Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – April 2, 2004
An Overactive Imagination
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – April 2, 2004 – I just know there are people who can identify with this! My rotten cold still has a stranglehold on my ears and throat, so last night I made a Neo-Citran before I went to bed. It not only helps to clear my sinuses, but it makes me sleepy – a true gift for this crazed and sleep-deprived menopausal woman.
I’d popped into the library to return my Moby Dick Book Club selection earlier today. I did not like our last book and struggled through it, just in time for our upcoming book club discussion, so I was primed for a good mystery. I headed straight for the suspense section.
By eleven o’clock I was tired, drugged and equipped with a good murder thriller. Just the thing for some light, pre-slumber reading. I propped up my pillows, snuggled down under my duvet and opened my book. The story is about a slim, trim, beautiful, firm-thighed, multi-talented, karate chopping, sharp-shooting babe who works as a butler for a retired judge. You can already see that I can identify with this character.
In the first chapter said uber-woman is asleep in her room over the garage (I personally would have demanded a suite of rooms in the mansion – but she’s young and will learn). She’s stretched out in her pretty, white jammies with her lush brown hair fanned out over the pillow. Suddenly she wakes up. Her big brown eyes stare up at the ceiling in the semi-darkness and she notices that the ceiling fan has stopped. Perhaps a power outage. She slides out of bed and glides over to the window, where she parts the curtain ever so slightly so she can see the other houses in the neighbourhood. All their exterior lights are ablaze. The problems is only in her mansion. The power is out and this means the alarm isn’t working. She reaches for the phone but the line is dead. Because she has a nimble mind she knows someone is in the house!
Our heroine goes to investigate and smartly discombobulates the two burly burglars who are carrying out the judge’s giant television set. She doesn’t even use her gun. The judge is saved from possible harm and our heroine now gets to meet the good looking, recently scarred by a divorce, granite jawed police detective who just happens to be driving around in the middle of the night in his truck, close to the crime scene.
By this point I was very tired and turned off my light. I glanced at my clock radio and the red digital numerals told me it was a quarter after twelve. Because I’d taken my mind-numbing Neo-Citran I got off to sleep fairly quickly. Something woke me up suddenly in the middle of the night. Was it the ceiling fan? No – I don’t have one. Now this is where my over-active imagination kicks in. I looked over at the clock. The red numerals were missing. I reached over and tapped the clock – nothing. I looked out my back window. The lights in the lane are – you guessed it – on! On no – someone is in the house. Isn’t this just great? I have to be quiet. I tried to find my glasses and in so doing knocked them off the night table. They are now under the bed. I hung over the edge of the mattress and patted around on the floor. I grabbed the glasses, got out of bed and put them on.
Unlike our heroine, whose lithe, karate trained physique is sensibly draped in pretty (wrinkle free) white pyjamas, I sleep in the buff. So now I’m standing beside my bed in the nude with my hair standing straight up in its night time Don King style. I have my glasses on (perhaps I can use them as a weapon) , and I’m convinced there is a burglar in the house. I imagined him creeping up the second floor stairs. I couldn’t hear anything. Then I felt a hand on my ankle – he was under the bed. My heart was hammering in my chest like a jack hammer. Then Ziggy scrambled out from beneath the bed and wound himself around my legs. I picked him up.
A reprieve – the loathsome robber wasn’t underneath the bed after all. I padded across to the top of the stairs and looked down into the hallway, hoping to see my ferocious British Bull Terrier standing defiantly in the path of the intruder. It was dead quiet. I could hear Augie snoring. If truth be known, I could cook a turkey dinner for twelve and Augie wouldn’t know I was home , so no help from that quarter. Ziggy was still curled up in my arms, so equipped with my cat and my glasses I crept down the stairs. I knew the robber was just toying with me.
I snuck along the hall to the top of the main staircase and Ziggy and I peeked over the bannister. Still nothing so I went back down the hallway and shook Augie awake. He looked up at me and then put his head back down on the blanket. I dragged him out of his bed and pushed him towards the door, forgetting for a moment that he is afraid of hardwood floors and always backs up when he is walking on wood. Augie immediately turned around and backed down the hallway. This was hopeless. Still no sound from the intruder – because, of course, there wasn’t one.
This was my over-active imagination in high gear. I walked down to my office and flipped on my cell phone . It was 4:55 A.M. I lit a candle and got out my household file and called Toronto’s Hydro’s emergency number. There was a power outage on two streets in my neighbourhood. My phone line was fine.
Ziggy was off prowling around the house in search of a night time adventure. Augie had curled up at my feet, and I was sitting naked in my office – wearing my glasses – in the early morning hours, thinking that I should either sign up for a karate class or change my name to Captain Dweeb!