One day Sierra announced that she had gotten a job as a wedding photographer and asked Delaney if she could use her old camera. Delaney dragged the large contraption down from the attic and gave it to Sierra, who nearly danced with excitement.
â€œMom!â€ she called out to Mia. â€œLet me practice on you!â€
Mia was tired, but she shuffled out to the patio at the back of the house and posed for Sierra. After several minutes of monkeying with the equipment and making adjustments, Sierra finally snapped a few pictures.
â€œOK, Momâ€¦say â€˜platinumâ€™!â€
Sierra urged her mom to move to the left a little so she could take another shot, but the air grew suddenly balmy, and the sound of ukuleles faintly strumming could be heard in the distanceâ€¦
A strange mixture of odors â€“ fresh flowers and a musty old basement â€“ filled Sierraâ€™s nostrils as she glanced around the patio. To her horror, her old adversary the Grim Reaper appeared and drifted right towards Mia, his hula dancers taking place on either side.
Juan shambled out to survey the scene but showed little emotion. Everyone else was either gone or in the house, unaware of what was happening.
Mia displayed no hesitation or fear as she took up her suitcase and followed the Reaper into the sunny, flower-scented afterlife, but Sierra broke down in tears, unable to watch.
â€œAll right, Grimmy â€“ race ya to the tiki bar!â€
Just like that, the founder of Niadon II and the last of the old guard of the Shanley family was gone. When the rest of the family found out what had happened, they gathered around her urn to mourn. Sierra developed the pictures of her mother and hung the best one in the living room. Every time she walked past it, she started crying.
â€œIâ€™m sorry, Momâ€¦your picture is so off-center!â€
Eventually life went back to normal (or at least a reasonable facsimile), and Sierra dug out the camera again to practice, this time with her father as the subject. Marcel put on his best suit for the occasion.
â€œWell, itâ€™s not really my BEST suit, but I canâ€™t fit into the llama costume anymore.â€
That night he seemed to forget he had ever been married and invited his old friend Christy Stratton over for a soak in the hot tub. He splashed her and flirted shamelessly for awhile before she finally rebuffed him.
â€œSorry, Marcel, but Iâ€™m just not into llamas.â€
The next night while Marcel was heading towards the guitar in the music room, the Reaper materialized out of nowhere and offered him a tiki drink. His time had come.
â€œHey, do you think you could summon up a basket of mozzarella sticks?â€
The passing of Marcel seemed to push Thomas into overdrive. He worked on nothing but skill-building day and night, pausing only to refresh himself with one of the energizer machines. He finally maxed all of his skills one evening while racing on the treadmill.
â€œSo this is what permaplat feels like! Whoooo-eee!â€
It was just in time, too, for the next day he had his own meeting with the Grim Reaper. Thomas faced his fate with a stoic smile, knowing that he was only beginning the next stage of a great adventure.
â€œReady to face the unknown, Professor?â€
The family mourned Thomasâ€™s passing as they had the others, with much sobbing and sniffling and reminiscing. Little Ginger cried for the loss of her dad every night, and even Juan seemed a little glum, though he and the professor had always been at odds. Sierra didnâ€™t seem to notice Juanâ€™s glumness, however â€“ whenever she looked at him, one thought and one thought only ran through her head:
Three good people gone, and weâ€™re stuck with HIM?