Halloween left Rassmussen fat with candy and miserable with a cold. You don’t want to see a gargoyle with a cold. It is a horrendous sight, nose running, bloodshot eyes, and his normal gray-brown complexion muted to a sallow pea green.
The oddest thing, even in statue form, his nose dripped. The most sanitary solution I could come up with was to line a pail with tissues and hang it around his neck, to catch the worst of the slime-green ooze. The second part of my dubious plan consisted of avoidance and a heavy dose of self-delusion. As Rassmussen slow dripped into his pink pail of Puffs, I closed off his room and pretended it was being fumigated with something highly poisonous to humans.
It worked, too. At least during the day. The night was a different story. Nothing, and I do mean nothing, could drown out the moaning and groaning and constant cries for drops, drinks, and desserts.
For a solid week, I slept not a wink as I tended the woeful creature residing in the room off the kitchen. By the eighth day, I’d had too much. I threw a book at him, stomped my feet, and swore on my mother’s life if he didn’t hold his tongue and leave me be, I’d trade him in on a garden elf. I stormed off, praying for the best.
How could I have known he would actually read the book?
Just as my temper had cooled, and I had punched and fluffed my pillow into submission, I heard the sound of giggling seeping into my dark room and even darker consciousness. The giggles turned into a belly laugh before it evolved into a full-out roar of mirth.
Thinking Rassmussen to be laughing at me, I double-timed it back to his room, intent on giving him a piece of my mind, a very nasty, loud piece of my sleep-deprived crankiness.
To my surprise, Rassmussen sat with the book open in one hand, while he tried to smother his laughter behind the other. Tears rolled down his cheeks.
Upon seeing me, he could hold back no more, and he literally rolled in painful gasps as he tried to breath and laugh at the same time.
At last, he calmed enough to share the joke. “It’s the book, Francine. Why, it’s the funniest thing I have ever read! This . . . this . . .” He paused to check the spine, “writer, why she is a comedic master.
“I must have ten, no twenty copies before the next full moon. Randolph and his kind will love her.