(Page 2 of 2)
The Woman Who Kept a Planet in Her Closet by Acton BellDotrice's children arrived. There was the chunky daughter, the sniffly daughter, and the whiney son, named respectively Chris, Kris, and Cris. When something worked Mrs. Dotrice saw no reason to change it.
Chris, Kris, and Cris began to pack and sort Mrs. Dotrice's belongings with the vigor of Sherman marching on Georgia. The accumulated jumble of eighty-four years of living was quickly disposed of. The portrait of Elvis on velvet, the flaking soap on a rope, the box of Hanukkah cards from 1977, the lunar landing module. All were sent to the curb without hesitation. Mrs. Dotrice retreated to the spare bedroom when a squabble arose over whether Chris, Kris, or Cris should get the collection of state magnets off the refrigerator door.
Leroy quite understood Mrs. Dotrice's feelings. After all he had been shunted out of the family merely because he was the runt.
Leroy's nitrogen began to boil as he listened to Chris, Kris, and Cris bickering. Mrs. Dotrice had been very kind to him and they were upsetting her.
With that thought in mind, he rolled himself out of the closet, rotated past a surprised Mrs. Dotrice, and revolved into the kitchenette where the children were arguing.
There was some consternation at both his appearance and his smell. Chris, Kris, and Cris had not been aware Mrs. Dotrice was keeping a planet in her spare bedroom closet. Naturally they were quite surprised to see it making an entrance. Matters were not helped by the fact that in the process of coming out of the closet Leroy had broken the last unopened bottle of Evening in Paris perfume and been drenched by it. To put it kindly, he reeked.
This predisposed Chris, Kris, and Cris to ignore Leroy's arguments in favor of Mrs. Dotrice staying in the apartment with him as her guardian. They certainly couldn't trust a vagabond planet who was obviously undersized to take care of their precious mother.
It was at this point in the proceedings that Leroy suffered a planetary episode and rolled over and absorbed Chris, Kris, and Cris. He apologized profusely to Mrs. Dotrice who told him not to worry about it, that these things happen, and the whole incident was soon forgotten.
Several positive things did come of it. Mrs. Dotrice was able to stay in her apartment. Some needed cleaning had been done. And Leroy had gained enough mass that he was welcomed back into his family. Mrs. Dotrice was sad to see him go, though she was of course very happy for him. She felt quite strongly that estrangements in families were good for no one.
Leroy, despite being busy catching up with his relatives, always found time to visit Mrs. Dotrice when he was in the neighborhood and help her with her Sudoku puzzles.