Inner Voice: I parked the car. Turning it off, silencing its hushed rumbling, I removed my seatbelt and took a step out into the chilly, star-speckled night. I deliberated for a moment… then surrendered, dropping back onto my seat and digging through my bag that lay across the passenger seat to remove the black notebook, its leather binding cool on my skin.
[Tico steps out of the car again and walks down the concrete path toward a house]
Inner Voice: This really is a beautiful house, I thought. The elaborate carvings that ran along its eaves, its cerulean shutters, even the interestingly melodic creaking sound the steps made when I stepped down and lifted up. I hoped to use this house later as a setting in one of the stories I’d created.
[Tico knocks on the door. It opens and his sister Debbie appears from behind it]
Tico: Hey Debs! Happy Thanksgiving!
Debbie: [somewhat forced] Hey, Happy Thanksgiving!
Inner Voice: Ah, my sister’s sheepish smile. It’s subtle, invisible to the average human eye, but I knew it all too well.
Tico: Oh no. You didn’t scorch the turkey again, did you?
Debbie: What? No, why would you think that?
Tico: Something’s wrong. Foreshadowing is splashed across your face.
Debbie: You’re so overdramatic. Now get inside, it’s freezing.
[Tico steps inside the house, removes his coat and places it on a nearby rack, and they both walk down the hall]
Inner Voice: Of course, she didn’t deny my claim that something was wrong. Maybe one of her usual, yet unusual, cooking concoctions went awry. Maybe Aunt Sabrina and Uncle Jose got into another squabble over some new paltry thing. I sighed wearily and hoped that it wasn’t dinner that was jeopardized.
[Tico and Debbie walk into the dining room. There is a large banner hanging over the prepared holiday feast, with the word “INTERVENTION” scrawled on it. There are seven people standing around the table, all staring at Tico]
Inner Voice: The blank eyes, staring at me. The blank faces, unsure of what to say. Debbie and her sheepish smile again, this time not so subtle.
Tico: Am I…missing something?
Debbie: Tico, you know we all love you very much—