It sounded like Toonses was in the bedroom giving himself an acrobatic full-body cleanse, the old multitasking, no limb ignored, loofah-tongue spa treatment. (It's the part involving his left paw that I don't understand. The whole thing sort of looks like a furry little funny man, patting his own head, rubbing his stomach and licking his shoulder. It's weird. It's interesting).
Anyway, he is not supposed to be in the bedroom. He knows this. When he decides to chance it, he always turns his head, eyes me defiantly, and barges in. By the time I get there, clapping like the backup singer in a Swedish pop duo, he's elbow deep in the water glass on my nightstand.
I peered over the side of the bed: No Toonses.
It sounded like it was coming from the closet. No ... outside the window. No ... inside, behind the closet door. I could hear pattering or skittering or a man with a claw rat-tat-tatting.
Mice? I wondered. There used to be mice, but that was before Toonses changed his address. And why would they be in the bedroom, if we did have mice? It's not like we ever sit in bed and eat pizza watch 28 consecutive episodes of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." That would just be gross.
Hairy man on a ladder outside the window, using a screw driver to bore his way into the bedroom? Maybe. I couldn't tell. Chuck has a coat of tin foil over the windows to block the sun, since he sleeps during daylight hours. I've had to steal a corner here or there when cooking. True story.
And by then I was completely freaked out. Firing SOS text messages that I knew were vibrating into the abyss. The abyss being Chuck's pocket, which was at work, and not at all on a break yet.
I crept around the apartment, the vision of the girl on the cover of Nancy Drew and The Hidden Staircase. I went out on the deck, peered around the side of the house, and saw a red glowing thing in the bushes. I wasn't wearing my contacts, so it could have been anything: A four pronged hot poker? A wolf? Julia Roberts?
I watch enough of the Sy/Fy Network to never limit my fear to the normal range of burglars and mass murderers. I let the whole gamut into my consciousness: Aliens, Ghosts, Chupacabra, Vampire, Werewolf, Wyvern, Jaws, Spot-on horoscopes. I'd relegated this one to alien or hyper-active birds nesting in the vines on the side of the house.
I was still scared shitless when I fell into the kind of sleep you get in a tent.