Pat Dingle

He laughed as he struggled to sit upright in bed. “I am definitely over fifty,” he thought. He groaned, put his glasses on and stumbled out onto the bedroom patio. It was odd that the sliding door was open, but he assumed Megan had left it cracked for Cocoa. She liked to go out early to shit, then she’d race back in wagging her tail in anticipation of the morning chow.

He went back inside, turned on the TV and started making coffee. He knew he ought to quit since it gave him the runs, but habits are tough to break. Megan was sleeping on the couch, gently snoring as usual, so he tried to be quiet as he searched for something to eat. He stopped at the open pantry door and stared at all of the cereal boxes and the three different types of bread. So many choices, yet he couldn’t just pick one and get going with his day.

He went to the bathroom, washed his hands and then wandered into the hallway off the den. It was dark except for the flashing, red glow coming from the smoke alarm. He knew it should not be flashing, so he stood on his toes and swung his arm up to bat the cover off. A tiny black camera with two frayed wires dropped on his head and then bounced onto the floor. He leaned over to pick it up, rolling it over in his hands to inspect it.

He knew instantly that this had to have something to do with Megan’s job, the one she was well-paid for, but very quiet about the specifics of her duties. He started back into the living room and saw that she was sitting up on the couch with a terrified look on her face. “Pat, I know you have questions. I can explain,” she said.

© 2021 Jeff E. Brown. All rights reserved.

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