After demanding a shower, Claire marches off with her friends. Suddenly, terrified screams come from the basement. Everyone rushes down to find Claire frightened, but still commanding, rather than asking, for help.
Claire was crying and shivering, clutching a towel around herself. “There’s something in there!” She ran to hide behind Polly who was several inches shorter.
Craig walked bravely over to the curtains, shoving them aside. He started laughing. “It’s a fake spider.” He sobered slightly. “On, no it’s not! Wow, that’s a big sucker.” He took off his shoe, smacking about in the curtained enclosure. “Got him!” Water ran for a moment and he scraped the bottom of his shoe on the tile. “All gone. It’s safe now.” He gestured gallantly.
“Don’t you think one of us should stay down here—you know, for protection?” Daniel asked his father eagerly.
Craig laughed loudly. “Nice try, son! No.” He waved at the crowd. “Anyone with testicles, upstairs. Ladies, I leave you to it. And Jose said no more than five minutes each, or we run out of hot water.”
“I can’t bathe in five minutes,” Claire stated. “Someone else will just have to wait for the water to reheat.”
“You’ll bathe in five minutes if I have to stand here with a stopwatch,” Craig said. “Or rather, I’ll have one of the girls do it. But you will take the same amount of time as anyone else. You aren’t anymore special than the rest of us.”
Stamping her foot, Claire started the water running. “Time me,” she told Jane.
Her friend nodded, glancing at Craig, who was eyeing his own watch. “Five minutes from the time you step in until you shut the water off. I’ll send someone to check,” he told her.
They all wandered back upstairs, heading the directions they were before. The boys, along with Maddie and Patti, found the game room. There was a card table and, surprisingly, a poker set. The pool table was a nice one with dark green felt and a beautiful stained glass light above it. There was a small refrigerator stocked with every imaginable soft drink. The games and puzzles were neatly stacked on shelves and in cabinets. Jose was right, there was virtually every imaginable game there.
“They have Mousetrap,” Brad said gleefully. “Score!” He took it off the shelf. “Who wants to play?”
It seemed to have all the pieces, so they started playing. About twenty minutes later, Jose called them to dinner.
The fellowship hall was laid out like a restaurant with red and white checkered tablecloths. Flowers adorned each table. Delightful smells filled the air, making their mouths water expectantly. A buffet of Mexican food greeted them. Everything was on steam tables—another donation from a restaurant closing. Jose offered blessing and they all served themselves. The boys loaded their plates, delighted to see that this church also had a milk dispenser.
“We’ve got to get one of these, Dad,” Daniel told his father.
“I’ll be sure to tell Reverend Michaels,” his father assured him. He happily sipped his third glass of icy cold milk.
© 2015 Dellani Oakes