“Hitched (At Last)” – Chapter 12d – Panooksa

Idea by Tom Austin                                         Written by Tom Austin

                                    Revised by Tom Austin


Without the very timely intervention of Tyler the wedding would be in shambles. Brad wouldn’t have his white tuxedo, and Milly wouldn’t have her wedding gown and shoes, not to mention church, hairdresser and photographer. And still with all that there still remained a great deal to do. BB and Mike just didn’t work well together. And they would have to be informed that they were no longer required.

Brad and Milly returned to their own dimension so they could tell them in person. Brad and Milly had decided to tell them they had eloped and were only back in the city long enough to inform them face to face.

Milly found BB during a lull in her rounds. BB said she was disappointed she had missed the wedding but wished Milly all the best. Mike, however, was a different story. Brad went down to the garage but Mike was nowhere to be found. Brad looked under cars, behind the counter, even in the overhead tire rack. No Mike. Then he checked what Mike called his office. He found Mike sitting in a wooden office chair, with his head lying in a stack of bills a few inches deep. He was as drunk as a skunk. Brad got Mike sitting up, and poured some hot coffee for him. But there was a stench any doctor would recognize. That of vomit and urine. Mike had wet himself and thrown up. Brad told Mike to get some help. He also told him he and Milly had eloped, and that he missed his chance to be best man. He doubted anything he had said would sink in so he wrote Mike a note and stuffed it in his hand. Mike got himself into this mess, and he would have to get himself out of it. Brad was disappointed with Mike and left.

When Brad got back the apartment he told Milly all about Mike. But they both agreed there was nothing they could do. They continued to box up all their goods and chattels. In the midst of the organized chaos, Brad looked around and was amazed at what he saw.

“I had no idea we had so much junk! Some of this stuff I can understand, but who in the world needs five popcorn poppers.” Eventually, almost everything was boxed up. The only thing that remained was Milly’s bedroom, all the bathroom stuff, and a few things in the kitchen. Quincy was not amused that his world was suddenly populated by boxes and that access to his favorite place to sleep was blocked by boxes. Brad had asked Milly a question, and she was still mulling it over a day later. Brad had suggested inviting Sirena to the wedding.

“Please tell me you joking. I’d rather invite the plague.”

Brad shook his head. “I’m not wild about her either, but we’re going to have to learn to live with her. She going to be a neighbor too.”

Milly looked rather unhappy at the idea of having her for a neighbor.

“All right. I suppose you’re right. We have to learn to live with her. I’ll even ask if she would be a bridesmaid. But on one condition. I can also bring her a bottle of the perfume called Poison.”

Brad thought it was a great idea. The perfume could act as a peace offering of sorts. After all its the thought that counts.

“Is that perfume new or something? I’ve never heard of it” asked Brad.

“It came out ages ago. Fifteen or twenty years ago. It smelled great then. But I really have to wonder if it will smell the same. The drug store has had a bottle in the window for about ten years. Maybe I should get her Shalimar instead. That’s a little more recent and more reasonably priced. What would you think if I got her a Pet Rock?” asked Milly.

“I think that would be pushing it a bit. The woman may be a horrible human being, but she’s not a moron.”


Brad took all the boxes through the doorway to the new house. The boxes were gone. Most of the furniture was gone. The sofa remained as it was Brad’s bed. With her hands on her hips, Milly surveyed the apartment.

“I’m going to miss this place. A lot of good memories.” The two hugged in the middle of what used to be the dining room, their arms wrapped tightly around the other.

Milly had her head against Brad’s chest. But now she looked up and rested her chin on it.

“Did you know that sometimes when you were still asleep on the couch I played with your hair?’

“You sexy little devil. No wonder it was so hard to comb in the morning. Some people at the hospital are convinced I had a permanent!” He kissed the tip of her nose.

“Brad, I’ve got to ask you a question. Should we hang onto the apartment? If we don’t we can never come back. We won’t have the doorway.”

Brad rested his head on top of Milly’s.

“I’ve been giving that very question a lot of thought too. I don’t like the city. It’s grubby, and every year it gets more expensive to live in. I think when we move it should be a clean break. Sure we’re going to have the memories of this place. Those won’t be gone till we are. But I’d prefer to start with a clean slate, with you, and Quincy in the house. This didn’t really feel much like a home. An apartment never does to me. Even if we never knew about The Second Realm or the doorway this place would always be temporary. A real home is someplace permanent, like a house.”

Milly thought about what her soon-to-be husband to be had said.

“I guess you’re right. Besides all I really want is what I’m hugging right now. So I guess this is our last night here. Here’s to new beginnings” said, Milly, as she pulled Brad towards her. She stuck her hands in his back pockets. Her fingers could feel a piece of paper. She pulled it out of Brad’s pocket.

“What’s this”

“That, my love, is something you dad gave to me. He wants me to pin it to the door on our wedding night.”

Milly opened the piece of paper. There were four lines on it.

Milly turned around and leaned against Brads chest. She slowly unraveled the crumpled piece of paper. Her eyes bugged out when she read it. She turned to face Brad. She tried to say something but was so surprised she stammered a bit.

“My father-my dad gave you this? You know I think my dad is slowly becoming a dirty old man.”


Milly lay on the bed in her parent’s guestroom and stared at her wedding dress. Somebody knocked. Whenever anybody knocked she always asked who it was, before zipping up the garment bag and unlocking the door.

Her mother was at the door.

“The hairdresser just called and she wants us both there three and a half hours before the ceremony.”

All Milly could think was there were now less than twelve hours to go.


Brad started getting nervous. He was pacing back and forth outside the house till Tyler called him in for dinner.

“Hey, Brad. Get in here. It’s dinner time, and stop wearing out the road”

Tilly tried giving her daughter a shot of Brandy to help her sleep. Sleep did not come easily that night. For anyone.


Tyler insisted on wearing tails. He said if it was good enough for his father it should be good enough for him. Tilly accompanied her daughter to the hairdresser. It was hard for Milly to really believe this was happening. She carried the wedding gown with her. The jaws of life wouldn’t be able to separate her from the gown now that she had it.


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There he was. At the end of the aisle. In his white tuxedo. Brad. Milly looked sensational. She was gorgeous. Brad found it hard to believe this vision of loveliness had consented to be his wife. They exchanged vows and then got the surprise of a lifetime. A majority of The Town had turned out to see them. Sirena was there. Merlin was the ring bearer. Tyler acted as best man for Brad. Joe Crangle, the jeweler Milly and Brad woke up to get the engagement ring sized supplied the wedding bands for free. The reception took place at Sirena’s new house. And when Tyler shook Joe’s hand at the reception he handed over the Rapala fishing lure. The woman from the frame store handed Milly a gift on behalf of the store. It was a small frame with a piece of cloth inside. Inside was what left of Brad’s lucky boxers.

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When they went to their house Brad carried his bride over the threshold. Inside they found a brand new brass bed with a note attached – “Let’s see you break this one. It’s got a twenty-year guarantee with love Tilly & Tyler.”

Brad did as he was told. He put the note on the door. It read…

If you think you hear squeakin’

And there ain’t no talkin’

Don’t bother knockin’

Just start walkin’


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