Sheltering in Place at the Magdalena Arms: Episode XXX

Previously: Ramona has become increasingly perturbed about girlfriend Jackie’s continued anger and absence, even as she ponders ways and means to finance her own cannabis emporium and cash in on pandemic stress. Meanwhile, Jackie, unable to exercise her acting talents and rebuffed in her attempts to help nurse her Covid-19 positive neighbor, continues in her own downward spiral of pandemic-induced depression.

On the Roof

With a grunt, Ramona heaved herself up the last rungs of the fire escape and onto the roof. She rested on the edge of the parapet, gasping. Was she out of shape or just getting old? No, that was nonsense. Climbing four stories would wind anybody.… Read more

Sheltering in Place at the Magdalena Arms: Episode XXIX

Previously: Jackie, the performer without an audience, took up residence on the Magdalena Arms roof, miffed at her longtime girlfriend’s focus on turning the pandemic to her financial advantage; Pamela’s crippling depression is barely affected by the exercise and bathing routine Lon has devised, and Millie mood suffers too, as extended caffeine deprivation turns her touchy and tearful by turns.

New Horizons

When Ramona woke up, stretched, and realized that she again had the double bed to herself, concern nibbled at the back of her mind like a persistent mouse. 

It had been over a week since her high-strung actress girlfriend had stormed off in a fit of tearful fury. … Read more

Sheltering in Place at the Magdalena Arms: Episode XXVIII

Previously: Anxious Lois turned to the Magdalena Arms for help as Pamela sunk deeper into a Covid-induced depression, while Laura explained she’d called Beverly’s ex-girlfriend to care for the stricken nurse, despite the political rift between them. Rifts remain between Jackie and Ramona, Phyllis and Laura, and important clues to Mrs. DeWitt’s daughter are in danger of getting lost in all the romantic distraction!

Faithful Readers: Another apology for a delayed episode! Your narrator was occupied from dawn until dark, dashing between disaster service work and the AMIA conference on media archiving. She suspects that many of her faithful readers read more slowly than she writes and may not have Read more

Sheltering in Place: Episode XXVII

Previously: Audley, Beverly’s fellow nurse and also her ex, arrived to care for the Covid stricken nurse; relieved of one patient, Lon finds their medical expertise required by another.

The New Patient

“What seems to be the problem?” 

Lois started at the low voice, and dropped the pecan bun she was trying to feed to Pamela.

Lon was standing on the other side of the maroon and silver salon chair, which was tilted as far back as it would go to accomodate Pamela’s lanky, listless form.

Hastily Lois turned her head to lift her mask and blow her nose, then folded the handkerchief to a fresh spot and dabbed … Read more

Sheltering in Place at the Magdalena Arms: Episode XXVI

Previously: Dolly peddled pecan buns to the Arms’ inhabitants but found no takers. Laura’s mysterious telephone call finally bore fruit, when another nurse shows up at the Arms demanding to be taken to Beverly’s sick bed, while a distraught Lois brings Pam to the Arms for aid.


Beverly was drowsing fitfully, balanced on the border between sleep and wakefulness, an unpleasant no-man’s land filled with reptitious dreams that were more like reprises of the dreariest bits of daily life: Buses that didn’t come, doors stuck shut, the supply closet out of PPE.

Then the door opened and a nurse robed in white protctive gear surged into the room. … Read more

Sheltering in Place at the Magdalena Arms: Episode XXV

Previously: Nurse Beverly caught Covid. The hunt for Mrs. DeWitt’s missing daughter was struck by a slowdown. Phyllis kissed Laura, after a decade long crush, and Ramona and Jackie’s slow drift apart turned into a serious spat.

Faithful Readers: The serial management apologizes for last week’s posting hiatus, which was due to the world briefly becoming too much for the writing staff. We return now to our weekly schedule, in time to celebrate Post 25, our silver anniversary!

Simmering in Place

On the fifth floor, in apartment 502, Kay blew a series of excercises on her clarinet—scales, arpeggios, long tones, triplets. The notes climbed up and down, in … Read more

Sheltering in Place at the Magdalena Arms: Episode XXIV

Previously: Phyllis and Laura left the uproar over Beverly behind briefly, in order to visit the Department of Public Records, courtesy of Laura’s connection Florence. However their search for Mrs. DeWitt’s daughters birth certificate took second place to a moment of forbidden pandemic passion!

Public Records II

The shock of Phyllis’s lips in the velvety darkness of the records room muffled the practical problems Laura knew she should point out. It wasn’t only the physical fact of Phyllis’s lips on hers but the astounding fact that Phyllis, careful, protocol-conscious Phyllis, had thrown caution to the winds!

Laura found it at once disturbing reckless—and deeply romantic. The contradictory reactions seemed … Read more

Sheltering in Place at the Magdalena Arms: Episode XXIII

Previously: Beverly returned from her shift at the hospital coughing that she’d caught Covid and certain tenants competed for nursing duty, while Laura made a mysterious phone call. In the uproar over Beverly, the quest for Mrs. DeWitt’s daughter is almost forgotten–except by the two civil servants.

Public Records

Phyllis and Laura had agreed that, for safety’s sake, they would walk to the Department of Public Records instead of taking the bus. Together they set out briskly the morning following the nursing meeting in the garden. Both were silent for the first several blocks, preoccupied with their own thoughts. Phyllis was thinking, rather guiltily, that it was a relief … Read more

Sheltering in Place at the Magdalena Arms: Episode XXII

Previously: Angelo demanded a rent reduction from Dolly; Beverly returned from her shift at the hospital coughing that she’d caught Covid; as the news spread, Lois and Pamela reeled, while at the Magdalena Arms, tenants bickered about who would nurse Beverly. Meanwhile, Millie’s midnight cooking spree came to naught when she dropped her precious jar of salt pork, and encountered Ramona, who suspected the new tenant of taking Mrs. DeWitt’s Meissen figurine for her own financial benefit.

Nursing the Nurse

After leaving a breakfast tray outside Beverly’s door, Dolly headed downstairs to join the group in the garden. They’d agreed to meet and hash out the question of Beverly’s … Read more

Sheltering in Place at the Magdalena Arms: Episode XXI

Previously: When Mrs. DeWitt’s will revealed a missing daughter, Pam found a project to pull her out of her pandemic doldrums. But just as the unemployed career girl swings into action to organize the hunt for the missing girl, an unexpected obstacle derails the former doyenne of dress!

Missed the earlier episodes? You can find them all hereOr start from the beginning with Episode I and use the “next” button at the top the screen to move between episodes.

Making Plans

“You know Lois,” Pam said as she buttered her toast, “No one’s living in Mrs. DeWitt’s apartment now. I was thinking that it might make sense to … Read more