Mikey’s interest in me immediately vanished as he turned to face the woman and said, “Not if you’re about to tell me what I think you are.”
The old woman sighed and closed her eyes before finally answering, “She checks out.”
“FUCKIN’ A!” Mikey shouted so loudly that it startled the rest of us. He raised his arms in a victorious gesture and started to exit the room as I turned to give Mauricio a questioning look.
He smirked at my expression, his eyes trailing the old woman as she followed Mikey out of view and then finally Mauricio said, “That’s Lynn. Deer in headlights thing is an act. She was a cop. Detective, actually. She worked homicide for like 20 years. Now, Michael keeps her on retainer as his resident skeptic.”
“Like his Scully?”
Something behind me caught Mauricio’s attention and he nodded. “I think you’re being summoned…”
I turned to see Mikey leaning back into the kitchen and waving me over as he said, “You’re going to want to hear this.”
I followed Mikey down a hallway lined in chic sconces and framed Egon Schiele prints. From somewhere upstairs, I could faintly hear Bob Seger singing…
“Started hummin’ a song from 1962. Ain’t it funny how the night moves?”
And that’s when I finally realized where I was…
“You live in a Bret Easton Ellis novel,” I said, matter of factly to Mikey’s back and he responded with a polite chuckle that sounded forced and I realized that to him, I might as well have said: I’m way poorer than you.
This realization had me feeling self-conscious, which of course caused my social anxiety to flare back up just in time for us to reach a closed door located near the end of the hallway. Mikey opened the door, gesturing for me to enter. As I stepped inside the sparsely furnished interrogation-room, the sudden transition caught me off guard.
It was the first room I’d seen in the entire house that didn’t look like something out of Tim Gunn’s wet dream. The walls were bare and painted a faded pink that made me feel genuinely uneasy. The room’s only furniture was a scarred wooden table and three chairs.
Mikey sat down at the table, gesturing for me to take the seat beside his as he placed the landline phone on the table and said, “This is why I invited you over. My newest addition to the collection…”
Dead Things Mikey gestured down at the bulky white anachronism in front of him and I took a beat before finally replying, “Ooohkay?”
“Are you familiar with the term ‘provenance?’”
I nodded. “Yeah, it’s French for ‘how I will sell you bullshit.’”
Mikey chuckled again, this one sounding a bit more genuine than the last. “Most of the time, you’d be right. But when you’re dealing with paranormal artifacts, it’s all ABOUT the provenance. And this one is a doozy.”
Mikey pressed a switch on the intercom terminal that was mounted to his corner of the table. The thing looked to be circa-1973 and there was even a crackling hiss sound as the com went hot and Mikey said, “Grace?”
He let off the switch and a moment later, another crackle-hiss preceded a tired female voice replying, “Bring her in?”
CRACKLE-HISS… “Yes, bring her in?”
I had been expecting to see the librarian/detective enter through the secondary door at the other end of the room, though I guess the completely different voice I’d heard over the intercom should’ve tipped me off. But that’s okay; I bet the look on my face when Grace entered was fucking priceless.