Chapter 1: The Thing Behind the Fridge
There was a smell coming from the fridge. Or more precisely from
behind the fridge. To be exact, it seemed to be coming from a spot
just behind the fridge and about one foot off of the ground, directly
above the lost meat patty which had been hiding behind the fridge
for a week.
The meat patty was a remnant of the neighborhood block party that
Henry had held the week before. He had agreed to host it when
Kathy Lubar had suggested it because he thought perhaps, just
perhaps, this would be his chance to finally meet his incredibly
sexy next door neighbor, Alana Maguire.
Alana had been driving him crazy for weeks by watering her backyard
garden wearing nothing but a thin slip. It was the kind of
slip you might find on a good mannequin at a trashy lingerie store,
like the one on Burton street owned and operated by Mr. Hempstry,
who was a dirty old man who many in town thought was actually a
Nazi war criminal in hiding.
This rumor had started when young Jimmy Epstein had snuck into Mr.
Hempstry's store late at night and found a number of strange newspaper
clippings from over fifty years ago, many of which depicted Hitler
and other German leaders. Jimmy didn't know what the newspaper
clippings said, because he couldn't read. Sadly, he hadn't been able
to read since the boating accident two years ago.
The accident, which some people still felt hadn't, in fact, been
accidental, had been the source of much talk in our sleepy little
town of Filtertop, Kansas. Jimmy, Hank Urban, Gus Hornsby and
Susie Bishop had all been fishing in the middle of Lake Haun-Tau-Toa,
which meant "Land of Midget Trees" in the ancient tongue.
Nobody really spoke the ancient tongue anymore, not since Old Man
Hollow Feathers had passed away mysteriously in the woods. Mrs.
Selma swears that on the night he died, she saw lights in the woods,
but no one ever believed her on account of all the drinking she's
been known to do. Her problem had gotten so great that her family
had sent her away to a local shelter, only to have the shelter send
her home after a single day.
It seemed the shelter was turning people away left and right. Mr.
Nolton, who ran the shelter, blamed budget cuts. Mayor Horngrass
defended the budget cuts, claiming that the county as a whole was
going through a tough time. However, most of his arguments lost
their impact when plans for his new private tennis court became
Henry had hoped to apply for a job at the new Tennis Courts, but
that prospect, and indeed the prospect of another year in Filtertop,
now seemed as odious as the smell coming from behind the fridge.