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Entry date: 7-2-2023 – The Bet (is Back) – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,


When last we heard from Marcy and Paul, she was in the bathroom and had just thrown up. Jimmy was taunting Marcy and claiming his desire to help her win her bet. Marcy was not impressed. I think she was scared.


She should be…


*****


Paul was concerned. Even though he knew Marcy probably had a hangover, this wasn’t like her. She was listless and withdrawn and had barely reacted when the kids said hello when they got home from their grandparents’ house. He let it go until bed time.


“What’s going on with you?” he asked as he pulled back the covers on his side of the bed.


“Nothing, babe. Just feeling my years and beers today.”


“Are you sure? Something’s off with you.”


“I’m okay. Really.”


But she was not okay. When she had slept during the day, Jimmy was there in her dreams. No matter where she turned, there he was. While she was awake, she kept waiting for his voice to pop back into her head, but he had stayed silent. The dreams must have been enough.


Around 2AM, Marcy woke up. She had been asleep for much of the past 12 hours or so and was feeling well rested. She didn’t have to work until 6PM, so she was going to need to get some more sleep to make it through her night shift, but right now, she needed to check on something.


Jimmy had said the DVD was in a safe place. What did he mean? Where would she have put the DVD?


Marcy slipped out of bed as quietly as she could. Paul could be a light sleeper and Marcy didn’t want to wake him. She loved Paul with all her heart, but she was not ready to tell him that Jimmy was talking to her.


“You’re a peach, Marcy,” Jimmy whispered in her head.


“You shut up,” she thought.


“Will not.”


Marcy was beginning to hate Jimmy. She decided she would get rid of the DVD when she found it.


“You won’t be able to do it,” he said, then added: “You love me too much.”


“I don’t love you. I love a movie.”


“No, you LOVE me. Besides, I haven’t told you the best part of all this yet.”


The word “Love” was spoken so forcefully. It made Marcy shudder.


“Just shut up. There is no ‘best part’ of being crazy.”


Marcy was losing her nerve and wanted to crawl back in bed with Paul.


“You know where to find me,” Jimmy said with a more pleasant tone.


“I have no idea where you are.”


“You put me there, dear Marcy. You hid me from Paul and Jenny and Greg.”


“Why did I hide you? I don’t remember that at all.”


“Because of what I told you.”


Marcy stopped midway down the hall.


“I’m trying to remember. Help me, please,” Marcy pleaded with the voice in her head.


“I’m not going to help you kill me just yet.”


“What do you mean? I can kill you?”


“No, Marcy. Don’t get your hopes up, but I will be gone soon enough. You have to find me first, though.”


“Where are you going?”


“To hell.” Jimmy let out a short laugh.


“Very funny. There is no hell.”


“Oh, yes, there is. How do you think it feels to be trapped in a movie forever. That’s hell.”


Marcy considered Jimmy’s words carefully. This was a trick. This was her brain fucking with her.


“Your brain isn’t fucking with you, Marcy, and neither am I. Now let’s get on with it. Go to the kitchen.”


Marcy’s feet betrayed her and she started walking toward the kitchen.


“Look in the pantry.”


Marcy opened up the pantry and saw what she normally would see. Cans and boxes and jars and bags.


“Look on the top shelf behind the Captain Crunch.”


Marcy pulled the half-empty cereal box off the shelf. She couldn’t quite see what as on the shelf, so she scooted the stepladder over to her with her foot and stepped up on the first rung.


She felt around on the shelf where the cereal box had been and felt the DVD.


“How in the hell?” she thought.


“I told you to hide me here. I love Captain Crunch.”


“But you’re not real.”


“I can still dream. I dream with you, you know.”


“What do you want?”


The voice was quiet for a minute.


“I want to give you something,” Jimmy said slowly.


“What? Please just tell me whatever it is you want to tell me.”


“You’re different now, Marce. You’re never going to be the same. I’m giving you a gift.”


“What the fuck are you talking about?”


“Bet me something.”


“What?”


“Bet me something. Anything. Just say, ‘I bet you…’ and finish the rest.”


“Jesus. Okay. I bet you can’t fuck off.”


Jimmy remained silent.


Marcy stood in the pantry waiting for something to happen, but nothing did. Eventually she put the Captain Crunch back on the shelf and walked out to the living room with the DVD in her hand. She grabbed the box and put the DVD inside.


Tomorrow, she thought, I am going to throw this fucker away, but no retort came.


*****


See you tomorrow.




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