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November 1, 2010

Things That Go Bump in the Night

In the middle of the night something wakes me up. I'm not clear what. Jennifer is sleeping. I set up in bed. Some awful noise coming from downstairs. A loud bumping noise echoes up through the staircase.

Now, I'm more awake. Trying to grasp the situation. Come to grips with this thing. This unidentified sound from below. A sound that should not be there. I check my cell phone. It's 5:00 a.m.

I sleep with a Colt .45 by my bed. I have for a long time. I keep it just for times like these. So, I pull out the Colt .45 and turn on a small lamp on the nightstand. I hold the steel gun aloft in the dim light and study it.

I'm nothing thinking clearly yet. Still shaking the cobwebs from my mind. I push down a lever and the action slides forward, pushing a thumbsized copper covered bullet into the chamber.

I root around for the flashlight I keep by my bed. It pierces the room as I wave it awkwardly around.

Cocked and loaded US Army pistol in the right hand. Flashlight in the left. My heart is beating in the darkness like the Tell Tale Heart.

"BAM BAM BAM!" comes the noise again from downstairs. I'm not dreaming. Something is trying to get inside my house. Something is about to die. Hopefully it won't be me.

Timmy bounds up the stairs past me, running for his life as I descend the stairs alone. Jennifer still sleeping. Timmy hiding upstairs now. Cowering in fear in the abandoned bedroom.

There is no eraser on a gun. No takebacks. No do-overs. This is as serious as a heart attack now.


What in the hell is going on? I wade through the adrenaline into the kitchen. Pistol on the right. Flashlight on the left.

Something is trying to come in through the cat door. It's probably just a cat. But it's hard to know. The garage is dark. Maybe it's a fox. Maybe a coon. Maybe a cat. I don't know. I can't see it. And, I can promise you this...if a squirrel was trying to break into your house at 5:00 a.m. you'd probably wet your pants.

I'm hesitant to shoot because I don't have a good visual on my target. If you're out in the woods, you can squeeze off a few rounds and see what you killed. But when you're shooting inside your house, it's a different game altogether. If I fire this pistol inside, it's going to be so loud that Jennifer will wake up crying. It'll scare her half-to-death and she'll have nightmares into her 40's. I'm fully cognizant of this.

The animal quits trying to break in. I decide I'll go into the garage and see if it's still there. Wanting to make sure I'm not outgunned, I go to the gun cabinet and trade in the Colt .45 pistol for an AR-15 assault rifle with a banana clip.

I storm into the garage and sweep the place with my flashlight. The animal, whatever it was, is gone. It broke the other pet door off the hinges and escaped into the night.

The Lost Art of Flying

I race to the airport and when I hit the first switchback, I realize I forgot my pants and my gloves. Crap. I'm not driving a motorcycle in Wisconsin in November without gloves. That's not going to happen. I may miss my flight, but I'm not going to freeze in the great white north. So I double back to the house and race in to retrieve gloves and camo pants.

Racing through the canyon now. Going to be close. Have to hurry.

Get to the airport and clear security. Get to the gate. No problem.

I have 15 minutes to kill, and this is what separates the travelers from the flotsam and jetsam. I go stand in line at Quizno's near the gate and order a sandwich. Why? Not because I'm hungry. But because you have to plan that, when you walk on a plane, they're going to seal the door behind you and you'll go nowhere for 9 hours. You have to plan for this, or they'll screw you, sooner or later.

As soon as I board, they immediately halt the boarding process due a "mechanical" and my heart sinks. This is when it sucks. When you're stuck on the tarmac on an Airbus A319 and a mechanic's milling around the cockpit and you're not sure whether to deboard or not. It's hard to know. Hard to say.

I interrogate the pilot at great length and he assures me that the only problem is one of the radios won't operate on all of the frequencies it should and, if they have to replace it, they only have to yank it out and drop in the new one. This is what he tells me. I don't trust him, but I listen to his words. I assign a certain amount of weight to them. These words that come from the pilot's mouth. People that work for the airline are incapable to telling the truth when a mechanic is on the plane. I know this from experience.

I look at him and nod.

"But the only other radio is in East Kansas, right?" I retort. I know how this game is played. I've been down this road before.

"Nope. We've got another one here at the airport. Would take 5 minutes to bring it over."

And, presently, they restart the boarding process and I'm choking down my Quiznos sandwich and sipping my bottled diet pepsi thinking how clever I am.

We leave 10 minutes late which is nothing like what I'd feared. I'm glad I didn't deboard and normally, there's some screaming, projectile vomiting infant next to me, but this time there's a little blonde girl and the baby is a few rows ahead so things are looking up.

The flying waitress comes by and she offers me the credit card they hand out to allow people to swipe the tv screen for free movies. And when I do it wrong, she yells at me and admonishes me in front of the blonde girl and I just can't believe it. Can't believe that they're dog cussing me, their most frequent flyer. So I just toss the card back at her and tell her to forget it.

Posted by Rob Kiser on November 1, 2010 at 8:30 PM


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