“What happened to your mushroom house in this spot, Rocky?”
“I don’t know. I have my market now. What happened to your Bettie?”
“She’s still around. I think.” Nancy pauses, looks across the street. “Who lives in that house over there, Rocky? The one with the rams in front.”
“Dunno. I’ve seen people.”
“People?” Nancy parrots.
Nancy looks down at her white hand. “People people? Or, you know, animal people. Like you.”
“People people,” Rocky responds.
“Pretty normal, probably. A man and a woman one time. Then another time: two men. Then another time: two women, a man, and another woman. And another man.” He puts his paw to mouth. “Let’s see, I think that’s it.”
“Let’s go take a look.”
“I don’t like to pry in other people’s lives,” replies the raccoon.
“Oh sure you do,” Nancy says, and gets up to cross the road. Rocky follows.
“Hopscotch, Rocky. Go ahead and try it out.”
“Baaaad,” the closest ram opined. “Rocky stepped off the hopscotch animation and moved toward the creature.
“Baaaad?” he asked back. The ram stared at him. The matching sheep kept grazing on what little grass was left in the yard.
“Bettie told me once that Ram dies with Lamb,” the anime girl says. “I found it curiously puzzling. Have you heard that (expression)?”
“Nope. We might as well go inside while we’re here.” A chill filled the air. Something was different in Olde Lapara Town today. And it wasn’t just the new fall foliage. Something else was fallen here. Rocky opened the front door. They entered.
“I don’t really feel comfortable being here now, Nancy. This may be the home of the town owner, Levi Clownski.”
“Check the files on this computer, Rocky.”
“I’m not doing that Nancy.”
She walked toward the kitchen in the back. “Suit yourself. I wonder if they have any meat here? Or if they’re vegetarians like me?”
“You like fish, though. I think that makes you a, what do they call it, a Pisces something.”
“Pesetarian,” Nancy offers.
“That could be it.”
“It is it.”
“Come here, Rocky. Bread. I made two more slices for us. Nom nom nom — pretty good. Hands free eating.”
“I see. But we better leave. I need to get down to the market and open back up. Night shift — until I hire someone else. I’m trying it out.”
“Oh. Can I come?”
“Oh why not.”
Then Nancy spotted it. She indicated the formica table between them. “What is that over there?”
“Um, that’s cookies, my dear. But you’ve given up sweets.”
“No. The green and gold thing behind it.”
Rockky saw the object too. “Looks like a ring from my angle.”
Nancy then made the unfortunate mistake of putting it on her hand. She shows Rocky. “Pretty?” she asked.