Leftovers

Caroline arrived home from school, slung her backpack over the kitchen chair, and opened the refrigerator. Nothing good. Cabinet? Nothing good. Pantry? A can of corn. She sighed. Resigning herself to waiting till her parents got home from work to have food, she turned on the television and plopped on the couch.

“Caroline?” her mom called, walking into the kitchen from the garage.

“Yeah, Mom.”

“How was school?” Beth asked, walking into the living room, handing Caroline her backpack.

“Boring.”

“You always think it’s boring.” Beth said, chuckling. “Go up stairs and wash up. We’ll have dinner when your father gets home.”

Caroline sighed and stomped upstairs just to irritate her mother. She rarely had any homework, but her mother never believed her. Laying on her bed, bored, she started thinking about dinner. She was hungry and hated always having to wait for her dad to get home from the hospital where he worked in the coroner’s office before she could eat.

She heard the garage door open and became excited. She ran into the kitchen and sat down at the table. “What are we having for dinner?”

“Leftovers,” her dad said, handing Beth a red bag.

Advertisements

Top Ten Twilight Zone Episodes

Many people I follow have been writing pieces very reminiscent of Twilight Zone. This is a great thing. For me telling someone their work reminded me of the show is like telling a horror writer they bring images of Lovecraft, Poe, or King to the mind. It is a great compliment to be compared to Twilight Zone (at least in my book).

There are many lists and ratings out there for Twilight Zone, but I have not written one yet. There are also a lot of Twilight Zone marathons, but so few show all the episodes, which is a shame. So, as if my opinion really matters, here are my top ten Twilight Zone episodes (in order this time…a proper countdown *shock* *horror*)–no pictures because I don’t want to get in copyright issues (sorry):

  1. Miniature (s04e08, 1963)

Charlie Parkes is nice, kind, quiet, and has an overbearing mother who likes doing things for him. In the local historical museum, he finds a dollhouse with a female figure inside that comes to life when he watches her. Choosing to spend his days there than at work, he quickly becomes more absorbed into the figurines life. The decision resting at his feet in the Twilight Zone is does he stay in the real world, or does he join her in her miniature dollhouse?

  1. Mr. Bevis (s01e33, 1960)

Mr. Beavis loves his life just the way it is…simple, fun, and filled with a sense of childhood innocence. That does not work in the real world of adulthood for long. After losing his sixth job that year, he discovers that his family has a guardian angel that can improve his life. Not believing his supposed guardian angel, he accepts his offer of help. Becoming a “powerful adult” though means giving up his old life. Facing Mr. Beavis in the Twilight Zone is whether he likes being a man that still plays with kids and toys, or does he crave power and success more?

  1. A Passage for Trumpet (s01e32, 1960)

Joey claims to be a down-on-his-luck trumpet player, but in reality, he is an alcoholic, has been who has lost his drive. After pawning his trumpet, he steps in front of a truck. Waking up and thinking it was a dream, he discovers that no one can hear him or see him. As he walks around town, he remembers all the little things that people have done for him. He meets another trumpet player who offers him the chance to live, since he is just in limbo. The question facing Joey in the Twilight Zone is whether he really wants to die, or does he want to live and give up drinking, so he can play again?

  1. What you Need (s01e12, 1959)

A travelling salesman and his case have just what everyone needs, even before they know they need it. After seeing what the salesman can do, a thug blackmails him into giving him things that he turns out needed to save his life and improve it. When the salesman refuses to help further the thug becomes angry. This episode really doesn’t have a question posed to any of the characters because they fate is decided by their own choices. One wrong choice however, can cost someone their life in the Twilight Zone.

  1. Four O’Clock (s03e29, 1962)

Oliver Crangle finds fault with everyone that is not him but finding and reporting those faults have become an obsession. Creating files on those he deems unfit and unworthy of their position, he sets about causing havoc in their lives until they bow to his demented views. The process of ridding the world of all the unworthy people one-by-one is too slow for Oliver. He declares that at 4 o’clock all the evil people in the world will become two feet tall. Will Oliver find that this is possible, only in the Twilight Zone?

  1. The Mind and the Matter (s02e27, 1961)

Archibald Beechcroft hates people. He hates their noise, the messes they make, their happiness. Given a book by a young intern, called Mind over Matter, he learns that he can control the things around him. He can make people disappear. He can make everyone just like him. The question before Archibald Beechcroft in the Twilight Zone is whether it is better to accept things for what they are, or to not have anything at all?

  1. The Bewitchin’ Pool (s05e36, 1964)

Jeb and Sport Sharewood are siblings whose parents would rather argue than pay attention to them. One day they find a portal to the Twilight Zone in their swimming pool that takes them to Aunt T. She is a kind lady who takes in kids and loves them as her own. Deciding they needed to go back to their parents, the kids find out their parents are getting a divorce and leaving it up to the kids to decide which one to live with. Will they stay with their parents or will they find their way back to Aunt T?

  1. The Hunt (s03e19, 1962)

Hyder Simpson went out hunting with his favorite dog and stayed out all night, but when he returned he learned he was dead. Travelling along a road with his dog, he comes across a man who says he’s been waiting for him, but the dog can’t come with him. Does Hyder Simpson give up his dog to go to heaven or is it really heaven if dogs aren’t allowed?

  1. A Nice Place to Visit (s01e28, 1960)

Mr. Valentine has always had a hard life, because he chose the hard life. Killed by police after a robbery, he is guided by Pip through his new life of luxury. Everything he could ever want, he finally has, but is this heaven or hell?

  1. A Stop at Willoughby (s01e30, 1960)

Gart Williams is a simple man with a high-maintenance wife and demanding job as an advertising executive. One day, after losing an account to a junior who left the company, he dreams of an old-fashioned town called Willoughby, “where a man can live full measure”. The conductor says there is no town by that name on the route. As life becomes more stressful, he dreams more of Willoughby. Since anything is possible in the Twilight Zone, the question before Gart Williams is if he will decide to get off the train in Willoughby.

Were They Here?

I am sure there were people here yesterday. Wasn’t there?

Yes, there are traces of them, little remnants scattered around.

There’s the stain from the spilled wine.

I am sure there were people here yesterday. Where’d they go?

Did aliens capture them?

Did they get invited on an amazing adventure and forget about me?

Maybe it’s me they don’t like. Or maybe my house.

Is it too hot? I can turn on the fan.

Is it too cold? You can party in the sauna or hot tub.

I would redecorate if they want.

I’m sure they were here.

Weren’t they?

Who Killed Edna Baker

“Headache again?” Bill asked, adjusting his bow tie in the vanity mirror.

“That girl will be the death of me.”

Bill leaned close, giving her a gentle kiss on her temple. “Take a deep breath, Edna, sixteen doesn’t last forever.”

“Thank God for that.” They both laughed, as Edna tried clearing her ear.

“I refuse!” Xero screamed, storming into her parent’s bedroom. “You can’t make me!”

“You can, and you will,” Bill said as his face readied for battle. “This party has been planned for a month. You will wear your new dress, go downstairs, greet our guests, and do it politely!”

Xero opened her mouth to protest but was quickly shut down by Bill. “DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR!”

She knew better than to argue with her step-father when he went into Marine mode. He had been out longer than in, but you would never guess it, the way he commanded the Baker household. “Fine!” Xero huffed out of the room.

Edna took more aspirin and headed down to the party with Bill.

Not too long after the party started, Xero decided it would be in her best interest to start this charade. Grinning, she looked at herself in the mirror, wearing the same dress as her mother. “They want me to play their game?” she said, adjusting her sleeve in the mirror. “Well, it’s time I changed the rules.” She looked one last time in the mirror and chuckled silently at her sinister grin. They’ll never know what hit them, she thought, picking up a miniature glass perfume bottle.

She snuck down to the ballroom, making a quick detour to the kitchen, through back stairwells and old servant routes designed for unseen travel. Sliding out from behind a tapestry and tossing the empty perfume bottle into a trash can, she joined the party, smiling as commanded.

“Lovely party, Edna,” a man behind Xero said, slapping her backside.

Xero spun around, shocking the older gentleman. “Oh, my. Sorry Xero, but you look just like your mother.”

“Exactly what I wanted to her, Uncle Peter.” Xero grinned. “Why would you slap Mom on the ass though?”

“Um,” Peter went pale. “Let’s not mention that.”

He scurried away, leaving Xero laughing but still confused. Wonder if Mom’s cheating with Bill’s brother, she thought. The next hour was spent impersonating her mother and having a laugh when their friends fell for it.

“Just what do you think you’re doing, young lady?” Edna asked, when she finally saw Zero.

“Just having fun, Mom.” Xero watched her mother’s face twitch and shift between pale and bright red. “You okay?”

“This damn wringing in my ears, is driving me bonkers.” She said, trying to clear her ear again. “You’re not helping with all this nonsense!”

“Can I leave then?” Xero asked, looking at her phone. “I’ve played your silly game and made my appearance at your party. Can I leave?”

“Will you leave me alone?”

“Yes.” Xero sighed, rolling her eyes.

“Fine.”

“Thanks, Mom.” Xero turned to leave. “What’s going on between you and Uncle Peter?”

Edna’s face turned as red as an apple and Xero was expecting lava to erupt any moment from her eyes.

“What did you say?”

“Oh, shit! Nothing Mom.” Xero turned and jogged out of the room before her mother could call Bill over to handle the situation.

Edna visited the guest bathroom next to the kitchen and took more aspirin to get rid of the new headache caused by Zero. The cook announced the soup was ready and everyone retired to the dinning room for the feast. Edna stumbled into the door frame on her way into the dining room, but everyone just thought Xero had driven her to too much alcohol and chuckled.

It was a simple three course meal with soup starter instead of salad. Edna thought having soup was more couth salad. She began fanning herself with her napkin. By the time the smoked fish arrived, Edna was sweating as if the dining room was in the middle of a sauna.

“Are you okay?” Peter asked, watching Edna’s face get even redder as her breathing was becoming audible to others at the table.

“OF COURSE, I’M ALRIGHT, YOU IGNORANT PIG!” Edna screamed. “WHAT DO YOU THINK I AM…A TWO BIT FLOOSY THAT NEEDS YOU!”

Silence filled the room as guests looked at each other and to Bill for and support and an explanation.

“Dear?”

“SHUT UP YOU GOOD FOR NOTHING!” Edna shouted, throwing her wine glass at Bill’s head.

Bill stood up as Enda’s body slouched out of the chair and fell to the floor. She was dead.


Detective O’Neil arrived at the house with the rest of his team and set about collecting evidence and interviewing guests. “Was there anyone else here tonight?” he asked Bill.

“Yes, my step-daughter. I’ll call her.”

Guests were beginning to complain about the heat and not feeling well when Xero arrived back home. When she saw everyone rubbing their stomachs or foreheads, she started laughing.

“Young lady,” Detective O’Neil said. “I need to ask you a few questions.

Xero’s smile faded knowing she must have been caught. After answering the cursory questions about where she had been, who with, and why she left the party, Detective O’Neil asked if she had poisoned her mother.

“WHAT!” Xero was shocked. “I wouldn’t poison anyone…it’s just a laxative!”

“Excuse me?” Detective O’Neil asked, perplexed.

“I only slipped laxative into the soup. Just to get back at mom.” As soon as she mentioned her mother, if dawned on her that she didn’t see her since coming back to the house. “Where’s my mom?”

“I’m afraid she’s dead.”

“WHAT! I DIDN’T DO THAT!”

Detective O’Neil grabbed Xero’s shoulders and looked her straight in the eyes. “I know you didn’t, Miss”

“What?” Bill asked, shocked. “Of course, she did! She admitted to putting something into the soup. She hates her mother.”

“She hated you more!” Xero screamed. “Why else would she be sleeping with Uncle Peter!”

Uncle Peter ran from the house before he could be brought any further into disclosing their five-year affair.

“Mr. Baker,” Detective O’Neil said. “I have examined all the evidence in the house. Yes, your guests will have a very busy night with the soup surprise, but that did not kill your wife.”

“Then who did?” Xero asked, thinking her step-father finally went over the edge.

“She killed herself.”

“WHAT!” the entire room including guests, catering staff, Bill, and Xero shouted.

“She poisoned herself with aspirin. We found three large empty bottles in the upstairs bathroom.”