“My mom is a conspiracy theorist.” My friend Kimberly was saying.
We were packing up her mom’s house to move her into a retirement home. Having moved 10 times by the time I was 18, I knew a bit about packing. What I didn’t know about was her mom’s obsession(s). There were microscopes, lab specimen containers (empty, thankfully), scales and LOTS more.
“What kind of conspiracies?” I asked curiously.
“Every kind you can think of.” She said holding up one of the scales. “For one thing, she thinks the potato chip companies are shorting us on chips. So she weighs each bag and logs it in one of those journals.”
There must have been hundreds of the journals lining the book cases. A shiver ran up my spine as I looked at them.
“She thinks fast food places put drugs into the food to make people addicted to it so they’ll keep coming back.”
“I could go for some french fries now.” I said. Then began to crave them the more I thought about it. Could it be true? Was I addicted? Why else would I crave something that tasted like over-salt fried cardboard?
“And I bet it’s heat activated, because once they’re cold, we lose the desire to consume.” I speculated aloud.
“That’s just what my mom thinks.” she laughed, not realizing the truth of the matter.
I desperately wanted to get into those journals to see the evidence she amassed, but didn’t want to seem nosy, so I grilled Kimberly instead.
“Do you think maybe sometimes she’s onto something?”
She gave me a doubtful look.
“She thinks the Easter Bunny was an invention of the Cold War communists to hide bugging devices all over America. She thinks the trash company is run by the mafia so they can dispose of bodies without suspicion. And she thinks Congress has been replaced by aliens.”
Some of that sounded plausible. All of it, actually.
“She even thinks you’re a secret assassin.” She laughed.
“I wish.” I said. “I mean, it sounds more exciting than housewife or room mom.”
I decided to start packing the bookcase, with a plan to accidentally drop one or two of the journals open to see the contents inside. But first I had to pack up three boxes of books on Lincoln.
“Let me guess, she thinks the Union was behind Lincoln’s assassination.” I teased.
“No, she’s convinced it was suicide.”
“What! How in the world – are you Mrs. Sammon?” I said catching myself as Kimberly’s mom came up from the basement.
“I’m fine dear.” She said, setting down a bird cage and giving me a hug, which actually felt more like a pat down. Had she always done that?
“What a pretty bird. What kind is it?” I asked but she was done with me and headed back to the basement – probably a secret laboratory.
“Sherlock is a canary.” Kimberly said. “His job is to detect if someone is piping poisonous gas into the house.” she said trying to sound mysterious.
“Crazy. I know.” Kimberly said, cutting me off.
I was actually going to say “brilliant” but decided to keep it to myself.
“What are you going to do with all her stuff?” I asked, still hoping to peek into the journals.
“Most of it is going with her to the retirement home.”
“How does she feel about moving into the retirement home?” I asked curiously, since many people her mom’s age are against it. Personally, I think three catered meals a day, a housekeeper and bingo sounds like heaven.
Kimberly closed the door to the basement to be sure her mom couldn’t hear us.