I am Still Waiting
“Stop it! Just stop it! Stop it! No!”
Soon as I heard the screaming, I got up and walked into the kitchen to get a cold drink from the fridge. While I was there, I took out one of the lime slices my wife keeps stored inside a baggie which sets on a shelf in the door. They nest there with several whole limes and lemons. Then I eased the door shut and went out and sat down on the front steps where the beer and the lime and I waited patiently for the cops to show up.
I knew that they would eventually. Any of our responsible neighbors who had heard that awful late-night racket would definitely call 911. These Hoohooville policemen are attentive to calls from my up-standing neighbors, and they can and do respond quickly, since the station lays less than six blocks from my front door.
I leaned over to pull a bottle opener from my front pocket. After popping off the cap, I replaced it and laid the cap next to me on the stoop, with its sharp edges facing up. I had carried the slice of lime all the way from the fridge, clasped gently between my lips, and as it rested there, it offered my mouth tiny electric jolts of bitter sweetness. How readily it then slipped into the opening of my full, frosty glass bottle.
The ale foamed slightly. I raised the neck just as one of my two boys came from around the corner of the house. The older boy strode with a purpose, carrying himself with dignity and great innocence. I sipped first, and then I asked.
“What’s going on out here, son?”
The older boy has gained a total of eighteen years worth of experiences from living on this planet, and has spent all but several of his days living with the entire family. He replied to me with the seriousness of an old judge.
“He won’t clean up his room. You saw that mess in there. I told him I would help him, but he has to get rid of his hamster first.”
I sipped again and cocked an ear toward his seething voice.
“You should see the floor in there, dad. There is hamster food and wood chips everywhere. And since the little moron never listens to me, I told him I would let the thing go. He laughed and ignored me as usual, so I just now turned it loose.”
I set my bottle down gently.
“You mean in the yard in the dark?”
His shirtless body paced back and forth over the dark lawn underfoot. Then his left hand took up a familiar pose right next to his left ear. A cell phone had bubbled at the close of his rant, and so for the next few minutes, one of his peers took his mind off me.
I kept a close eye on the roadway and picked up the beer again.
Down at a corner, one lone streetlight stood guard. The elder son slipped inside, mumbling quiet words into his device. I took several long sips, expecting new lights to come along, but nothing stirred. Suddenly a younger face appeared out of the darkness. It appeared to be very unhappy about something.
“What’s going on out here, son?”
This younger boy has been with us since birth, also. That event took place thirteen years ago, and he causes all sorts of entertainments for us to take pleasure in. He replied to my question with the seriousness of a riled lawyer filled with justifiable consternations.
“He tried to kill my hamster.”
“He did? He told me he let it go.”
“Well he threatened to bite its head off first.”
I looked up the street and planned on what to say to the first patrolman to arrive.
The younger boy slipped past the opened storm door and ran inside as the older one stuck out an arm and handed me our house telephone. It was the much older son, he said, so I took the receiver in one hand and held my half-empty bottle in the other.
The door then slipped shut while I talked to another far, far away, sitting alone in the peaceful dark outside, and I waited for some time for many cops to arrive.