Yesterday he lifted a slat in the blinds and saw The Spanish Inquisition driving through the neighborhood. He quickly ducked away, his back to the wall. Gulping for air, he wondered how they had found him.
He spent the rest of the day examining his conscience for anything that might have unleashed the dreaded S.I. It was a big conscience, most of it guilty, so it took awhile.
He recalled a bad joke he’d told about an elephant, a gerbil and a zombie who walked into a bar. It took them an hour to get a table and when they were finally seated, the booster chair wasn’t big enough to allow the gerbil to see over the salt and pepper shakers.
When the waiter carded the gerbil, it infuriated the elephant who pounded his fist on the table, breaking it into 17 pieces. Then the zombie ate the waiter’s brain and all three of them were escorted to the curb.
More recently he’d torn the tag off a mattress while hiding under the bed. He got a visit from the FBI after he charged his brother-in-law $5 to watch “Smurfs 2” on his widescreen. He bumped fists with the guy across the street and forgot to mimic a small nuclear explosion. He harshed on another guys’ mellow.
The Secret Service stopped by after he stupidly butt-dialed the president on his smart phone. He aired his dirty laundry and had to be revived by men in gas masks. He compared an apple to an orange. At the diner, he borrowed a napkin from a friend and never returned it.
He flubbed the dub, then flubbed it again. When asked if he had any regrets he said “I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention”—aside from the Ferguson affair which kept the talk shows smoldering for two weeks.
And, of course, he’d bumped into a mime at the supermarket and asked if he knew where they kept the edamame. The mime looked at him and said “You see this outfit? You see this makeup? Do I look like I work here?” In reply, he’d shouted “Why don’t you go mime yourself.”
Then, this morning, came a knock on his door. Through the curtains he saw them in their robes and evil eyebrows and stylish Hushpuppies. One of them, a very ripped bald guy with an anvil on a stick, was naked except for a black corduroy loin cloth.
His wife appeared at the top of the stairs. “Who is it?”
“Spanish Inquisition,” he whispered. “Shhhh.”
“Oh for Pete’s sake.” She marched down the stairs and opened the front door.
“Good morning, madam,” said an evil monk. “The Spanish Inky at your service.” The troll behind him, (totes cray cray) picked his nose with the point on his anvil.
She countered with the irritated, no-nonsense tone of a woman too busy for crap like the Spanish Inquisition.
“I told you,” she said, “I gave all of our old clothes to the Vietnam Vets yesterday. Purple Heart is coming tomorrow for my husband’s tuxedo, which he never wears. Also the brown wingtips that he never wears with it. Only a gawk wears brown shoes with a tux.”
“Madam,” said the monk, “on the phone you mentioned trophies.”
“You really want those old things?”
The monk shrugged and gave her a simpering “we-used-to-be-proud-but-obviously-we’re not-anymore” smile.
“Wait,” the mellow-harsher said anxiously. “You’re giving away my bowling trophies?”
“Sweetie, you haven’t bowled in 20 years.”
“But they’re part of who I am. They represent my highest triumphs in life. I was nobody before I started bowling.”
“Oh sweetie,” she said, “you can’t stay on top forever.”
“Yes, sweetie,” the monk sneered. “Tell me about it.”
*Gloria got sick Monday on the subway
©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013, all rights reserved.