At the house, mom bustled about in the kitchen. Emily saw me and her eyes widened and then she stared daggers at her mother. A second later and she stomped upstairs. I plopped on the couch. Dad took up the recliner and Vic disappeared outside. In moments, dad was sawing logs.
With steps that sounded like sledgehammers, Emily reappeared. She whispered out the side of her mouth as she passed me. “Your a sick pervert. Spying on underage women.” Her lips were still twitching and she kept staring at me over her shoulder as she moved onto something else.
Without missing a beat, I pulled out my phone and ran my finger over it. With a few flicks, I viewed the website that had the entire archive of the Stanson home movies, as I like to call them. I didn’t watch all of them, just a few. They are truly boring people. But I did find good highlights.
“I should call the cops,” Emily said.
“Look, squirt,” I said and stood in her way. “If you refer to yourself as underage, you ain’t a woman. And with that bitchy attitude, you’ll be an old cat lady by the time you’re twenty.” Rotating my phone towards her, I tapped the play button. “If your parents catch wind of your stash, they’ll ensure you never see the light of day.” The video showed her rolling some type of herb in paper and then lighting it with a lighter. “Then there is the filching of their booze.” The next clip was of her getting into the wet bar. She was slick by using water to displace what she stole.
Her eyes got wide and she held her breath. A mild tremble started at her shoulders.
“It really is a good thing your parents are stupid when it comes to technology,” I said. “That’s why they asked me to install the surveillance system. I bet this would get you kicked out of here and disowned.” The new clip showed the backside of a boy and random flashes of her head. “With my knowledge of computers and networking, I bet this could find it’s way to the internet. Uncensored, of course. With a high res image of you and Chuckles’ student ids floating in the upper right corner. An anonymous email to the entire student body, as well as faculty of Ridgemont High for a finishing touch.” I touched my phone’s lock button and slid it in my pocket. “I’m just gonna go see how breakfast is coming.” Stepping around the coffee table, I left her trembling where she stood.
Mom had three waffles on a plate as I stepped into the kitchen. Candy pulled the syrup out of the microwave and put it on the table. I slid the butter closer and sat at the four person table in the huge kitchen. Young Barnaby sat across from me. His head was buried over a waffle and his cheeks were stuffed.
“Slow down, kid,” I said. “These things are worth tasting. Trust me.”
He cut his eyes towards his mother. Leaning over the table, he whispered, “Better than mom’s.”
“Yeah,” I said, imitating his whisper. “I’m still digesting a few cakes from when we were kids.” He snorted then clamped a hand over his mouth.
Candice spun around and shifted her eyes between us. “What are you two doing?”
“Guy talk,” I said and put a large hunk of waffle in my mouth.
Once breakfast was done, I volunteered to wash dishes. I figured since I was contributing to the mess, I would help clean it up. It wouldn’t take long. Like everything else in Candy’s house, they had a top of the line extra-large dishwasher. I’m not sure why, it was just a family of four. A normal sized machine should have done the job perfectly. Once loaded and activated, I wiped down the counter and took out the over flowing garbage.
A dizzy spell kicked in as I walked back to the house. I sat hard on the steps and watched as the scene played in front of me. It was the same as before only different.
The same glass door opened in front of me as I pushed on the rail. A security guard smile and waved at me. He rested his hand on a gun at his hip. Something moved off to my side in the distance, but I didn’t look.
Two older women were in front of me. They wore matching light blue blouses and were talking close. One turned and looked at me. It was Mrs. Harrington.
A long table with a digital clock set to 13:07 and 04/15/2017 as a date. There were pens and a small sign in the middle of the table. It said free checking when you set up direct deposit. A pile of bank slips sat in cubbies below the table.
Tellers at a counter waited on two other people. One looked up and turned toward the side and typed on a computer.
It was cold and my steps echoed as I walked. The marbled floor was shiny and it looked like you could ice skate on it.
I smiled at the Mrs. Harrington and her friend who had turned to look at me.
Then a bright orange light appeared. I felt warm then unbearably hot.
A siren wailed in the background.
Jerking at the sound, I looked around. Nothing changed. It was morning and I was sitting on the back steps to my Sister’s red brick house.
Things were definitely not right.
Taking a few seconds, I shook off the vision. Now, if only they would go away.
Inside, Candy poured a cup of coffee and handed it to me. “Butch,” she said, which was odd as growing up she always called me Barney. “About what happened.”
“Which time?” I asked taking the cup. “All the crap you two have been giving me since you’ve been married. Or are you talking about making me feel bad for falling down your stairs?”
Her face turned red and her lips tightened.
“I don’t need that kind of crap,” I said. “I don’t know what I did to get your animosity, but it stops.”
She shifted her feet and looked at the counter.
“Don’t even bother,” I said. “An apology you don’t really mean isn’t worth it.”
“We’re broke,” she said. “Vic and I are about to lose this house and may have to move in with mom and dad.”
“What do you mean you’re broke?” I spread my hands and looked at all of the high end kitchen appliances and other devices. “Look at this place. It’s right out of a movie set.”
“Yeah,” she said. “Vic grew up poor and when he got promoted a few years back, he began spending like there was no tomorrow.”
“Help him get it under control,” I said. “It’s what wives do. Smack their husbands around, metaphorically. Hell, that’s what you did to me through middle and high school.”
“I know,” she said. “It’s just hard especially when I like how we are living. I have an easy job and he brought in all the money.”
I nodded. “So now you’re over extended and the bank is about to foreclose. How much?”
“A lot,” she said and chuckled. “We got lucky and bought the house on a short sale as it was. 300 thousand was a song. Trust me.”
“I see,” I said. “You still haven’t answered me. How much to keep you from loosing the house?”
“Ten would keep us from loosing it,” she answered it. “If you could do more, that would be great.”
“So I now have to buy your respect,” I said. “Strange. The guy who was a slacker and not living up to his potential will now be saving his sister as well as her husband who is the main cause of the problem.”
“No one asked for your help,” Vic’s heavy voice came from the door way. “I don’t want charity. Especially not from you.”
“Oh,” I said shaking my head. “There won’t be charity, pal.” I thrust a finger at him. “You aren’t worth it. Hell, the way my sister has been treating me ain’t worth it.” I pushed paste him. “Saving you two won’t be what you expect.”