Irvin was a normal 11-year-old boy starting middle school, but his strange behavior at home leads to a call to Grandma. She goes with him to school and senses immediately that something is not right. She spies and sneaks and gets up to all sorts of antics that you don't expect see from old ladies, and eventually discovers the Shots. In the meantime, her wannabe murderer learns a few things about life and love.
Her rough hands chopped the celery to the rhythm of the William Tell Overture, smelling the wet fresh smell and and occasionally yanking off strings to taste. The phone rang. She ignored it.
"What?" shouted the wife over the roar of the scalding water.
"Call for you!"
"Tell them to call back later. Say I'm trying to cook dinner."
Millie dumped the celery from the strainer into the large mud-brown salad bowl, still humming the William Tell Overture to herself. One of her only hobbies.
"They say dinner can wait!"
"God, are they serious, Aaron?"
"Yeah. They say it's really, really important and that- every second counts."
Millie grumbled and walked away, leaving the water running by mistake.
"Give me the phone."
She picked it up, feeling the black sleekness of it. Worry and fear furrowed her brow. What in the world could be so urgent that the mysterious caller didn't show the tact to wait? "Hello. Millie Robins speaking."
"Stephanie? How are you, baby?"
"Not so good. I think- I think- Mom, how fast can you get over here?"
Aaron looked up from his novel, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, in alarm. "What is it?"
"Shh... what's the matter, baby?"
"I don't know."
"What do you mean, you don't know?"
"Irvin's acting funny... I thought perhaps he might be able to tell you what the problem is. At first I thought it was the normal stress of entering a new school, you know, where everything is different and there's suddenly more homework and there are those strange cliques you have to learn to cope with. Stuff every kid goes through, you know." She chuckled nervously.
"But now I think that if that's the only issue... it must be a horrendous school indeed. He won't talk to me, his own mother, about it."
"So why should he tell his grandmother?"
"Well, you don't know each other very well. It would be more, like, impersonal."
"Alright. But can I please eat dinner first? I'm starving."
"Why wouldn't you let your phone call wait a minute so I could finish cooking?"
"Hmm?" Stephanie sounded bewildered. "Mom. I never said you couldn't."
"But Aaron said you-"
"I didn't. That's pretty weird... look, just come as soon as you can, okay?"
Millie hung up and looked at her husband. "Why did you say she said I had to answer the phone immediately?"
"She? It was a he. I'm sure it was a he."
"But it wasn't. It was Stephanie."
"Really? I could've sworn it was a guy... his voice was urgent, too."
"It wasn't a man." Millie looked disturbed. "Dinner will be ready in ten minutes. After we eat I'm going to go see my daughter."