Friday, June 21, 2013

January Exposure by Sunny Benson (Excerpt)

“Jeez, just kidding,” I said.

Her eyes spiraling white and wild, Tandy paced the perimeter of the room with the aimless energy of a caged beast.

“On to phase two,” I said.

Tandy slowed, curiosity dissipating her frenetic energy. “What’s phase two?”

“Moving the furniture into your very own storage unit.”

“That’s absolutely absurd.”

“What if Rick’s leaving you for another woman? You want some tramp throwing tea parties with Great-Grandma’s china?”

Tandy made a strangling noise. “Maybe you have a point.”

In the kitchen, I grabbed the phone book and flipped to the Yellow Pages. Morty Wilson, an old friend from high school, managed the Store-N-Save storage company.

“I have to move a household-worth of furniture into storage this morning,” I said when Morty answered the phone.

“This morning?” Morty’s voice elevated an octave. “That’s late notice.”

“I only need help with the moving, the truck, and the storage parts.”

“Only. Man, if it was anyone but you, I’d think they were joking,” he said.

“Actually, Tandy’s the one who requires your assistance.”

“Tandy?” A muted thunk sounded, as if he’d dropped the phone on a carpeted floor.

“Morty, you still there?” I asked after several seconds of silence followed by some rustling.

“Yeah, I’m here,” he said. “Tandy needs my help?”

“Rick left Tandy, and we need to hide the furniture before he takes off with it.”

Morty made a goatlike bleat of excitement. “Is she getting a divorce?”

“Sure she’s getting a divorce.”

Tandy’s mouth popped open, and she kicked me. I mouthed be quiet and turned away, huddling around the phone for privacy.

Morty paused for several seconds. “I have to reschedule another customer to get you a truck. I could get in big trouble from the owner.”

“Tandy told me she’d love to see you.”

“Love, huh. I’ll round up some guys and be there in thirty minutes. But you pay full price.”

I recited directions to the house, hung up, and turned to Tandy. “Phase two is a go.”

Tandy slugged my shoulder a few times.

“Yeow, Tandy. Stop it.”

“Why did you tell him I was getting a divorce? Did Rick say something about a divorce?”

“I had to get Morty over here somehow.”

“What do you mean by that?”

My eyes pivoted toward the ceiling. Did she not understand her effect on the male species? More proof that the roots of Tandy’s blonde hair extended deep into her blonde brain.


With ample assistance from Morty’s three burly buddies, two hours later Tandy’s furniture stuffed two rooms at the Store-N-Save. Tandy and I sagged over pillows in her barren living room, bushed from hauling furniture.

“Onward to phase three,” I said. “Pack some clothes while I write Rick a note. We don’t want him to report the furniture stolen. Tonight, Carmen can sleep at Mom and Dad’s, and you can stay with me. That way, if Rick comes home early and gets frisky over the furniture, Carmen’s spared the drama and I’ll have your back.”

Tandy rubbed her eyes and moaned. “Frisky? Have my back? This is insane. Why in heaven did I agree to participate in this craziness?”

“Sweet revenge?”

“More like sweet insanity. I give up. I’ll run upstairs and pack a few things.”

While Tandy packed upstairs, I found a midnight-blue crayon and a piece of flowery stationery in a kitchen drawer. I kept my note to Rick simple.

Dear Rick:

Don’t worry! It’s not stolen. To help you out, I moved the furniture into a lovely, climate-controlled storage area.

Love, Ellie

Tandy lumbered downstairs with two pink suitcases and a matching overnight case. After she deposited the luggage on the floor, I handed her the note. “Leave this for Rick. I’ll see you at the parents’ for mandatory Sunday morning Craven brunch bonding.”

Tandy massaged the furrow between her eyes. “Thanks, Ellie. I think. I’ll transfer a load of laundry to the dryer and be on my way. I still have the spare key to your apartment, so I can drop off my luggage whenever I get a chance.”

“Hurry up,” I said. “You don’t want to be here when Rick returns.”

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Genre – Mystery

Rating – PG13

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