Last night about maybe 3:00 a.m., I heard footsteps in the living room.
Then the doorknob to our bedroom rattled.
“Did you hear that?” I said in the dark.
“Yes,” said Jack.
We waited. Rumbling footsteps in the hallway now. Jack got up and opened the closet.
“Do you want me to call 911?” I choked. I fumbled for my phone.
“No,” said Jack. He was calm.* He opened the bedroom door as quickly and loudly and decisively and sending-a-message-ly as a person can open a bedroom door, and then flipped on the hallway light, throwing himself into silhouette. A 6′ 5″ naked man holding a Masai spear in his hand. He disappeared.
*I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Jack has ice water in his veins because that implies bloodlessness, but there’s something cooler than average in there. Perhaps his liver acts as a refrigeration system.
Ten seconds later he came back and put the spear* in the closet.
*Just in case anyone is concerned about us having this weapon in our house, let me just assure you that it’s essentially a long, heavy, decorative butter knife.
“What was it?” I asked. I was breathless. I could hear my blood pressure rising.
“Nothing. Peewee sitting in the middle of the floor, looking at me.”
The dog in question now appeared and quickly tried to stuff himself under our bed. I gently unstuffed him and escorted him back into the hall (no sleep can be had with a snoring bulldog 24 inches below your head) but he seemed intensely reluctant to go.
“Peewee’s acting weird,” I said.
“This is news?” Jack said.
We turned off the lights and lay there in the dark for at least a half an hour without saying anything. I couldn’t sleep because I was extremely busy thinking about how some animals act weird right before earthquakes, which clearly meant that California was about to break off and sink into the sea, and Peewee had merely been trying to tell us to kiss our asses goodbye start praying.
“I just think he fell off the couch,” Jack said finally.
“Maybe he had a bad dream and then had to run up and down the hall to shake it off.”
“And then park his butt outside our door.”
“And the pressure of his butt against the door made the doorknob rattle like it was being opened.”
“And the next thing you know there’s a naked Mick in the hall with a spear.”
Jack fell asleep after that, content in the knowledge that he had protected his family from a dog with insomnia, whereas I was far too busy feeling around underneath my pillow and wondering where this weird grit had come from. Had someone been eating toast and shoving the remains into my pillowcase? Had perhaps a child with sandy shoes removed them and dusted off his dirty socks all over my percale sheets? Neither of these scenarios being likely, I finally concluded that some sort of “mind grit” sprinkles from my ears at night like pencil shavings as I process the preceding day in my dreams.
This morning I got up and had a good look at Peewee and, oh, dear. His face was swollen and I could see little bumps beneath his fur. The last time this happened we came to believe he was suffering from an allergy/flea bite combo plan, poor little uncomfortable guy. So that’s what all the fuss had been. I called the vet, dosed Peewee with fake Benadryl and Advantage, and gave him a very gentle scratch all over his poor, itchy body. Then he finally slept, which is probably something he didn’t do a lot of last night, trying to run away from his own skin. But hey, at least he wasn’t poisoned by psychopathic, alarm-circumventing burglars.
Update: He’s better! All praise be to generic Benadryl equivalent.