By Mary Daheim
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Come on, push. You don’t look like any ninety-pound weakling to me. ” “Mother—” Judith began but stopped when she glimpsed Sweetums’ large orange-and-white body creeping through Carl and Arlene Rankers’s vast laurel hedge. Joe’s ruddy complexion was getting even redder. ” he inquired of Gertrude. “ ’Course I did,” the old lady snapped. “How else could I keep from running over that cat? He wouldn’t move. ” Joe muttered. “The loser gets sent to the Home. ” Gertrude cupped her right ear. “What? I can’t hear you.
George—Rick’s slightly more sober better half, with beauty, brains, and a big, big bank account. ONE JUDITH MCMONIGLE FLYNN winced, flinched, and grimaced as she held the phone as far as possible from her ear. Cousin Renie was screaming obscenities at the other end and throwing in an occasional death threat. Unable to listen any longer, Judith severed the connection. A minute later, she was swallowing two aspirin when the phone rang again. Reluctantly, Judith answered. ” Renie asked in a more normal voice.
Nor did she want to relay Joe’s reaction to Renie. Reeling around in her quandary, she decided to go to bed. But Judith couldn’t sleep. She’d drop off for a few minutes, but weird dreams kept waking her up. A man wearing a slouch hat was playing the piano; when he removed the hat, he had no head. A large white bird in a satin evening gown and long strands of pearls had blood dripping from its claws. Two men in uniforms opened a bank vault to reveal a pile of handguns covered in caviar. Mother was right, Judith thought to herself.