The Brunching Shuttlecocks Features

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 public.

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.

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