May 19, 2017 by T. Gregory Argall
Marissa had one shoe on when she heard the knock at the door.
“Great,” she muttered. “As soon I get used to him always being late, he shows up early.”
Balanced on one foot, she slipped a shoe onto her other foot, hopping slightly to steady herself as she tilted to the side. Another knock at the door, more urgent this time.
“Hold on, Ted,” she called out, making her way down the short hallway. “Gimme a second to actually get to the door.” By the time she reached the door, the knocking had become pounding. Marissa flung the door open to find Ted with his fist in mid-swing, ready to bang on the door again. His face was etched in panic. “Ted, what’s wrong?”
Glancing over his shoulder, Ted quickly darted inside, closing and locking the door behind him. “No time to explain,” he blurted. “I need your TV remote and a small fork.”
Stunned, Marissa stared at Ted as he moved the entry table to block the door. “A… a small fork?” she asked. “What are you…? What..?”
“Yeah, a small fork,” he confirmed, slipping past her into the livingroom. “Like a salad fork or a… a dessert fork. You know, like for pie?” Ted quickly scanned the room, spotting the TV remote sticking out between two cushions on the sofa. He grabbed it without slowing down and made his way towards the kitchen. “Okay, never mind the fork. You know that tiny screwdriver you use to fix your glasses?”
Marissa blinked three times as she watched him buzz through her apartment like heroin-fueled hummingbird.
Rooting through the kitchen drawers, Ted glanced at Marissa who was still standing immobile. “Rissa. Babe. I need you to focus. They’ll be here any minute.”
“What? Who?” stammered Marissa, shaking her head to clear her confusion.
“The tiny screwdriver?” repeated Ted. “Where is it?”
“It’s in the junk drawer,” replied Marissa, pointed down the hallway to entry table that was blocking the entry. “Should I…? Right. I’ll get it.” She hurried down the hall, returning moments later with the screwdriver, just as Ted triumphantly pulled a pastry fork from the kitchen drawer.
“Thanks,” he said, taking the screwdriver and using it to open the back of the TV remote. “Do you have any tape?”
“That’s in the junk drawer, too,” Marissa said over her shoulder as she headed back to the entry table. Returning with the tape, she asked with a voice that sounded calmer than she’d thought it would, “Ted, honey, what’s going on?”
“No time to explain,” answered Ted, focused intently on wrapping two wires from the TV remote around the handle of the fork. “The gorgly’phs will be here any minute.”
“The… gorgly’phs..?” said Marissa, holding out the tape.
“Yeah. At least three, maybe eight.” Ted took the tape from her. “Thanks.”
“Um… what… what are you doing?”
“Making a taser,” explained Ted, taping the wires to the fork and the fork to the remote.
“Will that stop the… the gorgly’phs?” asked Marissa, nervously.
“Probably not,” replied Ted with a shrug. “But the crazy boldness of the attempt might confuse them long enough for us to escape.”
“Ted…” Marissa said carefully, “what’s a gorgly’ph?”
Ted looked at his watch. “Crap,” he exclaimed. “No time to explain. They’re here. Get behind me.” He stood in the hallway, facing the poorly barricaded door as Marissa quickly hid behind him, crouching slightly to make herself smaller.
Ted stared fiercely at the door.
He held up the improved remote/fork taser and tapped the power button with his thumb. Marissa heard a soft bzzzzzt sound that may or may not have come from the taser. Or possibly from Ted.
For a moment, nothing happened.
Surprisingly, for several more moments, nothing continued to happen.
Tentatively, Marissa peered over Ted’s shoulder. Her entry table remained standing, unscathed, in front of the door, which was also unscathed. The door ( and the table) had not been shattered and destroyed by an angry group of 3-8 gorgly’phs hunting her boyfriend.
Whatever a gorgly’ph was.
“Wait here,” said Ted, as he slowly walked towards the door.
He paused and listened for a moment before moving the entry table to its proper location by the wall. He pressed his ear against the door, then stepped back and turned the latch on the lock. Carefully opening the door a few inches, he peeked out. Emboldened, Ted opened the door fully and stepped outside, looking around.
“Huh,” he shrugged. “Guess I was wrong. They weren’t chasing me after all”
He stepped back into the apartment and strolled casually down the hallway towards Marissa. Tossing the modified TV remote on the sofa he said, “Anyway, we should get going. We’ve got a six-thirty reservation at Callisto’s for dinner.” Taking her hand, he started back towards the open door.
Following Ted down the hallway, Marissa looked over her shoulder towards the livingroom. “You’re… um… you’re going to fix my remote, right?”
“What? Oh, yeah. Sure. You bet,” promised Ted as Marissa closed and locked the door.
Try to be nice to each other.