Home, Sweet Home

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The report said the kids were undernourished---nearly dangerously skinny---wouldn't eat the school lunches---said it wasn't healthy food...

Jane Prescott called the field worker into the office.

"Amanda, you've only talked to the teachers, right?"

"Yep, they're obviously worried about the kids; but, they can't get the parents in for an interview---looks like we have to visit the home?"



Amanda stood at the front door, rang the bell, and waited...

And, waited---then, rang the bell just as the door opened.

A woman---presumably Mrs. Westlock---stood staring...

Amanda said, "Hi, I'm Amanda Smith from Child Services."

The woman still stared...

"We called and arranged an interview?"

The woman said, "Go ahead."

"You're Mrs. Westlock?"

"I am."

"May I come in?"

"If you must."

They sat and talked about the home, how old the children were, how they were getting on at school, how long they'd lived there; plus, a few other banalities---Amanda writing nothing down due to her stalwart memory.

She also checked the place out, as much as possible from her vantage in the living room---everything looked way too neat...

Finally, Amanda said, "Mrs. Westlock, we were brought in because the school thought your children were undernourished..."

"We feed them only the healthiest of foods."

"Why are they so thin?"

"It's their nature."

"Mrs. Westlock, they are exceedingly skinny..."

"That's your perception."

The children entered the living room, very quietly---ghostly--and sat on either side of their mother.

Amanda said, "Hi."

They stared...

Amanda continued the interview, focusing exclusively on what foods the children ate.

After another ten minutes, she stood, thanked the woman, smiled at the children, and saw herself out the door...


Jane came into Amanda's office and said, "Finishing your report?"


"Give me a verbal summary?"

Amanda stretched her back and began...

She started with a litany of the healthy foods the children were purportedly fed then gave her opinion of the nearly emotionless quality of the home and how overly neat it was.

Jane said, "What do you think we should do?"

"Not my job to make determinations..."

"Do it just for me."

"I'd say get a court order to have a dietitian-nurse visit every week, attended by a psychologist---the psych as young as possible---see if they can institute some behavior mod."

"State would never fund that..."

"I know..."


Two weeks later the children were removed from the home...

One week after that the Westlock parents committed suicide...


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