Writing fiction

Keeping Up with the Joneses (Parts 2, 3 and 4)

Part 2 – by Shahrazad1973

For a brief moment, Nan thought that perhaps Jocelyn was taking this whole “home inspection” thing to ridiculous new levels, but with only a second glance she realized that the slumped over body of her neighbor was not Jocelyn snooping for particles in her sink, but Jocelyn, dead and gone.  She pushed her husband and the nosy hairdresser back into the master bedroom and quickly shut the bathroom door behind her.

In shock, her first thought was that Jocelyn was not going to ruin another goddamned perfectly planned event. Her mind raced with accusations. Even in death, why did Jocelyn insist on being the center of attention? How could she do this to Alyssa? Why in God’s name would a 35-year old woman wear such tight jeans? I don’t care if they are designe – Before she could spiral any deeper into nonsensical angry thoughts at her dead neighbor, she snapped back to reality and the dead body resting on her bathroom sink. Grabbing her husband by the shirtfront and pulling him into the closet, she whispered “What the H-E-double-L are we going to do, Richard?”

“Are you crazy Nan? We’re going to call the police! That’s what we’re going to do! That’s what we should be doing right now!”

Nan knew he was right, but a part of her wanted to just haul the body to the recycling center and let them argue with the morgue over what could be recycled and what should be burned. And she really, really hated to ruin her daughter’s 11th birthday. A dead body could really scar a girl.

Part 3 – by bastetmax

“Quick, bring me a blanket,” Nan called to Richard. He scurried over and looked inside the bathroom. His eyebrows shot up.

“A what?”

“A blanket, We’re going to move her into the upstairs bedroom.”

“Are you crazy? That’s disturbing a crime scene? Well, we didn’t commit a crime.” Richard looked down at his shoes, examining the cracked leather. Stalling, thinking. “I mean altering the scene of…”

“Oh, shut up, Richard,” Nan snapped. “All we’re going to do is get her out of the way until the party is over.”

Richard slumped off toward the stairs. Nan snapped her fingers and mouthed “hurry up!” He took the hint and dashed up the stairs two at a time.

Nan pulled the bathroom door closed behind her and found herself face to face with her daughter.

“When can we use the bathroom, Mom?”

Nan kept a frozen smile on her face, her cheeks rigid.

“Daddy’s just going to clean up something a little. Then we’ll be in business. So, why don’t you and Tyresha go organize the makeup. You know, put all the peach blushes in one row, the pinks in another…”

The girl erupted in a wolfish howl, indicating extreme displeasure with the pace of the festivities. She loped off to the living room to find her friends.

Nan wiped her forehead and started to wonder. What if Joceyln isn’t really dead? What if she’s in a coma? Will those “sanctity of life” people show up at my door and demand she be put on a feeding tube. She wished she had gone to nursing school.

Part 4 – by Shahrazad1973

Richard returned wearing a panicked expression and carrying a handful of white towels.

“Where do we keep the blankets, Nan? I couldn’t find any of our old blankets!”

Nan sighed. Never send a man to do a woman’s job, she thought.

“Look Richard, this is taking too long and people are going to start getting suspicious. It’s bad enough that we have to move her, but if anyone sees what we’re doing. . .”

“I know, I know!” Richard replied, in his loudest whisper. “I think we should just call the polic-“

“-NO!” Nan waved her hands emphatically, stomping her foot for punctuation. “No police. Not now. Not yet. Think about it Richard! Alyssa would never live down a dead body at her birthday party. Not in a million years. Can you imagine what the other kids would say about her at school? And their parents! Why, she’d never have a friend over again before high school graduation! No, Richard, we have to take care of this ourselves, for now. We’ll call in the authorities after the children have gone to bed. Right now, we need to get her out of there!”

Richard sighed and looked at the bathroom door.

Examining the pile of towels in Richard’s arms, she said, “We don’t have enough time to find the old blankets. These will have to do.”

Hastily, she grabbed the pile of towels from her husband and pushed open the bathroom door, all the while trying to think of a quick way to move a body with such a hard-to-manipulate covering.

Stepping into the bathroom she gasped in horror, as 12 white bath towels fell to the floor. She would no longer need them. Jocelyn’s body was gone.


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