Laura La Plante (1904-1996), still from the silent film “The Cat and the Canary” 1927.  William Macauley was a member of the cast of the stage production which ran for 36 weeks at the Princess Theatre, Chicago, 1923.

“You’re possessed,” Rose announced.

“I am no such thing,” I replied, more than a little defensively.

“Well I just had the carpets shampooed so if you’re going to do Linda Blair, I need to put down some towels, I  don’t want Campbell’s split pea soup vomited all over the – ”

“I am not possessed.”

“Fine, I don’t know where I’d find a priest anyway, at least one that hasn’t been defrocked and I doubt any of the ones I do know would be of much help… unless you talk dirty to them, then you might – I have to admit, I would rather enjoy seeing your head spin around – ”

“Rose, really.”

“I’m not helping, am I? Oh I should never have given you that little theater diary, I feel I’m responsible for all of this, no wonder you blame me.”

“No, that’s not true, and I don’t blame you at all, it was quite helpful actually.  It’s not William – I can handle William, lots of writers hear voices – look at Taylor Caldwell, Ruth Montgomery.”

“I don’t know them.  You don’t blame me?”

“They were writers, they channeled people from – the deceased, look it doesn’t matter, I don’t blame you.”

“Then I don’t see what the problem is.  Unless of course it’s that demon Mountie from Hell who did the strip search and frankly in my book it would be worth the trip just to – ”

“It wasn’t like that, and he’s not from Hell, or, I don’t think he is, I think he works for the government.”

“Not the Canadian government surely.”

“I don’t know, some government, or some black op, some dark money group that hunts down time travelers.”

“Oh dear, please tell me you’re not trying to go back and save JFK or kill Hitler, are you? Because even I know that never works out.”

“No, Rose,” I answered wearily.  “I’m not trying to do that.”

“Completely pointless.”

“I agree.”

“Good.”

I had no intention of changing the world. Not on that scale, at any rate, and I felt it prudent not at this point to elaborate.

“Can you go to the future?” she asked.

“Rose, I don’t know, I told you, I’m not very good at this, I may have once, I’m not sure.”

“I’m only asking because if you could and, just a suggestion you know, but if you could and you went and picked us up some winning lottery ticket numbers I feel certain it would help make whatever you’re going through a little easier to – what?”

“That’s not how it works.”

“How do you know? You just said you didn’t know how it works.”

I knew one thing: I had to end the discussion before it really got out of hand.  I stood up.

“Wait,” said Rose.  “Let me talk to William. Is he here? Let me talk to him.”  She scanned the empty room expectantly.

“He’s not here,” I lied.