet retreated to the far end of the waiting room and went to work.

At the counter, Patel took off his driving glasses, probably so he could see, and said, "Please, I am seller of winning ticket. How do I go about getting my sign?"

Ms. Grackle looked at him like he'd asked for half of her lunch.

"You'll have to speak with Mr. Cranston," she said. "He's only here on Thursdays."

Patel opened his mouth, perhaps to protest, but then went to the men's room instead. A few minutes later, Bjorn handed Ms. Grackle the forms and the ticket and said, "Are we the official winners now?"

"No," said Ms. Grackle, handing the ticket back. "You have to make an appointment with the State Lotto Supervisor. She'll officially accept the ticket, present you with a certified check, and take your picture for the newspaper. She can see you at four o'clock this afternoon."

"Can't we do it sooner?" asked Janet, nervously twisting a lock of hair. "I ain't feelin' so good from the long ride here."

"Perhaps you'd like to schedule this for another day?" said Ms. Grackle, one of her eyebrows going way up and the other way down, a look she'd perfected as a public servant.

"No, that's OK," said Bjorn quickly, "four o'clock's fine. What's this supervisor lady's name?"

"Ms. Grackle," said the woman, presenting her massive posterior to them and slowly waddling out of the room.

"Have a few more Ring Dings, Mizz Grackle" groused Bjorn, earning yet another whack from his wife.

"Hello? Hello?" yelled Patel from the restroom. "Could someone please bring me paper of toilet?"

* * *

Looking to kill time, Bjorn, Janet, and Patel bought sandwiches and sodas at a nearby deli then drove to a dilapidated park they'd seen on the trip in. After parking the car, they strolled around till they found a halfway-decent picnic table near a pond. When they sat down, a flock of ducks came quacking up from the shore to beg.

Janet flapped her arms and yelled, "Shoo, shoo!" but the ducks just looked at her sideways and stayed put. While Janet entertained the ducks, Bjorn passed out the food and drinks and Patel distributed straws and napkins. When Bjorn unwrapped his sandwich, the unmistakable smell of baloney with mustard filled the air, causing Janet to make a face.

"Guys, I'm still feelin' a little queasy," she said. "I think I'll go sit by the water." Weaving her way past the ducks, she walked down the grassy bank and sat cross-legged at the edge of the pond.

Bjorn would've liked to concentrate on the upcoming photo shoot -- he was unsure which was his best side although he did have more teeth on the left -- but he was too concerned about Janet to focus on it. His wife simply didn't get sick, she never moped or complained or took pills . . . still, she'd been nauseous on and off for nearly a week. He decided the first thing they'd do after they got their money was have her see a doctor. God knows you needed to be a millionaire to see a doctor without health insurance.

Watching Janet sit, shoulders slumped, by the shore, Bjorn thought she looked a little down. He knew her stomach was off -- but was she unhappy? Over the years, he hadn't exactly kept her in the lap of luxury, just a roof and three squares, and yeah, he did smoke too much dope. And he knew she was disappointed they hadn't made any babies, despite carrying on like oversexed rabbits.

But it would all be different now, thought Bjorn. Janet could buy anything she'd ever dreamed of or seen on The Shopping Channel, and if it made her happy he'd cut back on the pot, maybe not get high before noon. And if they couldn't have kids of their own, why they'd just adopt some, maybe take a trip to Africa and bring a few back, like that singer with the gap between her teeth.

Bjorn was taking a big bite of baloney-on-white when Janet's head bobbed, once, twice, and then again, and by the time he realized she was vomiting, she had toppled into the pond.

Bjorn sprang to his feet and sandwich in hand, ran down to the water where he dove, high and wide -- and way past Janet -- into the cold, murky water. Underwater, it occurred to Bjorn that he couldn't swim a lick if his life depended on it, and panicking, he began to kick and thrash about. A hand suddenly grabbed him by the shirt and yanked him to his feet, where he stood blinking in the bright sun, the water barely up to his knees. Janet let go of his shirt and stared at him, seemingly unsure whether to laugh or cry. Then she hugged him, fiercely, and said, "My hero!" As they stood there, soaked and dripping, a piece of bread with mustard on it floated by.

* * *

It was midnight in the Acres and a family of raccoons was feasting on garbage by the back door of Janet and Bjorn's trailer. Inside, Bjorn was lying in bed wondering how he could ever live down what he'd done, while Janet was busy in the bathroom.

A night-light above the dresser illuminated the remains of the Lotto ticket, a small glob of damp paper. The numbers and letters on the ticket had devolved into

hieroglyphics, like something written on a tomb wall, and now the only value it had was sentimental.

Bjorn could not believe he had thrown away a fortune and almost drowned in the process. It made rolling a joint with Janet's Social Security card seem like a scene from a Disney movie. He kept replaying the pond incident in his mind and coming to the same conclusion: he was a loser.

Patel said Bjorn had done the right thing, and Janet said he was a hero. But he didn't feel like a hero, he felt like a first-class moron. Thanks to him and that fat-ass Ms. Grackle, they were dirt poor once again. There'd be no Mustang, no hi-def TV, no D-cups and no mansion. Worst of all, Janet had felt sick all the way home. How the hell was he going to pay for a doctor? Bjorn was too depressed to get drunk and too humiliated to get stoned.

Janet came tip-toeing out of the bathroom, clad only in panties, and hopped into bed next to Bjorn. He studied her breasts in the meager light and said, "You know, Jan, I think I like 'em just the way they are."

"Well they will be getting bigger," she said, "just not D-cups."

Janet's eyes sparkled in a way that they hadn't before, and Bjorn began to worry that she'd suffered a head injury -- until he remembered the pregnancy test.

"Are you telling me --"

"Yes," she squealed, "we're havin' a baby!"

"Oh my God," said Bjorn, feeling a wee bit nauseous himself, "I'm gonna be a daddy!" Bjorn found himself giggling and light-headed, like he'd just smoked the best weed of his life. He grabbed Janet by the shoulders and kissed her long and hard until he remembered her delicate condition.

As the happy couple snuggled, Bjorn said, "Baby, I'm gonna be a better man. I'm gonna stop smoking pot and start studying auto repair at the community college. I'll get a haircut and a good-paying job with health insurance. Who knows, maybe I'll even start flossing."

Janet ran her fingernails through his chest hair, something that always soothed him, and said, "Don't worry, Boots, you're already a good guy in my book. Now how 'bout we try and get some sleep?"

They turned on their sides to spoon and Janet said, "Love you, Boots."

"Love you too," Bjorn mumbled and felt himself drifting off.

In his dream, Bjorn's moseying down the road in a minivan, the windows open just a crack and the radio on low. Janet, sitting across from him, is a vision of beauty with her long golden tresses and new push-up bra. Between them, in a car seat, sits their baby girl, Lottie. She has baby-blond curls and little red nails, and shows two teeth when she smiles. As he drives, Bjorn listens to the engine, how it purrs after he's tuned it up. He's a family man now, happy and content with a bit of a belly, and his sideburns have never looked sharper.

Article © Pete McArdle. All rights reserved.
Published on 2011-08-22
Image(s) © Sand Pilarski. All rights reserved.
2 Reader Comments
Mrs. Betty Jones
09:59:39 AM
Pete always was a bit strange, he used to sleepwalk and urinate in the closet, not that he'd want anyone to know. He started speaking late as well, the doctor was worried. So I'm not surprised that he writes such bizarre nonsense. Whatever you do--don't encourage him!
Mrs. Betty Jones, Pete's Mom
11:23:28 PM
Encourage him? I want to sign him to an iron-clad contract that forces him only to write for the Piker Press! Leverage, leverage ... I need blackmail information, I think. "His sideburns have never looked sharper." Dang, that's a great final line.
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