The fire in the living room had gone out by daybreak, and the gypsies’ resolve in the assumption that this was their house was dwindling. I credit this realization partly to the sobering effects of running out of drugs and alcohol, and also to the incredibly rude odor emanating from the overflowing litter box. no amount of smoke could mask that smell, and it was almost pushing me out the door. Also, there was also the matter of food. I had none; the gypsies had eaten it all. I had a plan, and it involved food that was hidden in my secret stash. Junk food. Powerful stuff.
I was able to procure two bags of Doritos from my special hiding place in my art studio. I walked into the living room, shaking the bags as I entered. My unwanted guests all looked up at once and arose as I slowly walked toward the open space where the front door had been. I opened the first bag and began dropping chips in the foyer and out onto the sidewalk in the front yard. Looking back, I saw that they had taken the bait. The entire band of gypsies was hunched over, mumbling incoherently, and drooling as they followed the chip trail out of the house like starving zombies in search of brain food. As each chip was swallowed up I dropped more upon the ground, until I was out onto the street. The first bag was gone, and I realized there wasn’t enough in the second bag to get them far enough from the house. Not only that, they were starting to sober up. Soon they wouldn’t even have the munchies, and I would no longer be in control. I saw one of the neighborhood kids driving by on his bike. What I had planned would be a terrible thing to do to a twelve year-old, but desperate times call for desperate measures. I handed the kid the bag. “Here,” I said, “these Doritos are yours if you just drive over to the next neighborhood and eat them. Deal?” He readily agreed and pedaled happily down the street, with a band of crazed gypsies in hot pursuit. If he pedaled fast enough he will have survived the day.
I turned my attention to the house, and wondered how I could possibly get things in order before my wife returned on Friday. After washing the burnt ash off the door, I realized it didn’t look too bad. Nothing a little spray paint couldn’t fix. It took little time for me to attach the door to the frame and pound in some hinges fashioned from wine bottle corks. I couldn’t remember if the door swung in or out, so it may have been installed upside down. Either way was good, as long as the damn thing closed and was gypsy-proof. It was time to inspect the rest of the house.
All three pets were out of hiding, and the cats followed me around as I made an informal assessment of the damages. My album collection seemed to be intact, but some of my Rolling Stones album covers had been defaced. Not a problem: it actually made Keith Richards look better. My SpongeBob boxer shorts were draped over the guest room light shade, and a store manikin dressed in heels and lingerie was handcuffed to the futon. Some of the throw rugs were rolled up like giant joints, and the ends were singed where they were trying to light them up like giant doobies. The cats just stared at the carnage and woefully shook their heads, happy to not be humans. The biggest quandary for me, however, was trying to determine what damages were brought about by the gypsies, and which were my fault. I honestly could remember very little of the last few days.
It’s a good thing my wife is coming home soon. It has been said that there is a demon within us all, just waiting to come out. I have noticed that there is not a demon inside me, but a two year-old with a collection of wine bottles and access to an automobile and a variety of household items that can easily catch fire. I like the idea of a man cave, but for me it must be just that – a cave. It’s a dangerous thing giving someone like me a large living space with electrical outlets and windows that can be easily broken. It’s just not a good idea. When I was a full-time teacher I was much too busy to get into any serious trouble. Retirement, however, gives me just enough time to become a danger to myself.
I may have to reevaluate this thing about staying at home all by myself. Maybe spending a week with Mickey Rat ain’t such a bad idea, stinky tourists notwithstanding. There are water slides in Orlando, and tiki bars, and lazy rivers. Any number of things that can’t be broken, set on fire, or even blown up. I would be safe, living in a world with no regrets, and under some sort of control where I wouldn’t be a danger to myself and others. There would be predictability and safety and a sense of calm.
But what good is that?