Laid Up (And Saturday Afternoon)

Saturday Afternoon

Bob Temple sat upright on his couch, facing the pleasantly-plump fortysomething lady opposite him on the easy chair. The forced smile he had pasted on his face several hours ago was by now becoming quite uncomfortable, and even downright painful. Still, he did his best to maintain it, despite the discomfort. He would be polite, the perfect host, no matter what, even if it killed him.

Good God, is she ever going to shut up? he wondered, grinning and nodding pleasantly at the woman. Doesn’t she ever breathe? Sure enough, the woman continued to rattle on ceaselessly, senselessly, without even the briefest interruption in the cadence of her speech for an occasional breath. She was a very nice lady, very pleasant, very likable…but she would not shut up.

Bernie, Bob thought, if it’s the last thing I do, I’m gonna get even with you for this! I swear, I’m gonna kill ya!

The "Bernie" to whom Bob had referred was his agent, Bernie Myers, and the reason for Bob’s uncharacteristic homicidal thoughts at that moment had to do with the fact that it was Mr. Myers who had set Bob up on this seemingly-interminable interview.

"Bernie, are you kidding me?" Bob said when Myers had first suggested that he give an interview to the women’s magazine. "Why in the world would Ladies’ Houses & Backyards magazine be interested in interviewing a retired pro football player?"

"Bobbie, Bobbie," Myers said, reassuringly. "Trust me on this, all right? It’s exposure, it’s publicity, and no publicity is bad publicity, remember that."

"But Bernie, what’s the connection? I mean, an interview with a sports magazine I could see, but the Ladies’ Houses & Backyards?? What’s the connection?"

"Bobbie, don’t you see? It’s to help cultivate that good, clean, wholesome, all-American, most-eligible-bachelor image you do so well."

Bob frowned doubtfully. "For what? What’s the point?"

"Bobbie, you’re retired from pro ball now, right? Okay, your last season wasn’t so hot. You screwed your leg up and you were never any good after that, right?"

Bob opened his mouth to object, but Myers stepped right in, without missing a beat.

"Look, I’m not gonna sugarcoat it for you, all right?" he said. "Okay, so you’re retired now. But you’re thinking about going into a different line; you’re hoping for Hollywood, right? Okay. So we gotta keep your name in the public eye and the more mainstream exposure we can get for you, the better. And when we’re ready to publish that book we had ghost-written for you, all the publishers will be beating down your door for it. You wait & see."

Bob said nothing.

"Look, have I ever let you down? Just trust in old Bernie."

Bob shrugged. "Okay." he said. Maybe Bernie was on to something after all. He was pretty sharp and seemed to know the whole PR game backwards and forwards.

"Good, good. Now you don’t worry about a thing, I’ll handle all the details. Now they’re going to send Dolly Evans out to do the interview and—"

"Dolly?" Bob said, laughing. "Are you serious? What kind of a name is Dolly?"

"Bob, willya trust me on this? You’re gonna love her, take my word for it. They tell me she’s great at doing interviews, a real warm, friendly, ingratiating type."

"Ingratiating?" Bob’s smile disappeared immediately. He didn’t like the way Bernie tossed around big words that he didn’t know; he wasn’t sure, but he thought it was Bernie’s subtle way of putting him down, doing it deliberately just to annoy him. "What’s ingratiating mean? Like she grates on my nerves or what?"

"No, no," Bernie said, smiling and waving a hand. "It just means she’s likable, that’s all. All right? All right?"

"All right," Bob conceded. Although he still had his doubts, Bob decided in the end to go along with Bernie’s plan.

Arrangements for the interview were arranged, all the details worked out. Twelve Noon Saturday soon arrived, and Dolly Evans showed up at the front door of Bob’s mansion right on the dot. She was a short, chubby lady, in her mid-forties, dressed in brightly-colored clothing, with enormous blonde hair and a warm, winning smile. Bob welcomed her in, offered her soft drinks and crackers for refreshments, and the two sat down in Bob’s living room to begin the interview.

Dolly asked Bob a simple little question (a "warm-up" question to get the ball rolling, she explained.) Just a simple little innocuous question. Little did Bob realize what it would lead to.

"What’s your favorite color?" Dolly asked him.

Bob thought about it for a moment. Who cares? he thought briefly, then after reconsidering, he finally answered:


"Blue!" Dolly replied, as though thoroughly delighted by the answer. "You know, isn’t that funny? My daughter’s favorite color is blue, too. You know, a person’s favorite color can reveal a lot about them. Take my daughter, for instance…"

And before Bob knew it, Dolly was talking about her daughter. She talked…and talked…and talked… The "interview" soon became a monologue, in which, for the next two and a half solid hours, Dolly did all the talking. She talked about her children and what they did for a living. She talked about her grandchildren and how much loved them and how she intended to spoil them as they grew up. She talked about her dog and her dog’s vet bills. She even talked about her dog’s vet and what a nice man he was and what a nice wife he had, and where they went on their holiday trip. They went to Venice, Dolly said, and that was one place she always wanted to go, etc., etc. In short, she talked about anything and everything, except what the interview was supposed to be about. The smallest and most trivial details and bits of news concerning Dolly’s personal life were discussed, but never once did her monologue turn to the subject of professional football. Or Bob Temple, for that matter.

During the entire time Dolly spoke, Bob found that he could do no more than merely sit and smile, nodding his head pleasantly, while thinking violent thoughts about Bernie Myers. Every attempt Bob made to politely interject, interrupt or draw the "interview" to a speedy conclusion was resisted and overrun by the nice, pleasant lady on his easy chair, who simply refused to close her mouth for more than two nanoseconds. Bob finally gave up; it was like trying to hold back a tidal wave with a paper cup. All he could do was let her wind down on her own.

But would she ever wind down? Bob began to wonder. Here it was, nearly three hours of nonstop talking, and she was still going strong, giving no indication whatever of drawing the "interview" to a close.

Dear Lord, Bob thought. This is how I spend my Saturday?? Terrific! He drew in his breath, to make one more valiant attempt to say, "Well, I’d love to sit and talk with you all day, but it’s getting late and—" The words immediately died in his throat, as the verbal juggernaut rolled right over him with all the ease of a freight train running over an ant. Bob merely let out his breath in a weary sigh, and struggled to maintain the fixed smile on his face, which now began to resemble a grimace.

Bernie…Bernie… he thought dejectedly. I’m going to kill you!



Outside, meanwhile, an old, beat-up van pulled up and parked at the curb across the street from the gated community that made up Bob’s neighborhood. Inside the van sat two women, a blonde and a brunette. The blonde sat at the steering-wheel and the brunette sat beside her in the passenger seat, with a road map spread out across her lap.

"Is this it then?" the driver said.

"Ummmm…Yeah, this’s it." the brunette said, checking an address she had written on a post-it, and giving a last once-over at the map before folding it up.

Both women peered out the window at the gated driveway, which led up to a small collection of extremely large, expensive houses. At the entrance of the driveway sat a small guard-house, in which sat a private security guard.

"I don’t know, Deb," the passenger said. "I was all for this in the beginning, but I’m not so sure about it now."

"You’re not sure about what?"

"Us being out here, that’s what. I mean—" she paused. "To just show up at his doorstep like this? Uninvited? Unannounced? I don’t think it’s such a good idea."

"Oh Steph, will you relax?" Debbie, the driver said. "He invited us, remember? He said, ‘Come up to my mansion anytime.’ Remember?"

"I remember, but-- But how do we know he does? He was pretty bombed out on sedatives when he said that, you know."

"Oh, he’ll remember us, all right." Debbie said, smiling. "Or have you forgotten what we did to him?"

Stephanie (the passenger) smiled back, and Debbie nodded.

"Yeah," she said. "Believe me: he’ll be glad to see us. Now have you got everything?"

"Right here," Stephanie said, holding up a nylon bag.

"Well, let’s go then." Debbie said, as she opened the door and stepped out, with Stephanie following. "We’ll park here for now."

The two women crossed the street and walked up the driveway, approaching the guard-house. The private security-guard stepped out of the guard-house to face them.

"What can I do for you ladies?" the guard said to them, with all the personal charm of a sticky doorknob.

"We’ve come to visit Mr. Temple," Debbie said as she continued to walk up the driveway.

"Not so fast," the guard said, with an arm outstretched. "Is he expecting you? Does he know you’re coming?"

"Well…not exactly…" Stephanie said, nervously shifting from one foot to the other.

"Well, I’m sorry, I can’t let you in then."

"But we just want to—"

"I’m sorry!" the guard said firmly. "But I have my orders. I can’t just let anyone in without clearance. There are all kinds of nuts and wackos running around loose these days."

Debbie turned to face Stephanie. "He’s right," she said. "We should at least call Bob and let him know we’re coming. Um—Do you…do you happen to have a phone in there?" she asked, pointing to the guard-house.

"Yes, but it’s for my use." The guard said, with arms folded, his mouth a line that could have been drawn with a ruler.

"Okay, but…well, couldn’t you call him and tell him we’re here?" Stephanie said. "Please?"

"What do I look like, a receptionist?" the guard countered.

"But we’ve come all this way," Debbie said, smiling, trying to thaw out the guard’s icy demeanor. No dice.

"Look," he said. "Nobody gets in without clearance. If you two aren’t expected, you’re not getting in, is that understood? If you want in, you have to call him up yourselves."

"Aw, come on," Stephanie said, also trying to warm up (with difficulty) to the obstinate guard. "All you have to do is call him. That’s all. Tell him ‘Debbie and Steph’ are here; he’ll know who we are." She turned on her most winning smile. "Pleeeeeeeease?" she said.

"Oh, all right!" the guard said, grumpily turning back to the guard-house. "You two stay right there." he motioned with his hand.

In the guard-house, the guard picked up a phone, looked up a number from a list he had nearby and started to dial.



The phone rang and Bob fairly leapt off the couch, grateful for the interruption. He raised one finger, a subtle gesture to the nice, friendly chatterbox seated opposite him for her to cease talking for just a moment. But if she took any notice of it, she gave no indication; she went right ahead with her self-absorbed filibuster. Bob turned and headed down the hallway to answer the phone. The nice, friendly lady followed him, as though to keep him company, gabbing nonstop all the way.

Bob reached the phone and picked it up. "Hello?" he said, holding the receiver to one ear and planting a finger firmly into the other to screen out the ambient chatter. "Hello? Hello?"

There was no answer. Damn! Bob thought. It only rang a couple of times! Give me a chance to answer it, for God’s sake! Slowly, he replaced the receiver to its cradle, turned and marched resignedly back to the living room, his loquacious companion following right behind, the cadence of her speech never missing a beat.



The security guard hung up the phone and returned to face the two women.

"No answer." He said. "Nobody’s home. Now you two will have to leave."

"Wait a minute, wait a minute!" Debbie said, starting to get annoyed. "Did you even let it ring? Did you give him a chance to answer it? It didn’t look like you let it ring for very long!"

"I told you: there was no answer. Now you’ll both have to go. Now."


"Look, I don’t want to argue with you two! If you don’t leave right now, I’ll call the police and have you two arrested for trespassing! Now beat it!"

With no other choice available to them, the two women turned and walked back to their van. Once inside, with the doors closed, Debbie immediately started fuming.

"Oh, that jerk! What a total diphead! Ooooh, he makes me so mad! That attitude of his! Like, ‘Oh, look at me, mister tough-guy rent-a-cop! Give me a badge and call me God!’ What a dork! All he had to do was call and let it ring a couple of times! Would it have killed him? Oooh, he makes me so mad!"

Debbie continued in this fashion for several minutes, during which time Stephanie remained silent. Then, she turned to face Debbie with a smile on her face.

"I can’t believe it." Debbie went on. "We come all this way just to pay a visit on our favorite hunk and—" Just then, she noticed Stephanie smiling at her. "What are you grinning about? We came all this way out here for nothing!"

Without a word, Stephanie unzipped the nylon bag and retrieved two small glass vials and hypodermic syringes. She held the vials up as she smiled.

"I had a feeling something like this might happen," she said. "Fortunately, I had a back-up plan."

Debbie looked at the vials, then began to smile herself.

The two women quickly looked around, to see if anyone was nearby to see, then got up from their seats and went into the back of the van. Stephanie prepared the syringes for injection, drawing the fluid out from the vials, while Debbie maintained a lookout.

"Okay," Stephanie said, rolling up her sleeve. "They’re ready."

"Right," Debbie answered, likewise rolling up a sleeve. Stephanie handed one of the syringes to Debbie and took the other one for herself. Both injected the fluid into their veins, then stood back to watch each other.

In moments, Debbie’s face and hands evaporated into thin air; Stephanie’s followed shortly after. Both women broke out into giggles, marveling at each others’ disappearance.

"Oooowoowwwww, this is so incredible!" Stephanie said. "I still can’t get over it!"

"I know, I know," Debbie replied, delighted. Even though they had helped develop the invisibility formula and had used it several times before, its effects still never ceased to amaze them. Debbie and Stephanie each reached an invisible hand out to the other, touching the invisible face and fingers of the other, marveling at the transparent solidity of the other.

"Gone, completely gone…" Debbie said.

"Isn’t this great?" Stephanie said, pulling her sweater up and over her head. "We’ll be able to walk right past that guard and he’ll never even know it!" She giggled.

"And right in the front door." Debbie said, as she pulled her tank-top off. "Assuming Bob left it unlocked, that is,"

Stephanie unhooked her bra and tossed it aside. All that now remained of her was a seemingly-empty pair of tight jeans.

"And now, ladies and gentlemen!" she said as she pulled off first one shoe and then the other. "The incredible, the amazing dancing pants! Yayyyyy!!!" She continued to make cheering sounds for herself, as she proceeded to twirl and dance around invisibly in her "empty" jeans.

"Come on Steph, stop clowning around." Debbie stripped away her denim shorts and her panties (she wore no bra.) "We’ve got serious business to do, remember?" Though invisible, and speaking "seriously," there was no mistaking the fact that her demeanor was anything but serious.

"Yes, yes, of course," The jeans quickly peeled themselves down and away from unseen female hips and legs. Silk panties floated in space momentarily, only to likewise peel themselves down and away from empty space shortly thereafter. "Oooo, this is gonna be so much fun! I just can’t wait! And won’t Bob be surprised!"

"Yes, but first," Debbie said, kicking off her shoes. "We’ll have to teach a certain rent-a-cop some manners!"

Stephanie giggled as she took Debbie’s meaning.

Moments later, the door at the back of the van opened…and then closed by itself.

In the guard-house across the street, the guard with whom Stephanie and Debbie had exchanged a difference of opinion was just now sitting down to enjoy his lunch. He pulled out his lunch-box and opened it on his lap and began to remove its contents: a thermos full of coffee (the guard sure hoped it was good and hot, but not too hot—he didn’t like it when it was too hot. Or too cold. It was always one or the other—Sarah, his wife, could never seem to get that right, no matter how many times he complained to her about it) a sandwich (meatloaf again? he thought. Can’t Sarah ever fix anything else?) The guard sighed in disappointment, spreading a napkin out on the small table before him. (Don’t want to leave crumbs around, he thought. The night-shift guy always left crumbs laying around, no matter how many times he complained to him about it), poured some of the coffee into a cup (too damned cold again! he noted) and inspected the sandwich.

Figures, he thought. No mustard or ketchup…again! He sighed; Sarah always forgot the ketchup and mustard. He wondered sometimes if she did such things on purpose just to bug him. Oh well, no matter, he thought. Fortunately, he had some mustard and ketchup packets with him, extras he "borrowed" from the lunch counter downtown, where he often stopped on his way home from work.

The guard tore open the packets, squirted their contents onto the sandwich, and was just about to take a bite from it when it suddenly floated up out of his hands! The guard’s eyes and mouth opened wide, as he stared at the sandwich, hovering in space before his startled eyes.

"What the--!" he started to say, before his voice choked. "What the hell is this?!?"

He reached up to grab the sandwich, but each time he did, it flew away from his hands, returning immediately to float before his face again, as though deliberately taunting him. Just then, the coffee cup likewise floated up from the table and began to circle the guard’s head as well. The guard stared stupidly at the floating items, which continued to revolve around him. The two items were joined by a third and a fourth, as the opened packets of mustard and ketchup likewise floated up and danced around in midair in front of the guard’s face. He continued to grab at the floating items, but they continued to avoid his grasp, teasing and taunting him.

Finally, the two halves of the sandwich separated, splitting it into two halves, which then promptly mashed themselves into the guards face, thoroughly saturating him with ketchup, mustard, relish, onions, mayonnaise, whipped cream—you get the idea. Then the guard’s cap floated up off of his head, inverted itself, while the coffee-cup floated over to it and dumped its contents into the cap’s interior. The cap floated up again, returning to its rightful place on top of the guard’s head, splashing the lukewarm coffee onto his scalp, in his hair and down his neck. The cap proceeded to mash itself down hard onto the guard’s head, obscuring his eyes.

The packets of ketchup and mustard then floated up and squirted the remainder of their contents into the portion of the guard’s face left uncovered by cap or sandwich constituents. The packets seemed to crumple up in midair, almost as though squeezed by unseen hands.

The guard quickly rose from his chair, trying to remove his cap and wipe away the mess from his face at the same time, when his belt suddenly unbuckled itself, and the waistband of his pants pulled away from his body. The thermos floated over and dumped the remainder of the coffee down his pants. The belt quickly rebuckled itself.

The guard had had enough. Stumbling blindly out of the guard-house, he proceeded to run down the street, crying for help and hollering about spooks or something, with the remains of the sandwich, the empty coffee-cup and the ketchup and mustard-packets sailing away after him. At the very last, the napkin floated up from the table and sailed away after him as well.

"Don’t forget your napkin!" Stephanie’s voice laughed after him from thin air.

"Well now," Debbie’s voice said from roughly the same area of thin air. "Now that business is taken care of, now it’s time for pleasure!"



Bob fought tooth and nail to keep his eyelids open. He had long since given up even trying to cut this so-called interview short. He’d even given up trying to look as though he were even remotely interested or even polite. Now he felt he was losing brain cells for every second longer the "interview" continued.

He silently begged for the phone to ring again. For the doorbell to ring. For lightning to strike. For an earthquake to hit. For the roof to cave in. For something! Anything! Any kind of an interruption at all, anything to distract the unstoppable talking-machine which held him prisoner on his own sofa, in his own house.

Yet in spite of himself, Bob found himself fascinated by the woman’s stamina. God, how does she do it? he wondered. She’s inhuman…! I swear, I haven’t seen her stop for breath once in three hours!

But notwithstanding his amazement at the woman’s vocal staying-power, he nevertheless knew he couldn’t put up with it for much longer. He wondered if it were possible for one person to talk another into a coma.



"Look can we just try it?" Debbie said quietly. "Let’s just try the door & see if it’s open before we ring the bell."

"I don’t know about this," Stephanie said, now getting cold feet (literally.) "Sneaking right in? I—I’m having second thoughts."

"Will you come on? Jeez, what a Jell-o you are! Look, I just want to try the door, okay? And if it’s open, why can’t we just walk in? Think of how surprised Bob will be!"

Stephanie still had her misgivings, but remained silent. Debbie reached an invisible hand out to the doorknob and gave it a slight turn. To her surprise, it opened easily.

"Well I’ll be damned!" she said. "He left it open for us! How nice! He must have been expecting company!"

She slowly opened the door a crack, then opened it wider. "Come on, come on," she said to her equally-unseen companion. "Let’s go inside!"



As hungry as Bob was for a distraction of any kind, he oddly enough never heard the sound of his front door quietly opening by itself. Or the hushed, whispered voices in his hallway shortly thereafter.

"Where are we going?" Stephanie’s voice said.

"Shhhhhh!" Debbie hushed her. "Keep your voice down! I think he’s in here. I hear voices this way. I think…I think he’s got company."

Listening, Stephanie heard the sound of someone talking. It sounded like one person’s voice, yet it seemed to be doing enough talking for three people. "Yeah, I think you’re right. Listen, if he’s got company, maybe we’d better leave."

"No, no, wait a minute," Debbie said. "Let’s listen in."

"Maybe we’d better not."

"Oh, don’t be such a chicken," Debbie said. "We’ve come this far, haven’t we?"

"Debbie!" Stephanie hissed impatiently.

"Oh, come on." Debbie countered. "Let’s have some fun."

Through much practice and much trial-and-error, Debbie reached for and took Stephanie’s invisible hand, and the two invisible women silently crept deeper and deeper into the huge house, closer to the sound of the voice they’d heard.

Stephanie couldn’t help but look around in wonder at the interior of the lavish mansion. "Jeez, what a shack!" she said. "All this just from throwing a ball around! Who’d have thought?"

"Will you keep your voice down!" Debbie said, annoyed, yanking Stephanie’s hand for emphasis. "They’re right in the next room! Now come on; let’s see what they’re talking about."

The ghostly pair crept silently into the living room, where Bob sat opposite his "interviewer." Had he not been lulled into a stupor by the hours of nonstop talk, he might have been observant enough to notice two sets of ghostly footprints appearing in the thick carpet, ending only when two round impressions suddenly appeared in the carpet next to the sofa, as though a pair of shapely, unseen bottoms had seated themselves there.

Debbie and Stephanie sat, unseen, listening to Bob’s guest prattle on and on. Then they began to notice the look on Bob’s face. He now wore the same dazed expression he had when he was under sedation in the hospital. Only now, he didn’t have the big, sloppy grin to go with it.

The invisible women sat and waited for the motormouth to wind down. They waited…and waited.

Finally, Debbie rose to her feet, tugging at Stephanie’s hand, indicating that it was time to leave. They crept out just as silently as they entered, leaving a second trail of ghostly footprints in the thick carpet.

When they were out in the hall again, and out of earshot of the human talking machine, Debbie whispered quietly to Stephanie:

"Who the heck is that?" she said. "God, what a bore!"

"Maybe she’s a friend of his." Stephanie suggested. "Or a relative. Or something."

"He doesn’t look like he’s enjoying himself, does he?"

"No, he doesn’t."

The two fell silent for a few moments.

"We have to do something!" Debbie said finally. "She’s going to rattle on all day, I think. And what about poor Bob?"

Stephanie turned and looked back sorrowfully at Bob.

"I mean, look at him!" Debbie went on. "He’s suffering!"

"The poor guy," Stephanie agreed. "He’s too polite to say anything, but—he probably just wants to get rid of her." She paused, still looking pityingly at Bob. "We ought to do something to put him out of his misery. But what?"

"Well, we’ll have to get her out of there, that’s what. Now look, here’s what we’ll do…"



Bob’s eyes were now glazed over. His neck was getting stiff and sore, his legs were cramping something fierce, and above all, he was no longer smiling.

To hell with public image, he thought. I’m going to pick up this bore by the scruff of her neck and toss her out on her ear! I’m going to get up right now, I’m going to stand up and I’m going to tell her this interview is at an end, and to please leave. That’s what I’m going to do… I’m going to do it, and I’m going to do it right now…

But no matter how hard Bob tried to force himself to move, he just couldn’t; he was simply too good-natured, too nice a guy to be rude to anyone, not even someone who deserved it. He felt like such a sap. The longer he debated with himself, the more he knew he would never do it.

He drew a deep breath and closed his eyes. Dear Lord, he thought. Isn’t there anything that can shut this woman up and get her the hell out of here?

Just then, he felt a slight movement near his ear, like a soft breeze rushing past it. By some miracle, Dolly’s voice faltered momentarily. Bob’s eyes snapped open just in time to catch a brief movement out of the corners of his eyes, to his left and right. He had just begun to wonder what it was that he saw when he felt it: Two pillows from either side of the sofa, floating up and depressing themselves firmly against his ears, as though to block out all sound. Bob was too startled to react. Moreover, he was even more stunned by what he saw before him.

Dolly sat in stunned silence (Thank God! Bob thought briefly) as a cloth napkin floated up from the refreshment tray. The napkin quickly unfolded itself, then folded itself in half crosswise, dividing itself into two triangular halves. The napkin then fluttered over to the stunned woman’s face and promptly forced itself into her gaping mouth, the ends of the napkin reaching around behind her head and tying themselves together, thus effectively gagging her.

Dolly let out a muffled squawk in surprise and was just about to reach up to untie the napkin/gag when the bowl of crackers rose up from the coffee table, floated over to a point in space just her head and upturned itself, depositing crackers and crumbs all over her head and shoulders. A smaller bowl, containing cheese dip, likewise floated up and upturned itself onto Dolly’s head, the gooey mush thoroughly saturating her preternaturally-large blonde hair.

Scarcely hindered by the napkin gagging her, Dolly continued to squawk and cry out in shock. She then quickly rose from the chair in which she had remained firmly planted for much of the day, with arms outstretched, and ran awkwardly out of the room, down the hallway and out the front door, almost as though someone were holding her hands and dragging her along. It all happened so quickly that Bob never even noticed the curious fact that the front door opened just moments before Dolly approached it.

The two pillows which had formerly pressed themselves against Bob’s ears floated gracefully back down to their rightful places on either side of the couch. As they did, Bob sprang up from the couch, his eyes widened in terror.

"My God!!" he cried. "My God, what the hell is this?!? What’s going on here?!?"

"Hello, Bob!" a soft, feminine voice said from his immediate right. His head whipped around to face the direction.

"Hi Bob!" a second female voice giggled from Bob’s left, panting slightly as though out of breath. "Long time no see!"