07 Aug

Wake-up Call

I awoke this morning to an intermittent beeping sound — so intermittent, in fact, that after it would wake me up, I’d lie there for a second sleepily contemplating whether or not I had heard a beeping sound until I finally drifted back to sleep, at which point, I’d hear the sound again. This happened about five times, probably.

Then I heard the floorboards creaking loud enough to wake me up for real. I immediately ruled out cats as culprits. It sounded more like a human-sized weight. The dog was right next to me in bed. I quickly deduced that it had to be a person.

In our house!

I slammed my hand on Eileen’s side of the bed to feel if she was there. If she had been, it would have been a rude awakening indeed.

Eileen walked into the room just as I was groggily sitting up. “What’s going on?” I asked.

“There’s a beeping sound. I think it’s a smoke alarm, but I can’t find it.”

I got up and walked out of the bedroom. “It’s this one,” I said, walking toward the most obvious smoke detector.

“I already checked that one,” Eileen said.

I stood there for a full minute until it went off again. I was wrong. “It’s the one in the bedroom,” I said.

“I was just in there trying to get it down, but I couldn’t. Is there one in the piano room?”

“I don’t think so.” I walked into the piano room and turned on the light. The alarm beeped again. It seemed to be coming from the original detector. I thought for a second and came up with a brilliant plan: check the basement.

“Where are you going?” Eileen said, as I walked through the kitchen. I mumbled an incoherent response.

At the bottom of the basement stairs, I paused until I heard it again. I sneezed just as it sounded. It was coming from the furnace room (Can I call that place a cellar? Cuz I do.). I walked into the cellar and listened again.

Eileen came in shortly afterwards and we both listened. “Did you say ‘shit’?” she asked.

“No. I sneezed.”

It beeped.

“There.” We both pointed at a smoke detector lying uselessly on the workbench. I picked it up and opened it. It had no battery.


We looked around. It beeped again. We looked back at the work bench. There was another one lying there — with batteries.

“Good grief,” I said, as we left the cellar. While we were heading back upstairs, I heard my alarm clock going off.

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