Join our amazing community of book lovers and get the latest stories doing the rounds.

We respect your privacy and promise no spam. We’ll send you occasional writing tips and advice. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Mainstream Fiction

Those Who Occupy

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

Thank goodness, almost the whole Redson family-all five of us- gathered together, preparing, all except one of course, but Bethie would arrive soon enough. Father made a quick visit to Sandy Acres and told us Bethie was resisting a bit but she wouldn’t be much longer. Beau’s transition was a real slog-Alzheimer’s-but he finally made it back. Bobby came quick with a heart attack-or was it a stroke? Never mind.  I got off easy-died in childbirth-so I’ve been here alone, watching everything go to pot, for eons, even before Mother and Father. I think Father would love to have the grandmas and grandpas also with us, but Mother is not willing to share her home with the extendeds, as she calls them. Mother tends towards closing off – that’s just her way. Of course, everyone blamed me for the state of things, but what could I do, all on my own?  Anyway, I was simply on pins and needles awaiting Bethie. In life, I considered her to be a bit goody-goody and spoiled, with her blonde hair and all, but I hoped things would be different, now that we’re all in the same place.

There was much to be done. Those Who Occupy (T.W.O) let the house go in unspeakable, shocking ways. Oh, the paint had faded to a terrible, pealing grey! It made me moan day and night just thinking of it, so opposite the heavenly sky blue of our youths. Father, who painted the whole thing every summer with a nine-inch brush, was just horrified. We also found the front steps crooked and lacking red geraniums. Mother raged with embarrassment by this, having told us many times that our front-step geraniums were absolutely our trademark. The yard’s few green spaces were overgrown with all kinds of vines and weeds with no vegetable garden, no swing, no apple orchard, all pavement and machinery.

“It’s like Hanson’s garage here now!” Beau said, in his dopey way, and I agreed with him, for once. Beau isn’t the smartest, but I suppose he was right about that.

And that was just the outside. The inside was a wreck as well, full of cheap white furniture. Bobby slammed his fist into a bookcase and it cracked right open. He’s still impulsive and destructive, just like when he was a baby.

“Clearly low quality,” he said. “Who’s ever heard of white furniture anyway?”

That’s when we decided to bring our lovely brown wooden things back. Mother swept through the attic and found our old grandfather clock and the bureau from Father’s first house, and pretty much all of the bedframes.

“Everything else I can just whip up,” Mother said confidently. That’s just how she is.

The dogs, all four of them, have joined us, as well. I honestly can’t remember all their names, but I know for sure there were at least two called Chuckles. Chuckles 1 and Chuckles 2. I think that was Beau’s idea. I thought it was rather dumb to name animals the same name. I mean, they didn’t even look the same; one was a mutt and one was a poodle. And, by the way, both dogs were, in life, growly and barky and most unpleasant, not chuckly in the least, and that’s still true now.

Much to the disturbance of T.W.O, the dogs ran from one end of the house to the other, barking and jumping on things. We laughed uproariously at that and kept pushing all the terrible white furniture out and our things in. There was, of course, some resistance from T.W.O, which upset all of us. We spent an endless amount of time getting things back to normal and T.W.O put everything back. Can you imagine? All our effort wasted! We looked in the windows and through the floor and heard and saw them carrying on about the changes. One of them -may be the sister?- was crying and shaking.

“The drama!” Mother exclaimed. “My heavens.”

Mother could never abide drama from us children, Father, or anyone else.

Me neither, to be perfectly honest.

After a few more attempts at reclaiming the Redson Ancestral Home, which is how mother has recently started referring to it, and a few more negative responses from T.W.O, Father announced that Bethie should arrive the next day and that we must do something extreme that very night to reclaim our Rightful Property. Except with Mother, Father has always been a commanding personality. His business partners even sued him once, just because he had strong ideas about the way things should be.

Anyway, I don’t want to get into all the details, but we put forth our best effort, which, with five people and four dogs, can be quite profound.

Needless to say, that was the end of T.W.O. We giggled for ages watching them run out the door, leaving even their clothes behind.

“The least they could have done was not made such a mess,” Mother sniffed.

When unified behind what’s right, we Redsons have a way of making things happen.

Father was correct, Bethie arrived, all spoiled smiles and sunshine, just like always, and we had the house exactly as we had imagined it would be when all six Redsons and four dogs (including two Chuckles) reclaimed our Rightful Place. Unfortunately, Bethie didn’t appreciate any of it. She actually scowled at us. Can you imagine?

“What about those poor people who lived here? What have you done to them?” She looked at each of us with her typical accusatory, beady eyes. She might as well have been ten years old again. No matter, she’ll adjust, just as we all have. All will be lovely again, with red geraniums and everything made just right, just like always.


Maggie Nerz Iribarne (USA)

Maggie Nerz Iribarne is 53, living her writing dream in a yellow house in Syracuse, New York. She writes about witches, dys/functional relationships, small disappointments/pleasures, the very old, bats/cats, priests/nuns, cleaning ladies, runaways, struggling teachers, neighborhood ghosts, and other things. She keeps a portfolio of her published work at

Write A Comment