This article, entitled "Yes, That Sound You Hear is Me Screaming," comes from Erin Ferris at Chasing Roots.
For two years during college I lived in an awesome but scary house. The close-to-campus location, huge front porch, patio-esque flat roof, and reputation as a happenin' party venue (like the residents before us, and the residents before them, we threw LOTS of parties) made the house a perfect place from which to experience college. Well, the non-academic side of college at least. The leaky roof, gaps around the windows and doors, lack of air conditioning, poor heat, and overall instability of the stone structure (at one point one of the walls - an entire two-story wall - just crumbled into the yard) made it somewhat scary as well.
One afternoon I walked through the front door and came face-to-face with a squirrel in the middle of the living room. I screamed, spun around, and ran upstairs and into my roommate Beth's bedroom, slamming her door shut behind me. She'd not known about our guest - who we assumed had come in under the front screen door that didn't quite line up with the door frame - and like me, had no desire to leave the bedroom until the squirrel had been escorted off the premises.
Thankfully we'd each gotten (our first) cell phones that year, and we used them to call everyone we knew, including Tom. He and a few of his friends arrived quickly, and though whatever steps they took involved a lot of man-screaming, eventually they managed to return our house to its previous squirrel-free state. We bought them beer to say thank you.
All the commotion tired us out, so Beth and I turned in a little earlier than usual that evening. (Probably around midnight, which was at the time considered "early".) As I climbed into bed and slid down under the covers, I felt something both soft and scratchy brush against my foot. I screamed even louder than when I first saw the squirrel in the living room and whipped the covers off the mattress. There, at the foot of the bed, was…no, not a real squirrel…a stuffed squirrel that Tom had bought and hidden in my bed.
Tom and I hadn't yet started dating at the time and apparently he thought that hiding stuffed rodents in my bed was the way to my heart. Clearly he didn't know me AT ALL.
And now, 14 years later, it seems my son doesn't know me AT ALL either.
Without me knowing, Will borrowed a fairly large and unbelievably realistic-looking komodo dragon from his friend Kaylee. Will hid this komodo dragon under my pillow, and then he waited, cackling quietly in his room, for the discovery.
After a long day, all I wanted to do was climb into bed and watch episodes of The Secret Life of the American Teenager on my iPad (don't judge). Instead, I came face-to-face with this guy.
I screamed, of course.
The toy looked so real that I refused to touch it. Even Tom couldn't believe how life-like it seemed as he carried it to Will's bathroom and hid it in the drawer where Will keeps his toothbrush.
Unfortunately, finding a komodo dragon in his toothbrush drawer barely fazed Will; he was so "unscared" (how he later described his reaction) that he didn't even mention the toy the following morning…and as a result, I completely forgot about it.
Until I went to bake cookies for our PTO meeting and found that damn dragon again. I screamed, again. I refused to touch him, again, but since I was home alone and needed to get to the flour, I used my foot to kick him out of the pantry and into the office. Where I covered him with a dishtowel and left him until Kaylee could retrieve him that afternoon.
I told Tom he'd better talk to his son, because if this kind of thing happens again I will evict both of them from the house and force them to live in a tent in the backyard with the very-much-alive Texas critters.
Note: Apparently my friend Mandi - Kaylee's mom - knew that Kaylee had lent the komodo dragon to Will…and forgot to warn me of Will's intentions.