Lamprey Face 2

The incident with the cards reminded me that Lamprey Face and Joseph also had a nasty surprise in the basement: down there in the dark was a floating rib cage with a Jack-O-Lantern inside. It didn't do anything other than float around and bump into the walls, but it gave visitors to the basement a creepy feeling, nonetheless, and no explanation was ever offered for why it was there.

I made the mistake of asking about the rib cage, once. "Deal," Lamprey Face slobbered asthmatically, "and mind your own business." From under the table I heard a growl from Joseph. His piñata thighs rustled. There was even a soft and sympathetic pair of bumps from downstairs.

The first time they took me downstairs it was after a particularly stormy game of rummy. "Do you think God is a rotten, giggling bastard?" asked Lamprey Face in his squishy way, pulling me down the stone stairs by a length of braided cord. "No," replied Joseph, "I think some homes are simply sadder than others."

When the three of us reached the bottom of the stairs the rib cage was visible only as a soft, pulsing orange glow in the far corner. It had gotten stuck behind an old bookcase and was bumping around. "Have you ever thought about simply letting it out,?" I asked. "I'd rather hang onto it," said Joseph, "but I have thought about taking it out to the cornfield for a hover."