[amy] I don't do favors for free.

My mother’s on vacation for a couple weeks. Apparently it’s too stressful buying things and gardening all day long, so she’s taking a train all over Alaska and then a cruise ship down to Vancouver. She asked Barbara and I to stop in her place while she’s gone to feed the cat, pick up the paper and perform other daily duties to dissuade any would-be burglars. She called us down to her place on Monday night to go over an extensive list of telephone numbers, instructions on how to operate the telephone, light switches and cans of cat food. Out of everything, she was most paranoid about water running in the toilet if, god forbid, we had to use the bathroom. She went so far as to tell us to stand in front of the toilet after flushing and stare at it until the water stops.

Last night, Barbara and I stop by to feed Fluffy. I had planned on relocating some of my mother's furniture and cooking pots to my new place but Barbara drew the line at food. As I saw it, I was doing her a favor; It makes sense to take perishable food so that she doesn’t come back to a rotten refrigerator.

“Let’s seeeeee,” I say, poking around the fridge, “What’s for supper tonight? Lettuce? Gotta take that. Cucumbers? Those won’t last two weeks.”

I start shoving food into a grocery bag while Barbara goes to the bathroom.

“Green peppers? Tsk, tsk.” Into the bag they go.

I move on to the cabinets and cupboards. “Tequila? Oh dear, that’s bound to go off. Vodka, cookies, tea… If I don’t clear this stuff out of here, there’ll be mice crawling all over the place.”

By the time my sister comes around the corner into the kitchen, the cupboards are bare and I’m surrounded by 12 grocery bags.

“There were two signs in the bathroom,” she tells me, “that say 'MAKE SURE THE TOILET IS STOP RUNNING!!'”

I stop and listen. “It’s still running,” I say.

“I’m sure it’ll stop eventually.”

“Whatever,” I say, picking up several bags and kicking the rest toward Barbara. “Let’s get out of here.”

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