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Guilt makes us confess when we don’t want to.  Guilt can also get us into deeper trouble.  Enjoy Part 2 of A Dangerous Game.  Thanks. 




MONICA ARRIVED IN THE parking lot of her daughter’s school at seven-thirty a.m.  She wanted to get there before Bruce got there.  She was too late.  Bruce’s Prius was already parked in the principal’s parking space in front of the school.


If she hurried, she would catch him before the rest of the school staff rolled in, she thought.  She checked her watch and groaned.  She considered not confronting him about what they did last night.  Maybe she could wait until tomorrow and do it.  Time was getting away from her.


She had wanted to be in her office before eight.  She and her team were working on a liability lawsuit for one of their clients.  The client was a manufacturing company.  This was one of the top five hundred largest companies in the country.  She was the lead attorney.  She would argue their innocence.  The trial was in six days.  A lot had to be done.  That convinced her.


She had to handle this today.  Her husband could not get the kids ready for school two days in a row.  He had meetings this week too.


Monica got out and locked her SUV.  She walked fast to the school’s front door.  She pulled on the handle.  It was locked.


She turned around and scanned the parking lot.  Empty parked cars were in it.  Someone should drive up soon, she thought.  Everyone could not be in already.


She turned around and looked through the window in the door.  Someone was coming down the hall.  The glass in the door distorted the person coming.  She could not see if it was a man or a woman.  It was just a figure that she could make out.


She stepped back as the person opened the door.  A serious-looking and stoic woman in a flowered dress had opened it.  It was Mrs. Dale.  She was in her mid-forties.  Her body was hard looking.  It was that demeanor that made her an excellent assistant principal.  Rumors were she would probably be promoted soon and given her own school.


Mrs. Dale gave Monica an inquisitive look.  Monica was known as a tough and unshakable litigator.  But Mrs. Dale’s presence and no-nonsense attitude even made her a bit uncomfortable.  She would be a badass litigator, Monica thought.


“Mrs. Dale, you may not remember me,” Monica said.  “But I’m Monica Jansen.  My daughter attends here.  She is Terra Jansen.”


Mrs. Dale squinted.  Her face relaxed after a few seconds.  “Yes, Mrs. Jansen,” Mrs. Dale said.  “How can I help you?”


“I hate to ask you this,” Monica said.  “But I need to see Mr. Teal.”  Monica spoke quickly before Mrs. Dale could tell her that it was not school hours.  She was not allowed in the building.  “I know the policy.  But this is very urgent.  I know you hear that a lot.  But I’m serious.  I’ll even wait here, if you can just get Mr. Teal to come and talk with me for two minutes.  That’s all I need.  Please.”


Mrs. Dale sighed.  This did happen a lot with parents.  Everything was urgent.  Normally, it was because their kid received a bad grade due to their actions.  The parents, in hopes of having that grade changed, went begging to Mr. Teal for him to override the teacher.  Mr. Teal’s standard answer was no.  He would tell them the teacher had to rule the classroom.  If not, the teacher would lose all authority over their classes.


“It’s not about my daughter,” Monica pleaded.  “He’ll want to know this before anyone else does.  I promise you.  I need to let him know this.”


Mrs. Dale paused in silence at Monica’s statement.  She looked around and outside.  “Mrs. Jansen, let me escort you to his office,” Mrs. Dale said.  She opened the door wider to let Monica in.


They walked down the hallway with a purpose.


“I love your dress,” Monica said.  “That’s not a line because you’re helping me.  I really like it.  It looks great on you.”  Mrs. Dale thanked her.  “My clothes never fit that well.  Then again, my body isn’t as fit as yours.  Are you a runner?”


“I do jog twice a week,” Mrs. Dale said.  “And, I lift weights.  These kids will wear you down if you’re not prepared.”  She gave Monica a semi-smile, without really smiling.  “But, I have to be honest.  I have a good tailor.  You look like you have one too.  Great suit.”  Monica noticed that even Mrs. Dale’s compliment was to the point.


Monica was wearing a dark blue pantsuit.  “She’s okay,” Monica said.  “But I’d like your tailor’s name if you don’t mind sharing.”  She told her she would give her the name on her way out.  They were at Mr. Teal’s door.  “Thank you.”


“I’m going to let you introduce yourself on this one,” Mrs. Dale said.  Monica thanked her.  “Don’t mention it.”  Monica nodded.  “Seriously, don’t mention it.”  She gave Monica another smile that was not really a smile.


Monica stood outside Mr. Teal’s door and knocked.


He looked up from his desk.  “Come in,” Mr. Teal said.  Monica opened the door.  He had already stood.  When he saw Monica he went to the front of his desk and pulled a chair away from it for her.  “Please, have a seat, Mrs. Jansen.”


Monica remembered he had one of the best memories for names and events.  The man seemed not to forget anything.  There was no way he could forget last night, Monica thought.  She was also impressed with how his calm personality had returned.  There was no sign of his aggressive personality from last night.  Talk about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  She wanted to laugh.  But she stopped herself.


“How can I help you?” Mr. Teal asked.


Monica was not sure how to start.  “Do you mind closing the door?” she asked.  He nodded and closed it.  Then he sat behind his desk.  He wore green slacks with a brown shirt and tie and sportscoat.  He was not lean, but more of a granola body.  She even liked his half-grown beard.  He was kind of cute, boyish.  That was one of the things she liked about him.  “Are we good?” she asked.


“Pardon me?” he asked.


Monica was hoping he was not going to play games.  The game was over.  They both knew the secret.  “Are we good with everything?” she asked.


He pursed his lips and paused.  His eyes opened wide.  “Yes,” he said.  “You mean Terra.  Absolutely.  Her teacher, Mrs. Parker, is going to call you today.  The makeup test is no problem.  Terra didn’t tell Mrs. Parker that she was sick all week.  And, the weekend before the test she was up all night.  I commend Terra for trying to follow through.  She should’ve let us know she was sick.  She’s a great student.  So, as I’ve said, we’re good.”


Monica swallowed.  Something was not right.  She stared at him.  Her mouth was dry.  “Uh,” Monica said.  “Um.”


“Mrs. Jansen, are you okay?” he asked.  He had gotten out of his chair and went to her.  “Mrs. Jansen?”


Monica sighed.  “I’m sorry,” she said.  She was shaky.  “I feel like a fool.  We are okay.  I’m so sorry…I wasted your time.  I hate being one of those parents.  I just feel so foolish.  Barging in on your day like this.  Thank you.”  She stood.  “Thank you for meeting with me.”


“And you’re okay?” he asked.  “You look a little pale.”


“Yes,” she said.  She checked her watch.  “I need to get to work and let you do your work.  Thank you again.”  She shook his hand hard.  “You have a nice day.”


“You, too,” he said.


Monica rushed out of his office and down the hallway.  She was close to breaking out in a run.  How stupid, she thought.  What was she thinking?  The man last night.  His body…It was bigger.  His arms.  His chest.  The way he held her.  He was a bigger man.  Possibly twenty pounds bigger.  He did not have a beard.  His face was smooth.  Unbelievable.


The school’s front door was in sight.  She felt ill and sped up.  She needed to get to her car.  The air outside would help her recover.  She pushed the door open and rushed out.


Her phone dinged in her purse.  It was a text.  She took it out quickly and looked at it.


What are you doing?  How are you this morning?  You’re wild!


She ran toward her car.  Her heel went sideways and off her foot.  She left it and ran to the back of her car and threw up violently.



Monica was ready to put her mistake behind her.  Then, she finds out her mistake was not with whom she thought.  Or, was it?

Thank you for stopping by.

I’ll see you tomorrow.


Stephen Wallace  



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Boredom causes some people to do the unthinkable.  The consequences are so easily pushed aside.  To forget about what they have done, people fool themselves into believing it is easy to do.  Join me on a journey through A Dangerous Game – Part 1.  Thanks. 




MONICA JANSEN SAT IN the driver’s seat of her Chevy Tahoe and tapped her fingers on the steering wheel.  It was twelve a.m.  She looked in the rearview mirror and the side mirrors.  No one had come yet.


She felt stupid.  What if it had all been a game?  Maybe it was a test of some sort to prove he could get her to do something outrageous and silly.  If that was his purpose, he had done it.  She was the only one in the parking lot.


Her phone dinged.  A text appeared.  She quickly looked at it.  It read, “Put the blindfold on.  Get out.  Stand by your driver’s door.  Don’t move.  Don’t talk.  I’ll tell you when to speak.”


Monica swallowed.  For a brief moment, she questioned her decision to have let it go this far.  Not to mention, she could be meeting with death.  But, she doubted it.


She began receiving text messages from this man three months ago.  He said he was a man.  She believed him.


The first text was not innocent.  It had nothing to do with wanting to be her friend or getting to know her as a person.  It started out with how he had watched her and came to admire her beauty and quiet demeanor.  The texts continued that way.  How he wished he had met her years ago.  He wished he could turn back time.  Was she happy in her marriage and with her family?  He was, too.  But he could not stop thinking about her.


She thanked him for her interest in her and rejected him many times.  She told him to not text her again.  She was not that kind of woman.  But, her demand never stopped him.  She had promised herself not to answer any more of his texts.  Her rejections just made him more persistent.


One day she caught herself tied up into his text flirting world.  She knew nothing would come of it.  She was a soccer mom.  She had a career, friends, family, too much to risk on a fling.  It just felt good to be admired and wanted in ways different than a wife and mother.


This mysterious man had made it clear to her that he wanted to have her in ways that were not tender and loving.  His animalistic talk had intrigued her.


A woman like her did not get that kind of talk from men.  Men looked at her as matronly.  In their eyes, she was a forty-five-year-old married woman.  But this man saw more.


What also helped her take the leap of faith to meet him was that she was sure she knew who he was.  And, she had had an attraction to him for almost a year.


She was convinced he was attracted to her too.  She did not know why a man like him wanted her.  And, she was not asking.  She only knew it was real.


She put the blindfold on and got out of her SUV.  She held on to her driver’s door and closed it.  Her hand stayed touching the SUV.


A slight wind was in the air.  The summer dress she was told to wear was not warm for the weather.  She was not cold, just chilled.  Goosebumps formed on her arms.


She heard footsteps behind her.  They were not loud.  She had to listen closely to hear them.  The footsteps stopped.


She was shaking.  Not from the weather.  She was scared.  Not knowing what to anticipate.  She wanted to pull off her blindfold and turn and face her messenger.


A hand touched her bare shoulder.  She jumped.  “Who…”  She forgot and tried to talk.


“Shhh,” a man’s voice said.  “No talking.”  She swallowed and exhaled.  Was that him?  She knew it was.  It was him.  “You’re cold.  Don’t look.  I’ll guide you.”  A hand took her by the arm and turned her around.


They walked at her pace.  Her heart pounded against her chest.  “A little more,” he whispered.  They stopped.  She could not tell where they were.  The wind was not as chilly.  “Do you trust me?”


“Yes,” she heard herself say.  She quickly wondered why she said that.  Why didn’t she say maybe?  Show that she had some control about herself.  Not ready to give in to everything he said or did.


“Let me look at you,” he whispered.  “You’re perfect.  You wore the heels I like.”  She had on red high heel sandals that he told her to wear.  He had told her she had worn them before and he liked them.  “That dress always drives me crazy.”


She shivered when his lips touched the back of her neck.  He kissed her up and down her neck.  She bit her lip to keep quiet.


He stood behind her and took her by the wrists.  His chest pressed against her back.  He led her hands down to a hard surface.  She was leaning over.  “Don’t move,” he whispered.


What happened next threw Monica into complete confusion.  She was not prepared as she thought.  She remembered thinking this man was a stranger.  Her thoughts were jumbled after that.  They clashed between right and wrong from selfish to deserving.


The truth she knew was shoved from her mind with lies.  Lies were easier to deal with at the moment.  And they eliminated the guilt that she felt.


After a few minutes, her mind went blank.  Things had moved faster than she had imagined.  Too fast for her to resist.  Too fast for her to think about the consequences.


The control she thought she had evaporated.  Reason and logic ceased to exist.  She had never been more free and afraid in her life.  Was this what risk was all about?  It was exhilarating and scary all at the same time.


Thoughts of the embarrassment she would bring on her children if she were caught were gone.  Thoughts of the risks of losing her family and friends disappeared.  Only what was happening existed.  Nothing else mattered.


A half-hour later Monica drove home and told herself she was not a bad person.  Everyone did things they regretted from time to time.  She was no different.  Besides, it was a one-time event.  She needed to stop worrying.


Bruce Teal could not tell anyone what they did.  He had not told her who he was.  It was easy to figure it out.  He was the principal of her daughter’s school.  His reputation was on the line, just like hers.  He had just as much to lose as she did.


Tomorrow she would call him and tell him what they did was wrong and it was over, she thought.


Deception is one of those words that works both ways.  Monica may want to consider this in the future.  Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you enjoyed Part 1.

See you tomorrow.


Stephen Wallace





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When your lifestyle is threatened, how far would you go to keep it?  In the conclusion to The Perfect Community, Part 8, ask yourself how far would you go?  Thanks. 




CARLA PUSHED THE BATHROOM door open and walked inside.  The shower was on.  Steam covered the mirrors.  She walked over to the tan shower curtain and stood there for a few seconds.  Then, she grabbed the curtain and slowly slid it back.


Jay’s eyes were closed.  Shampoo was in his hair.  He put his hands on his head and massaged it into his hair.  The cold air hit his body.  Jay turned to where the air was coming from.  “Why did you open the curtains?” he asked.  “Water is going to go all over the floor.  Your crazy mother is going to be pissed.  She won’t blame you.  She’ll blame me.  Someone should have her committed.”  Carla smirked at him.  “I need to rinse.  Close it, please.”


Carla reached out and put her hand on Jay’s shoulder.  Jay told her the floor was going to get wet.  “I don’t mind,” Carla said.


Jay jumped backward and hit the wall.  His eyes sprung open.  “What the hell, Carla?” he said.  Carla laughed at him.  Jay reached for the shower curtain.  She pushed it away from him.  “Give me…”  He grabbed the curtain.  She held on to it.  “Let go of it.”  She told him to say please.  “I’m not saying anything.”  He pulled on it.  She held on to it.  “You’re going to rip it.”  She told him he was.  “Come on, Carla.  I’m serious.”


“Fine,” she said.  “Here.”  She slid the curtain closed as he grabbed for it.  “You’re no fun.  And I’ve seen everything you have on your body.  Of course, these were men with larger appendages than what you have.”  She laughed.  “You’re such a ninny.”  She laughed.


He reached around the shower curtain and felt for his towel on the hook.  Carla had the towel in her hand.  “What are you looking for?” she asked.  He told her to give him the towel.  “It’s not your towel.  It’s mine.  I own it.”  He asked her to let him have the towel.  “Be a good boy and say please.  Then maybe.  Just maybe.  I’ll give you what you want.”  She waited.  “Say it.  Don’t be a wuss.  Say please.”


“Please give me the towel, Carla,” he said.  “I’d like to dry off.”  He hid behind the curtain, waiting for her to give him the towel.


Carla snatched the curtain open.  Jay covered his penis with his hand.  She tossed him the towel and shook her head.  He caught the towel with his free hand.  “My manly son-in-law,” Carla said.  She leaned back against the sink and watched him.  He snatched the curtain closed.


“Don’t be nervous,” she said.  “No one is here except us.  While you were sleeping, Frank and Crystal went out for breakfast.  I sent them for these to-die-for crepes.  It’s about fifteen minutes away.  We have at least another fifteen minutes of alone time.  So, if you want a taste of a seasoned woman, with all the class that you’ll never be able to have, I’m here.”


“I don’t want anything from you,” he said.  He opened the curtain with the towel wrapped around his lower body.  He stepped out of the shower and walked past her into the bedroom.  “You’re nuts.  We’re leaving when Crystal gets back.  I’m telling her why.  I don’t have to put up with your bullshit.  You may bully and fool everyone else.  But, you don’t fool me.  Not at all.  I know who you are.  I know what you are.”


“You do, do you?”  she asked.  “Is that why you followed me last night?”  He was quiet.  How did she know, he thought?  “You don’t have to say anything.  I know you did.  I can prove it if I want to.  You remember I told you you sucked at the affair thing?  I was wrong.  You suck at everything.  You think you can outsmart me?  You’re way out of your league.  Ungrateful shit.  I gave you my daughter.  What more do you want?  You’re a loser.”


“That’s what you think,” he said.  “I think you murdered those people.  And your little meeting, I heard you.  I heard everything you said.”


“What do you think you heard?” she asked.  He told her he was not playing her game.  She walked up to him while he was getting his pants from the closet.  He turned around.  Not expecting her to be there.  She grabbed his balls and squeezed.  He lifted up onto his toes and drew back a fist.


“Don’t you hit me,” she said.  “I’ll say you attacked me.  I’ll say you were still angry about your neck because I got the better of you.  I couldn’t fight you off.  It’ll be your word against mine.  It won’t matter if I win or lose.  Your marriage to my daughter will be over.”  He clenched both fists.  He wanted to punch her in the face.  He had never wanted to punch someone so badly.  “You relax.  Then I’ll relax.  Put your hands down.”  He hesitated.  She squeezed.  “Put your hands down.”


“Shit,” he said.  “Let go!  Let go!”


“Shut your mouth and listen,” she said.  He told her he was serious.  She was hurting him.  “You’re hurting me.”  She mocked him.  “I’ll rip your balls off.  You listen.  We can be friends.  Or, we can be enemies.  I don’t care.  You want sexual favors from me?  I can comply with that.  I’ve never wanted that from you.  But if it’ll make you happy, I’ll join you.”


He panted in pain.  She squeezed a little harder.  He lifted back up onto his toes.


“That’s to get your attention,” she said.  “If you try and ruin my life, I’ll destroy yours.  I may even have you killed.  You’ll lose everything.  Not only your marriage but your life too.  Don’t test me.  I won’t allow you, or anyone else, to mess up our lives.  I better never see you following me again.  And, you better not go around spreading rumors about me.  You got that?  Let me see you nod.”  She squeezed harder.


He clenched his teeth and groaned and nodded.


“Good,” she said.  They could hear the door open downstairs.  “Put your pants on.  Come down and have breakfast.  You’re my favorite son-in-law.  Oops.  You’re my only son-in-law.”  She laughed and let go of him.  He bent over and let out a low groan.  “Be normal.  Quit acting like a baby.  See you downstairs.”  She left the room.


Jay breathed to compose himself and dressed.  That bitch was going to prison, he told himself.  No matter what it took, he was going to get her ass.  And, he was not going to lose his wife for it to happen.  That crazy bitch was going down.


Jay heard footsteps and turned his back to the doorway.  Crystal was standing at the doorway.  “Come down to breakfast, Babe,” Crystal said.


Crystal was beautiful in her yellow sundress and sandals, he thought.  He had gotten a glance of her before he turned around.  She looked wholesome.  How did she come from her mother?


“Mother said you two talked while we were gone,” Crystal said.  “Tell me what you talked about.  Give up the secrets.”


“You know your mother,” he said.  Crystal said she did.  No, you don’t, he thought.



I’m going to be nicer to my in-laws.  I may even mind my own business after this story.

Thank you for stopping by and reading and hopefully enjoying this short story.

I will see you tomorrow with another short story.  Until then, enjoy your day.

Thank you,

Stephen Wallace



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When you want to catch someone in the act of doing something, remember they don’t want to be caught.  So, you may want to pay close attention to them.  They may be watching you.  Enjoy Part 7 of The Perfect Community.  Thanks.




JAY HAD KNELT DOWN under the window of the house.  It was dark out.  Light from inside the house was coming through the window.  It lit the side of the house enough for anyone to see him if they looked out the window and straight down.  Jay pushed himself flush against the stucco.  He could hear Carla talking inside her neighbor’s house.  A group of people was inside the house.  Carla had walked close to the window where he was hiding.


Carla was talking to her neighbors in her neighborhood.  She was saying how Edith and Guyford Beckworth had died in the most humane way that they knew how.  The rumors that were spreading about the two were just rumors.  She told them her sources said that the deaths were of a suicide nature.  She could not speculate any further than that.  Even that had gone too far.


Jay thought the reason Carla knew so much about her neighbors’ deaths was not from rumors.  She probably did it.  Or, she had a hand in it.  Why else would she lie to the police about her whereabouts the night of their deaths?


Jay got on his hands and knees and listened.  He crawled alongside the house to under the next window.  Carla was moving around as she spoke.  Jay did not know what was on the ground next to the house.  Were their motion detectors to turn on the lights?  Was there an alarm system that alerted the homeowners to let them know that someone was too close to their house?


Jay stayed down under the window and questioned if following Carla was a good idea.  He had not planned it.  It came about because he could not sleep.  He had lain in bed for an hour, looking up at the ceiling.  When he heard movement downstairs he got up.  He looked over the railing into the downstairs area.  Carla walked in from the family room.  She was dressed in black—pants, shirt, coat, and shoes.  It was eleven p.m.  She was going out.


That was when the idea struck Jay.  Carla was up to something.  He did not know what it was.  But, it was something that she wanted to keep a secret.  Maybe wherever she was going tonight she would reveal it.  She appeared to be almost ready to leave.  She had a purse, an umbrella, and a tote bag.  She must not have been going far.


Jay eased out of bed without waking Crystal.  He grabbed his clothes from the chair and took them into the bathroom.  He hurried to dress and tiptoed out of the room.  He looked downstairs.  Carla was headed for the door.  He waited until she left and closed the door.  He then waited another minute before going downstairs.


Somewhat sure Carla was not coming back inside, Jay rushed to the back door.  Carla and Frank did not set the alarm system most nights.  He hoped this was one of those nights.  He eased the door open.  The alarm did not go off.  He ran out the door and onto the grass to hide the noise of his footsteps.


Several times while following Carla Jay had to hide between some trees.  Carla was a bit hardcore.  It was dark out.  Too dark in some places to see one hundred feet ahead of them.  Carla would stop walking.  Stick her nose in the air and smell.  Then she resumed walking.  She acted like a dog, Jay thought.


Under the window where Jay was hiding, he could hear Carla better than ever.  Her voice was clear.  Carla talked about their community.  How what they were doing could catch on across the country and possibly the world.


Jay wondered what the hell she was talking about.  It sounded like a cult reunion to him.


Carla told them their deceased neighbors had agreed to leave the Community Fund over three million dollars in investments.  The couple’s home had not been appraised yet.  That could be an additional eight hundred thousand to one million dollars.  People in the room clapped.


Carla went on and said that the Community Fund would be there for medical expenses, transportation costs if needed, and anything the residents would need.  The people inside the room clapped again.


“Now, to a touchy subject,” Carla said.  “But, it has been accepted and appreciated.”  She paused.  More clapping came.  “The TPC program.  The Temporary Companionship Program has worked exceptionally well.  Having someone stay with a grieving widow or a lonely spouse with an ill partner is always helpful.  But, sometimes people need more than a sympathetic ear or shoulder to cry on.  Some of us will need to be touched and held.  And, at times, a traumatic event may cause us to be intimate with the person who is comforting us.  We may need this person until we can stand on our own two feet and find a new love.”


Carla praised the spouses of the people who were willing to participate in the Temporary Companionship Program.  That was a true sacrifice.  She knew it could not be easy for a spouse to offer their spouse to another person to comfort them.  She told the group that proved that they were compassionate and good friends and stewards of their community.  It proved that nothing was too high of a price to pay or give to help the neighborhood.  She then thanked them for putting their trust in her to oversee the community fund.  She laughed and told them they had the best neighborhood and best-kept secret in the world.  “We will do whatever is necessary to protect you,” Carla said.  “You are our neighbors and friends.”


Jay’s mind raced.  What the hell kind of neighborhood was this?  Did Carla just insinuate they would murder people?  Did they murder that couple from last night?  Were these people swapping spouses?  Was this one big communal marriage?  Did everyone donate their assets and money to the Community Fund?  If they did, it would be a reason to kill people.  Kill them once they had outlived their usefulness.  And, who better to fill that position than Carla.


Jay noticed it was quiet.  He lifted his head to peer through the window.  Carla was hugging and kissing people goodbye.  He crawled away from the house on his hands and knees.  Once he got twenty meters away from the house, he stood up.  The house’s door opened.  Carla was definitely leaving.


“Carla,” Lilly Ed said.  She was one of the elderly neighbors.  “I’ll give you a ride home.  You shouldn’t be walking in this dark.”  Carla told her she did not have to.  “I’m doing it anyway.”


Jay ran.  He would beat Carla home, he thought.  She was not that fast of a walker.  He ran until he got back to his in-laws’ house.  He was winded and not as fast as he thought.  Carla could not be that far behind him.  He prayed the back door would be open.  He turned the doorknob and pushed on the door.  It opened.  Now, he hoped no one saw him coming back inside.


He eased the door open and snuck inside and closed it.  He tiptoed across the floor until he reached the upstairs.  He ran up the stairs to their bedroom.  He opened the door slowly and walked softly inside the room.  He took off his clothes and eased back into bed.


Carla stood in the dark at the bottom of the stairs looking up at the bedroom that Jay had just gone into.



Does Carla have eyes in the back of her head?  Or, is Jay simply no match for her?

I hope you enjoyed Part 7.  I look forward to seeing you tomorrow.

Have a fantastic week.


Stephen Wallace



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When you find yourself in trouble, deny it.  Admit to a lesser crime.  If neither works, make threats.  Enjoy Part 6 of The Perfect Community.  Thanks.




FRANK AND CARLA TALKED about Edith and Guyford Beckworth.  They had been neighbors for fourteen years.  Now the Beckworths were dead.


Frank and Carla’s cell phones had been inundated with calls and texts since the police officers had talked with them.  Some neighbors could not believe Edith and Guyford were gone.  Some said that they knew this kind of thing would happen.  Others had heard rumors of how Edith and Guyford died.


A suicide pact led the rumors.  They thought the Beckworths were sicker than people knew.


The whispers that made the rounds said that Edith willingly took an overdose of sleeping pills.  She got into the bathtub full of warm water and fell asleep.  The water was hot enough to make her drowsy fast.  Guyford had assisted her.  He helped her take the pills and get into the bathtub.  He then gave himself several lethal shots of morphine.  Before he passed out, he hurried and got into bed.  There he dozed off and died.  He in the bedroom.  Edith in the bathtub.


The other rumor that was floating around involved the police’s investigation.  They were searching for the person who gave the Beckworths a large amount of morphine.  It was too much to have come from a physician.  Still, every physician and hospital that came in contact and treated the Beckworths was going to be questioned.  Anyone who had participated in their assisted-suicide plan would be prosecuted.  If found guilty, the person could serve fifteen to life in prison.


Frank and Carla thought it was awful that the Beckworths were gone.  They hoped the police would release the cause of their deaths real soon.  The rumors had shaken up the entire neighborhood.  The nerves of other elderly residents were on edge.  Carla shook her head.  “We don’t need a string of suicides or talk of them,” Carla said.  “Edith and Guyford were doing fine.  Think about residents who aren’t doing that well.  They may decide if Edith and Guyford did it, why not follow them?”


“Honey, you have to calm down,” Frank said to Carla.  “There’s nothing we can do until the police tell us what happened.”


“Yes,” Carla said in a low tone.


Jay was watching Carla.  He believed he was watching Carla perform.  Her emotions did not ring true to him.  Everyone else may have eaten up her show of distress and sadness.  Not him.  Something about her made him question if she had a role in her neighbors’ deaths.  He did not like jumping to that conclusion.  Sure he hated her.  But thinking about her as an assisted suicide participant bothered him.  Compassion was not what he had ever felt from her.  If she assisted anyone in death, it had to be murder.  He looked away and looked back.  Carla was looking at him.  It made him nervous.


“Sorry about the damper on the day,” Carla said.  “But you need to go see Claudia, Crystal.  She’s looking forward to spending time with her big sister.  That’s all she had been talking about for the last two weeks.  Ever since she knew you were coming.  So go and do that.  I know she’s waiting for you.  Your father and I will be fine.”


“Are you sure, Mother?” Crystal asked.  Carla told her yes.  “Then I’ll go upstairs and take a shower and come back down for breakfast.”  She hugged Carla.  “I’m sorry about the Beckworths.  I know everyone is so close here.”  She kissed Carla on the cheek and hugged and kissed her father too.  “Sorry, Dad.”  He nodded.  “I’ll call Claudia and let her know I’m coming after breakfast, unless you two need something.”


“We’ll be fine,” Carla said.


“You know what?” Frank asked.  “I think I’ll ride along with you and Jay to Claudia’s, if you don’t mind.  As a matter of fact, maybe you should go too, Carla.  It could cheer up our spirits.”


“The more, the merrier,” Crystal said.  “Especially on a day like today.”


“I need to run an errand,” Carla said.  “Then I’ll come over.”


“Okay,” Crystal said and headed upstairs.  “Hurry up Jay.  You’re slow.  I’ll let you shower first.”


Jay turned to follow Crystal.


“Jay,” Carla said.  “Can I see you for a minute, please.”


Jay glanced over his shoulder at her.  He thought about telling her no.  Frank had already left for their bedroom.  Crystal was almost upstairs.  That left them alone.  Jay saw that fake smile on her face.  Whatever bullshit she was about to say, he could live without it.  Then again, maybe it was time for him to say what was on his mind.  Some of it, anyway.


Jay walked up to Carla.  “You lied,” Jay whispered.  You lied to the police.  What were you thinking?  You made me an accessory to your lies.  I’ve got a good mind to go and tell them you lied.  You were not here at eleven or eleven-thirty.  You didn’t get home until two a.m., or later.  Why did you lie?  What have you done?  What did you do this time?  Something you can’t get out of?  Did it involve your neighbors?”


“What do you mean?” Carla asked.  “Who made you an investigator, asking me what I’ve done?  You think I did something to our neighbors?  Are you crazy?”


“I’m not,” Jay said.  “But you are.”  Jay watched her lose her cool.  He enjoyed getting to her.  Finally, he was making her uncomfortable.  “You tried to choke me and kill me.”


“You’re so dramatic,” Carla said.  “You’re too damn dramatic.  You’re like a woman.”


“How would you know?” Jay shot back.


“If you were a man, that question wouldn’t leave your lips,” she said.  “Smartass.  Did you ever think that maybe you guessed what I was out doing late last night?”


Jay stared at her. He was not taking her bait.  Let her say it if she wanted him to know.  It was probably a lie anyway.


“Clearly, you were right,” Carla said.  “I was out doing what I do.  There’s no reason for it to ruin my family and my marriage.  It’s all meaningless.  One-night stand here.  One-night stand there.  It’s nothing.  It never has been.  So I’d appreciate it if you kept your mouth shut.”  She waited for him to respond.


Jay stared at her.  She was lying again.  He could feel it.  She was taking the least of the worst that she had done and hoped that he bought it.  Well, he did not.  She had something to do with her neighbors’ deaths.  For the first time ever he could see the fear on her face.  It felt great to see it.


“Jay,” Carla said.  “A word to the wise.  Don’t try to screw me over.  You won’t do well if you do.”  She leaned in and hugged him and whispered in his ear.  “Crystal is at the top of the stairs waiting for you.  Take your pathetic accusations upstairs and screw yourself.  Before I screw you.  And you won’t like it when I do.  Believe me.”  Carla patted him on the back.


“You’re so good to me,” Carla said loud enough for Crystal to hear her.  She let go of Jay and walked off.



Jay thinks he has Carla sweating.  He feels she will finally be revealed for what she is.  The question is, does he know what she is?

I hope you enjoyed Part 6.  I’ll see you tomorrow.

Thank you,

Stephen Wallace




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Why lie if you do not have to?  Some may lie out of habit.  Then, some lie to hide things.  Enjoy Part 5 of The Perfect Community.  Thanks. 




JAY SAW THE POLICE OFFICERS and immediately wondered what had Carla done.


The police officers had told Frank that their next-door neighbors were found dead that morning.  They could not go into details because there was an investigation underway.  The officers said that at the moment, foul play did not seem to be involved.


Carla and Frank told the officers that it was a shock.  Their neighbors were doing fine.  They were aging and had some aging problems.  But, there was nothing beyond that to worry about when it came to them.


The officers said that they were not supposed to say anything about the deaths.  But, rumors were already circulating throughout the neighborhood.  They were rattling some of the elderly residents.  That was why they wanted to put the neighborhood at ease.  They were also letting residents know the deaths did not appear to be from a home invasion or anything like that.


“But we still have a few questions for everyone,” one of the officers said.  “Like all investigations, we need to know where everyone here was last night around one to two a.m.”


Frank told the officers they were all in bed at that time.  He looked around at Carla, Jay and Crystal.  “We were asleep around eleven,” Frank said.  “Wouldn’t you say?”  Frank was looking at Carla.


Carla told them she could not sleep.  She got up around eleven-thirty or so.  She went to the kitchen to get some tea.  She looked back at Jay.  Jay looked at her.  Carla said that she thought that was the right time.  “Wasn’t it, Jay?” Carla asked him.


Jay was stunned.  Carla had called on him to establish an alibi.  Not that he thought Carla had killed someone.  Though it could be possible with her.  What was on his mind was that Carla got in at two a.m.  Why was she lying?  What was she covering up?  What was she lying about?  Where was she last night?


The officers were focused on Jay.  They listened to Jay’s answer.  But when Jay had finished giving Carla an alibi, the officers kept looking at him.  Jay realized they were looking at his neck.  He felt nervous.  He licked his lips and pursed them.


“What happened to your neck?” one of the officers asked.   “Hate to see what happened to the other fella.”


Jay mustered up a weak laugh.  He was lost for words for a second.


“He’s embarrassed to tell you that I kicked his ass last night,” Carla said.  Crystal told her she was exaggerating.  “Then why does his neck look the way it does?”


Jay jumped in.  “You got me from behind,” he said.  “And, you didn’t tell me you were going to rip my neck from my shoulders.  Nor did you tell me you were going to squeeze so hard.”  He gave a reserved laughed.  His anger at her was rising.  But he held it down.  It was not a good time to let it show.


“Well, no matter the outcome, you’ll always be my wonderful and sweet son-in-law,” she smiled.  She looked at the officers and whispered, “I kicked his ass.”


An uncomfortable silence came up.


Jay wondered if everyone was missing the looks the officers were giving them.  Maybe the officers were thinking there was too much kidding by Carla after receiving bad news.  Or, maybe Carla had snowed them, too, with her fake pleasant personality.


“We’ll help in any way that we can,” Frank said to the officers.  “Is there anything else, officers?”


The officers told them that would be all for now.  The officers looked over at Jay and smiled.  Then they looked at Carla.  Jay heard their thoughts through their expressions.  They were louder than words.  Carla was what?  One hundred and thirty-something pounds.  He looked to be around one hundred and seventy-five.  It was either a sneak attack or he was a wuss.


The officers told them they were sorry for their loss.  Then they told them to have a good day and be careful when playing.


Jay noticed the foregone laugh that was waiting to come from the officers once they walked away.



Why can’t Jay and Carla just be good to one another?  Oh, yes.  She thinks it’s amusing that she tried to choke him.

Thank you for coming by.  Have a good weekend.  I’ll see you tomorrow.


Stephen Wallace      



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Deceit for some people is just another part of their personality.  For Carla, it’s an art.  Read more about Carla in Part 4 of The Perfect Community.  Thanks.




CRYSTAL GASPED.  SHE WAS looking at Jay as he slept.  Jay did not hear her.  He was snoring.  His hands were under his head.  He was in the fetal position.  She shook him.  Jay moved.  But he did not open his eyes.  She nudged him again.  He sighed and smacked his lips and kept sleeping.  She punched him in the arm.


Jay popped up and looked at her.  He was breathing hard.  “What is it?” he asked.  “What’s going on?”  He looked around the room.  The blue walls reminded him of being outside.  The sheer curtains were letting sunlight through.  He squinted when he looked toward the windows.  Then he looked directly at Crystal.  She was sitting beside him.


Crystal’s arms were folded.  A scowl was on her face.  Her hair had a slept-in look to it.  One side of it was smashed against her head.  The other side was pointed in the air.


“What is it?” he asked.  Crystal could only look at him.  He was confused at her silence.  “What?  What are you looking at?  What’s wrong?”


“Those better not be what I think they are,” she said, pointing at him.  He touched his face.  “If they are, we’ve got problems.  Because I know you were not in bed with me last night.  Because, when I woke up you were not around.  I’m not going to ask where you went.”  He blinked at her and squinted.  “Don’t act like you don’t know?”


“What are you talking about?” he asked.  “You sound crazy.”  He hunched his shoulders.  “Be more specific.”


“Go look in the bathroom mirror,” she said.  He asked why.  “Go look in the bathroom mirror.  No excuses.  Don’t want to hear it.  No nothing.  Just go look.”


Jay got out of bed and went into the bathroom.  There was silence for a few seconds.


“Damn,” he said.  “Unbelievable.  This isn’t going to heal anytime soon.”  Crystal was saying something to him from the bedroom.  “I can’t believe she did this.”  Jay came out of the bathroom.  Crystal was sitting on her legs on the bed.  “You know who did that?”


“I’m sure you have a good excuse,” Crystal said.  “Remember we talked about the strip clubs?  Not going to them.”  She was referring to one night three years ago when he was drunk.  A few friends persuaded him to go with them to a strip club.  “Whatever it is, if it starts with another woman, I’m out of here.”


“Well, I guess you’re going to be out of here,” he said.  “Because it does involve another woman.  Your crazy-ass mother.  I’ve told you about her.  Over and over.  You always have an excuse for her.  Always forgiving her behavior.  I’ve told you she has a problem.  Last night she tried to choke me to death.  Her hands were almost wrapped around my throat.  They would’ve been around my throat if they were big enough.”


“You’ve got to be kidding,” she said.  “You’re trying to tell me my mother, one hundred and thirty-six pounds at the most, did that to you?  And, you’re serious?  You just stood there while she choked you.  Just eating it up all the while she was choking you nonconscious.  That’s what you’re saying?  You just stood there?”  She paused.  “Do you know how sick that sounds?  Do you think I’m stupid?  That’s what it sounds like.  Like you think I’m stupid.”


Crystal jumped out of bed.  “Burn marks, nail gouges, bruises, my mother did all that?” she asked.  “Why?  Why would she do that?  What possible motivation would cause her to do that?”


“I’m telling you….”


“You know what?” Crystal asked.  “I know you’re daring me.  I’ll take that dare.  We’re going downstairs and settle this.  If you’re lying to me, we’ll never talk again.  Not only will I leave you…this is so far beneath you to blame this on my mother.  It’s unforgivable.  So, you think about it.  Either I go or not?  You fess up.”


Jay crossed his arms.


Crystal headed downstairs.  Jay followed her.  He was telling her not to make a big deal out of it.  That her mother was not going to take responsibility for it.  What Jay did not want to do was to get between Crystal and her mother.  Their relationship was too close, as far as he saw it.  But he kept quiet about it.  No one got between them.


Carla and Frank were already in the kitchen.  They were laughing and eating what looked like bacon.  But knowing the health-conscious Carla—no matter how crazy she was—she would not dare get caught eating pork bacon.  It must have been turkey bacon.


Crystal said in a loud voice, “Mother, Jay is saying that you did this to his neck.”  She was pointing at Jay’s neck.  “And, not some woman he may have met at the bar.  A bar he went to after I fell asleep.”


“I didn’t go to a bar,” Jay said.  “This is crazy.  That was almost four years ago.”


Carla looked at the two of them with a half-smile and half-smirk.  Jay could see what she was thinking.  Her cold eyes said it all.  Even though they were green, they were empty of emotions.  Her stare reminded him of a cold black hole.  What she was doing was considering if she should screw him over or not.  Or, should she take the right course of action and let him off the hook.


“She did it,” Frank said.  Crystal shot her mother and father looks.  “She did it to me, too.  It was in a different situation when she did it.  But, she did it.”  Frank looked at Jay.  “Our situations were different, weren’t they?”


“Oh dad, come on, that’s disgusting,” Crystal said.  “The thought of that is too much to take.”


“I’m joking,” Frank said.  “She told me what happened.  And she told me how she did it.  But, she didn’t tell me she hurt his neck.  What she told me when we woke up was that she showed him one of her self-defense moves.  She learned it in her mixed martial arts class.”


“Mother,” Crystal said.  “I can’t believe you did that.  What we’re you thinking?  You could’ve seriously injured him.”


Carla shrugged.  “I didn’t think I was hurting him,” Carla said.  “I forgot he’s fragile.”  Jay wanted to tell her she was psycho.  “We were just having fun and fooling around.  I showed him a choke hold that our instructors taught us.  He was supposed to get out of it.”  Crystal shook her head.  “I didn’t know I was hurting him.  We did have the lights out.”


“Wait a minute,” Frank said.  “We had the lights out too.  This conversation is getting interesting.  Why would you have the lights out?”


“Dad,” Crystal said.  “Don’t make this any worse.”


“Not like that,” Carla said.  “You two are dirty-minded individuals.  He was sitting in the dark thinking.  I came downstairs to get some tea.”


Jay had to force himself to keep his mouth closed.  Carla gave him a sneaky glance.  Jay wanted to say she was lying.  She had just come in from wherever she came from.


“So we kept the lights out and talked,” Carla said.  “That’s when I challenged him to get out of my survivor hold.”


“His neck looks awful,” Crystal said.  “Mother, you need to apologize to him.  This is…”


“Knock.  Knock.  Knock.”


They looked in the direction of the door.  They could not see it from the kitchen.  They could only hear the knocks on it.


“This is early for visitors,” Frank said.  “Anyone should know that.  It’s probably one of the neighbors needing to borrow something.”  He went to the door and did not come back for a minute or so.


They heard Frank talking to someone.  Carla went around the corner to see.  Jay and Crystal waited for her to come back.  Then they went around the corner too.


Two police officers were standing in the doorway.



What would bring police officers to a house like Carla’s?  We’ll see in the next part. 

Thank you for coming by.  I hope your week is going well.  I look forward to seeing you tomorrow.

Take care of yourself.


Stephen Wallace       



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In-laws can fall into many different camps.  Three, however, stand out.  You love them.  You hate them.  They scare you.  Please enjoy Part 3 of The Perfect Community.  Thanks.




“WHY ARE YOU SITTING in the dark?” Carla whispered to Jay.  “Hands down your pants?  Nothing bad happens in the dark.”


Jay ignored Carla’ s comments.  His hand was over his heart.  He was still trying to catch his breath.  He swallowed hard.  His throat was so dry it hurt when he did.  He should have known the noise was from Crystal’s mother.


“You scared the living hell out of me,” Jay said.  Carla laughed and hit him on the shoulder.  “I’m not kidding.”  He made himself laugh a little.  But he was angry with her.


“You must be awful at having affairs,” Carla said.


“That’s where you’re taking this conversation, after sneaking in at two in the morning?” Jay asked.  “You’re going to talk about affairs?  Maybe I should get some pointers from you.  Apparently, you’re a trained professional.  I can’t believe you’re just getting in from a night out?”


“You’re so funny,” she said.  “What does my daughter see in you?  I’m still trying to figure it out.”  Jay was about to be sarcastic and say respectability.  “Before we continue to trade barbs, what are you drinking?”  He told her tea.  “You don’t want anything stronger?  Who knows?  If you drink something with a kick to it, you may surprise yourself at who you really are.  Or, we can see where the night takes us.”


“You’re aware you’re my mother-in-law?” he asked, sarcastically.  “And, that your daughter and husband are in the house?  Because your inappropriate statement could be construed as sick.  It’s not even in the realms of normalcy.”


“See why I say you’re so uptight?” Carla asked.  “Who uses construed and realms of normalcy in everyday language?  I know.  You.  Only you.”  Jay was about to respond.  “Oh, forget what I said.  Just sit down and drink your tame…whatever it is.”  Jay told her it was her tea.  “I think I’ll have some too.  You still haven’t told me why you’re sitting in the dark?”


“I would’ve told you,” Jay said.  “But your crude remarks prevented me from doing so.”  She told him to stop being ridiculous.  Have a little fun sometimes.  She asked him again about sitting in the dark.  “I was just sitting and thinking.  Too tired to sleep.  Too wired to rest.”  He went to turn on the lights.


“Leave them off,” she said.  “I’ll use the light from the stove.  I like sitting in the dark too.”


Jay sat down at the table and watched her at the stove.  She glanced over her shoulder at him and smiled.  There was always an underlying reason for her smile.  Anyone could see it if they looked hard enough.  That was one of many reasons he did not trust her.  She always flirted with him.  He did not think she was really after him.  It was as if she was testing him.  She was an attractive and a fit woman at sixty-nine, or any age.  Men and women often thought she was in her late fifties.  She turned heads.  She could appear elegant and refined.  But she was strange too.  Too strange at times.


“You know what your problem is?” she asked.  He asked what.  “You don’t know how to relax.”  He asked how so.  “Stay there.  Don’t move.”  She went and stood behind him.  “I learned this in one of my inner touch classes.”


“You mean…” he said.


“Just be quiet,” she said.  “I’ll show you.  All I ask is for you to not be a big baby.”


He cut his eyes from left to right.  He did not trust her standing behind him.  For all he knew she was setting him up for a joke.  She did that a lot.  He wondered if she joked that way with all men.  Knowing her, she probably did.  Then he wondered how Crystal’s father put up with it.


She put her hands on his shoulders and began to massage his shoulders and neck.  First, it was a light massage.  It soon turned into a deep tissue massage.  Her fingers dug into his shoulder muscles.  Her thumbs slid up and down the sides of his neck.  He moaned because it felt good.  Within minutes he was grunting, gritting his teeth, and moving in the chair.


As she massaged him harder he figured out her game.  She wanted him to cry uncle.  He was not going to.  Her thumbs dug deeper into his neck.  He tried not to hunch his shoulders.  He was not going to give her the satisfaction that she was getting the best of him.


Amidst the pain, and before he noticed it, her hands were around his neck.  Her hands were too small to go all the way around it.  But, she was squeezing and sliding her hands up and down his neck.  He felt her lean her breasts on his back.  She was using leverage.


Boy, were her hands strong as hell, Jay thought.  He was sweating.  He felt nauseous.  He was going to take it, though.  If anyone quit, it would be her.  Her hands were going to give out before he would.  Then he heard her grunt.  She squeezed harder.


How could she have more strength left in her? Jay thought.


“Ow,” Jay said.  He shrugged his shoulders and moved forward to make her let go.  Her body followed him.  They were breasts to back.  Her hands were clamped on his neck.  Her fingers were dug in.


“Let go,” Jay said through clenched teeth.  She held tight.  “Damn it.”  He reached up and grabbed her by her small wrists.  He could not snatch her hands off.  He thought it had to be someone else choking him.


“Damn it,” he whispered.  He heard her laughing as he pried her fingers loose.  He jumped up and faced her.  She had leaned in and was inches from his face and laughing.


They were facing each other in the dark, except for the light coming through the window.  He swore he saw the face of a demented woman.  Her hair stuck out in all directions.  Sweat glistened on her face.  She was smiling and breathing hard in his face, as if they just had sex.  But, her smile was to let him know what she could do to him, if she wanted.


“You stepped way over the line this time,” he said.  “What the hell is wrong with you?”


She laughed and said, “Don’t say you didn’t enjoy wrestling with your mother-in-law.  I’m strong for my size.  Aren’t I?”


“What the fu…”


“There’s no reason to swear,” she said.  “It was all in fun.  You’ll have a few marks on your neck.  Tell Crystal I did it.  She’ll believe you.”  Then she leaned closer and whispered, “Just don’t tell her you enjoyed it.”


“You’re sick,” he said, rubbing his neck.  “You have a problem.  I’m serious.”


“I’m going to bed while you diagnose me,” she said and sighed.  Then she kissed him on the cheek.  “You have to learn to loosen up.  People are going to think you’re a real ninny.”  She laughed.  “Sleep well.  Dream about me.”


Jay rubbed his neck.  He was shocked at what she had done.  He watched her walk down the hall to her bedroom.    “You’re nuts,” he whispered after her.


She stopped and turned around and blew him a kiss.


You’re nuts, he thought, and swallowed.


Jay and his mother-in-law do not appear to be close.  Did she make a mistake with him this time?  How angry is he with her?  What steps may he take to get even?  We’ll find out.

See you tomorrow.  Thank you for stopping by.  I enjoyed having you.


Stephen Wallace




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Be careful of those who make things go bump in the night.  It is not the night you have to fear.  It is them.  Enjoy Part 2 of The Perfect Community.  Thanks.




JAY GREEN SAT AT the table in the dark with a cup of tea in front of him.  He was still wound tight from the ten-hour drive.  It had been ten-hours of mostly heavy rain from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Calaco, North Carolina.  His back and eyes hurt.  He had driven the entire trip.


Crystal, his wife, had worked a double shift in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) at the hospital.  She was the Head Nurse in the ICU.  It was a management position.  But she made an emergency decision to work with patients that month.  They were short-staffed.  Half of the nurses had called out sick.  The flu had run rampant there.  That left her and a few others to fill the voids that seem to come up every few days.


When Crystal and Jay were ready to leave for her parents she was exhausted.  It was clear from her glassy eyes that she was in no condition to drive.


When they arrived at Crystal’s parents, Jay unloaded the suitcases and took a shower.  He thought it would wake him up and make him feel better.  It did for a few hours.  Then he fell asleep on the couch while talking with her and her parents.


Jay woke up to Crystal telling him to come to bed.  He did not remember getting into bed.  He woke up again and reached over and touched Crystal.  She was sleeping hard.  The clock read eleven pm.  He laid there until he fell back to sleep.


Jay woke up again at one thirty am.  He laid there and hoped he would fall back to sleep.  After twenty minutes he knew there was no chance of going back to sleep.  It was just like it was at his house.  Once awake his mind went to thoughts about his business.  How much money did they need to expand the plant?  Could they afford it?  Could they hire more employees?  Would he have to take out a second mortgage on their house?  Should he sell the business?


Jay got up and went downstairs.  Crystal’s parents had shown them where everything was.  The coffee was on the top shelf.  The tea was on the shelf next to the coffee.  An exotic blend of teas was next to the basic teas.


Jay had not asked what made up or classified a tea as exotic.  He did not want to hear the explanation.  Crystal, however, took the bait as usual and asked.  Jay wondered why and looked at her.  Crystal raised her eyebrows and shrugged.  It was her way of pretending that she did not know her mother was going to answer her.


Her mother’s answer took thirty minutes.  It contained the mental and sexual benefits of exotic tea and everything in between.


Crystal parents acted like semi-reformed hippies.  Their answers to basic questions could make a person wonder if they were reformed.  In reality they both were semi-retired CPAs.


Jay sipped from the teacup.  He jumped when he heard what sounded like someone trying to get in the front door.  He could see out the big kitchen window.  There was no one outside in the yard.  He stood and walked softly into the family room.  No one was in there.  He turned the front door’s doorknob.  The door was locked.


Jay stood by the door and listened.  He did not hear anything.  His mind was playing tricks on him.  His ears were too.  He was just tired.  He could hear Crystal in his ear.  “You don’t get enough sleep.  Lack of sleep, lack of thought.”


He went and sat back down at the table.  Business thoughts resumed their place in his mind.  The fear came with them on what to do with the business.


“Waiting for me in the dark,” a woman’s voice whispered behind Jay.  He jumped and bumped the table.  “Shhh.”


“Damn it, Carla!” Jay said.


“You’re going to wake everyone,” Carla whispered.  “You’re not good at this sneaking around thing.  To be honest, you suck at it.  You’re pathetic.”


“Why would you do that?” Jay asked, angry, trying to whisper.  He could not catch his breath.  “Was that you at the door?”


“You’re such a ninny,” she said.


Jay does not appear to be having a good time with his in-laws.  I guess it is difficult to have a good time when a pressing event is on your mind.  The question for Jay is which event is on his mind?

Thank you for visiting me.  See you tomorrow.


Stephen Wallace        




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The Perfect Community is an example of a good deed gone wrong.  The lesson might be what starts as a good deed can end up going off the rails if we’re not careful.  Enjoy Part 1 of this suspense and thriller.  Thanks.




SIXTY-NINE-YEAR-OLD Carla Patrick sat with eighty-six-year old Edith Beckworth.  They were inside Edith’s family room.  Edith had a pen in her hand.  Carla told her she was doing what was right and fair.  Carla gave a nod toward a document on the coffee table in front of Edith.


Edith’s hand shook as she signed the document.  Carla placed another document in front of Edith.  Edith asked if they should have waited until tomorrow for witnesses of her signing the papers.  Carla told her it was not necessary.  The attorney would come to their house tomorrow to verify everything.  There was no reason for her and her husband to drive around for this.


Edith said that was good.  She had tired already.  Carla told her she could rest soon.  They had a few more to sign.  She would then run her a bath and help bathe her.  Then, she would stay until she fell asleep.


Edith perked up as much as she could.  She put the point of the pen on the next document.  Carla guided Edith’s hand and the pen to the line where she needed to sign.  Edith complained about not being able to see straight.  Carla told her it was the last one.  She helped Edith sign it.


After the last document was signed, Carla spread the documents over the table.  It looked as if someone had signed them and slid them away one by one and left them where they were.


“Now, let’s get you a bath,” Carla said to Edith.  “You’ve done the hard part.  We’ll take care of the rest.”  She kissed Edith on the forehead.  Edith reached up and put her hand on the back of Carla’s neck.  She whispered that Carla was such a good friend to her and Guyford, her husband.  “You two are great friends of this community.  We love you for it.”


Carla went inside Edith’s bathroom.  There were four bathrooms in the house.  One was named Edith’s bathroom because it was equipped for her.  Edith could use it without having assistance from anyone.  Her freedom to be alone in the bathroom was great for her mentally.  She still felt capable of taking care of herself.  In her mid-seventies, Edith had noticed a significant decrease in her mobility.  She and Guyford had that bathroom modified for her a year later.


Carla came back into the room with twenty pills in her hand and a glass of water.  Edith was laying back in the chair.  Her eyelids looked heavy.  Carla stood over her.  “Edith,” Carla whispered.  Edith’s eyes opened.  They looked weary.  “Take your medicine before you fall asleep.  Then, after you take your bath, you can get into bed.”


Carla gave her two pills to swallow at once.  Edith would put the pills into her mouth and drink a sip of water to wash them down.  On the fifth time, Edith asked if Carla was sure she had that much medication.  Carla told her to keep taking them.  That she would be asleep in no time.  But, not before her bath.  That was why she needed to hurry and take her medication and have her bath.


Carla sat beside Edith and took her hand and stroked it.  Edith told her how good it felt.  Edith said that she and Guyford were so lucky to have her in the community watching over them.  Carla talked about when she first moved into the neighborhood.


Carla laughed and asked Edith, “Can you believe it’s been fourteen years already?”  Edith mumbled the community was blessed with them moving in.  “No.  We were blessed to have you and Guyford as wonderful neighbors and friends.”


Edith’s hand slowly slid out of Carla’s.  Carla stood up.  “Edith,” Carla said.  Edith opened her eyes.  “Let’s get you to your bath.”  Edith tried to stand.  But she did not make it to her feet.  Carla reached down to help her stand.  Edith was too drowsy and heavy to lift her to her feet.


“I’ll be right back, Hon,” Carla said.  She walked out of the family room to the dining room.  Two men in their mid-seventies were standing and waiting.  “Help her to her bath.”  Carla looked at the men.  “Where is Guyford?”  The men told her in the bedroom asleep.  “Let’s go then.”


The two men went to Edith and helped her stand.  They helped her walk to the bathroom.  Then, they set her on the toilet.  The seat cover was down.


Carla told the men to turn around.  She balanced Edith on the toilet and began undressing her.


“Guys, I need some help,” Carla said.  “Hold her.  I need to remove her gown.  Just don’t look directly at her.  Let her keep her dignity.”  The men helped Edith to her feet while they looked away.  Carla removed her gown.  Edith swayed back and forth, naked.


“Be gentle with her,” she said.


The men helped Carla sit Edith on the side of the tub.  The tub was half-full of warm water.  Edith loved that temperature.  She had told Carla she could soak for hours in warm water.  Carla looked at the two men and nodded.  They slid Edith down into the tub.


“Don’t drop her,” Carla said.


Edith’s body was almost submerged.  The tub was deep and roomy.  “Leave the room, please,” Carla said without looking at the men.  Her focus was on Edith.  Edith’s head was leaned back against the tub.  The men lowered their heads and walked out.


Carla sat on the side of the tub close to Edith.  Edith was lightly snoring.  Carla turned on the water.  The tub began to fill higher.  Edith continued to sleep.


“You’re a good soul,“ Carla said.  “We love you.”  Carla leaned over and kissed Edith on the cheek.  “Goodbye, old friend.”


Carla put her gloved hand on top of Edith’s head.  She slowly pushed her head under the water and held it there.


Something tells me Carla may not be the first person people would call on to come and comfort them, once they got to know her.

I hope you enjoyed the read.  I do look forward to seeing you tomorrow.

Thank you for stopping by and spending some time with me.


Stephen Wallace