Blam! Blam! Blam!
The front door is quivering like Jell-O. I envision it soon splintering, producing two fist-shaped holes through which will burst the furry knuckles of a three hundred pound gorilla.
“Open up!” The bass voice bellows. It sounds remotely human, but not like the voice of any human I’d wish to greet.
I’m quivering as violently as the door. We’ve just moved to a new state, city, and apartment. I’m surrounded by strange buildings and people, yet alone—alone for the first time in an alien environment. My only link to the known and loved is through the telephone to my husband. I tentatively place one hand upon the phone’s receiver. But I hesitate, because this is Ian’s first day at his new job. He won’t wish to be bothered by every trifle….
Just keep silent, I tell myself. Maybe the strange ape-man will go away.
No such luck.
Blam! Blam! Blam!
“OPEN UP!” And then other words—muffled-sounding words clearly in a foreign tongue, or perhaps the mere noises of nothing human. “Yoopie ess! Yoopie ess!”
What in the world is a yoopie ess? I wonder. Doesn’t this creature know any English?
I’m huddled into a trembling ball, but I make a brave attempt at communication.
He’s having none of it. “YOOPIE ESS! YOOPIE ESS!”
“GO AWAY! NOBODY’S HOME!”
Blam! Blam! Blam!
The door is dancing a foxtrot now. Before two hairy fists can explode through its pulsating wood, my own two fists are clutching the receiver of the phone—and the paper upon which Ian has printed his new work number. Both paper and receiver also dance within my hands before I dial.
“Um, Ian? There’s this strange ape-man outside our door, trying to break it down! What should I do?”
“Did you find out what he wants?”
“Uh, no. He just keeps on making all these weird noises. What’s a ‘yoopie ess’?”
“A what? Oh, UPS!” Ian chuckles, and I can almost picture his eyes rolling. He does that with me fairly often, I remember. Like the time I had him paged when he disappeared in Wal-Mart. Or the time I chased a garbage truck three blocks down the street, intent upon hurling into its bed a missed Baggie of cat droppings….
“It’s okay, Katie,” he now reassures me with drawn-out patience. “It’s just the UPS guy. I’m expecting a package today.”
“Oh, okay.” But then I’m struck by another nightmare thought. “Ian, how do I know he’s really a UPS guy? I’ve read articles about muggers and rapists who only dress up to look like them, and when a woman is home alone….”
“I’m sure this one’s legit, Katie. Just look outside the window and see if he’s got a brown van parked out there with ‘UPS’ printed on the side.”
I check. Relief washes through me as I hurry back to the phone and promise Ian I’ll collect his package.
But the door has ceased its quaking. Only silence wafts through the apartment.
I unlatch the door’s lock and step outside, surveying the surrounding complexes. And I see him.
He’s actually all human. He weighs somewhat less than three hundred pounds, and no fur bristles from the fists that clutch an ordinary-looking package. He’s now rapping his hairless knuckles upon the door of a neighboring apartment, attempting to present its occupants with the package.
“Wait!” I’m barreling down the stairs, pointing to the brown-wrapped parcel. “I think that’s for my husband!”
He curls his lip at me. “I thought you told me nobody’s home, lady.”
“Um, it’s okay. Somebody is home after all!”
He thrusts the package at me as though it contained a Baggie of cat droppings. I meekly scuttle off to my silent lair, thankful to once more be alone. That UPS guy might not have been an ape with furry fists or fangs. But I hope to never see his face again.
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