Thomas was clearly on a roll. Continuing the big show of breaking down the gun, inserting the cartridges, and forcefully slamming it shut. All the while, increasing scowl intensity and the quantity of forehead sweat. It was then I learned exactly what the sand in Thomas’ alcoholic oyster was. Last year, a neighbour family was murdered in their sleep by a travelling stranger. Alllllllllrighty then! Good to know!! But, how to convince the Tahitian avenger that I was not the Boston Strangler, the Son of Sam, the Freeway Sniper, Jack the Ripper, or all of the above? Clearly, reaching for the mini-Uzi I keep tucked in my sock for just such emergencies, would probably not have been the wisest move. So, head down, moving extremely slowly, while constantly repeating the live coward’s mantra –“No probleme……..No probleme…….je partir” (I’m leaving)…..I headed for my gear.
On the porch, as I scurried to assemble my bags, Thomas’ Rotweiler intensity seemed to diminish slightly. Not to Border Collie. More like, angry Great Dane. Perhaps, because I was now out of the house He demurred, with a point of His barrel – “You can sleep in the tent.” OK –it was cold. And I really did consider a “thanks, but no thanks” response. But here was a guy soaring on an alcohol-adrenalin cocktail, who, even without the deadly weapon, could reduce you to silly putty with the back of his meaty hand. I mumbled many “Merci Beaucoups” and hobbled tent-ward.
A threatening quiet ensued. As I wondered what was churning around in Thomas’ achohol soaked brain. Was He going to “take me out” during the night? A “pre-emptive strike?” To prevent me from hacking them into backpack sausage? It were these visions, dear reader, not those of sugar plums, that break-danced around my frazzled noggin. Finally, the break dancers adrenalin fizzled, and I was surfin’ wit ma homie – Morpheus. Until the invasion! Shock- Horror!! Someone in the tent!!! Actually, only Martine, lifting the flap. “It’s ok to come in now.” She confided.” Yeah, right! – All aboard for shotgun city! “No…really……He’s calmed down.” She assured. As jangled as my nerve endings were – my heart went out to Martine. How would you feel if you invited someone into your home. You bond. You’re having a great time. Then your Husband pulls out a shotgun?
I wondered how Martha Stewart woulda handled this one. Stenciled the driveway? Oh well! Taking yet another great leap of faith, I returned to the house. Thomas was nowhere in sight. But in sound, He was betrayed by the clink of glass and bottle. I know that you, dear reader, on occasion, have had a night with no memory of sleep. This was mine. As I attempted to “mellow out” on the living room – yes, I must say it – “Murphy Bed.”
I endured the constant emotional see-saw of Thomas and Martine. He drinking and whining. She trying to cool his jets. Finally, just as I was almost unconscious – I was shaken awake. By Thomas. The tourist brochure smile had returned. (presumably because I had left their heads attached.) “Hey bra………..sorry about last night……I just flipped out.” Could there have been a response other than : “No probleme?” The table graoned with the Mother of all breakfasts. I was a combination of long lost friend, favourite Uncle and Tahitian God. Thomas and Co. did everything for Me but chew the food.
As We said our goodbyes, they tried to load me up with everything we did’nt eat, plus a huge mother of pearl shell. Tho’ way overloaded, I managed to find a place for most of it. After our “challenging” evening – the morning illuminated Thomas as He was. And, as most of us are, when We, and those dear to us, are not perceived at risk. A warm, friendly Human, who wished only the best for all his fellows. My hope, obviously, was that next time a travelling stranger wound up on their doorstep; Whether or not He/She/it was exotic and/or from the far away lands, Thomas’ shotgun would remain in the closet. As I aced the main drag in drabsville, it was 8am. Freds’ was, normally, still another day, twelve big hours, away.
That was the bad news. The good news was that when I did arrive, there would be a longggggg bath, great grub, bed, and untold days of complete indolence. Plus, the only life threatening weapon there, was Fred’s formidable wine cellar. I phoned Fred.
Had any Adventures like this, folks?
THROW ME A BONE HERE PEOPLE!
What Are Ya Thinkin’?