I woke up on the floor outside of the bathroom with a throbbing head. Looking around, I saw three empty flasks of Chech’tluth, some blonde hair extensions, and, inside the bathroom on the USS Enterprise shaped rug, a digital camera. After a few seconds of thought, I solemnly swore, “I, Charles Jackson Hamil, swear never to let Aunt Judy’s friend Nancy influence me ever again.”
I picked up the camera and browsed the recently taken pictures. I didn’t seem to have done much except dance with an obfuscating lampshade on my head, although I saw Mother in positions with manacles I really rather wouldn’t have. I almost felt like I could sleep easily until I reached the last picture. It was mortifying. I was standing in the bathtub, which would have been innocuous enough except for the fact that I was naked and a red leather boot was nearby on the floor.
I went downstairs in quite a state. “Nancy,” I said, as I entered the living room where the woman sat on the couch with Aunt Judy, “What are these photos all about?”
“Oh, that.” Nancy laughed. “Judy and I decided to play with you a little. Wasn’t it funny? Have a glass of Chech’tluth.”
My head throbbed, and I accepted it gratefully. As I drank, an idea came to me. I had been wondering what picture to send to Mina next; college applications, the dratted things, had put a damper on my con attendance lately. Why not send her that picture?
Grinning unsteadily, I poured myself another glass of Chech’tluth. “So,” I asked Nancy, “those pictures of my mother were staged, too?”
“Oh, no, those were genuine. And a great deal of fun.” She smirked like a cat who had eaten a canary and went back to painting Aunt Judy’s toenails.