: Daria and Co. are owned by Glenn Eichler and MTV; characters, etc. from the Number of the Beast and its offshoots are owned by the estate of Robert A. Heinlein; characters from the Kildar/Dark Paladin series are owned by John Ringo. None are mine, no infringement intended, making no money. The plot of The Author as a Lesbian
is mine, however.
Daria Lane, of the Family Burns, picked up the small sledgehammer and looked at the wall. When they bought this multi-million dollar townhouse in Boston, they had noticed that there was a space on the fourth floor that was about the size of a room, but which had no way to enter - not from any direction on that floor, nor from a trap, either below or above. No plumbing or electricity ran to the area, so, once they had taken care of the wedding and sundry other things, Daria's curiosity had gotten the better of her and, well, here she was. She hefted the sledge. Yeah, yeah, worst case you have to get some contractors to redo the drywall
. She swung, hard...and the sledge bounced off the wall and nearly hit her. Inspecting the wall, she shook her head. "Next time, try not to hit the stud."
She tried again, this time a couple of inches to the right, and the sledge went right through, stopping a couple of inches in. After repeating this several times, she looked into the hole, then walked over to the intercom. "Jen, Jane! Come down to the fourth floor!"
In a few minutes, both of her wives had joined her. "So what's up?" asked Jen.
"Yeah, besides you destroying the house," snarked Jane.
"You know how there was an area on this floor that we couldn't get to? Well, you're standing in front of it. I decided that I was going to break down a bit of the wall, and see what they were hiding."
After looking, Jen commented, "And apparently what they were hiding was about two inches of space and some boards?"
Daria crossed her arms. "Funny, Jen." She shook her head and continued. "What those 'boards' are, are something called laths. Before you had drywall, the way you'd make interior walls would be to tack these laths up on the studs, being careful to leave space between them; then to spread plaster, a lot of times with things like horsehair in it, over the laths and into the cracks. As soon as the plaster dried, you had a sturdy interior wall."
"And as interesting as that wasn't, why are you telling us about it?" Jane looked puzzled.
"Well," Daria said, slightly exasperated, "if there are laths on this side, there's a finished wall on the other. I highly doubt that they finished a wall if it was an attic-type area, so there's likely a room behind that. And since lath and plaster went out of fashion in the Thirties, we're going to be looking at a room with seventy year old - maybe older - stuff." A thought struck her. "Is Quinn back from her and Stacy's visit to the BSFD?"
"Don't know, but since she's not at a hospital, it probably wouldn't hurt to call, babe." Jen smiled at her wife's slight blush, after a year of being openly (but illegally) married, and a month after having tied the knot legally, and she decided to cut her a break. She pulled her phone out, hit a speed dial number, and said, "Hey, Q, it's your favorite sis-in-law. Well, I knew it was one of us two. Where are you at?" She nodded. "Cool. Come up to the fourth, if you would? Thanks, Q." She hung up. "She just got back, be up in a few."
"Good." Daria pointed to a pair of small sledges leaning against the wall. "Why don't we have a hole made by the time she gets up? I think that we shouldn't disturb the studs unless we have someone who know's what's load-bearing and what's not." And in about a minute, they had a hole made in the drywall; due to very good luck, and having the laths end on one side of their hole, they were able to push an opening, like a door, in the hole.
Jane stepped back and hit the speed dial on her phone. "Quinn? On your way, could you stop by my studio and pick up a circular saw? Oh, and an extension cord? Thanks. We love you, too." She closed the phone and said, "She's getting them, that should cut down our time."
Daria smirked. "You didn't have to ask for an extension cord." She gestured to the 'trouble light,' with a receptacle built in, just as Quinn and Stacy trudged down the hallway, grumbling. The phrase, "pack mule," could be heard clearly. Finally, they made it to where the wives were, and dropped the tools.
"All right, why did I have to carry all of this stuff here?" Quinn asked.
"Because you were closest, Quinn," Daria said, while Jen hooked up the saw.
"No, I mean why did you need it? You already had me coming here."
"Oh," said Jane, as she put on her safety goggles. "It's because we wombaretenofffinetb-" her voice was overpowered by the saw. Eventually, she stopped. "-and so Jen called you. Clear?"
Before Jane could break down laughing and Quinn blow up, Daria interceded. "We found a boarded-up room, and wanted your opinion on the fashions, Sis."
"Oh! Cool." At this point, Jen had hooked up and tested the trouble light, then handed it to Quinn. She went in, saying, "This stuff all looks like it's from the early 1800's, 1830's maybe?" As soon as she got in, there was a pause, then a shriek.
"Quinn?" Daria repeated herself. "Quinn?" this time with more worry in her voice.
"Daria, you need to get in here."
"Because there's a note here for you. Oh, and a couple of books that have copyrights that say they haven't been written yet."
"It sounds as if someone was playing a prank on someone else," Daria said as she prepared to go through the hole."
"I'd agree with you, Sis, except for one thing."
"You're one of the authors."