Family Support

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“What did you do?!?” shrieked Margo to her brother on her cell phone. She stood in front of her clothes closet which had been converted into a pigeon coop.

“I thought you were lonely so I got you a few friends,” replied Paul.

“Where are my clothes?”

“Check your bathroom,” said Paul. He listened as she gasped and screamed.

“Is that an alligator in my bathtub?”

“Cute little guy, isn’t he?”

“My clothes. Where are my clothes?” demanded Margo.

“I couldn’t find any room for them now that your apartment is a zoo, so I donated them to charity,” explained Paul.

“You better start running, ‘cause I’m gonna hunt you down like a dog. You’re a dead man.”

Paul laughed. “Tell you what. I’ll come over and help you clean up and we can call this even.”

“Not a chance.”

“Hey, it’s only fair. You did ruin my wedding,” said Paul.

“She wasn’t good for you anyway,” dismissed Margo.

“Still, you didn’t need to hire a biker gang to kidnap her.”

It was Margo’s turn to laugh. “You gotta admit, she’s happier on the road. I did you a favour, if you think about it.”

“Still, it was my mistake to make,” said Paul.

Margo sat on her bed and startled the pigeons. “Do you think I went to far? I mean, I just did it so you wouldn’t ruin your life, right?”

“Are you actually trying to be sensitive right now?”

“Maybe,” she said, cautiously.

There was a lengthy pause between the two siblings.

Paul broke the tension with a hearty laugh. “You’re the best sister ever.”

Margo smiled. “Only the best for my baby brother.”

“Just do me a favour, will you?” asked Paul.

“What’s that?”

“Don’t feed the pigeons to the alligator. He’s a vegetarian.”

Margo laughed.

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Sensory Deprivation

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It was unusual for Jennifer to get home before her children on a Tuesday. When she opened the front door she was greeted by a strange woman in her underwear coming up from the basement.

“What’re you doin’ here?” accused the strange woman.

The question shocked Jennifer. It took a few seconds before she could muster a reply. “It’s my house,” she muttered.

The strange woman looked around the front hall. “It’s nice.”

“Get out,” demanded Jennifer.

“Why? I’ve been here six weeks and you haven’t said anything before.”

Again, Jennifer was left speechless. “No.”

“Absolutely I have. You just noticed now.”

“How?”

The strange woman smiled. Jennifer noticed she was missing all but three of her front teeth. “I’ll say this much. Your family spends a lot of time wearing headphones.”

“Huh?”

“You can’t hear much when you’re pumpin’ noise directly into your skull, can you?”

The revelation was a slap in the face. She’d never noticed how little time her family actually spent together.

“Between that and knowing your schedule, it’s easy to go unnoticed. I must say you people are like automatons, ‘cept for today that is,” said the strange woman.

“Now you’ll leave, right?” said Jennifer.

“No can do. I’m doin’ what the legal books call adverse possession. Gotta love this public library, eh?”

The strange woman laughed and went back to the basement.

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Investigative Dating

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It was a big night for Grayson. He took Betty to the best restaurant he could afford. This was the best chance to impress his latest crush.

When the meals came, Betty pulled out her cell phone and took a picture of her plate.

“What are you doing?” asked Grayson.

“It’s a hobby of mine. I take a picture of every meal before I eat it,” explained Betty.

“What do you do with them?”

“With what?”

“The pictures. Do you like to go back and reminisce about your special meals?” asked Grayson.

“No,” said Betty. “I just keep them.”

“Huh.”

“What?”

“Nothing.”

“Tell me.”

“Well,” said Grayson, hesitantly. He was worried he might offend her. “It just seems a little pointless to me.”

“Not at all. It can be very exciting,” she replied. “I started taking pictures of my coffees because I noticed they were all different shades of brown. It turns out the Morton’s Coffee Pub cream dispensers were irregularly calibrated. Sometimes they’d give half a serving. Other times they’d give two or even three times the required amount.”

“I had no idea,” said Grayson.

“It became a big story. It was even reported on the news.”

“You’re a regular Woodward and Bernstein,” said Grayson.

Betty tilted her head. “Are they photographers, too?”

“They were the reporters who uncovered the Watergate scandal that brought down the Nixon presidency,” explained Grayson.

Betty responded with a blank stare. “I don’t know anything about that. I just like pictures of the food I eat.”

Grayson smiled and rested his chin on the palm of his hand. He now knew all he needed to know about his crush.

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Irregularities

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“This is Dr. Philbert’s office, calling for Travis. Could you please call us back? We’d like to speak with you about irregularities in your latest test results.”

The voicemail sent a chill down his spine. They may be the scariest words Travis ever heard. Irregularities. In other words, not normal. Something was wrong.

Even worse was the not knowing. That’s the moment Travis discovered just how vivid his imagination was. Who ever said ignorance is bliss never had a voicemail like this.

Beads of cold sweat trickled down the side of his face. His hands trembled as he held his phone. Should he call now? he wondered. But what’s the benefit of waiting?

Key moments of his life flashed before his eyes as he listened to the phone ring. Would his life change forever? Would this be the defining moment of his life?

Travis shook his head. He needed to snap out of it. They’re just irregularities. That could mean just about anything. If only it wasn’t such an ugly word. Irregularities. The sound of it was almost sinister.

A woman at the other end of the line picked up. “Hello, Dr. Philbert’s office.”

It took Travis’ breath away. He paused, struggling for words. “This is Travis Melvin,” was all he could choke out.

“Oh Travis. I’m glad you called…”

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Lost and Found

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The bedroom door flew open and Margaret burst inside. She attacked the dresser, scattering bottles of makeup and accessories all over the floor.

“What are you doing?” asked Bryce. He’d come into the room just in time to witness the spectacle. He was dripping with water and wearing a towel.

“I lost my keys,” she responded breathlessly.

“And you think destroying the bedroom is the best strategy for finding them?”

“Look, I have a big meeting today, remember? Help me.”

“I didn’t see them in the shower,” said Bryce.

Margaret threw him a dirty look. “Gee, thanks. I suppose you’ll tell me I’ll find them in the last place I look.”

“Well,” said Bryce with a sly grin. “You’re reasoning is sound.”

“That’s so helpful.”

“I try,” said Bryce as he slipped on a shirt.

Margaret threw up her hands in defeat. “I don’t know where they could be.” She turned to Bryce. “You have them, don’t you?”

The accusation made him laugh. “I haven’t seen them, I haven’t touched them and I have no idea where they are. I promise.”

“You better,” said Margaret with a menacing stare.

“Where’d you last see them?” asked Bryce.

“If I knew that they wouldn’t be lost,” she said in a panic.

Bryce sat on the bed. “Breathe. When was the last time you remember seeing them?”

Margaret stood in the middle of the room, sighed and closed her eyes. “I came home yesterday and really had to pee. I threw my coat and purse on the deacon’s bench in the front hall.” She opened her eyes. “That’s it!”

Bryce watched as Margaret ran from the room, cheered and returned triumphant.

“You’re welcome,” said Bryce.

“I guess I’ll keep you around a little longer,” she replied. She looked at her watch. “Oh. Gotta go.”

The two kissed and Margaret rushed off. Bryce waited until he heard the front door close before he finished getting dressed. He sighed. “Behind every great woman is a man merely struggling to justify his existence.”

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The Tantrum

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Colton was working quietly at his desk when he heard a blood curdling shout and a loud crash. He rushed out to discover Justin hyperventilating and looming over a smashed cell phone.

“What happened?” asked Colton.

“Piece of crap! I spent a gem and then just died. What a waste. Stupid game!” vented Justin.

Colton looked at Justin in disbelief. “Just so I’m clear, you destroyed a thousand dollar phone because you lost a meaningless gem in a free app game?”

Justin’s eyes flared. “Meaningless? I had to collect ten thousand coins to get that! Now it’s gone. Poof!” Justin swore and kicked what was left of his phone.

“How do you get coins?” asked Colton.

“You get ‘em finishing quests.”

“So you can earn more coins and gems?” asked Colton.

“Well, yeah. But I’m not playing that stupid…” Justin broke off in another tirade as he stomped on his phone.

Colton shook his head. “I can’t believe you wrecked your phone because of some useless game.”

Justin shrugged. “What? My parents will buy me a new one.”

Something broke in Colton’s soul. “When did life get too easy?” he mumbled.

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The Red Light Confrontation

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Brad and Mike pulled up to a red light in a quiet part of the city. Mike looked around and turned to Brad, who was behind the wheel.

“There’s nobody around, man. Go through the red.”

“I can’t do that,” replied Brad. “It’s against the law.”

“Who’s gonna see? We’re totally alone,” Mike prodded.

“Knowing my luck, the police are right around the corner.”

“There’s not another car for blocks. C’mon, man. You’re wastin’ time,” complained Mike.

“I’m not gonna. It’s illegal.”

“It’s not a crime of you don’t get caught.”

“That’s crazy,” protested Brad. “Laws are there for a reason, otherwise life would slip into anarchy.”

“Laws aren’t absolute. If they were, there’s be no social progress. We’d still have slavery. Women wouldn’t be allowed to vote. Civil disobedience is a creative force for good, man,” said Mike.

“Explain to me how driving through a red light advances civilization?” asked Brad.

“It’s a reminder that we’re in charge of our fate, man. Do it. Do it as a declaration of your own independence. Tell the world that Brad O’Sullivan is the master of his own destiny.”

At that moment the light turned green.

“See?” said Brad. “Being patient is also a way of expressing control over my destiny.”

“That’s weak, man,” said Mike, shaking his head.

Brad smiled and proceeded through the intersection legally.

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