You stand in an old manor house, the ceiling sporting cobwebs and the floorboards creaking as you shift your feet uncertainly. From a distance, the muted sound of a ringing telephone is carried on the dusty air. You pause, waiting for another ring to confirm that your senses have not been deceived, then start making your way through the house.

Though the walk has taken you five minutes, the ringing has not ceased. Weary, you pick up the receiver. "Bonanza!" states the scratchy voice at the other end.

The corners of your mouth turn upward imperceptibly. This is what you were expecting. That doesn't mean that you understand it. "Uh, what?" you inquire in your most intelligent voice.

"Bonanza! Bonanza bonanza bonanza!" your acquaintance insists.

You decide to be more forceful. "Look, um, you see, I can't help you unless you become more coherent." Then again, you always were a wimp.

The line is quiet, and you begin to wonder whether the connection was lost, or whether phones even existed back now. What year is it, anyway? Your fears are allayed (well, not really) when your correspondent carefully articulates "Bo - nan - za."

Just then, Myrtle pops her head into the room. The potato knish she is snacking on suddenly claims your full attention, and you drop the receiver to go ask her for a bite.

From the earpiece that lies unnoticed on the floor, a scratchy voice now heard only by its owner and a small grey mouse calls out plaintively, "Bonanza?" Then a pause. "Hello? Are you listening? Crap!"


As the sun rises, you come to the dawning realization that you may have swallowed some of Myrtle's false teeth...


To Be Continued...
(not really)

- Joe Levy, 1995

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