Tea being poured

Let’s Play Pretend

Tammy and Jacqueline played pretend every day. Jacqueline, the duo’s fearless leader, would wait in her room expectantly until Tammy arrived. Inevitably, Tammy would open the door to her room, ready for another wonderful adventure with her best friend in the entire world.

“What will we play today?” asked Tammy.

“The evidence against Mr. Phillips remains incontrovertible,” stated Jackie Bristow, the infamously cutting young lawyer, who, while working pro bono, uncovered a city-wide plot to artificially raise prices on skittles.

“Mr. Phillips not only knowingly destroyed evidence linking him to the Montoni crime family, he attempted to frame my client, Tammy Sunderland, for embezzlement.”

Audible gasps echoed throughout the chamber. Cameras refocused on the stoic woman in the orange jumpsuit and handcuffs.

“On this chart, I have graphed every skittle, by date produced, color, date consumed and general elliptical strength and sturdiness. As this line clearly demonstrates, only Mr. Phillips, with help from Mayor Donahue himself could have orchestrated such a heinous crime.”

Police descended upon the mayor, who had tried to slip out of the court room unnoticed.

“This won’t be the last you’ve heard from me, Prosecutor Bristow!”

Commodore Jzaque-Jaline took the wheel of the fastest man-o-war in the French Navy, aiming it towards the large ship before her. At last, she had cornered the infamous and deadly pirate, Tamriel Squidlipper and her imposing schooner, the Tammy Cat. The ship raised its skittle and crossbone flag, declaring its fullest intention to do battle.

After a series of cannon fire, the commodore and her crew boarded the vessel, with Jzaque-Jaline beelining straight for the devastatingly ugly Squidlipper.

“You’ll never take me alive, landlubber!” shouted Squidlipper, unsheathing her sword.

“I never intended to,” responded the Commodore, “the price on your head comes dead or alive.”

The two did great battle until around seven-thirty when they were burst in upon and invited downstairs for community dinner.

Jacqueline Monteberry, Duchess of York and next in line to secede as Queen of England, invited Tamarind Wiltonbobbinforth over for tea in order to discuss his proximate marriage to her young daughter.

“Mr. Wiltonbobbinforth,” remarked the Duchess, “I find many of your habits to be highly irregular. For one, I’ve grown rather concerned with your recent comportment in regards to my daughter. You act as if you are both wedded when in fact such premature notions can threaten it entirely.”

Tamarind Wiltonbobbinforth nodded pensively before speaking.

“With the utmost respect, I apologize and only wish to entreat upon you that my actions, however foolhardy and out of taste, only arise from my deep, unerring love for your daughter.”

“That may be so, Wiltonbobbinforth. But without great prudence, reputations, and not just your own, inevitably suffer. Now, let us turn to less delicate matters. I’ve prepared some fine skittle crumpets that pair deliciously with our tea.”

“Today,” said Jacqueline hardly noticing Tammy’s vacant expression, “We should play space adventures. I can be an alien, while you can be a rogue, disenfranchised skittle miner who doesn’t play by the rules.”

“Actually,” said Tammy, “I was wondering if we can play family today.”

“Family?” said Jacqueline, put off, “I mean… not the most creative, but I suppose we can make it work.

Jacqueline Monroe sat next to her daughter in the nursing home just south of Tammy Monroe’s work. Before heading home, Tammy would visit her every day. Her mother, now over eighty, could no longer be left alone without supervision. She wandered the hallways at odd hours of day and night. Without locked doors, her legs took her anywhere—the old bench she met her husband, Tammy’s Elementary School and the five-lane highway during rush hour.

Tammy loved Jacqueline very much and she hated that she penned up her mother in a coop, where other patrons avoided her company, speaking in whispers and cupped hands. Of the things that had left her mother, joy and imagination were not among them. Today, Tammy turned to Jacqueline very seriously.

“Mom,”

“Yes, my daughter,” smiled Jackie, trying her best to play the role believably.

“I wanted to say that… well… I love you very much. I miss you every day. Even when we are together, sometimes I still miss my mother.”

“Honey…don’t cry,” said Jackie, noticing Tammy’s shining eyes.

“I’m sorry. I just needed to say it, that’s all. We can stop playing pretend now if you want.”

Jackie smiled at her best friend Tammy. Despite her reservations about the pretend scenario, this might have been the best round yet.

Tammy stood up to go.

“Tammy, will I see you tomorrow for more pretend?”

“Of course. I’ll make sure to let them know I’ll be here for community dinner, too.”

The two best friends parted, each, looking forward to another new day full of seemingly endless adventures.

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