Five Minutes Can Make a Difference
This morning I woke at 5:25, five minutes earlier than my usual 5:30, looked over and saw Elaine in her usual covered head to toe under her sheet and I went to the bathroom to take my shower. We had an old-fashioned bathroom; claw-foot tub, a shower with a circular metal post to wrap the curtain around, and a one-time-fashionable powder-blue toilet and sink.
That’s not the bathroom I was standing in. This was chrome and glass with a jetted tub for two and a glass shower with a seat and multiple shower heads. The toilet and sinks were crimson to match the shower and tub, as well as the paint job and ceramic tiles.
There was an electric razor and aftershave lotion, neither of which I use, and hand crèmes and face lotions with French names. I walked back out of the bathroom and into the bedroom. The lump in the bed appeared larger than Elaine’s lump and there was someone lying in my side of the bed.
I ran out to an unfamiliar hall, opened the front door and peered around to see the house number, which was 22. Just as the house alarm went off, Mr. Lump came running out of the bedroom with a golf club (I believe it was a 3 iron) and he demanded to know what I was doing in his house
He looked at my nakedness and held the club like he was going to swing a baseball bat. “Wrong grip for a 3,” I said.
“Angie, call the police and tell them we have a naked burglar in the house.”
Her curiosity got the better of her and out of the bedroom she walked with her cell phone, wearing a terry-cloth robe. “Hold on a minute, honey, this guy can’t hurt a flea with his club,” pointing to my privates.
Mr. Lump put his arm around Mrs. Lump and they walked back into the bedroom giggling.
“Oh, by the way,’ he said, pointing. “There’s a jumpsuit in the garage. I use it to change my oil. You can wear it to go back to wherever you’re supposed to be.”
I heard the bed creak and looked around. I took a glass paperweight from their collection on the desk and walked out to the garage looking for the jumpsuit.
Paul Beckman was one of the winners in the Queen’s Ferry 2016 Best of the Small Fictions. His 200+ stories are widely published in print and online in the following magazines amongst others: Connecticut Review, Raleigh Review, Litro, Playboy, Pank, Blue Fifth Review, Flash Frontier, Matter Press, Metazen, Boston Literary Magazine, Thrice Fiction and Literary Orphans. His latest collection, “Peek”, weighed in at 65 stories and 120 pages. His website www.paulbeckmanstories.com
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(Picture by Bob Bob [cropped])