(originally published September 19, 2007)
When the alarm clock began screeching like a banshee at the stroke of midnight, my husband was not thrilled to be dragged from his dreams of Marcia Brady running naked through a green Astroturf backyard.
“Gawddamit, wha the hellzat?!” he raged at the darkness. As the clock wailed away, he blindly reached over and began smacking it with the pillow he’d yanked from beneath my slumbering head.
As he continued beating the small plastic box into the next century and took the Lord’s name in vain, he also threw in the names of three saints, at least one Stooge, that nerdy Screech kid from “Saved by the Bell” and wrapped up with our 2-year-old son’s name buried in a curse-strewn epitaph.
“If Gabe doesn’t stop messing around with this thing,” he hit the clock again, “and accidentally set this stupid alarm,” he smacked it once more, “I’m gonna kill him,” and tossed the pillow aside as the clock started making a quiet clicking noise instead.
It kinda sounded like a countdown, so that’s when I became concerned. But I decided to ask a theological question first.
“By the way,” I said from my prone, pillow-less position, “where did you learn the names of those saints? You’re a Methodist.”
He kept silent, listening to the clock ticking like a timer on a nuclear device. So I added, “And that Screech kid? What’d he ever do to you?”
“He’s annoying,” my husband replied curtly as if no further explanation was needed. Then he reached over to yank the clock’s plug from the wall outlet and dropped it with a loud thud onto the floor.
Right on top of Chaser, our golden retriever, who had snored her way through the entire episode. She merely lifted her furry head, took a look around then rolled over onto her back. Sensing no further danger, she immediately drifted back to sleep with all four paws flopped in the air.
I looked at the clock – the one still functioning on my side of the bed – and noticed it read 12:04 a.m. Cripes. I felt my husband shift in bed and begin to rearrange everything so he could get back to sleep with – oh, I don’t think so – MY pillow.
I reached over, tugged hard and jerked it out of his grasp.
“Hey!” he grunted. “That’s mine.”
“I beg to differ,” I answered, rolling over to tuck the pillow under my head. “This one’s mine. You try taking it from me again and you’ll soon understand the meaning of Homeland Security’s Severe Alert.”
He was quiet for a moment then leaned over to ask, “What color is that one again? I forget.”
I growled, “Red, honey, always red,” and shoved him back over to his side of the bed. I continued, “But don’t worry. Chaser’s on it. There’s nothing to fear as long as she’s around.”
Then, out of the darkness, a loud snore from the golden-haired goddess pretty much confirmed she was not on full alert status at the moment.
“Oh, well,” my husband said and settled back under the covers. “We live in Missouri. A tornado will get us before any terrorist does.”
“How in the heck did he DO this?” my husband howled in frustration. I walked in to find him violently shaking the computer’s mouse in the air then slamming it back down onto the desk.
“Trouble there, Big Guy?” I asked and leaned over his shoulder to look at the computer.
“Yes,” he snapped and pointed to the screen. “I caught Gabe playing with the mouse and now all the toolbars and stuff are messed up.”
I glanced over to where the accused stood. He was wearing an oversized batting helmet and hitting himself in the head with a baseball bat.
Sure, the helmet was rock-hard tough and rode so low it covered his eyes, and the bat was made of plastic. He wasn’t going to hurt himself.
But still. It didn’t look good. There’s a decent chance that remedial education is in his future.
“That’s it!” my husband yelled. “He’s no longer allowed to touch anything that has a button. No TV remotes, no clocks, no computers, no nothing!”
I tapped him on the shoulder then pointed to our son, the human piñata. “I don’t think that’ll be a problem anymore,” I laughed and walked away.
You can e-mail Kelley Baldwin at firstname.lastname@example.org.