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First Summer: Part Two

We all agreed on it later. We'd had meetings, a few practice runs, and we were getting to know each other. I'd hung out a lot with Ailish and Kara---With my background, it wasn't surprising I'd end up taking the younger members under my wing. But this was our first actual investigation, a place in another county. And we all agreed on it later: It was the first night we'd come together as a team.
I rode up with Kathy and Jen, with Millie driving. This was good. I'd already gotten to be friends with Kathy, and I'd become close to Kara and Ailish, but I hadn't gotten to know Millie or Jen all that well. So this gave me a chance. I showed off my new GPS to Millie. "We have 48.7 miles to go. You're going 30.6 miles an hour. At this speed, it will take 1.6 hours."
"Does that thing really say that?" said Kathy. "You're kidding. Let me see that. Hey, there's a little guy walking on the screen!"
"Don't show me," said Millie. "I'll want one."
When we got there, Kathy led the team in a sort of protection prayer. As an atheist, I'm more comfortable with the thought of fighting off a ghost then I am in the prayer. So I'd pitched the idea to Kathy about letting me go in unprotected, to see if any hostile spirits were truly in the house. In the name of science. Ailish and Kara both followed my lead on that, and later confessed to me that they weren't so comfortable with the prayer, either.
"You have a hard time being a grown-up, don't you, Lou?" asked Theresa.
"I don't know," I said. "I've never tried."
We split into groups, took different rooms, did the investigation.
"Setting up the video."
"Temperature eighty-three, and steady."
"I'm going to take some negative photos, see if I can catch anything."
"Lou, can I try your listening device?"
We found very little in the daylight. So we broke for dinner, except for Ailish and I, who skipped out and found the closest two geocaches.

It was almost dark when we went back for more investigating. As we walked back, wearing our brand-new uniforms, someone called from a porch,"How come you guys are all dressed alike?"
"We're twins," I said.
Kathy, being the responsible team leader, stopped to explain that we were paranormal invesitgators, and hand them a business card. Then we went back to the investigation.
Negative photos. Infrared cameras. EVPs. EMFs. How did I ever end up in this business? We did some recording, and sat and talked in the dark---Ailish was still intensely pleased with kicking a cursed statue in the face.
Kara and I decided to go sit in the attic. We sat in the dark together, taking films and talking.
"I don't know, Kara, when you described this attic, I pictured bare beams and insulation," I said. "This is really pleasant. Indiana Jones never has pillows and quilts."
"You know, you don't have to be up here," she said. "I can do this alone. I'm tough."
"I don't doubt it," I said. "I am not casting aspersions on your toughness or your courage. I fully believe you are capable of anything, probably even kicking a cursed sculpture. Maybe I'm your friend and wanted to spend time with you, ever think of that?"
Kara smiled. And we talked. About anything---Movies, books, our favorite TV shows. Things we'd done, people we knew. I brought up a Jason Lee movie that was made from a book by Dave Barry. "You ever hear of Dave Barry?"
"Oh, yeah, I love Dave Barry."
"My god, Kara, I've married girls for less than that."
I asked what five movies she'd want if she were stranded on an island. It was from a newspaper column I'd read, years ago. She considered it, and said,"Can I ask what your five movies would be?"
"Oh sure. Casablanca...."
"I love Casablanca!"
"Me too, but nobody wants to watch it with me, because I mouth along with all the lines."
"Yeah, I do that, too!"
"Monty Python and the Holy Grail...."
"....'Tis but a scratch!"
"Star Wars, and Raiders of the Lost Ark, because I love the whole series, but I'm limited to one each. And I sometimes flop between Spider-Man and the Princess Bride."
The radio went off. Kathy, downstairs. "Lou, we're going to pack up in a few minutes."
"On our way."
Kara and I grabbed our stuff. I slid all my equipment into the pockets of my black vest. "Hey, Kara," I said. "You did good tonight. I'm proud to have you as a friend."
"Thanks," she said. "Me, too."
When we all compared notes downstairs, Kathy had a photo with a strange face in the fireplace, and one from Theresa with an odd black shape in it. Kathy said the closing protection prayer, with me, Ailish, and Kara waiting in the next room. (Perhaps considering I'd dealt with curses and evil spirits all week, this was pushing our luck.) We packed our stuff, and went out to the vehicles to head home. I turned on the GPS.
"Be careful going home," Kara called across the parking lot.
"Promise," I called back.

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