As Richard Lyman looked around the fund raising party at the Department Head’s town house, he saw Martin Kendall and his young wife enter the room. He was struck again, as he was every time he set eyes on Mrs. Kendall. Not that there was anything particularly striking about her. She might be considered above average, and possibly even pretty, by the other professors in this college town in Kansas. The college where he worked previously had many beautiful women, much prettier than her, but Mrs. Kendall still caught his attention. She had a very subtle sensuality about her.
Richard knew he shouldn’t be looking at any married women at his new job. After what had happened at his previous job as adjunct professor of the paranormal sciences in California…well, but that was ancient history, wasn’t it? He had a chance to redeem himself here in Kansas. Still, throughout the party, his eyes would stray to Mrs. Kendall and her much older husband. She would make eye contact with Richard and give him a hint of a smile. Was she interested?
As Richard imbibed drink after drink, he couldn’t help but contrast himself to Mr. Kendall. The rich man was invited in order to help fund paranormal research the college was hoping to start this winter. He had a keen interest in all things paranormal and could be found hanging around the department at all hours. He was rich, yes, but old, boorish, and not very bright. He had inherited his money, along with his farms, from his father. Martin Kendall was much too stupid to have earned his fortune on his own.
“Richard Lyman! It’s so nice to see you again. We are truly excited to have a professor all the way from California teaching here in our little college, aren’t we Martin? You know, we simply must have you over for dinner some time. Are you free Tuesday? What do you say, Richard? Shall we call it a date?”
Throughout the monologue, Richard found himself staring at Mrs. Kendall’s face. What was it about her? And wait, was that a wink?
“Yes, yes, Tuesday would be wonderful. I would love to join the two of you on Tuesday.”
“We look forward to it, as well. Come Martin.”
The next day Richard decided to seek out Josh, the handyman at his apartment building who had mentioned at one point that he had gone to high school with Becky Kendall.
“Oh yes,” replied Josh to Richard’s inquiries, “I’ve known Becky since the ninth grade. I’ve been in love with her since then, too. But Becky, she’s always preferred guys with money. I think that’s why she married Martin. That, and the fact that he probably doesn’t know about her wild reputation in school. I’d have married her in a minute, but a lot of the guys in school wouldn’t have anything to do with her after they slept with her. In fact, they had a running joke about her. Whenever she’d walk down the school halls, they’d start yelling out, ‘Put on your sunglasses!’”
“Yeah, the joke was that if you weren’t wearing sunglasses, she’d…well…you know, screw your eyes out.”
Josh went on to explain that neither he nor Becky attended college. They had only graduated three years ago, and Becky had married right out of high school. Josh was needed on his family’s ranch in order to try to save it. Not that it had worked out. The ranch was gone, and Josh worked as a handyman in order to make ends meet.
“Only in Kansas,” thought Richard.
As Tuesday approached, Richard had determined to behave himself. But, once seated across from Becky Kendall, all his resolve seemed to melt. He quickly formulated a plan in order to be alone with Becky. The plan was insane and, in his right mind, Richard would never have attempted such an idiotic idea. But, as they say, it wasn’t his brain doing the thinking.
“Martin, you realize that Friday is All Hallows’ Eve?”
“Yes, yes, Richard, it is, isn’t it? Yes, the time of year when the veil between the material world and the afterlife is thinned. Exciting to think about that. Souls able to pass between the worlds. That would interesting to witness. Maybe someday I’ll try to figure out how to see that.”
“Someday, Martin? Why, there’s no time like the present. I was looking at a map of ley lines, and it seems that one of your farms has a ley line running through it. The combination of the two, ley line and All Hallows’ Eve, would be just what we need to witness the souls coming through the veil. What do you say, Martin? Should we meet at your farm on Friday?”
“What? I’m familiar with the map of ley lines. There’s nothing going through my farms, the lines are south of them. Like I said, someday I’ll figure out how to see the souls coming through the veil. Now eat up, you haven’t touched your cauliflower.”
“No, Martin…no, new ley lines have been discovered. I know that I saw a new one going through one of your farms…new…you wouldn’t know about it, I just found out. I really think we need to spend Friday night at your farm. It’s the perfect time, the perfect place. What do we have to lose, Martin? We can try it, right?”
“Calm down, Richard! I guess we can go to the farm on Friday. But I’m sure I’d know if a new ley line had been discovered. No, no, calm yourself. It’s fine, we can go to the farm on Friday.”
“Good, good. Do you have tents?”
“Josh borrowed them for a camping trip,” said Becky, with her eyes firmly on Richard. “I’ll just ring him up and he can meet us in the field and help us assemble them on Friday.”
Josh was helping Martin set up the tents while Richard was busy pouring drinks. Becky sat off to the side with a barely concealed smile on her face. She had already built a small fire to keep the night chill away.
“This all seems very odd,” said Josh. “Why are all of you out here again?”
“We’re going to witness souls passing through the veil between the worlds,” replied Martin. “Would you like to join us?”
“No! No, um…I’m sure that Josh has better things to do…” Richard sputtered.
“No, no, you go right home so your mother doesn’t worry. You can come back out in the morning to hear all about our sightings, but for now, you need to go,” said Richard as he hustled Josh back to his car.
“What’s all this Richard? Do we need to drink this much, or even anything at all? Why not enjoy the evening and keep our wits about us so we can notice any souls that might be coming through the veil?”
“Well, Martin, this is to…um…keep ourselves in the right frame of mind, and to keep our brains loose, and…”
“Never mind, it’s a bit chilly and the whiskey suddenly seems like a good idea.”
“Oh, good! I mean, have some more.”
Sometimes a gamble pays off. Becky was very interested. After practically carrying Martin into one of the tents, Richard and Becky listened to his snoring they entered the other tent. The two of them tried to be quiet, but it wouldn’t have mattered as Martin had passed out.
Josh, however, had not passed out. He was also not at home with his mother. He had been very suspicious of what was going on and stayed behind to check things out. He saw the consumption of the whiskey. He saw Richard and Becky taking Martin into one of the tents. He saw the two of them enter the other tent. It was all so unfair. He had always loved Becky. It just hadn’t occurred to him that she might have sex with anyone other than her husband now that she was married. Josh could take it no longer. He went up to the tent containing the lovers.
“Becky,” he whispered loudly. “Becky, I know what you are doing and it’s not right. I’m going to tell unless you give me a kiss.”
The tent went quiet. Then there was the sound of furious whispering.
“I’ll only give you a kiss if you close your eyes,” whispered Becky. “I can’t bear to have you look at me after what I’ve done.”
Josh agreed, closed his eyes, and planted his lips on…her bare butt! Richard and Becky started laughing uproariously. Josh could not bear the humiliation and ran for his car. He drove around and brooded until he had come up with a plan.
Josh drove to his parents’ house and went into the garage. Packed away with other memorabilia, his father had kept one of his branding irons. Josh grabbed it and drove back out to the field. He put the branding iron in the fire, and he went back to the lovers’ tent.
“Becky,” he whispered, “that was terribly vulgar. I’m back and this time I want a kiss. If I don’t get what I want, I’ll tell your husband what you’ve done.”
As Richard and Becky whispered and laughed in the tent, Josh got the branding iron out of the fire.
“Close your eyes, Josh, and you’ll get your kiss. I promise,” whispered Becky.
“OK, they’re closed,” lied Josh.
Out of the tent came Richard’s hairy buttocks. He even had the nerve to fart in Josh’s face! Josh stabbed the hairy butt with the red hot branding iron, and Richard screamed out bloody murder.
“What? Is this it? Are the souls here? Where are they? What is going on?” yelled Martin as he rushed out of his tent.
As Richard entered the teachers’ lounge, he was struck again by how pretty Mrs. Meyers looked. Not that he was going to act on it, of course. Kansas was ancient history after all, and he had a chance to redeem himself here in Alabama.