Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Ding-Dong (05/16/13)
TITLE: Doorbell Detonator
By Sheldon Bass
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It had been one of those days. My service truck broke down, making the crew four hours late getting to Mr. Harcourt's place—my biggest customer! And I'd promised we'd get the 12-hour job completed that afternoon. My foreman had a family emergency, so I had to leave the comfort of my air-conditioned office to do his job in the hundred degree building, which awaited our perfecting touch for its grand opening. The laborers ran a floor buffer through the wall, leaving a gaping hole, putting us even further behind schedule.
Getting home at eight-thirty, I figured to put my feet up in the recliner after a satisfying supper and a cold shower. Problem was, I'd forgotten I promised my wife she could go to a woman's retreat that evening, while I took care of Felicia, our two-year old. My dearest was rather miffed that I was late. But patiently wading through her tirade, I delivered a pacifying hug and kiss along with my humble apology; then saw her off. That's when the air conditioner quit working.
By then I was far too tired to attempt repairs and entertain our precious bundle of exasperating energy at the same time.
"It's almost time for bed honey. Daddy has to go out to the garage to get a couple fans out of storage."
"Sorry honey, Daddy's too tired to play airplane tonight, besides you'll get too dizzy to go to sleep." That's when the whining began.
"Felicia Marie." This was my authoritative voice. "You stay right there on the couch while Daddy gets the fans."
Pouring sweat—I left the inside door to the garage open, to accommodate hearing anything our tiny steamroller could get into. I should have known the silence meant trouble.
In the garage, I pulled the fans from the loft and turned around to find Felicia had followed me into the fascinating world of tools, junk and...
She'd somehow managed to get the lid off a tube of axle grease and was proceeding to smear it over 78 percent of her body, including her full head of dark curly locks.
Into the bathtub she went.
"Never knew such a small body could have so many nooks and crannies. I hope I left some skin."
After the bath it was way past her bedtime, so I got her all tucked in.
"Honey, Daddy has to get to bed too, so I want you to be a good girl and..."
"Oh yeah—the bedtime story. Okay, but a quick one."
"Once upon a time there was a little girl, who lived on an Island made out of cookies..."
"Now who in blazes is here this time of night?" I went to open the door, but there was no one there.
"Great—just what I need—someone playing pranks!"
Finally the bed-time story was told, and Felicia looked like she might actually drift off to sleep.
"Ahhh" That cold shower hit the spot. But before I could get dried off...
"DING-DONG" Again, no one was there.
"Lord, I know you said you wouldn't give me more than I can bear—help me have patience."
"Sweet sleep." That pillow felt so good... "Ahhh." I was ready for dreamland. Until, "DING-DONG."
"Now that's enough!"
Irately, I flew to the door and ran outside looking all around the yard, ready to clobber the perpetrator. Then standing in the doorway, I heard it again, "DING-DONG".
"What in the world's going on here? The doorbell is going off by itself." Then the real culprit revealed himself. Petey, our cockatiel, had learned a new sound.
My threat was an empty one.
"Petey! You Ding-Dong one more time and I'll feed you to the neighbor's cat."
"Meow." He'd learned that one the week before.
"Yeah, that's right, CAT!" Then the phone rang.
"Hi sweetheart—there's a little problem. My car won't start."
I was just teetering on the edge, about to lose my temper, when Petey pushed me over the precipice.
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