Chapter 4 read by xxx
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-¡Helllll - elp - muh - muh - muh - meeee!

Charlie’s head was now shooting off electrical charges into the air. It shook violently and his hair started to smolder.

-Puh - puh - puh - puh...

-¿Party? -Diana axed.

-¿Plebiscite? -Margaret tried.

-Puh - lee - lee - lee...

-¡Plebiscite! -Margaret said triumphantly.


-¿Police? -Diana said-. Oh, we’re not calling the police, Charlie.

Margaret and Diana watched all of this in bemused horror. Margaret was the first to think they needed to do something, besides play charades. She tried to turn off the TV.

-¡Margaret, no! -Diana screamed, looking away from the TV-. Let’s... see if anything... you know, good, comes on.

-But my brother’s smoldering...

-Yeah, but he doesn’t smell too bad... yet.

-¿Charlie? -Margaret axed, hoping he was faking. The terrorized look on his contorted and oscillating face convinced her he wasn’t.

The problem was the TV. But it was immoveable and, besides, Ali G. reruns were coming on.

-¡Eeessst - kuhlll - eeessst - kuhlll...! -Charlie mumbled. Now he was repeating words, smoldering, and drooling-: ¡Eeessst - kuhlll - eeennn - meeee!

-¿¡What are you saying?! -Margaret screamed in anguish.

-¿He wants finger food? -Diana said, looking at Charlie for a reaction-. No. ¡I know! ¡Kathryn Kuhlman! I don’t think she’s alive or on TV anymore. Hmmm...

The girls contemplated Charlie’s situation as he sizzled. Margaret was the most concerned. It seemed to be tearing her apart. Meanwhile, Diana had found Dr. Berger’s remote and was looking for her boys on The Contras Channel.

-¡Eeessst - kuhlll - eeennn - muhhh - eeesssttt - kooooollll - eeeeennnn -Charlie wasn’t helping his cause any. Diana was content watching vintage footage of a Contras Baby-Stomping Contest, and Margaret was rifling a dictionary, trying to figure out what her brother was screaming.

-¡What rad motherfuckers those Contras were, boy! -Diana exclaimed-. ¡They were... some... rad...

You’d a thought that Diana had hit the trifecta at the Indy 500 for all the hooting and hollering she was doing.

The two girls suddenly saw the TV plug in the side of the generator. They jumped and pulled it out.

The bathroom was completely silent, with the exception of some sizzling coming from Charlie.

-¿What... the fuck... was that? -Diana stammered.

The others were game:

-¿A sonic boom?

-¿The end of silence?

-¿Hair conditioning?

-¿A well-traveled saxophone?

The lines they were drawing were done with a busted crayon that a serpent had handed to Diana. They were all game, but also tired, bored, fried, and ignorant.

-It’s... ¡the plants! -Charlie exclaimed, looking up from having had been terrorized. He stood up and suddenly it was three seconds later, and he had a Key lime pie in his hand.

-Those plants put a spell on you -Diana said, her eyes like an emaciated ski instructors on coke.

-They’ve got to stop that thing that they do -Margaret responded.

-They’d better watch out -Charlie was Screamin’ like Jay Hawkins-. I ain’t lyin’ .

Now the lines they were drawing were screaming like a jay hawk in a blue, spare room. And even the lines were listening to the rhythm and cadence of the plants breathing...

-¡Let’s get the salmonella outta here! -Charlie proposed, jumping on the escalator.

-¿Who are they?

-Definitely -Diana said-. I wouldn’t even send a terrier in there.

Nor would she send a manatee, a mermaid, or a ficus plant - unless it was game to move in.

-I’m sure Dad can explain this shit -Margaret said, joining the others on the escalator out of hell. Her words were meant to soothe the Charlie and Diana, but the trembling in her voice made it seem more like she was talking to Prince Charles and Lady Diana.

-Your dad’s a weirdo -Diana observed from high on her horse.

-No he’s not -Charlie insisted-. That stuff is important... research.

The crayon wasn’t the only thing busted. So were their spirits, their peritoneums, and their inclination to think that the world was a safe place for kittens and cost-accounting clerks.

-¡Let’s get the salmonberries outta here! -Margaret exclaimed.

They were so scared that they all started walking with the escalator instead of standing. Charlie actually broke a sweat for the first time since he had the jalapeño microwave popcorn.

-Weird - o -Diana repeated, playing nervously with her Copernican castanets-. Definitely a weirdo

It was the word of the day and it cut into Margaret’s heart like a hot dagger being thrust... Oh - ¿who am I kidding? - Margaret thought it was “a fair cop”.

-Actually, you know... -Margaret started, trying to sound smart-. Dad tells everyone that he doesn’t use the bathroom anywhere. It’s good to know that some of us are above that kind of ponderous and shameful bodily function.

-Thank you, Mary -Diana said, Jane Austenizing-. Okay. That’s it. I’m getting the fuck outta here -She stormed out through the garden, but turned around-. ¿Do you still want to copy my math homework?

-Yeah, sure -Margaret responded, but when she thought of the bathroom and the plants and her father, she froze. It was like a giant dirigible had landed on her. She got her mind out of the bathroom, but she still couldn’t’ move.

-Later -Diana said sarcastically at the lumpenproletariat lass.

And, at that moment, all of the insanity and despair of the day seemed to make a beeline to Margaret’s face, as Mr. Berger... ¡Sorry! Dr. Berger’s blue ascot appeared as his car entered the driveway.

-He’s back from the airport -Margaret said. She turned to Charlie-. ¿Did you close the bathroom door?

-Yes -He replied-. And I put the seat dow... Nevermind. Yes. The door is closed and Dad will never know we were fucking around in there.

And then he stopped. Something was wrong, he just didn’t know quite what.

Then he realized he was shirtless.

-¡My shirt! -He exclaimed and tried to cover his bare torso-. ¡One of those fucking plants took it!

      -- on to chapter 5   or   back to the Bathroom --