Sunday, January 19, 2020

"A Real Wake-up Call"

By Jerry Zezima
Hearst Connecticut Media Group
I am not easily alarmed, except when I look in the mirror to shave, but my house is. That’s because the alarm keeps blaring. According to Judy, who works for the alarm company, the reason is simple:

The house is haunted.

“What other explanation can there be?” Judy asked after she called me at 1 a.m. on a stormy night. The call woke me out of a sound sleep in which I dreamed that the alarm was blaring.

Actually, it was, as Judy helpfully pointed out when I picked up the phone.

“I can’t hear you,” I told her. “The alarm is blaring.”

“Turn it off,” Judy politely instructed me.

“What?” I said.

“TURN IT OFF!” yelled Judy, whose ears must have been ringing even more than mine.

I went to the keypad in the kitchen and punched in the security code, which in my semiconscious state I temporarily forgot (when you have 147 different passwords for various things, it’s tough to keep track).

After the alarm stopped blaring and my hearing was restored, I told Judy about the storm.

“Do you have a lot of wind?” she asked.

“I did after dinner,” I responded, “but I’m feeling much better now.”

“The problem is coming from Zone 12,” Judy reported.

“I’m usually in the Twilight Zone,” I said.

“Is that where you are now?” Judy asked.

“Yes,” I said. “It’s the family room.”

“Check the slider,” she said.

“We have French doors,” I told her. “And I don’t even speak French.”

“Is the door ajar?” Judy inquired.

It was all I could do to keep from making another stupid joke, so I checked it and said, “Yes.”

“Do you want me to call the police?” Judy asked.

“No,” I said. “I don’t want to go back to prison.”

“You were in prison?” Judy spluttered.

“Yes,” I replied honestly. “Rikers Island.”

“For how long?” she wanted to know.

“About six hours,” I responded, explaining that I was there several years ago to talk about writing to young detainees who were in school at the maximum-security facility. “My columns are criminal,” I added, “but I was paroled anyway. I must have been a bad influence on the inmates.”

“If nobody forced the door open,” Judy theorized, “it was probably the wind.”

“This isn’t the first time it’s happened,” I said. “We’ve gotten calls from the alarm company about the motion sensor in the living room.”

“That’s Zone 10,” Judy said. “Did anybody break in?”

“No,” I said. “The person who called the last time said it could have been the plants on the windowsill. It was during the day and I was out, so I had to rush home to see what was going on.”

“What was going on?” Judy wondered.

“I guess the plants were having a party,” I said.

“Maybe they needed to be watered,” Judy guessed.

“They were probably headed for the liquor cabinet in the dining room,” I said.

“That’s Zone 8,” Judy told me.

“Why does this keep happening?” I asked.

“There’s only one logical explanation,” Judy said. “Your house is haunted.”

“That would explain the spirits in the liquor cabinet,” I noted.

“Or,” Judy said, “your sensor in very sensitive.”

“It must have heard the bad things I’ve called it after the alarm has gone off so many times,” I said.

“Make sure all your doors and windows are tightly closed,” Judy said.

“Thank you,” I said. “You’ve been very helpful. I’m sorry you have to work so late, but I’m glad you’re alert.”

“That’s my job,” said Judy. “Have a good rest of the night.”

“You, too,” I said.

“Now,” Judy said, “you can sleep easier.”

“I will,” I said with a yawn. “Unless the alarm starts blaring again.”

Copyright 2020 by Jerry Zezima

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