Wednesday, September 14, 2005

One Dark Night...(the story of my Saturday, story book style)

The night was dark. The last of the sun had slipped over the horizon as Nat and I brought the babies in from a walk, leaving the quiet country road enveloped in inky blackness. The evening passed uneventfully, with supper and baths for the children. As we settled Sean, Christian, and Natalie's wee little Xander into bedtime routines, it happened.
Bang, bang, bang!
We all jumped, startled at the rude interruption of our cozy night.
"Was that at the front door?" I asked Natalie, putting Christian into his crib.
"I think so. What time is it?"
"After ten. It must be Neil's brother."
I walked through the hallway from the boys' room and peered through the front door, which is glass and has a vertical panel of windows at its side.
no one was there.
Prickles raced up my spine. As one easily spooked, I was immediately on edge. Natalie came into the hallway.
"Was anybody at the door?" she asked.
I shook my head. "But I know I heard something!"
"Me, too. Turn off the TV. Maybe it was on the movie in here."
I nodded and walked into the living room, nervously glancing at the uncovered French doors. Just as I pressed the button to stop the DVD, we clearly heard it again. Bang, bang!
I gasped and looked at Natalie. Her normally dark skin tone was pale. We were both afraid to say it, but another round of bangs confirmed it.
"Is that coming from the garage?" she quietly asked.
I tried to appear calmer than I felt. "Yes. Yes, I think so."
We both stared at the door in the kitchen that opened to the garage. I was imagining it flinging open, bringing in all sorts of massive destruction and dangers. A three-headed alien, a giant, the witch from the gingerbread house intent on baking babies. Or even worse, the real stuff. Bad men. Men with weapons. Men from which two women and three babies couldn't protect themselves.
"I'll call Jimmy," I decided. I picked up Natalie's phone, anxiously listening to the continuing noise coming from the garage. The only place in our house that would pick up the cell signal was the space directly in front of those glass doors. I took a deep breath and began to dial, which was difficult considering how my hands were shaking. No answer. If ever I had needed my father-in-law to pick up his ever-present phone, it was then. I left a message. I knew no one else's number close to our house.
Natalie turned on the outside flood lights and the garage light. The banging seemed to get louder. I worked out an escape plan in my head, trying to figure out how I'd carry both Sean and Christian and noting the distance from the porch to my car. My car. I never locked my car. What if there were minions hiding in there, too?
"Ok. Do we call 911?"
A baby began to wail from the bedroom. Natalie nodded. "Yes. Call."
So I dialed 911 and talked to an operator who connected me with the county police. I prayed for the signal to sustain itself as I walked to the front door to watch for the police car that the operator promised was on the way.
It was a matter of about a minute before he pulled up. I breathed gasps of relief as the officer made his way up the steps, but worried that he needed to have his gun ready. What would a criminal do if cornered?
He seemed to waltz onto the porch. I was more than happy to open the door and usher him into safety. Standing out in the open was just a temptation for the snipers hanging out by the dogwood tree.
"Evening, ma'am. What has been going on?"
Natalie and I hurriedly explain the noises in the garage.
He nods and pauses before speaking. In the night air, from a distance, we hear it- "bang, bang, bang!"
"Did it sound like that?"
Natalie and I looked at one another. "Yes."
"What is that?" I asked, ecstatic that I would not have to fend off werewolves that night.
He smiled. "Fireworks. On the county line."
Fireworks? Fireworks were the cause of our numbing terror? Why the heck were they shooting off fireworks, anyway? It was not a holiday. Shouldn't they warn people? People could be on the fringe of heart failure and - boom! Surprise fireworks! And out they would fall into the floor, unconscious from fright. Shouldn't that be unlawful?
Natalie carried on the conversation with our good-natured knight in shining police uniform. He did say that he had been on several similar calls already. So we weren't the only overdramatic members of the community.
He left, dryly promising that the fireworks would not harm us.
Adrenaline kept us up for a few hours longer. The fear we had felt was not funny, but its cause sure was. And we were pretty thankful for that wonderful invention of 911.
And though we were promised protection from the night's celebratory explosives, we still slept with the lights flooding the yard.
(Ok, ok. And the living room and the kitchen and the hallway....)

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