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Suburban Nightmare

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Gomez had the unshakable feeling that something was not right. He stepped into his two-story house in the suburbs and glanced around. He certainly couldn’t see anything wrong. There was his lovely blonde wife Morticia, preparing dinner, and there were his darling, rosy-cheeked children, Wednesday and Pugsley, watching Snow White with their beloved baby brother Pubert. Their friendly if rambunctious golden retriever Cousin Itt galloped up to welcome him home, the same way Gomez supposed he always did. He knew he gazed upon perfection, and yet something in the back of his mind kept nagging at him. He closed his eyes in concentration, but the source of his doubts eluded him.

“Welcome home, pumpkin!” Morticia’s cheerful, ringing voice tore him from his thoughts. “How was your day at work?”

“I- It was fine, dear,” he stammered, “We wrapped up the Waltons vs. Jeffersons case today.”

“That’s so wonderful, honey!” she beamed up at him before shouting, “Kids, your father’s home!”

As Gomez listened to the familiar yet unfamiliar shrieks of “Daddy’s home!” he began to get a sinking feeling in his chest. It got worse when Wednesday, Pugsley and Pubert wrapped themselves around his waist and legs respectively, their curly blonde locks bouncing freely, while Morticia prattled on about how Pubert had gotten his first tooth this morning.

He forced a smile and awkwardly patted each of their heads. “Run along now, children.”

He took a deep breath as they all chorused, “Okay, daddy!” and trotted back to their movie.

Morticia, who had gone back to her cooking, looked up at him, concern radiating from her big blue eyes. “Gomez, are you all right? Maybe you should sit down for a while.”

“Yes. Yes, I think I will,” he replied shakily, pulling up a kitchen chair.

He watched her work for a few minutes before one of his nagging doubts finally reached the surface. “Honey,” he said, “where is Lurch?”

“Who’s Lurch, dear?” she replied distractedly.

Something in the back of his mind was really trying to get his attention. “No one, cara mia,” he responded automatically, then wondered why he did so.

“Huh?” Morticia wrinkled her brow in confusion.

“Er, never mind, my dear.”

Morticia smiled and went back to her casserole, all worries forgotten. “Oh, by the way, darling, Fester and Debbie are coming over for dinner tonight. They should be here in a few minutes.”

Gomez’s head shot up. “Debbie? But I thought that, well, she died, didn’t she? Or did she?”

“Why, Gomez! Whatever gave you that idea?” Morticia laughed. “Of course she’s not dead! They’re bringing their son, Thing.”

“But Thing isn’t their…never mind,” his head was spinning now. Something was terribly wrong, except nothing could possibly be wrong.

“Are you sure you’re all right, dear?” Morticia asked worriedly.

“No, I’m not. I…I think I’ll go lay down for a while,” he said, clutching at his head.

He was just getting up when the doorbell rang cheerfully. He walked over and answered the door to find a strange man standing there with Debbie and a child who, he knew in his heart of hearts, was most certainly not Thing.

“Gomez, old chum!” said the strange man, who looked as though he had just stepped off the set of a soap opera, which, in fact, he had.

“Fester?” he said weakly, unable to believe what he saw.

“The one and only!” Fester replied heartily.

Realization came crashing down on Gomez like a ton of bricks. “No, you’re not,” he whispered.

“What’s that, old man? I didn’t quite catch it,” Fester asked jovially.

“You are not my brother!” he screamed.

“And this!” he gesticulated wildly. “This is not my beautiful house! This is not my beautiful wife!”

“Gomez, what on God’s green earth are you talking about? What’s wrong with you?” Debbie asked nervously as she tried to sooth Thing, who had started to cry at Gomez’s outburst.

“Absolutely nothing is wrong with me!” Gomez shouted, flailing his arms. “This is a world of utter madness! It is I who should be asking what is wrong with you!”

“Gomez, please calm down!” Morticia begged. “You’re scaring the children and you’re going to wake Mama!”

“Yeah, Gomez, pipe down! You’re harshin’ my buzz!”

Gomez slowly turned and saw Granny Addams drunkenly descending the staircase, clad only in a small red nightgown and smoking a cigarette. He screamed again and fainted.

Instantly, he awoke, drenched in sweat and clutching at his chest.

“Nightmare, mon cher?” came the silky voice of his beloved wife.

He breathed a sigh of relief. He was home.

“Absolutely terrifying, cara mia,” he replied happily.

She smiled seductively. “Tell me about it, my darling,” she breathed.

“Of course, my sweet,” he replied, shivering both in anticipation and recollection.

“I was a lawyer,” he began.

“Oh, Gomez,” she gasped sympathetically.

“You were a blonde homemaker, and you were making cabbage casserole! We lived in,” he paused and took a deep, cleansing breath, “the suburbs.”

“How truly dreadful, darling,” she caressed his cheek with a pale hand.

“Our poor children were watching Disney,” he continued dramatically.

“Gomez, no more please,” Morticia begged gently.

“And your dear mother was a sitcom Granny!” he continued unabated. “And Fester was…no, I won’t say it. It’s simply too dreadful to speak aloud!”

“Not…” Morticia gasped in horror.

“Yes,” Gomez gulped, “an actor!”

Morticia closed her eyes and shivered. “Such an utterly frightful dream.”

“At least it’s over now,” he sighed. He felt much better already, as though something toxic had been flushed from his system.

“Shall I help you put it out of your mind, mon cher?” she asked with a suggestively raised eyebrow.

He smiled. “I’ll go get the flail.”

“I’ll fetch the stocks,” she said smoothly.

Gomez climbed out of bed to rifle through his closet, feeling better with every passing moment. He found and passed his favorite flail to his beloved wife—his wonderfully, beautifully real wife—and sighed happily.

“There really is no place like home.”

The End