Monday, February 17, 2014

The Freaks Come Out At Night- Part 19

Tossing and turning, Sam wished for sleep to overtake him.  Instead his mind reeled, continuously replaying the evening’s events.  His clients had been understanding; they’d even offered to pay Sam for his time which he flatly refused.  It wasn’t the lack of pay that bothered him.  He’d never let down a client before and it was a bitter pill to swallow.  Hours passed and Sam was no closer to sleep than when he’d first rested his head on the pillow.  Across town, the concerned employees of Mystic Magill’s Big Top Carnival mourned their loss.  With no recording they couldn’t prove anything—especially not to BT and definitely not the police. 
 Unaware of the turmoil plaguing Sam and his clients, Jenny slept deeply and woke early, feeling refreshed.  She slipped silently out of bed and padded down the hall to the bathroom.  As the warm, steamy spray enveloped her body, a though popped into her head.  She made a mental note to stop by the bank and make a withdrawal.  While toweling off, another curious thought sprang to mind.  Without hesitation, she reached for her cell phone.
            “Good morning, sleepyhead!” Jenny sang into the phone.
            “Huh, wha….who is this?” A groggy voice answered. 
            “Duh! It’s your cousin, Jenny, silly.  Hey, what are you doing this weekend?”
Jenny’s cousin, Laura, sat up in bed and tried to clear her head of the delicious dream she’d been having before being so rudely woken.  She tried to focus as Jenny prattled on and on.  Her cousin had been blessed with the gift of gab from a very young age but she’d never called this early in the morning before.  I seriously need a couple o’ cups of coffee before I can deal with this kind of cheeriness, Laura thought sarcastically. 
            “Hang on a sec,” she interrupted.  “Are you seriously telling me you called at the crack of dawn to tell me about a flippin’ circus?  Jenny, ya know I love ya but I’m gonna kill you!  What the…?
            “Uh ah, don’t you do it!” Jenny blurted before Laura could complete her sentence.  “If you say what I think you’re about to say, you’ll be in trouble.  Aunt Ellen will skin your hide.”
            “Oh for God’s sake, Jenny, grow up! We’re not kids anymore. You’re not gonna tattle to my mommy and don’t you think I’m a little old for the circus?”
            “C’mon, it’s lots of fun. I swear; it’s the best place on Earth. Wait! I have an amazing idea…What if I come for the weekend? We can hang out, have a few laughs, relive our childhood and we’ll top it all off with a night at Mystic Magill’s Big Top Carnival. Whaddya say?”
Jenny’s enthusiasm was contagious and despite her earlier arguments, Laura was thrilled at the prospect of spending some quality time with her favorite cousin. 
            “Yay! This is gonna be so much fun.  I can’t wait!  I’ll call you tonight and we’ll work out all the details.”
It was Jenny’s squeals of excitement that woke Sam. Rubbing the sleep from his eyes, he stumbled down the hall and tapped on the bathroom door.
            “Everything okay in there, Hun?  I thought I heard a shriek.  Did you see another spider?”
Giggling, Jenny opened the door.  She planted a kiss on Sam’s cheek and assured him that everything was fine, perfect in fact. 
            “What time is it? He murmured, still trying to fully open his bleary, bloodshot eyes. “And why are you up so early?  I usually have to haul you out of bed kicking and screaming just to get to work on time.  So, what gives?
While Sam brushed his teeth and showered, Jenny filled him in on her plans for the weekend.          
            “I’m so excited.  I haven’t seen Laura in years.  You don’t mind if I go; do you, Sam?  I didn’t think to ask if you’d made any plans for us.”
Sam tried to weigh his words carefully. His gut reaction was to demand that she remain within his line of sight until those carnival freaks left town but he knew that wouldn’t bode well.  Instead, he told her he had been hoping to whisk her away on a romantic weekend for two. 
            “Maybe we can manage a little of both. Why don’t you come with me?  We can find a romantic little Bed & Breakfast place and I’ll get to introduce you to my cousins.  It’ll be great!”
            “Sure,” Sam replied.  “Sounds like fun…where does your cousin live?”
Please don’t say Philadelphia. Please don’t say Philadelphia, the chant repeated in over and over in Sam’s mind but his “talisman chant” did not ward off the evil of Maven’s commands.  His heart leapt into his throat when she replied, “Philadelphia” but he recovered quickly.
            “I’ve never been to Philly.  This should be…interesting.”
            “Oh, you’ll love it!” Jenny insisted.  “We’ll do all the fun touristy stuff: run up the Art Museum steps like Rocky, eat cheese steaks from Pat’s and/or Geno’s, get soft pretzels from street vendors, we’ll go to Independence Hall and…”
            “Whoa, slow down.  Let’s focus on getting to work first. Then we can plan out the weekend.”  

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