This month’s second tale from the combined imaginations of Eden Baylee and myself.
Prompt: They were all the same, I decided.
Parts 1 and 3 EB
Parts 2 and 4 BK
The sound of a key fumbling in the lock pulled me out of a light sleep. The side door opened, and a woman’s squeal punctured the air followed by a loud Shhh! and then giggling.
Quick footsteps made their way downstairs.
I pushed myself up from the couch and tapped my phone—12:18. Silence returned to the space around me. Had I been dreaming?
My house rules clearly stated no visitors, certainly not after midnight. Of all guests, he should have been no problem—an accountant attending a weekend finance conference.
So who was the woman?
I sat paralyzed contemplating if I should walk around to let my guest know I was still awake. Damn the thick carpet I laid to soften the sound of my footsteps! It also insulated me from noise below, but … it couldn’t block out every sound.
Sex has its own unmistakable tone and cadence.
A female’s weak yelps rose in pitch. She sounded like one of those small, yappy dogs, the ones that celebrities carry around in their purses. No stifled whimpers or drawn-out moans for her. I covered my ears and closed my eyes. I really didn’t want to hear the climax.
On the other hand, curiosity, especially about strangers of whom one’s already formed definite opinions, is a powerful motive. When the short skinny guy checked in this afternoon, introducing himself as ‘Brian Whittaker, accountant’, his totally unprepossessing appearance triggered a private smile from me as I remembered that, surprisingly, that’s how the legend who was Mick Jagger had started out. And now, a few hours later, after an afternoon session at the conference centre, and no doubt, an evening’s socializing with colleagues, here was another accountant, Brian, at my place sounding as if he was definitely not getting no satisfaction.
In a spirit of genuine enquiry, I settled back on the couch, eyes wide open and ears straining to chart the progress of the encounter below. Again, the various notes of the ongoing symphony came principally from the woman, although as the tempo increased, and they became more frequent, they were interrupted by the occasional exclamation from Brian. This was followed by some relatively indistinct but undoubtedly anatomical acoustics then, bafflingly, total silence until, mere minutes later, I heard footsteps on the stairs again, the door opening and closing, and the sound of a single person returning to the basement.
I jumped off the couch and quickly tip-toed to the main foyer, thankful for the cushiony rug under my bare feet. A full moon lit a path on the floor through a single, small window in the front door. The leaded glass was only meant to be decorative, but it allowed me to see outside without being detected.
The shadowy figure walking down the driveway was definitely a woman, tall with long, blondish hair that fell arrow-straight down her back. She carried what appeared like a large, paper bag. A poor substitute for a purse, I thought, the kind you get when buying groceries. What struck me as even more peculiar was the way she swung it back and forth, like it was empty or carrying something light. When she crossed the street, I expected her to get into one of the parked cars, but she continued walking until no longer in sight.
My guest was booked for one more night. I’d have to send him a note in the morning, remind him of my house rules. Even accountants get horny away from home, I guess. Why was I surprised? Men. They were all the same, I decided.
But the following morning, before I’d had time to confront Brian about his philandering, I was forced to change my mind. A ring at the doorbell woke me far too early and there on the doorstep was a man even smaller and skinnier than Brian. His wisps of hair had not only receded, they had died. His grey skin was loose over his jowls, and his tiny eyes blinked at me through the thick lenses of wire-framed glasses. The moment he saw me, he started stammering apologies about something or other – I had no idea what. Still befuddled with sleep, I held up a hand to stop his whining.
“What d’you want?” I said. “It’s six o’clock.”
“I know,” he said, tears welling behind the glasses. “I’m sorry. My wife Doris asked me to return this.” He held up the paper bag.
I looked past him to the Volkswagen at the curb. Its engine was still running. Sitting at the wheel was the blonde from last night.
“It’s Mr. Whittaker’s trousers,” the man said. “She took them last night for a joke. Sorry… I… we… Sorry.”
A blast on the car’s horn made him turn.
“Yes. Sorry. Coming dear,” he called.
All comments welcome.
This was a fun one Bill!
Everything about the story was unexpected and surprising, and given the current news cycles … it’s also believable!
Yes, scary really.
But it’s definitely one that seems to have worked well. We must be doing something right.