"We didn't show you the upstairs because Howie is taking a nap in our bedroom," he continued.
Martha's aunt, Howie's mother, called and practically begged her to let him fly out for a couple of days.
Howie was about to become Father Abbott, a Catholic priest when a drunk in a half million dollar motor home broadsided him.
Howie doesn't remember any details of his prior life; family; studying for the priest hood, college... a blank slate and he can't find the chalk.
Howie's father died while he was in the coma.
When Howie was released from the hospital, Rose took him in.
Howie lived with them for a few months but they eased him into an apartment nearby.
I get the hint this Ronnie and Howie don't dance to the same fiddle player.
Howie doesn't have to work but he still suffers from head trauma, is pretty depressed and frankly, doesn't know what to do with himself.
"Don't expect me to say grace," Howie quipped.
If Howie was stunned he didn't show it as he pulled off his toupee with a smile.
Howie asked, adding, "Did I sleep with you?"
The left side of Howie's head was absent hair and a series of three dark scars were visible.
Martha kept up a steady stream of reminiscences; I'm sure for Howie's benefit.
Howie put his knuckles to the side of his head and closed his eyes.
The rest of us were spiraling toward bankruptcy when Howie turned to Martha.
Annie was Howie's little sister.
"You're almost as broke as Ben," he told Howie.
"No problem," Howie said.
Betsy was safe with a nine and I thought my four bought me cot until Howie's snake eyes saved me.
"I'm pleased you got along with Martha well enough "I feel sorry Howie, for getting stuck with the lab room, but in general he seems in good humor, considering his condition."
I'm sure neither Quinn nor Martha is surprised and Howie is probably asleep.
A little later I heard Howie shuffling back downstairs.
Howie was nowhere in sight.
It's so nice not to listen to police sirens and taxies honking their horns but I'm afraid we might have woken Howie up earlier.
"Howie's not up there," she said, alarm in her voice.
From the porch we could see the huddled figure of Howie Abbott sitting under a large red umbrella on the edge of the pier.
Howie, what in hell are you doing?
While the rest of us breathed a sigh of relief, Howie remained uncomfortable.
"No," Howie said quickly.
I savored it, but my concern for Howie remained.
You know, Howie, I've given some thought to your flying saucer analogy.
I'm worried about Howie but I don't know what to do.
I just hate to see Howie suffering; especially after all he's gone through.
Howie, who had remained silent, stepped forward.
Howie took a deep breath and began.
Howie shook his head.
Howie, I'm sorry if this vision was disturbing, but it's really interesting.
I'm sure Howie didn't snack on what I'm growing!
What happened to Howie was no ordinary dream, just as he said.
Betsy turned to Howie.
What does Howie have to do with ironing clothes and reaping hay?
Howie can have our bed.
She turned to Howie.
Perhaps something that happened to Howie in there and his past is resurrecting these visions!
"You have to admit the subject is fascinating," Betsy protested, turning to Howie.
We all believe you, Howie.
Howie nodded but said nothing.
Howie started to say something but changed his mind, interested to hear everyone's opinion.
I caught Quinn nodding in agreement, but not Howie.
It should be Howie's choice if he wants to take this matter forward.
Howie began to pace.
Howie, anything said here stays here.
I lay there several minutes after I awoke and thought about what Howie experienced.
"Oh, Howie," Martha said, "you don't have to go to that much trouble just to convince us."
We'd the decision up to Howie alone.
Quinn reacted as we'd grown to expect but Howie's visions became our afternoon project.
Howie turned to Betsy.
The first was a list for Howie.
While Betsy was dead serious, it remained a game in everyone else's mind except Howie.
I was left sitting on my hands until the appointed hour of Howie's nap before Betsy assigned me the chore of remaining in the small room while he slept.
As Betsy and I climbed the stairs to the lab room, Howie laughed nervously.
Howie and I entered the room and closed the door.
Howie shot up to a sitting position.
The phone was in the kitchen and we gave Howie privacy.
The longer Howie spoke on the phone, the more I felt guilty that we were manipulating him into a parlor game at the expense of his privacy.
Howie continued, as animated as a kindergartener at show and tell.
Howie closed his eyes.
Howie showed no signs of the anxiety he displayed on round one but his eagerness kept him awake.
Martha, a come-lately convert to our experiment, offered to fix Howie a hot chocolate in hopes it would induce a snooze.
The two women went below to prepare the cocoa, leaving Howie and me in the darkened lab.
Once Howie succumbed to slumber, his sleep was anything but peaceful.
Howie woke with a start.
Howie kept us in suspense until we assumed our seats around the table.
Howie took a deep breath.
In her brief absence I described how Howie squirmed and twisted while sleeping.
He's run it all summer, Martha said, handing Howie a glass.
She looked to Howie to continue.
In the meantime Betsy interrogated Howie relentlessly about any remembered details.
When Howie ran dry, we began discussing reasonable explanations for what he was seeing.
Granted, that's a step in the right direction but we still wouldn't know if the scene Howie saw actually occurred.
"Maybe I'll just sleep there anyway and see if it happens," Howie said.
Howie gave a token protest but agreed.
Betsy shared Howie's disappointment but she put on a good face.
Think of the possibilities if by the remote chance Howie is envisioning the past!
If Howie drops into ten or twenty minutes of anyone's life, chance are all he sees is them picking their nose, reading a book or working.
Howie and I were relegated to shucking more corn and cutting up strawberries on the covered front porch as we watched the rain continue to fall.
"It's too bad to we're closing down this dream business after you decided to delve into it" I told Howie.
Howie was quiet for several minutes as we finished our chores.
I'm sure he meant well, but his lecture wasn't what Howie, and to a lesser extent Betsy, wanted to hear.
We assumed our now familiar positions with Howie changed into pajamas and robe.
Howie extinguished the light, went directly to the small bed and turned to the wall.
I related Howie's comment about not letting go.
Howie was seated at the table while Quinn and Martha performed kitchen duty with eggs and bacon.
A shake of Howie's head denoted no strange encounters of the weird kind.
Martha would drive Howie to Boston's Logan Airport for his flight back to California while Quinn would remain to pack up his equipment before leaving later for a hundred mile drive to their home in nearby Peabody, Mass.
Howie made a special note of thanking everyone for going along with his dream obsession, apologizing for hogging our time.
A few minutes later, I spotted Howie and Betsy in a hushed conversation.
Something made me think I wasn't finished with Howie Abbott.
"What did you think of Howie?" she asked.
Annie was my friend, not Howie.
Howie only came to New Hampshire a couple of times.
Howie has no recollection and his mother won't even discuss the subject.
Howie was supposed to be looking after his sister.
Did you see Howie after his sister died?
Thank heaven Howie doesn't remember.
How old was Howie?
A damned good thing Howie doesn't remember.
Two weeks passed and I'd put Howie Abbott from my mind when Betsy called one evening as I heated a frozen dinner in my lonely apartment.
"That's good news for Howie," I said.
It surprised me to learn Betsy was actively working on Howie's dreams.
Howie doesn't have a clue so I thought I'd help him out.
Is Howie going to take this business further?
But if Brockville is just like Howie described, we have to get Quinn and Howie on the same page.
After all, Howie and Betsy were apparently committed.
Might Howie be faking this business?
Betsy was knee deep in meetings through the dinner hour so I was designated to baby sit Howie.
Howie asked about my job and confessed he was spending far too much time doing nothing.
Howie paid for our meal.
Betsy chatted away while Howie, as nervous as a groom, simply listened.
We were forced to stop on three different occasions as Howie, a back seat passenger, became frequently nauseous.
Howie bounded out of the car and crossed to the newer side of the street where he had a better view of the few older buildings that remained.
Howie moved forward for a better view.
"He was here in 1932," Howie said, speaking for the first time.
After leaving the town, we drove around the surrounding countryside in hopes Howie my spot one of the scenes of his other visions.
Howie's hand shook as he raised his coffee cup.
Neither Howie nor I really know him.
My acquiescence lightened the mood for the remainder of the trip as Betsy and Howie chatted as if future sessions were a faite accompli.
We dropped Howie off at his hotel as he gushed his thanks.
I first spoke to Martha, while not fully committed; I knew she was more sympathetic to Howie than her husband.
I emphasized how strongly Howie felt about resurrecting his sessions.
Quinn will think were requesting something like a séance or spiritual encounter but if we don't humor Howie, he'll be devastated.
I look at it this way; something is going on in Howie's head.
Could the fact that Howie's brain waves are somehow different after his lengthy coma and all the operations he endured be effected by what you were doing?
That couldn't happen in Howie's case.
We assumed Howie would beg for the five of us to be in attendance.
While Betsy and I shared one bedroom and the LeBlanc's the other, Howie was stuck on the living room sofa.
It seemed to me we were all on edge, especially Howie who, aside from a smile and a few words, stayed out of our limited conversations.
Due to the closeness of the neighbors, I was fearful of noise causing Howie problems.
If I thought Howie might have difficulty napping, I was dead wrong.
We spent the next hour quizzing Howie to try and determine the location he "visited" with Martha taking copious notes while the questions flew.
Howie remained silent during verbal our exchange, looking form one of us to the other, content to let us orchestrate the production.
This time, Howie struggled to get to sleep.
Martha brewed coffee for us and hot chocolate for Howie.
Howie jumped on Betsy, startling us.
Howie thought he recognized the Chicago skyline in the distance but it was too far away to tell.
"You mean my scrambled brain waves," Howie said with a smile.
Howie visited a suburban home in Orange County, Indiana and pegged the date by an open newspaper.
The strain of our activities was wearing on everyone, especially Howie.
I assumed we'd discuss our latest findings but Howie, ever hyper in the secrecy department, disallowed any mention our activities in public.
Could Howie really see scenes from the past?
Howie continued to look to us for direction while remaining adamant we exclude so much as mention of what we were doing to anyone outside our group.
A last minute invitation was given to Howie.
Howie was to remain in Massachusetts, at least for a few more days, working with Quinn and Martha.
Howie, ever hyper about the security of our endeavors, forbid our even discussing any interim results by phone, thereby leaving us in the dark.
Betsy located the families Howie saw in our last session.
Howie was due within the hour so only Quinn and Martha met us at the door.
I promised Howie I wouldn't update you both until he arrived but I have to warn you, things are beginning to get tense.
I was uncorking a second bottle when Howie arrived.
It's been tough on Howie.
We're had poor Howie in thirty-two sessions since you're been here so Quinn's developed cross references.
Howie wanted to wait until we were all together.
"Where I don't want to go," Howie said with firmness in his voice as he glared at Quinn who turned away.
We waited until Howie continued.
"Besides," Quinn interrupted, "If I tried to set Howie that far back we'd be lucky to get within twenty miles of New Bedford and a couple of days of the killing.
It's Howie's mind so it's his choice.
"I'm sorry," Howie said.
"We believe you, Howie," Betsy said.
Quinn started to speak but Howie interrupted him.
Howie relaxed a little.
Howie directed the four of us to go someplace nearby, inside or outside, and not divulge the location.
A few hours later, Quinn would set the power source to the time and location, not informing Howie.
Howie left for his apartment shortly after we'd agreed to conduct his proposed test.
Howie was as excited as us once we could transport him more precisely.
When Howie is unable to verify what we do perhaps he'll let us investigate what's causing his mind to create these fantasies.
"I hope Howie isn't too disappointed if he's unable to pull this off," Martha said.
It was a beautiful morning and there was plenty of time to kill as Howie wasn't schedule to return to the house until late afternoon.
Howie arrived as scheduled.
Betsy turned on a tape recorder as Howie reclined on the bed, turning away from us.
At first I couldn't understand Howie's mumble but then it became clearer.
Howie continued to tell all of us exactly what we did, relating our deeds and writings with absolute perfection.
Quinn had written a random series of thirty numbers and letters which Howie repeated in a bored voice.
I don't know what to say, Howie.
"Thank god Howie pledged us to secrecy," I said.
Howie yelled, jumping from his seat.
Howie followed them, muttering he needed a distraction.
Betsy was pointing at the television as Martha and Howie came into the room.
Betsy looked at Howie beseechingly.
I'd not told my wife about Howie's sister Annie's abduction and murder.
Neither Martha nor I knew what details Howie knew of the event.
Howie looked to Martha.
Betsy's look repeated her plea while we all remained silent, looking to Howie.
Without a word, Howie crossed to the basement stairs, with Quinn close behind.
Why don't you stay with Howie?
We forbade ourselves to even discuss our impetuous actions for fear of disturbing Howie so all we could do is cross our fingers and pray.
It took fifty minutes before the door burst open and Howie dashed out and up the stairs with Martha close on his heels.
The rest of us followed and we could hear Howie retching in the bathroom.
As soon as Howie emerged from the basement we all hurried into the living room and stood around, expectantly.
What we heard shocked us as Howie began to speak.
"Move the tape ahead, about five or ten minutes," Howie pleaded.
Howie described a car parked with an open trunk on the far side of the fence.
Howie described the car, license plate, and man in exacting detail.
Howie was a total wreck and I'm sure neither Quinn nor I was much better.
I mean, we're siccing the police after someone Howie saw in... a vision, for God's sake!
Howie was bewildered, leaving everything in our hands.
Howie just smiled knowingly.
Howie, you're a hero.
Howie looked terrible as he poured a cup of coffee.
"There's one less bad guy, Howie," I said, "Thanks to you."
The rest of us looked to Howie, all of us wondering what roads we'd travel forward.
There are scads of missing children, out there, Howie.
"Think this through, Howie," I cautioned, "before you make any commitment.
"Howie," Quinn implored, "You have to realize you can't cure all the ills of the world.
Howie couldn't do anything about it; it happened two weeks ago.
You didn't just save little Timothy, Howie.
What is it exactly you want to do, Howie?
Howie, you, Quinn and Martha worked together without us.
Both Quinn and Howie protested as one with a negative shout.
How can we be sure Howie is always right?
Under Martha's soothing, near hypnotizing voice, Howie fell asleep quickly.
The farm house area was unlighted and as still as a tomb according to Howie.
Howie obtained a full description of the man and his vehicle and the license plate number.
Then Howie stunned us.
Howie had difficulty locating the apartment and nothing untoward occurred before he was awoken by the sound of a horn, seventeen minutes later.
Somehow, between her and Martha, Quinn and Howie agreed to run a trip back while we remained in New York in phone contact.
Howie didn't like the arrangement but realized we couldn't commute back and forth every weekend and maintain a life.
Howie remained intransigent in restricting his gift to the rescue children.
The more I thought about it, the more I was convinced of the incredible scope of Howie's gift.
While Howie, between his brain damage, operations and lengthy coma created a rare combination of mental soup, could we say with any certainty that his ability was absolutely unique to him?
"Quinn kept pestering Howie to "go back" as he calls it, at least to his own life.
You know Howie didn't want to do it.
My husband did a lot of work fixing the settings on when Annie died and kept pushing Howie.
I don't know what, if anything, Howie saw but he knew Quinn tricked him and he went ballistic.
Other sessions were tried earlier but when Howie couldn't sleep, Quinn accused him of not working hard enough Martha said.
That got me pissed off and Quinn accused me of always taking Howie's side.
No, this was pillow talk with Quinn but Howie knows something is wrong.
Then Howie asked if we'd try to run a session this weekend, long distance, by phone.
Howie offered little and without seeing his facial reaction, I couldn't tell how he stood.
Finally, Howie was able to connect with a recently abducted little girl in Alabama.
Later, Howie failed to locate a nebulously described address.
A Cleveland mother had reported an infant child was taken from his crib while napping yet when Howie was able to enter the location before and during the alleged time, there was no sign of the child.
We weren't sure what to do or even if we should report Howie's feelings.
Howie was unable to remain sleeping long enough for any success on his last attempt.
Howie was able to follow her to a vehicle and relate the plate number!
I can't sleep thinking how we're wasting this incredible gift Howie has.
It was so heart wrenching to Martha she insisted Howie try more than once, in an effort to succeed.
Howie continued to be limited to about fifteen minutes or less each time.
It was particularly difficult for Howie to remain in a silent darkened room without waking back to real time.
Howie had nearly reached his limit when he heard someone enter the room!
According to Martha who remained with Howie, he thrashed about the bed, frightening her.
The word usage examples above have been gathered from various sources to reflect current and historial usage. They do not represent the opinions of YourDictionary.com.