Wednesday, August 4, 2010

House on Fire

I recently found the Your Story contest on the Writer's Digest site. It runs every other month with a prompt for a short piece of writing. This month the editor gave the beginning of the first sentence and the last sentence. The writer was to create a story of less than 750 words using the given sentence prompts. I missed the deadline for entering the contest but thought it sounded like fun. So, here is my story with the given prompts highlighted....

House on Fire!

I never would have purchased this house if I’d known that a family of squirrels lived in the attic. They hid themselves well during the showing and inspections; crafty little devils. I first realized there was something wrong with the house right after I moved in.

The first night in the house I left my half eaten dinner on the counter. In the morning the food was gone and the salad dressing had been smeared all over the counter. No more subterfuge from the squirrels though I didn’t yet know that’s who was sharing my house. They made a bold move to let me know who they thought was boss and I wasn’t going to stand for that. I called the pest control guy.

Rodney arrived in a cloud of cologne surrounding him like a Mumu dress. He poked around the kitchen, the back yard and even the attic. “Ma’am, ain’t nothing here that I can see. Maybe you left the window open and something wandered in.”

Four hundred dollars and that’s the conclusion. So the second night I prowled around the house before bed and made sure everything was shut up tight. I loved my new house and wasn’t going to be scared away by some little critters. Dreams of home improvement projects danced through my head like sugar plums on Christmas Eve. However my bliss was short lived. A slithering feeling on my face brought me full awake in the wee hours. Rolling over to check the time I came face to face with a squirrel. Who knew that I could screech so loud!

The squirrel jumped onto the floor between me and the door. He chattered away and shook his tiny paw at me. Then he turned and scampered away. I ran after him, but when I rounded the corner into the living room he was gone; just vanished.

The next day Rodney and his cologne cloud returned. “There is a squirrel in my house and I want you to find him and get rid of him. Today.”

I followed Rodney around as he did his inspection, not taking any chances he would goof up again today. After hours of poking through all my belongings and tapping on walls he declared. “There ain’t no squirrel in this here house. I think you might have been dreaming it, but I did plug some holes around the garage and set some traps in the attic.” He took me up to the attic and showed me what looked like mouse traps.

I was disgusted with his attempts. “I am not paying you one more dime for your services until you catch a squirrel in one of these pathetic traps.”

“Fair ‘nuff.” Scratching his head he left. Little did I know I would never see him again.

I slept peacefully that night and in the morning had renewed hope. I wandered through the house and saw nothing amiss. In the kitchen I put coffee on and went to get the paper off the porch. There on the door mat was one of those dang mouse trap contraptions, but no squirrel. I suspected Rodney was playing a trick on me, but when I called his supervisor I was told that he no longer worked there. Over the next week I found traps strategically placed on the toilet seat, the coffee table, the dressing table. I sat up all night waiting for the squirrels. They never appeared, but later I would find nuts and things hidden around the house. I called another pest control company to no avail. It appeared the squirrels were going to outsmart the whole human race.

A month passed. I spent my remaining savings on pest control but the pests remained. They became bolder, no longer waiting until nighttime to play their tricks. They brazenly took over my house. I began to see two, then three and then more of them at a time. Once I came into the living room to find rodents with bushy tails everywhere. They sat three deep on the couch. The recliner was covered with them. A huge one on the coffee table had his paw on the TV remote and was channel surfing. The chattering was horrendous.

That was when I knew they had won. The rodents would never let me live in this house alone. That’s why tomorrow I’m setting it on fire.

No comments:

Post a Comment