The Haunting MD 5

The Haunting

Bob arrived home promptly at 5:30 pm as usual from his job as produce stocker at the nearby grocery chain. It pays the bills but is quite boring, so Bob often looked for other challenges in his life.  Sally, his wife, was more the shy stay-at-home type.  This was about to change.

“Sally,” Bob yelled out. “I got something important to tell you!”

Sally hurried to the living room to see Bob flushed and beaming. “What is it dear?” she asked.

“Count Chocolo Cereal is sponsoring a contest. If you spend one night in a haunted house, you win $10,000.”

“Oh, isn’t that nice.”

“I think we can win the contest.”

And just where is this house?” Sally asks, being distracted by the kids playing in the street outside.

“It’s in Montreal. People were actually beheaded in the house.  The one bedroom has had no occupants for over 200 years.  No one lasts the night they say”

“That’s appealing. How would we get there?”  Sally responded, hoping the kids didn’t kick the ball to her beautiful flower patch that she lovingly tends.

“That’s the beauty of it. If selected they would fly us out there and put us in a nice hotel with a final last meal prior to the haunted night.”

“Lovely,” Sally rolled her eyes. “What’s the catch?”

“No catch really,” Bob replied defensively. “They do require advertising rights and some TV appearances by us.”

“Oh, Bob, you know how shy I am,” as dread covered Sally’s face.

“Just think if we win, we could use half to go on a cruise and the other half to finance your home-based advertising business. The contest publicity wouldn’t hurt your business either.”

“Well, I can see you are really excited about this. Why don’t you submit an application?”  Sally continued to look out at the kids as a distraction.

“I knew you would see it my way. I already submitted an application early last week,” Bob gushed at Sally.  “We have been selected as one of the final six contestants.  Boy, this is going to be fun.”

“Fun?” Sally whispered.

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Lesson 4

( Sara is waiting at a restaurant  and every once in a while staring out of the window. She sees Jamil walk to the entrance of the restaurant )

Jamil: So you have been waiting? Sorry about that. (Pulling back the chair with a screech )
Sara: ( places her hands to her ears) Please don’t — Please!!
Jamil: ( nonchalantly) What will I NOT do, please? ( still Standing)
Sara: Do sit down. Nothing . It’s just that I cannot bear this kind of sound. The screech of the fork on a plate, and this screech of the chair.
Jamil: (sits down looks this way and that )
Sara ( hold his hand) I can’t believe that finally, we are here. It is our first date. We have been talking for the longest time.
Jamil: (Flipping through the menu) What will you have?
Sara: Let’s order the starter first ( she looks into the menu) while we decide on the main dish and dessert. How about calamari for a starter?
Jamil: For me just plain water.

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Lesson Four Homework

“Hey, Emily!” Jordan snatched up and shook her hand with fervor. “How are you?”

Flexing her hand surreptitiously after Jordan released it, Emily called up her most convincing smile and replied, “I’m—I’mfine, thank you. And you?”

Jordan, about to sit down, exclaimed, “I’m great; thanks for asking!” With a start, he jerked his head up and stood again, rushing around the table to pull out a chair. “Please sit!”

Emilia sat. “So, Jordan…” She opened and closed her mouth a few times, grasping for conversation starters. “Um, you have a cat, right?”

“Oh, yes! I’ve had Jack for years, and he hasn’t quite been holding up that well lately.” With that, Jordan launched into a comprehensive explanation of his cat’s health problems.

Fortunately for Emilia’s state of mind, a waitress stopped by their table to deliver menus and take their drink orders, forcing Jordan to halt his never-ending stream of dialogue. When the waitress left, Jordan turned back to Emilia and took a breath. Before he could begin again, Emilia interrupted him.

“Well,” she said, “I suppose that’s all very unfortunate for Jake.”

“Jack.”

“Right,” Emilia said, “Jack.”

There was a pause.

“Here you go, darlings!” Emilia looked up to see the waitress setting their drinks down onto the tablecloth.

“Thanks.” Emilia swallowed. “So, like I was saying, all those health issues are very quite unfortunate for Jake—um, Jack.” Just then, the Duck Song began playing from the depths of her purse. Perfect timing, Laila. Emilia quickly pulled out her phone and answered the call. “Sorry, I’ve got to take this.”

Hurrying into the bathroom and leaning against the sink counter, she pressed the phone to her ear. “Laila, you’re a lifesaver! You called at just the right time.”

A laugh sounded from the other end. “I’m guessing this Jordan guy isn’t the greatest date material?”

“Well…”

“Are you ditching?”

“That’s one of your better ideas. I’ll head over in just a few.”

“Cool.”

Beep!

Emilia stuffed her phone into her pocket and headed out. Trying to look like she was in a hurry, she grabbed her purse from where it was hanging on the chair and slipped her jacket over her shoulders. “I’m so sorry,” she lied, “but I really have to go. Maybe another time? I hope Jake gets better. Bye!”

She slapped a few dollars onto the table to pay for her untouched lemonade and dashed out the door.

Jordan stared, stunned at her retreating figure. “It’s Jack…” he mumbled.

 

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Lesson 1 Exercise 2

Conversation between my character and a stranger

Kitty waits patiently in the queue at the bank. She hates trying to do banking during her lunch break but doesn’t have any choice today. She needs to bank her mother’s cheques.

‘Hello lady.’

Kitty turns around and sees a man standing behind her. He seems far too close, standing in her personal space, so she shuffles forward.

‘The line’s gettin’ long, isn’t it,’ the man announces.

‘Yes, it is and I don’t have much time left unfortunately. I’m on my lunch break,’ Kitty replies in a soft voice, trying not to bring attention to herself. Turning to face him, she notices he is wearing a torn blue checked flannelette shirt that is hanging out of his dirty black baggy trousers.

‘You look very nice,’ he says.

‘Thank you,’ Kitty replies, avoiding his eyes. She looks down at his feet and sees he isn’t wearing shoes. His feet are charcoal black and his toenails are very long.

Kitty tries to distance herself from him by pretending to read messages from her phone.

He moves closer to her. ‘I’ve got one of those things. They’re bloody useless, always needin’ to be recharged.’ A foul smell of his bad breath floats up her nostrils. Her stomach churns.

‘I hope I’m not kept too much longer, as I really need to get back to work.’

He steps forward, his face very close to hers. ‘Do you wanna have coffee or somethin’,’ he whispers in a raspy voice.

‘No, thank you very much, I’m going back to work,’ she answers politely.

‘We can just go down the road. I like you. I would like to buy you a coffee.’ Kitty feels uncomfortable. She can feel people staring at her.

‘Coffee, lady, just coffee,’ he yells.

Kitty tries to step aside and immediately feels an arm around her waist. She freezes. Why is this happening to me, thinks Kitty, almost crying.

‘Come on luv, you and me can have a bit of fun,’ he says, in a much too loud voice.

‘No, I really can’t have coffee, I do have to go,’ she replies, desperately trying to pull away from him. She steps out of the queue and heads towards the exit door.

‘Hey darlin’, wait for me,’ he yells, as he stumbles towards her. ‘Oh shit.’ Losing his balance he falls to the carpeted floor, legs and arms spraying everywhere. ‘Wait for me lady.’

Everyone in the bank turns and looks at Kitty. Her face is bright red and her skin is starting to burn.

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Lesson 2 Ex3- The Many Colours of Holi

It was nearly full moon, and the air smelled of smoke and dried leaves. There was a fire burning in front of every house in the village. It was a spring ritual to burn all that is old and welcome the future, for Holi (festival of colours).

“Mihira, here, over here!”, Sukhi whispered loudly through the veil of smoke. She could see the glass sequence on Mihira’s skirt peep in and out of the haze.

Suddenly, the shrill sound of a moped stunned everyone into silence. Mihira crouched behind a bush, while Sukhi laid down quietly behind the pile of wood she was carrying.

“Sukhi! Sukhi, are you there?”- Shaila’s voice broke through the noise of the moped.

Mihira and Sukhi came out of their hiding looking incredulously at Shaila. She was hardly recognizable with a colourful turban on her head, wearing a Kurta-Pajama (traditional men’s wear).

“What are you wearing? What is going on? Whose moped is it?”, asked Sukhi accusingly, with her hands on her hips.

Mihira stood quietly, watching Shaila as she parked the bike with ease, as if she had done it several times before.

“Ali gave me the moped and the clothes. It’s for you, Mihira. I will take you to the university campus at Jaiselmer. That researcher Madam whom Ali is helping with the camels, she will take you to Udaipur.”

The three young women stood in silence. There was a finality in Shaila’s words that seemed to grow and expand into the air, making it hard to breathe. They were barely eighteen years of age. They had all got married by the time they were fourteen. The mundane routines of their lives were hardly ever met with such finalities.

Sukhi sat down unsteadily on the desert sand, as if she were hit on the face.

“I told you that I wanted to leave Ajith, and this old village,” Mihira said, as she put her hands consolingly on Sukhi’s shoulders.

It was all too much for Sukhi, she could feel her ears burn in an anger that was losing control.

“You want to leave Ajith? And then what? What will you do? Where will you get money? You have to stop listening to Shaila. Ali has been filling her head with city stories. These are not for us, you understand? ”- said Sukhi as she bore her flaming eyes into those of Mihira’s.

“Sukhi, please”, interrupted Shaila, “this is best for Mihira. Ali has arranged it all with Madhuri madam. Tonight, all the men are in Ajmer for the drum competition. Ajith won’t know that Mihira has left”.

She continued to explain the plan of how Shaila would take Mihira to Jaiselmer University, where Madhuri Madam would meet Mihira and slip her in with the rest of the students who would then leave for a cultural fest to the city of Udaipur.

“Shaila,” said Mihira a little sternly, “slow down a little.”

Shaila was sixteen and the youngest in the group. She fell in love with Ali on the day of her wedding when she saw him for the first time. Ali was kind- hearted and let Shaila explore new experiences like riding mopeds, studying further.

“Mihira, you will always be dark-skinned, and Ajith will never treat you well,” continued Shaila ignoring Mihira’s tone.

“Yes”, pitched in Sukhi suddenly, “you will always be dark-skinned, Mihira. Are you ready to be judged by the outside world? Will your life really get any better? “

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The Flare Up Lesson 3

Flare Up                                 Lesson 3.

Christmas Week at her mother-in-law’s house was not an event Nat had looked forward to. The twins were two and a half and she wondered how much had changed inside the house since their visit when the twins were babies.

Stan’s mother was a collector and all sorts of ornaments and antiques were usually displayed on every available table and shelf. Nat had discussed with Stan that the items would have to be put away while they were there as an accidental breakage would add stress to the already fragile relationship Nat had with Ethel. Nat had come to understand how difficult Ethel was after her interstate visits with them. She’d kept her cool hoping to be in a better family position than Stan’s two brothers and their wives.

As the door opened and the twins ran inside one glance was all they needed. Nothing had been put out of reach in spite of their request.

Greetings over and Stan explained.

“Mum you’ll have to put these out of the living area. As the twins play around they could easily bump them. I’ll help box them up after I unpack the car.”

“Many of these were here when you boys were growing up. They’re not moving now.” Ethel’s voice was steely. “Nat will have to make sure the children behave calmly inside just like I used to do.”

Christmas Day had been great fun at Stan’s brother’s home but on their return Ethel had started her bitter comments about the daughter-in-law. Nat had tried to change the subject.

“Don’t keep butting in Nat. I’m speaking.” Nat took a deep breath. This wasn’t getting any easier.

The next day as Ethel was watching her soapie Nat asked if she could leave the twins inside while she hung out the washing. Nat heard the yell and raced inside. Ethel stood over Jason, her arm raised.

“You naughty, naughty boy. I saw you pull Josie’s arm and make her fall. Look at my table. You’ve broken my treasures.” Ethel’s face was contorted and her voice raging. The children clung together frightened by nanna’s angry outburst.

Nat moved carefully over the broken china and shattered glass.

“Don’t move. You’ll cut your feet.” The children were crying. Nat scooped each child under her arms and took them outside to the back yard.

She tapped Stan’s number.

“Get here fast love. Listen.” She turned the phone towards the window.

“Are you coming back to clean up.” The shrill voice drifted through the opening. “I knew you’d never be able to manage two children. I’m not moving from my chair till everything is in order.”

Stan knew this was just the start of his mother’s jealous bickering. Their holiday here was over.

“I’m on my way.”

“We’ll stay outside till Daddy comes. He’ll help nanna. It’s okay. It was an accident.”

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Lesson 3 – Wrong Start

The spring air brought a lilt to his step as Mark set off on a brisk walk in the neighborhood after dinner. Children were playing in their front lawns and some were riding bikes on the side walk. The newest neighbor who had just move in a few weeks ago in 12 Cedar Drive had got a fencing around the house and the sign on the gate said ‘No Trespassing’.

As he walked past the house, a ball flew across the fence and landed in the flower bed of the garden. Little Sam looked at Mark with a forlorn expression seeking assistance in retrieving his ball. Mark hesitated, then looked at Sam, and took an emotional decision and turned towards the gate of 12 Cedar Drive. He hesitated for a moment, turned back and saw 6-year old Sammy looking expectantly at him. Mark made his decision, opened the gate and walked towards the flower bed. Suddenly, the main door opened and an angry looking woman stormed out, “How dare you enter my house?”

Mark was taken aback by the tone but maintained his composure and uttered, “Let me explain why –“

“No need. Are you blind that you did not see the sign?” the woman cut him off.

“If you will let me speak, I can explain why I am here.”

“I do not want to hear anything. Leave right now”, pointing her hand sharply towards the gate.

“I am not leaving till I have accomplished what I came here for”, said Mark who was on a mission as it was a young child’s happiness at stake.

“Are you serious? I cannot believe what kind of neighborhood I have come to. You have no purpose to be here. Leave now or I will call the police.”

“Listen Ms. whatever your name is, this is a lovely family-oriented neighborhood and you are welcome to be here. I am trying to tell you why I am here and you are not even letting me speak.”

The woman had taken out her cell phone and it seemed she was going to call the police when Sammy peered through the gate and said, “Mark, please come back. I don’t mind losing my favourite ball but I do not want you to get into trouble because of me.”

Mark looks at the woman as if to say, “Now you know why I am here.”

The woman’s demeanor suddenly changed and her face turned red with embarrassment.

“I am Lori  and I am really sorry that I did not hear you out.”

She gestured to Sammy to come in and look for his ball. The three of them looked for the ball and found it. Sammy took his ball and ran back to play.

“Would you care to come in for a cup of tea, Mr. —“

“I am Mark” he hesitated first and then seeing the smile on Lori’s face, walked with her into the house.

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Blind Date MD 4

Blind Date

When the blind date arrived at the nursing school dormitory in a bright yellow Smart car, Sally should have run. Her nursing classes had been keeping her busy and she had not been on any dates this semester.  An evening out with a nice dinner would be just the ticket.  Bob emerged from the tiny car like a moth from a chrysalis.  His thick glasses and short stature gave him a bug-like appearance.

“This way, Sally.” He ushering Sally to his car, he opened the door for her and off they went.

They parked in front of the Kung Fu Pagoda Palace an enormous Pagoda-styled structure capable of seating over 200 patrons. The ubiquitous red and gold cat with the waving paw greeted us at the front entrance.  Tacky Bruce Lee posters were posted over all the walls.

“How many for dinner?” asked the hostess.

“Two,” replied Bob, “close to the buffet if you please.”

“Right this way.”

We followed our hostess to a large booth of red faux leather and white Formica table with gold flecks.

“How’s this, sir?”

“Great, thanks.”

“Sally, I hope you like Chinese food,” queried Bob “and have a big appetite because it is an all-you-can-eat buffet.”

“Well … as long as they don’t use MSG or peanuts.” Sally frowned and gripped the table tightly. “Generally, I prefer quality over quantity.”

“Oh, you’ll be OK a little MSG and peanuts never hurt anyone.”

“It would have been good for you to let me know your plans. Allergies are nothing to sneeze at.  I can’t risk an attack.”

“You have hundreds of items to choose from on the buffet,” as Bob pointed to the long buffet table, “surely something will satisfy you?”

The waiter arrived with the paper Chinese zodiac placemats, utensils, water and the jasmine tea. He queried “Will you be dining off the buffet or the menu?”

Before Bob could answer, Sally replied “I’ll take a menu, thank you.”

Bob frowned. “Why do you need a menu, the buffet here is great and very economical?”

“Don’t worry Bob, I will pay for what I order.”

“OK, if you insist.”

Bob made numerous trips to the buffet bring back full plates each time. Sally wondered where he could fit all that food.  Sally had wonton soup, spring roll, rice and beef and broccoli with leftovers to take home.  Dinner conversation was minimal as Bob focussed mainly on the food.  Sally was biding her time wanting the date to be over.  They split the bill and headed out to the Smart car.  Bob opened the door for Sally to get in.  They arrived at the nursing school dormitory and Bob opened Sally’s door again.

As Sally was exiting the car, Bob said “Sally, I had a great time. Would you like to go out again?”

“Well,” Sally was at a loss for words “perhaps, — I’ll call you, OK?”

 

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Lesson 3 – Joint Credit Card Nightmare

Sally opened her credit card statement and saw big a big charge on it she didn’t recognize.  She then called her credit card company.

“This is Tara,” said the customer service representative.  “How can I assist you?”

“There is a charge on my card that I don’t recognize,” said Sally.  “It is from Moped.  The charge is in the amount of $899.”

“I see that you have a joint account,” said the customer service representative.  “Did you authorize another person to use this card?”

“I guess I’ll check that out with my boyfriend,” said Sally.  “We live together.  Goodbye.”

Sally hung up the phone.  After she hung up John, her live in boyfriend came walking through the door.

“Do you know about this charge on our credit card in the amount of $899?” asked Sally.

“Oh, yeah,” replied John.  “I bought a Moped.”

“You what?” asked Sally.  “Why would you want to do something as stupid as that?  What are you going to use a Moped for?”

“Oh, to ride up and down the block with it,” said John.  “I like to feel the sunshine.”

“I figured that much,” said Sally.  “We’ve already got two cars.  Do you like pouring money down the drain?  This is the shirt off both of our backs.  Why did you do this?  Do you realize I have to pay for this too?  You should put it on your own plastic.”  Why did I ever for the life of me decide to have a joint account with anyone, she thinks.

“It was just so pretty, red and shiny.  I couldn’t resist it,” replied John.

“Well, let’s see you resist this,” said Sally.  And she balled up her hand in a fist to punch John in the face.  He grabbed her hand away.

“Return the little piece of crap,” demanded Sally.

John said nothing and started to walk away like Sally wasn’t even there.  He sat down in his favorite chair with his newspaper and switched on the TV.

Sally stood where she was and crunched herself up, lifting up both her shoulders exasperated and let out a a-woof!  She walked over to John.  “Not to mention it but couldn’t you get yourself killed on that Moped?  Isn’t it just like a motorcycle?” she asked.

John looked up lazily from his paper.  “It is except it can’t go very fast,” he replied.  As a matter of fact, it is a paddle bike like a bicycle.  You have to push the paddles around like a bicycle to move it.”

“Ridiculous!” exclaimed Sally.  “How are we going to keep paying the mortgage if you’re going to be buying things that cost $900 just so that you can get some sunshine?”

John did not answer.  He’s engrossed in his paper not paying any attention to Sally.

“Since you won’t return the Moped, I don’t care if you have to eat nothing but spaghetti and meat balls every day for the next six months to pay for this because I’m not!”  Sally screamed out.

John still doesn’t answer and is looking at his paper and not at Sally.

Sally went into the kitchen.  She came back out with a pan of water.  She dumped it on John’s head.  “How’s that for some sunshine!” she said.

“You bitch!  What did you do that for?” exclaimed John.

“You won’t answer me you little tramp!” replied Sally.

John shook himself off and went into the bedroom to change and remove his clothes.  He came back out and went into the bathroom to take a shower.

“Are you taking a shower to soak your head again?”  Sally shouted from outside the hallway.

“I just got home from work,” replied John.

“Oh,” said Sally.

“Oh, for Christ’s sake!” screamed John from the bathroom.

“What’s going on, John?  Did you forget your rubber ducky?” asked Sally.

“That’s a good one, Sally,” replied John.  “There is no f-cking hot water!”

Later, John got dressed and left the house.  He decided he needed some fresh air from all the drama.  He hopped on his moped and rode off.  He came back in the house later still ticked off.  He slammed the door behind him coming into the house.

“What’s wrong, John,” asked Sally.  “Did you get a speeding ticket riding your little paddle bike?”

“No,” said John.

Sally then taunted John.  “Johnny got a speeding ticket driving his little bicycle.  He got a speeding ticket.  Poor, Johnny.”

“Knock it off, Sally,” said John.

“Well, what about it?” asked Sally.  Are you going to get rid of the Moped or not?”

“I’ll live my life and you live yours,” said John.

“Okay,” replied Sally.  “So I guess that means that you’ll be eating only spaghetti and meatballs for the next six months to pay for this newest fetish of yours.”

 

 

 

 

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Phones? Really?

Susan stood at the kitchen window waiting, her foot tapping the floor impatiently. Finally she saw the lights of Jim’s car pull in behind the garage and watched as he approached the house. She took a deep breath to calm herself. As he entered she raged, “How could you give those kids cell phones without consulting me.”

Jim flinched but moved toward her a smile spreading across his face. “I’m sorry, Babe, but…”

“Don’t you Babe me, there is a reason why those kids didn’t have phones.” Susan felt the furor rising wanting to throw something at him.

“But, honey, all the kids their age have phones,” he whined. “ You should have seen Emily’s face when I gave it to her.”

“First there’s the cost. Who’s paying for the service?” Susan wrapped her arms tightly around herself holding in her anger. She was not giving in on this or he’d continue to wedge his way into the family. Her family. The one she had to create after he walked out on them.

“No, problem, sweets, they’re on my family plan,” Jim said smiing and backing away slightly.

“And what happens when you take off again?”

“I won’t, I promise. I told you I was sorry. I realized how much you and the kids mean to me. I want us to be a family again. A real family.”

“It took you five years to figure that out? The kids and I are a family. We’ve been doing fine without you.”

“But the kids need a father, especially Josh. He’s at the age where he needs a man to talk to, to look up to.”

“And you’re going to be his role model?”  her voice dripping with sarcasm.

“What more can I do to prove to you that I’ve changed?  That I want ….?”

“And what about what I want? I’ll tell you what you can do. You can just find yourself a nice apartment and leave us alone.”

“I’m going to have access to those kids regardless,” his tone turning menacing.

“You think so, huh? No judge will give you any custody rights with your record of leaving us.”

“We’ve never divorced, my dear. I’m still your lawfully wedded husband and they are as much my kids as much as yours.”

She looked into his steel gray eyes, cold and calculating. “That could change.”

“Are you threatening me?” He moved toward her, a sneer spreading over his face.

Susan took a step backwards and found herself pinned up against the counter as he moved closer. How in the world was she going to find money for a lawyer? She felt the terror rising as he slowly closed the distance between them, grabbing her arm firmly.

“Hey, Mom, I’m home,” Josh burst into the kitchen and froze as he saw his parents.

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