* * *
Last week when I went to unlock the front door and found it unlocked, I was totally spooked. "What the hell is it doing unlocked?" I wondered. OCD that I am, I almost always double-check to make sure it is locked before I leave. I see the dog on the couch in Eldest's room. She thumps her tail at me but doesn't rise. I don't know whether to interpret her presence as a good sign or not. She is, after all, a whore dog who will befriend anyone. She'd certainly let some Bones or CSI: New York murderer in. I had crept up the stairs, only to hear my husband shout out, "Hello." He had arrived home. He had unlocked the door. I hadn't noticed his car in the driveway. I am an unqualified wingnut.
* * *
Back to Elmer Baio talking upstairs in an empty house this afternoon. I look over my shoulder into the driveway. Pete's car is not there.
Someone is in the house. Someone who definitely means me harm.
I dial Pete's number and tell him of the predicament. I REALLY have to pee, but I can't go into the bathroom because, hello, there's a serial killer with a penchant for bunnies and curly-haired girls upstairs. Although I'm neither a bunny nor curly-haired, I know he will settle for me. He will probably take longer in killing me because he is so disappointed by my straight hair and my lack of a cottontail.
I keep Pete on the phone while I walk up the stairs. He tries to assure me that the dog likely sat on the remote.
No television is on. No message is on the answering machine. No one is in any closet or behind the shower curtain.
Trust me, I look.
I hang up with Pete, who promises to call back soon to make sure I'm not dead.
I lock the bathroom door and pee in rushed silence.
When I exit the bathroom, the dog comes and greets me, tail wagging and ears lowered.
I get it, then.
She probably tracks my movements and understands when I go for one hour to do yard duty at Youngest's school. She must have lost track of time or stumbled upon a particularly good Bugs Bunny episode.