Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Things That Go "Bonk, Smash, Ouch!" in the Night

Spending the night at someone else's house is a classic setup for a comedy of errors.

My mother stayed at a friend's apartment while the friend was away on vacation. The most recent victim of the Scarborough Rapist had been attacked on the walkway right outside the apartment. Things were a little tense so my mom's friend kept a Louisville Slugger under her bed. The police warned single women to be vigilant.

So mom locked the windows and doors and went to bed. But something woke her up. She thought she'd heard music but wasn't sure if it was real or just a dream. So she shook herself awake and listened. After a few moments, the piano in the living room played a single note.

Mom grabbed the Louisville Slugger. The piano then played a single minor chord. Mom was certain that a psychotic killer had broken in and was playing the piano before he murdered her. She wasn't going down without a fight. She moved silently down the hallway, bat ready.

A discordant mishmash of demented noise erupted from the piano as mom made her final dash into the living room. A single green eye above the piano keys stared at her through the darkness. "Hey You", her friends one-eyed cat stood on the keys, playing a creepy dirge as he walked up and down the piano.

Hey You only had one eye, one ear and his mouth didn't close properly because of an injury he'd experienced as a kitten. He'd crawled up into the engine block of a car for warmth and someone had started the car. Despite the vet's protests, my mom's friend nursed the little monster back to health and he lived.

He didn't know he looked horrible. He was a very friendly and affectionate cat, always sneaking up and rubbing his gross half up against your leg or your cheek. His meows finished with a creepy trailing snort-whistle that usually sent people into fits of giggles when they heard him coming. And he liked to play the piano at night.

But my favorite story about staying overnight at someone else's house involved my dad. My parents and aunts and uncles and cousins all spent the night once at my grandparent's house. It was crowded and noisy and much wine was consumed. The adults staggered off to bed upstairs while the kids slept on the main floor.

Of course we talked and goofed around instead of sleeping, so we were awake when we heard my dad's distinctive lumbering walk overhead as he headed for the bathroom. Many minutes passed. Then we heard my mom go to the bathroom. We found out later she went to the bathroom to wake dad up, because he'd fallen asleep sitting on the can. So she goes back to bed and dad finishes up and suddenly we hear a loud thud. We froze.

A few seconds later there was a tremendous smashing noise. It turned out that dad, in his wine-induced fatigue, had forgotten he was not at home, so he turned right coming out of the bathroom instead of left. At my grandparent's house, the only thing to the right of the bathroom was a window and a huge flight of stairs, going down. My dad missed the stairs by a few inches, thanks to the four-inch post holding up the railing. that was the first noise. Then he fell on the floor in the hallway. That was the second noise.

According to mom, who had to revive him, dad had knocked himself unconcious when he hit the post. It probably saved his life though, since if he'd missed the post, he'd have fallen right down the long wooden stairway.

The next morning, everyone but my dad sat at breakfast, talking about the incident. Finally dad came downstairs and sat at the table. Everyone fell silent. "What?", he asked. My mother told him to go look in the mirror. He had a four inch stripe running down his head and face, in the shape of the post.

He had no idea how it got there.

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Ruby said...

I remember that cat. Hey You was not a pretty animal but had such a nice personality.

I was living in the same area at that time. One night while coming home on the subway I was walking to my building along the walkway that runs beside the tracks and the apartment complex. An incredibly creepy guy told me he'd walk me to the door as he was worried about the Scarborough rapist. I'm not sure what scared me more - the idea of meeting up with the rapist or the guy who was worried about me.

Very creepy

P said...

the scarborough rapist ended up being Paul Bernardo...now *that's* creepy!!