Monday, August 3, 2009

Monday Muse

"...My playhouse is underneath
Our house, & I hear people
Telling each other secrets."

from Venus's-flytraps by Yusef Komunyakaa


  1. One morning in late Spring, I was down in the basement by the hot water heater, playing with one of my favorite stuffed toys when I heard someone (or some ones, to be more precise) whispering (but sort of not whispering too), at the side of our house. It didn’t sound like a fun or happy sort of whispering though, so I was curious, naturally.

    I dropped my toy and hopped up on the old Formica table beneath the casement window on the east side of the cellar, since it was the closest I could get under the circumstance. I made myself sit as quietly as possible and just focused on listening to the two voices, deep in conversation. Their words drifted in to the house, along with some streaky sunbeams and a big bunch of dust motes.

    “...relax now. At least, I think we can.”

    “I don’t see how you can be so calm. I can’t.”

    “You never are, but you’re going to have to try this time.”

    It was a man and woman. A grown-up man and a grown-up woman. The man was the person who couldn’t seem to relax.

    “What’ll we say when the police come around?” asked the man.

    “Nothing,” said the woman, “absolutely nothing, because we weren’t around. We weren’t here.You got that? We don’t know anything. Howard – please get a-hold of yourself. It’s really important now.”

    “God, Marsha – I never expected – I never wanted – “


    “Alllllll right.” Howard’s voice sounded just like a little kid who’s done something naughty - and he’s a-scared he’s going to get caught and in big trouble, big time. I wondered what the naughty thing was, since it sure seemed like he and Marsha did something bad.

    Then Marsha started talking again. “Now listen to me, Howard – you have to go over to your office. And if you really can’t concentrate, just shuffle some papers or something. Pretend. You’ve been pretty good at pretending so far. Just think about that.”

    “Um...all right.”

    “Good,” said Marsha, “and as for me, I’m going to go over to Aunt Peg’s. The police will be here later, for sure, when Aggie comes ‘round to clean. She’ll find Walter, which I feel bad about, but it has to be that way. Okay? But since no one has seen either of us all morning, it should all turn out fine. You were just at your office and I was out at Aunt Peg’s. The time’s close enough that it should all be fine.”

    I heard Howard and Marsha walk away from the house because I heard the crunch of their shoes move that way on the gravel in the driveway. They each had a different sound, but I figured that was because they were different sizes and wore different shoes, too.

    Then it suddenly occurred to me - I wondered what they would do if they knew I was here – and heard nearly all of their conversation.

    About an hour later (well, I think it was about an hour) Aggie showed up to do the cleaning, just like usual. I heard her scream and then I heard her cry some too. Just like Marsha said. And then, a short while later, I heard a car with a screechy siren noise pull up in the gravelly driveway. The police. Obviously.

    And then soon after that, there were more cars and folks in the driveway.

    One of the police officers came down the steps to the cellar. He shined a light all over the place, even though he turned on the lights overhead, too. Seemed like a bit of overkill, but what did I know.

    I jumped off the table and slowly headed towards the policeman. I was feeling a teensy bit nervous myself, although I’m not sure why. But, I figured he had a right to know what I had heard. Especially since it was about poor Walter, who had something bad happen to him on account of Howard and Marsha. I walked up at the officer. He looked at me intently and I knew it was time to say what I had to say.


  2. That was brilliant!!! I love it! =) You had me guessing right up to the end. LOL

  3. Thanks, Deb! I was wondering if it was too obvious, so you made my day!