Karen Polhemus had always been a little plump, from kindergarten through her graduation from the Smitherton Secretarial Arts & Sciences Academy. Her skills at taking dictation, different methods of shorthand, and speed typing were unmatched, and yet she ached to be one of the "pretty girls" on campus. And then, in her final semester, she was befriended by Tammy Cozander, the captain of both the cheerleading squad, and the senior girls' field hockey team. Tammy was curvaceous, petite, famously pretty, and lovely... really, really lovely. A heart of gold, as everyone knew so well. That was why it was so heartbreaking as she began to be consumed by her peculiar notions about a diet based on water and lemon juice, pickle shavings, and deep gulps of fresh air! For dessert, she would have small bits of paper marinated in skim milk, and then set on fire "a la flambee".
Her Thanksgiving meal consisted of one bean colored brown with a crayon with a side dish of a single grain of rice, and a side salad of a blade of crab grass spritzed with cologne and suntan oil. Needless to say, Tammy began to change right before everyone's eyes. They all noticed and commented on it…..and cared! Sadly, Karen chose NOT to notice, or comment. Always possessive of her friendship, and frequently jealous, she guarded everything, literally EVERYTHING, about Tammy’s life, including her secrets. It was rumored that Tammy and Karen shared everything and anything with each other, which under certain circumstances would be lovely, and even admirable…. But as time went on, the two became more and more withdrawn from the circle of friends they had made at school. They took a small cottage on the outskirts of town, and then moved out to a small resort area at the end of Long Island.
It was during the off-season there when local folks noticed that they hadn’t seen the pair even come to the little grocery store for supplies that concerns were raised. Someone said they HAD seen smoke coming from the chimney, and a light or two on at different times…. After knocks on the door went unanswered, and it was discovered that the telephone had been disconnected, the sheriff and a small band of neighbors went to see if there was trouble…. They knocked one evening. No answer. They knocked again. And no answer…. And then they tried the door. It opened with a resentful little creak, and as they wandered into the parlor, they heard a conversation!.... it was Karen having tea with Tammy and recounting her day in the garden with the new gladiolus and delphiniums, and how she had pricked her finger on the rose trellis… Didn't the roses smell wonderful already? Especially, the yellow ones? Outside, the sun was just beginning to set as the snow began to fall….
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