Saturday, February 17, 2007

A Night in the Life Of...

I heard a noise. A strange, high-pitched keening noise, like "EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE" but at a very low tone and much less assuming of itself than other such noises. Like it lacked self-confidence in its ability to annoy at a louder volume. I wrestle my eyes open, and the giant neon-green numbers on the alarm displayed the time to be approximately 3:34, give or take a few seconds.

I closed my eyes. After all, the noise wasn't that loud, just... annoying.

No such luck--I thought. Frustrated, I open my eyes again, and this time it was 4:16, give or take. Almost an hour I had slept, but now it seemed to have gained a little umph, grew some balls. So I did what any normal person does--if I'm awake, so is the other person in my bed. I elbow him. And just like the many scenarios played out in every single show that has ever been on television, the conversation started out like this:

Me: Rich... Rich!
Rich: (snort... snort... cough... rolls back over and begins snoring again)
Me: (pushing him with the hand not holding me up) Rich! Are you awake? (Duh!)
Rich: Hmm...? Huh?
Me: You hear that?
Rich: I hear you...
Me: Fine, be a smart ass. Something bad is happening...
Rich: (instantly awake, whispering urgently) What? What's going on? Is there someone in the house?
Me: Not unless they sound like a tea kettle with laryngitis...
Rich: What?
Me: You don't hear that?
After giving me a sardonic look, he yanks the blankets back over his head (how does he sleep like that??) and rolls back over.

I step out of bed. How anyone can sleep through such a quiet racket is beyond me. I follow the sound down the hall in a darkness that can only be described as palpable. I pause. I step out into the dining room, putting the living room to my left, kitchen to my right--which direction is that horrible mating-call of the damned coming from? Hawthorne lifts his head from the couch in the living room and looks at me as if to say, "Are you nuts? I don't have a clock and I know its not time to poop yet!"

The kitchen, definitely. I reach around the edge of the door and flip the light... but no light drenches the area.

This is how horror movies start, right? To be sure, I poke my head around to make sure that what I flipped was indeed a switch and not the antenna of a large monster waiting to gobble me up, with thousands of gleaming, sharp teeth meant to spray blood on the walls while getting to the succulent marrow of my bones--yes, definitely, this is how horror movies start...

I grab the switch tightly between my thumb and forefinger and perform a rapid-fire flipping motion, as if performing the infamous "Grip-and-Flip" motion on the plastic tab will cause the electric current to make the leap from wire to wire and bathe me in fluorescent beauty.


Where did I put that flashlight? I wonder. I step back and bang my foot against the edge of the coal stove hearth.

"Ouch!!" I whisper-shout, more out of surprise than real pain, but I hear Wonderdog leap from his place on the couch and rush to my side, tail wagging uncertainly. "Go find the flashlight, Hawthorne. Go, flashlight!"

His tail wags more fiercely, convinced we are now playing a game. I didn't expect this to work, but in horror movies you never know, do you? I jump slightly when the fire bush bangs against the kitchen window. Apparently the "Siberian Front" still grips the outside world much like I was gripping the light switch just moments ago...

I reach my hands out, turn around, wary of the coal stove making more sudden leaps into my path, and feel my way back to the computer desk in the dining room. I reach for the wall-mounted lamp and press the switch, and a yellow-green glow surrounds the vicinity. Hawthorne, now bored with our game, clicks back to the bedroom, most likely to keep my place on the bed warm as I hunt the Tea Kettle Demon of West Bowmans. Some best friend he is turning out to be.

Within the sickly glow from the old fixture, I pear into the edges where the blackness has made its home. I wonder briefly if the many dead souls of the mice who have died there have come for revenge. I picture them in a picket strike circle on the top of the dishwasher, holding signs like "We're Cheesed!" and "Mice Are People Too!," the lead mouse, a large matronly-looking thing, cheering them on in chants with her mousy-megaphone, creating the keening noise that keeps sleep from coming to my life.

I open and close the drawers of the computer desk, convinced that somewhere in this disaster of an organized drawer there must be a battery-operated light saber, or at least a flashlight of sorts. I find a small key-chain-sized light that reads "Cabela's." Mom's stocking-stuffers to the rescue--who knew the Gay Boys would actually use a gift from a sports warehouse? The ironies of life...

It's beam is tiny but strong. I walk toward the kitchen and shine the light directly on the dishwasher top--no mouse picket. So it is the Tea Kettle Demon of West Bowmans! I wonder if the phone will ring, and a creepy voice will say something to the effect of "It's four-thirty--do you know where your kettle is? BWAHAHAHA!!!"

I creep slowly onto the linoleum, conscious of how many weeks have passed since it was blessed by some soapy water. But I stop suddenly--my slipper-sock is damp--wet--cold. I think, Aha! The Tea Kettle Demon's slime trail! I shine the fragile beam on the floor, seeing the glossy reflection of water. I allow the tendril of light to follow the trail up to the dishwasher, up the side...

Ignoring the icky feeling of my slipper sock, I wander further into the black to where the dishwasher sits in front of the sink. The faucet is still on, with the dishwasher hose leading from it to the insides of the dish-cleaning beast. As I reach for the faucet--

Light! Everywhere! The aliens! They've come back to finish the anal probe!! No--it's the fluorescent. The switch which I had left in the "on" position finally decided to cross the dead-mouse picket line and earn its keep. I pause and let my eyes adjust to this new and wonderful brilliance. I cursory glance reveals no tea kettle monster, but it does reveal a steady, tiny stream of water bursting out from between the faucet and the hose to the appliance. I reach out again and this time manage to turn off the water without a sudden burst of anything untoward.

And just like that, the noise stopped. Silence. I sigh with relief. I unhook the dishwasher and roll it back over beside the frig, walking through the mini-river, creating an ickier feeling between the toes. I exit, plunging the kitchen back into darkness as I flick the switch off.

As I kick the dog off the bed and crawl back under the blankets, Rich peaks his head out from under the covers.

Rich: Well?
Me: Well what?
Rich: What was it?
Me: The Man-Eating Tea Kettle Demon of West Bowmans, of course.
I catch him rolling his eyes just before they disappear back under his lids, which in turn disappear beneath the blankets.


Sylvia said...

LOL Thank goodness there was no mouse screaming into a megaphone saying, "It's time to wewease (release) the secret weapon!" (what movie was that from??? any takers out there?)
LOL Thanks for the funny blog Ja! Loved it! It was fantastic.

Sylvia said...

one more thing, Ja...remind me to tell you the story of the ghostly answering machine sometime. That story will have you rolling on the floor, screaming, "Oh stop! I can't take it anymore! My stomach hurts from laughing too much! My eye! Oh God MY EYE!!!"

Darkmind said...

So you just left a puddle of water in your kitchen? No mopping up the water before going back to bed? Tsk tsk, Jason. You were already awake...

By the way Sylvia, you're probably thinking of 'An American Tail' a 1986 animated Don Bluth film. The line in question was spoken by the character Gussie Mausheimer, whose voice over was performed by Madeline Kahn

DaBich said...

Oh man! What a let down! I was expecting some mouse-demon waiting to scald you with hot tea kettle water!!!

mom said...

hello jason!! this has to be A HAUNTING!! :):):) see, you didn't even know you had one! it was a cute story it had me ready to scream! (for real) if my dog was with you and my granddog at the time my dog would of rounded up that big old mouse!! :) and about not cleaning up the mess, well, thats it jason, you will not get the good housekeeping award of the year! :) i will. love and prayers