Two years ago I awoke in the middle of the night to hear someone coming up the creaky stairs to my bedroom. Over time I’ve given house keys to quite a few people, so I thought it was wise to not grab the trusty ball bat I keep by my bed and start pummeling in the dark. If it turned out to be a friend in need who’d been kicked out of his house and needed a place to stay, a surprise beating would just make things worse.
As my surprise guest instead headed straight for my dresser drawers, I shook off my grogginess enough to yell, “What are you doing?!” In spite of my effort at manliness it came out sounding like Mr. Haney from Green Acres. But it was sufficient and he took off. I was slow to take up chase, though, as I was naked and had already scared everyone enough.
The only thing he had taken was a box perfectly suited for a diamond watch but which in fact contained cheap sticks of nag champa incense, which he unceremoniously ditched on his way out my front door.
For a month afterwards, every little bump in the night had me springing out of bed straight into a Ninja pose. I picked up my bat and actually practiced swinging it around, learning quickly my house isn’t big enough for bat swinging.
I decided to get a motion detector and alarm system, and installed security lights outside. You move, you’re in the spotlight.
At least, that’s the theory. I get used to the lights being on. It helps for grilling, for instance. But if I’m not active enough they turn back off, and I find I have to dance around a bit to get them back on. Now I’m afraid I’m only protected from robbers who do jumping jacks.
Last night I was grilling enough chicken to feed me for a week. As I was turning over the tasty little strips, an especially good piece fell through the grate. Dangit! I clomped my tongs after it with all the grace of Edward Scissorhands, and in doing so my little cooking timer fell out of my shirt pocket into the fire too. As I frantically fished for both, a bug landed on my neck. My tolerance for bugs is pretty high, and saving a perfect chicken tidbit and burning timer was currently on my priority list. But this bug sounded like a mosquito and felt like a cicada, big enough to suck out my spinal fluid. Since I was alone, I felt it was okay to let out a little girl yelp, and commenced the slappy dance.
I had twirled and leaped and swatted halfway across the yard before the motion detector light came on.
With the eventual help of the spotlights I rescued my timer, and sacrificed the tidbit to the Fire God. A few pieces of chicken weren’t yet done to my satisfaction, so I left them on, took the rest in, poured another margarita, grabbed a book and the guacamole, nibbled some, made another margarita, went upstairs to do some writing, and edited away until my motion lights lit up.
I went down to investigate. No one there. Maybe a big dog or a raccoon doing jumping jacks? I don’t know, but I discovered I had left those seven pieces of chicken sitting on the grill. I expected them to be tender as meteorites, but I took a bite, and my first impression was, “Hmmm…perfectly crunchy!” My second impression was “Hot-hot-hot-hot-hot!” As I did the flappy, wave-at-your-own-cheeks maneuver and actually hissed aloud “Hot!-hot!-hot!-hot!-hot!”—bink—my motion lights clicked off.
So come on over and rob me. I’ve left some chicken out for you, if you can find it in the dark.