Tammy pounded on the front door of her sister Donna’s Virginia townhouse. Her pink manicure reflected back from the clean etched glass. A hulking monster of a dog placed two paws on the other side of the door. Tammy stumbled backwards and grabbed the wrought iron railing. The canine emitted only a pitiful whimper.
Maybe Oh-Donna’s in the shower. The sky began to spit on Tammy. She descended the twelve brown brick steps and marched around the matching path to the rear of her sister’s end unit townhouse. She opened the gate on the six foot tall privacy fence. The first five feet of it was board on board, the top foot was lattice. After latching the gate, she dashed under the deck.
Tammy tried the French doors in the basement. They were unlocked. She stomped in and slammed the door behind her. Immediately turning her nose up at the overdone red walls and carpet, she hurried across a room filled with guitars, a piano, harmonicas, violins and recording equipment. Tammy took the stairs two at a time. Reaching the top, she flung open a white steel door and was greeted by Scooby Doo-ette. “Hi girl, remember me? How are you, Sugar?”
Something wasn’t right.
The dog was nearly emaciated. Her ribs were showing and she wasn’t her boisterous self.
“Eew! What’s that smell?” The kitchen reeked of urine and there were three piles of poop on the hardwood floor.
“You poor thing! Oh-Donna went away and forgot about you.” Tammy unlocked the French Doors in the kitchen. The dog bolted out onto the deck. She filled her water bowl and then scooped three cups of kibbles into the chrome food dish. The whimpering dog slumped on the pressure treated wood deck, surrounded by terra cotta pots of wilted flowers. Tammy let her back in. The Great Dane immediately chomped down the food and lapped up the water.
The stench in the kitchen gagged her. Tammy opened the cabinet under the kitchen sink and dug out a trash bag, disinfectant and yellow rubber gloves. Yanking seven paper towels off the roll on the pistol-gray granite counter, Tammy went to work cleaning the mess, all the while mumbling, “Oh-Donna you good for nothing bitch. How could you do this to a poor defenseless doggie?” Tammy breathed through her mouth, trying desperately not to inhale. “And how could you be so cruel as to cut me off from Daddy’s money?” A tear rolled down her cheek. “How could you? You’ll pay for this little sister of mine.”
Tammy placed the smelly bag out on the deck and then shoved the cleaning supplies back under the sink.
The air conditioning kicked on. A cold shiver raced up her spine. “Where is the thermostat Scooby Doo-ette? Hunh girl?” The dog brushed up against her silk-stockinged leg and licked her throat. She petted the Great Dane. The pair headed down the hallway, in search of the thermostat.
Tammy stopped in front of the living room, where she glimpsed her sister lying on the sofa.
The dog cried and licked Tammy’s hand.
“Ohmagod, she’s dead!” Hey, wait a minute, if Oh-Donna is dead, then that means she can’t be executrix of Daddy’s will and so I can get put back on the dole and hey, wait a minute. She’s an old spinster, so I logically will inherit her estate as well...
Tammy sighed. Oh, I’ll probably have to split it with Perry. But at least I’ll get a nice chunk of change.
She looked the corpse over. Her sister lay in the fetal position, with a smile curling the corner of her pale lips. What an angelic porcelain face. Even now, a twinge of jealousy swirled. Oh-Donna was blessed with naturally wavy blonde hair and flawless Caucasian skin. Tammy never did feel like they were real sisters. Even though the Payne’s adopted Tammy as a baby, she never warmed up to their natural daughter, Oh-Donna. But Tammy did feel an allegiance to their son Perry. They were more alike.
Tammy stepped closer, stumbling over the clumsy dog. Oh for the love of Prada, her tummy is moving up and down with her breathing. There goes my plan. “Wake up Oh-Donna.”
She didn’t move. Tammy shook her arm. “Wake up! Now! Get up Oh-Donna.”
Tammy remembered Farts (their late father’s proctologist friend) telling her and Perry that Oh-Donna had a brain disorder which caused her to fall asleep at weird times. She recollected discovering her sleeping in the walk-in closet under the stairs at their parents’ house and then she’d fainted in front of her moments later.
Tammy hugged her chilled arms, wishing the damned air conditioner would shut off. “Wake up Oh-Donna. Wake the frick up, you brain damaged witch. Wake up sissy-girl.”
Her sister didn’t respond. It was as though she was in a coma...
“Ohmagod. Oh-Donna is in a coma! I’m so sorry sweetie! You poor thing. That’s why the dog was starved and crapped in the house. How long have you been like this?”
Tammy snatched the cordless phone from the end table and punched in her brother’s cell phone number.
“Judge Payne here.”
“Perry! Oh-Donna’s in a coma! And the dog pooped all over the house and she’s gonna die and that bitch cut me off, I’ve been evicted—”
“What? Slow down. Oh-Donna’s in a coma? Where are you?”
“I’m at her house. I can’t wake her up.”
“Hang up and call nine-one-one.”
Tammy breathlessly squealed, “I don’t have time to look up the number for nine-one-one. What if she dies?” Sweet Jesus forgive me for my earlier thoughts. I didn’t mean them. Honest I didn’t. Her stomach churned. I’m gonna go to Hell for my thoughts. Tears deposited mascara in her eyes. She closed them tightly.
Perry barked, “Call an ambulance. The number for nine-one-one is nine-one-one Goddamit! I’ll be over as soon as I can. Call me and tell me what hospital they’re taking her to.” He hung up.
Tammy conjured up the last time her sister fainted, she’d thrown a glass of water in her face and she woke up. “Water!” She sprinted to the kitchen and picked up the dog’s water bowl. She filled it and jogged down the hallway, sloshing a trail behind her. The Great Dane lapped it off the hardwood floor. In the foyer, Tammy tripped on the edge of a sisal area rug and emptied the bowl onto her designer suit. “Darn you Oh-Donna!” Her scream pierced so loudly the dog skedaddled upstairs.
“Oh...” Her sister groaned.
Tammy dropped the chrome bowl and scrambled to her side. She picked up her arm, pumping it up and down, slapping her hand. “Oh-Donna, wake up Oh-Donna!”
Her sister murmured, “No...! No...! Not the Donna song...” Her smile morphed into a scowl.
Tammy slapped her sister’s face with both hands. “Wake up Oh-Donna. Now!”
“No. No. Go back. Ash...ley...”
Purchase the whole tale: