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A sheet of paper swooshed out the open door into the front yard followed by three or four others. Tom Sheets picked up his errant mail from the walk. An afternoon wind tore through the heavy wooden door knocking it against the wall. The door swung back into his palm. The open door worried him. He swore he locked it this morning. The worry passed. The scattered mail and the open door bothered him less than the Civil War sword stuck in his ceiling. Tom shuddered to think someone waited for him to come home.
Pinned to the top of the ceiling by the sword, he found a torn note with “Tom” shouting out in big block letters. He pulled on the pommel and tugged. The sword fell forward pivoting around his grip and rang out on the floor in front of him. He pulled the sword toward him and plucked the note off the point.
“It’s gone. The package is gone,” the writer scrawled in pen before signing in an unsteady hand, Uncle Charles. Leave it to Charles to leave a dramatic note.
The mess with the mail, the open door, and the note from Charles capped a long day where everything felt off. From Dianna Peacock’s feud with Sandy Holworth, to the looming catastrophe of Sam Wright, Tom wondered what else could go wrong? Of course, he relished the stress of being Hollywood’s favorite publicist. He had one rule; leave the stress at work. Home let him escape. He looked up at the ceiling. Uncle Charles brought some trouble home.
Tom shut the door and tiptoed into the kitchen. A quick look around and nothing seemed to be missing. He called out for Charles and heard nothing in reply. He walked into the den and searched his desk. Everything seemed to be in its place.
“What the fuck?” Tom shouted. He ran to the window and saw three large mounds of dirt next to three holes in his back yard. The yard Sebastian designed with the manicured grass, fountains, and stepping stones. The yard that cost over $10,000 and five months to complete. The yard that now looked like a large gopher popped out of the ground in three spots.
Tom face palmed his forehead. He shuck his head and wondered what the hell was going on.
Tom slumped down in a chair and read the note again. He looked up at the ceiling and saw the hole where the sword stuck above. Bits of tile lay on the floor. He signed and looked back out the window. The piles of dirt made the whole yard look worse than when Sebastian first started working on it.
Outside he peered into a hole and surveyed the damage. A shovel lay on the ground smashing down on the blue fescue grass. Each hole was roughly two feet deep and empty. Tom leaned on the shovel.
“What was Charles looking for?”
He propped the shovel up on a porch post before reading the note again. Tom wondered why Charles was digging in his backyard. Too many questions flooded his mind. What could Charles be looking for?
He dialed up Uncle Charles and after five rings it went to voicemail. He considered shouting. Instead, he remembered not to lose his cool. He told Charles to call him as soon as possible. Tom felt no point in shouting right away. He’d save the shouting for when he finally had a chance to face Charles.
He then scanned through his texts. Six more messages from Dianna panicked about her social media reputation. Judging from the rapid texting, she was not going to get better. If she refrained from reading that social shit, he thought. Oh, it would never be that easy. He texted her the usual, “It will get better, I promise,” text and told her to stay off the computer. That was going to have to hold her. Now Tom needed to find Uncle Charles.
© 2016 – 2018, Michael Shawn Sommermeyer. All rights reserved.