Status Updates posted by Rick_Andrew
Just another I’m-terrified-by-things-in-the-night story—old one. This thing was Stevie Ray Vaughan.
One Friday after work, I found I-35--my one pipeline home out of the city--strangled by traffic.
Screw that ! One block down from my office was the lake. I blew up my inflatable boat. I rowed, seeing sights and shorebound tourists. Texas weather is anything but cold: On this sweaty December evening, after dark I was still sculling my aquatic laps around the lake, enjoying the breeze that had kept building.
But I'd been overdoing it.
I started to realize one of the boat's chambers was losing its air.
You can drive a nail with a chunk of steel, but you can't with a blob of Jell-O; likewise, an inflatable boat needs good pressure in the rowing chamber, or your oar won't push the boat through the water--you might as well "abandon Slinky."
The wind was blowing harder and waves were choppy. Despite the boat becoming hard to row, I was two hours fatigued--so I didn't think jumping out to swim the distance to shore a good idea.
After an unusually hard row--overruling tired muscles against the collapsing boat--I felt crashed and trashed, like my blood no longer contained one molecule of energy even for a thought: Laboring thru shallows, my hazy brain not even registering I was now safe to get out, I shoved the oars to strain the rest of the way onto the bank, then flopped backward, spent, over the still-inflated bow, looking up at the stars.
AAHHHH ! MERCY !
Towering over me, he looked pissed !
I was in no shape for surprises, raising not even a hand. I was already committing my scant energy to cringing, and my cerebrum was offline--not a thought !
I realized the guy hadn't moved. Hadn't breathed. His countenance hadn't twitched.
He was cast in bronze. He was Stevie Ray Vaughan, the guitarist from Austin. Complete with his cape and guitar. A recent addition on the shores of Austin's Town Lake.
His dramatic footlights had thrown an evil, Gothic visage, piercing the night and my personal space.
He'd been innocently waiting for somebody high or sugar-crashed or otherwise wasted to turn, see him too close, and scream their balls off for mercy. The city should watch where they put things like that.
Not fiction, this happened in my house recently--
It was a dark and stormy night, in a great big house. Thunderclouds had swirled down from the north and were dumping the rain.
On the phone I had just talked with Jenny--who, with our son, was out-of-state on their road trip to see a massive museum.
I was in my recliner sitting quietly a moment because I was ready to go to bed. The dark filled every room, all but disregarding a few puny battery-powered candles: Left the only soul in the house, I was downshifting for sleep.
Power briefly flashed out. The kitchen clock winked--otherwise I wouldn't have missed power, since I'd already had the lights out.
But over the din of the pounding storm, I made out some grating noises and then--footfalls. In our bedroom, over my head.
In my mind I inventoried what had caused this big house to creak like that from time to time. Creaking I could explain, yeah.
But there were also the little dull impacts.
Unmistakably, movement upstairs. It sounded exactly like Jenny getting out of bed and walking across the floor--a sound I knew well from repetition, having heard it here above my head-- sometimes every morning in a week--yes indeed: footfalls !
But with Jenny in Ohio, then: who?
The noise was, beyond my doubt now, a presence upstairs. I froze to stone not wanting to be detected—trying to reassure myself thinking: It’s the noise of the storm—that’s nothing upstairs !
And when would that Nothing--responsible for what almost was starting to sound like distant angry bangs and thumps--descend the stairs, coming this way?
Starting to hear my heart in my ears, I mentally rejoined the presence by trying to reduce it to some mundane cause I knew--finding it nuts--
Because nobody--especially in a pounding storm--breaks into the TOP floor, while rain slides off the roof and sheets down windows.
Over the roar of the storm, I finally caught a distinctive sound: A plastic case, wheels on an axle jarring with an impact.
Our vacuum 'droid was loose.
I'd been petrified by what I found to have been the noise of his slamming into furniture like a drunken bad actor who hadn't rehearsed his action scene.
The power spike had jolted his dumb plastic butt right off the battery charger.
And in the dark and fury of the storm, he was--
Oh no ! I think I've joined one of those companies where they'll expect me to like--DO STUFF for that wage.
That must mean I didn't make the c-suite.
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And on this note: As the whole group videoconvened, I reached--behind the laptop--rummaging for my dollar-store glasses.
I hear "Uh, Rick ? It's not that kind of meeting !"
And I realize in reaching behind, I had panned the monitor (with built-in cam) downward.
I'm glad I dress head-to-toe for a workday !
Because I wouldn't have chosen to uh...exhibit that zone on a Hallmark.
In an hour here I report to work, first day new job--maybe I'm a tad tense. Mind going a hundred miles an hour. Random story chosen to channel my energy--
So in Austin I was a college kid walking the nude beach (yup, literally miles of beach in the heart of Texas. Hippie Hollow). I was passing a cluster of camped-out folks.
Some bubba in a power boat zoomed closer for a look--and his engine stalled--with him drifting broadside fast toward our promontory. He could get beached, or his hull could take an unforgiving poke from the terrain.
Guess what made me grin at this memory is--awww, all us naked people scrambled to the edge of the knee-high cliff to help, humanly buffering the gap and giving a shove so he wouldn't end up with his favorite toy scuffed.
Well, he'd wanted a look !
My son was downstairs getting ready for school.
Upstairs--off from my normal workday commute--I'd been quietly absorbed in my thoughts: out of sight, unknown or forgotten by all--next to the light switch for the stairs.
I heard my son tell his mom he had to go back up for his socks.
As he was reaching for the OTHER switch--downstairs--I flicked the light on. Ta da !
I'm told they looked at each other.
Then he looked back up the stairs. "Daaad ! ? "
'Tis the season, for haunting. He wasn't all convinced that was me !
Changing jobs. Wife insisted I take a week off between.
What happens when I get time off: By midweek now I’m so beat I can’t hit the gym one MORE day, I have to take time off from that too.
Hmm—too much time—if my hand can only reach
—ah! My espresso martini.