Yesterday, I was sitting in a spare bedroom upstairs and wrapping birthday presents for my wife. Just me and our dog, Gracie, were home. Being a lefty, I have to admit I am not the best at cutting paper. Even with left-handed scissors, I do a poor job.
As I was attempting in vain to cut a straight line on the wrapping paper, it ripped. Right as it tore, I heard the muffled sound of a man’s voice downstairs. At that moment, a text came in from wife saying she was on the way home.
I know what you’re thinking, but all of the televisions in the house were definitely off.
Who was downstairs? I kept listening. I now thought I heard creaks. Just normal house noises? Or someone walking around?
My heart beating faster and faster, I considered calling the police. I moved to the top of the stairs for a better vantage point.
Still listening. Hearing nothing for certain.
Gracie was downstairs, and I did not hear her stirring. Surely my fearless guard dog would have spoken up had someone broken into the house.
I walked down the hall to my office (AKA the “Fortress of Solitude”) to grab the only weapon available – a full-sized, wooden baseball bat with my name engraved on it. A groomsman gift from my brother’s wedding over 15 years ago.
On the floor, Gracie was sleeping away. So, she was not downstairs after all. My temporary bravery started to slip, and my heart began pounding again.
The Beagle opened her drowsy eyes and looked at me. Curious about the bat, she followed me back down the hallway.
I stopped at the top of the stairs again. Gracie, meanwhile, took a detour into the spare bedroom to play around with the wrapping paper I left on the floor. I tried to get her attention to make her stop, but I did not want to make too much noise and give away my position to anyone who might be wandering around downstairs.
Finally, I knew I had to do something. I took one step down the stairs.
“The police are on the way. Get out of the house,” I yelled in my gruffest voice.
No answer, of course.
No sounds of the burglar running in fear, either.
Bat in hand, I slowly descended the stairs.
Room by room, I searched, feeling more and more foolish. Finally, I cleared the first floor. No sign of a break-in.
Then, I heard the man’s voice again.
This time, the words of the intruder were loud and clear:
“You’ve got mail!”
I laughed and dropped the bat.
A few weeks ago, out of rare nostalgia for the 1990s, I downloaded the classic America Online (AOL) sound effect and set it to run whenever I receive email on my Mac. Since the screen had turned off to save power, I had forgotten it was even on.
So, now you know about the day I valiantly defended my home . . . from an audio file.