The ghost has a new trick: screaming in your ear while you’re on the stairs. I kept from dropping the baby or landing on her.
The digital clock slipped from 5:16 to 5:17, and I sighed. I sighed every day at that time, because in one minute – the clocks in the neighborhood were all synchronized – Mrs. Caperson would begin four minutes of scream therapy.
She had good lungs and a Teflon-coated throat. I couldn’t have done it, that’s for sure.
She had gone around to all the neighbors within earshot to say her therapist, Dr. Weingarten, recommended this practice for her nerves. We all wondered if the good doctor would recommend we scream back for our nerves, but I don’t know that anyone ever asked him. I didn’t anyway, that’s for sure.
Four minutes of synchronized screaming every day except holidays. Or maybe there was enough in-house noise on holidays we just couldn’t hear her. But that doesn’t seem very likely, considering Mrs. Caperson’s ability to attract attention.
And on account of her being a Caperson and all, none of the cops or the city fathers saw fit to tell her to put a sock in it. That’s where money gets you, especially if you’re thoughtful enough to live modestly in a middle-class neighborhood.
“One of these days,” I told Bud Forbish, the guy on the other side of us, “one of these days someone is going to kill that woman at precisely 5:17 p.m., and we won’t be any the wiser.”
in the field
under the full moon