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Jeff, Dear
by Irena Pasvinter

“Jeff, dear.”

“Hi, Mom. How are you?’

“There’s somebody hiding on my porch.”


“I wish I knew.”

“Are you sure?”

“I heard him. I saw a shadow. He’s there.”

“Don’t panic, Mom. I’ll call the police.”

“No. What if he’s gone before the police arrive?”

“So what?”

“You don’t understand. My neighbor, Monica, she’d laugh her guts out, the old witch. Yesterday, when I was cutting my roses, she popped out and said, ‘Hi Debbie! Have you  read this article on gardening against dementia in today’s paper?’ No, I’m not giving the nasty old gossip the pleasure.”

“Well, Mom, if you prefer a burglar hiding on your porch...”

“Who said it was a burglar? It could be a homeless man or even a homeless dog.”

“Yeah, a homeless burglar. So what do you want me to do if I can’t call the police?”

“Jeff, dear, could you please come over and check it out?”

“What? It will take me at least half an hour to get there. Are you worried about Monica more than about this guy on your porch? I don’t wanna frighten you, Mom, but he could break in any moment.”

“I have a hunch that he isn’t that violent. A sixth sense. You know--my sixth sense has never been wrong.”

“This could be its first time.”

“Hurry up then.”

“Mom, I think there’s something really fishy about this.”

“Fishy? What do you mean?”

“You know very well what I mean. How come you aren’t afraid of me facing this unknown creature on your porch--you, who’s always obsessed with my safety?”

“Nonsense, I’m not obsessed with anything. And you are a big boy now. Please hurry, I’m waiting.”

“All right. See you soon. You and your homeless burglar.”


“Hi, Mom! So, where’s he?”

“So wonderful to see you, Jeff. Is he gone?”

“There’s nobody on the porch or anywhere else, unless he broke into Monica’s place.”

“Oh, I’m so relieved. Thank you so much, dear. Let’s celebrate then!”

“First promise me to call the police straight away next time.”

“I promise. Come into the kitchen, I bet you’re hungry. ”


“We’ve got chicken soup for the first course,  salmon steak and green salad for the main course and blueberry pie for the dessert.”

“Blueberry pie, my favourite.”

“Yes! This morning I suddenly felt the urge to bake a blueberry pie, like good old times.”

“Yeah, like good old times. Mom, you think I’m an idiot?”


“You conjured up this burglar out of thin air to feed me your three course dinner.”

“Absolutely not!”

“Right, it’s just a coincidence you’ve got this three course meal ready and waiting.”

“If you really want to know, I didn’t conjure the burglar to feed you--I conjured him to see you. Last time you came was a month ago when I had this plumbing problem. You live just half an hour drive from me, but you come only if there’s some dreadful emergency. So please shut up and eat the soup while it’s still hot.”

“You know I’ve never been crazy about the chicken soup.”

“Yes, but you always ate it to get the blueberry pie for dessert.”