Just before dawn the next morning, I was making my beautiful wife a cup of coffee. I had on my baseball cap with a light in front that I use for hiking. The shutters were closed. All the lights in the house were off. Only the small bulb on my cap was on. In my mind, the theme to Mission: Impossible was playing.
Yeah, I know I sound like a nut.
For no other reason than I had a feeling, I peeked outside and saw my father peeking back. He was looking out his front door, squinty eyes squinting.
His front door is actually a back door. He lives in a little in-law house just in front of our main house, so his front door actually faces backward to the french doors that lead into our kitchen. Sometimes he'll sleep there, and sometimes he'll sleep in a bedroom we have for him in the main house, depending on how annoyed he is at me, I guess. It's not as confusing as I'm making it sound.
He was looking straight in my direction, but could he see me?. The house was dark. I was hidden by shadows. I turned the light on my cap off and didn't move. Music was playing on my phone, but it was so low if you didn't know it was on you wouldn't hear it.
But my father could hear it.
Somehow, and I don't know how it's even possible, somehow I knew he could hear it. He hears everything. Everything, that is, except the stuff he's supposed to hear.
I saw him open his door and take a cautious step outside. I saw him shut his door and lock it. I guess he's afraid his three year-old great-grandson will break into his house and steal his prized collection of celebrity nail clippings. Still looking in my direction, his eyes bugging out for better focus, he put on his mask and began walking across the courtyard. He stopped at the french doors and tested the doorknob.
Dang, why didn't I make sure it was locked?
Turning the knob, he pushed the door in... but too late. Like a ninja, I grabbed my wife's coffee and melted into the shadows.
"Heh, heh, heh," I chuckled victoriously to myself.
Later that afternoon, I was sitting at the kitchen table, sorting out the newspaper. My father had already had his way with it, so it was a mess. You would think the least he could do would be to put it back together when he was done, but you'd be wrong.
My father was in the den, sitting in his favorite chair. It used to be MY favorite chair, but when my father moved in with us, it became HIS favorite chair.
"Just sit somewhere else," my wife told me.
That was easy for her to say because it wasn't HER favorite chair.
For a change, my father was watching something other than baseball. He was watching reruns of Hogan's Heroes. He likes Bob Crane. I once tried to tell him the sordid circumstances of how the actor died, but he would have none of it.
Meanwhile, I was still trying to put the newspaper back in order. I say "trying" because there was no sports section. No sports section? That's right, no sports section. "But why do you need the sports section?" I can hear you say. "You don't even like sports!"
I just do.
"Pop," I called out to him.
No answer. I looked up. I could see why. Bob Crane was kissing Colonel Klink's sexy blonde secretary.
"POP!" I yelled.
"WHAT?" he yelled back.
"Do you have the sports section?"
"Do I have the what?"
"The Sports Section!"
"The Sports Section?"
"What would I be doing with the Sports Section?"
I don't know.
Sitting on it?
It wouldn't be the first time.
"Did you take it someplace?"
"Take it where?"
"Why would I do that?"
"To drive me nuts," is what I wanted to tell him, but what I actually said was: "Because you were reading it."
"I wasn't reading the newspaper."
It was my turn to go, "What?"
I looked at the newspaper in front of me. It was like an unmade bed with a pillow missing.
"What do you mean you weren't reading the newspaper?"
"What do you mean 'what do I mean'? I wasn't reading the newspaper."
I looked at my father.
My father looked at me.
"I... wasn't... reading... the... newspaper," he insisted.
What do I do?
Call him a liar?
Giving me the stink eye, he was daring me to do just that. I know inside he was laughing. Not at Hogan's Heroes, but at me.
He made his smack, smack, smacking noise, then turned back to the TV because Sgt. Shultz was about to give his catchphrase: "I see nothing! I see nothing!"
I went back to the newspaper.
I read it, but I didn't enjoy it.
No, sir... I didn't enjoy it at all.
May your troubles last as long as your New Year's resolutions.