Samson, my normally docile Boxer, growled with hushed intensity. Still half asleep, I reached over for the reassuring warmth of my husband’s chest but discovered a void in the cool sheets where he should have been sleeping. Another growl……this one more convincing. I was startled awake and glanced at the brilliant green numbers of the digital clock……3:47 AM. “Ed?”
Strange voices came from the living room…..we weren’t expecting anyone, especially not at 4:00 AM! We’d stayed out late celebrating Christmas Eve with Ed’s parents and today we would relax and enjoy our holiday, just the two of us.
Samson became more agitated, more aggressive and moved towards the hallway. He stopped halfway and glanced back as if to say, “Come on, I’m not going out there by myself!”
I donned my heavy plaid bathrobe and listened at the door, trying to isolate individual voices. Should I go out or should I dial 911? The creaky floor announced my presence and suddenly all conversation stopped. Footsteps made their way down the hallway towards my room. Immediately, I closed the door and clicked the lock. I grabbed my cell phone and punched in the numbers just as I heard the twist of the doorknob. Panic seized my body like the shock I felt when my sister had tricked me into grabbing an electric fence. I whispered a cry, “Ed, is that you?” Nothing.
A voice erupted from my phone……”Hello, hello is anyone there?”
By this time I was frantic. “Yes, hello – someone’s in my house.” My voice trembled as I tried not to imagine the worst. “I think something may have happened to my husband! Please send the police……1138 South Parkway……hurry!!!!”
My breathing became shallow as Samson paced between the door and my bed. The footsteps moved away and the voices disappeared.
The operator tried to calm me down, she assured me the police were on their way and would arrive in less than two minutes. “TWO MINUTES!!!
Trying to distract me, she continued, “What’s happening now?”
“I don’t know…..I think they left.”
“Can you see anything out your window?”
I pried the wooden blinds apart just in time to see two men drive away ………IN MY CAR! “Two men just stole my Toyota Corolla!”
“Ok Ma’m, do you hear a siren……anything like that?”
Nothing…… then in the distance a faint warning, louder…louder!
“Yes, the police are coming, now what?”
“They’ll get to the door…just wait.”
Finally, there was a loud knock followed by silence. I heard footsteps, then the door opening. “POLICE! Put your hands behind your back!”
“What? What are you doing?” It was Ed’s voice, confused, questioning.
I dropped my phone and fumbled with the lock on my door. I could hear a scuffle and Ed’s angry voice. He demanded, “What is going on here?”
I barged in, “You’ve got the wrong guy, that’s my husband. The burglars must be……”
Ed, hands cuffed behind his back, looked at me, “What burglars, what are you talking about?”
“I heard voices – strange men in our kit…”
“……Honey, those guys were friends of mine helping me out……”
“Helping you? What kind of help do you need at 4:00 on Christmas morning?”
The officers shook their heads and loosened their death grip on Ed. He broke free and threw up his hands, “Maureen, it was supposed to be a surprise…it’s Christmas Day!”
My fright turned to embarrassment as the policemen turned to me for an explanation. “I…I thought that someone…”
“Look,” one of the officers said, “it’s pretty obvious our job is done here. If we can get you to sign these papers, we’ll just leave you two love birds alone to work this out.”
After they’d gone, Ed sighed out loud, “What were you thinking, Hon? Why on earth would you call the police?”
I started to cry, “The strange voices, those men that stole my car, I didn’t know where you were…”
“Maureen, Maureen…it’s ok.” Ed took me in his arms and calmed my shaking body. “I just wanted to surprise you.”
“OK, but how is someone stealing my car a surprise?”
Ed took my hand and walked me out onto the front porch. I eyed the brand new, yellow Mustang Convertible – my dream car. I questioned him, “Who’s car…?”
“Merry Christmas, Sweetheart.”
I gasped, “You’re kidding, it’smine, really?”
Nodding, he looked at me and replied, “Now I need something from you.”
“Anything, anything at all!”
“You gotta stop watching so much Court TV!”
“You got it, Hon, cased closed.”
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