Bad Manor


The Kid, the Maid
& the Phony Blind

The telephone rang and blew my cover.
I was dreaming, oblivious to the final days of my vacation at the turn-of-the-century Inn where I was told George Washington had slept at. Most of the seasonal guests had already left. The maid, whose family had been keeping the place in pristine conditions for decades, had changed the laced sheets of the Victorian bed and was running around tiding things up.
Who knows what made me decided to play blind? My second-rate performance began on a whim and before long I felt liberated for not having to see where I was going (since she was making sure I wouldn’t hit anything).
Halfway through it I was fully committed to fool the tormented soul, as she charitably whispered advice so I wouldn’t break my skull open against the 1900s bookcase. That being a dream, I should be exonerated of any malfeasance, I thought.
Ah, what a joy to pretend I was heading straight to the antique console full of crystal glasses and fine china. I could see her cold sweat running, imagining that at any moment I could smash the priceless artifacts and drive her family out of business. Some daft footwork helped the devilish intent to grow even deeper within me.
As I directed my blank gaze to the window, I basked on the sound of children voices playing on the manicured lawns surrounding the cottages and the manor house. Autumn was at its peek. The sound of unseen birds racked my rapture. I was truly elated.
Then the phone rang and my 8-year old woke up — I’d forgotten all about him. The poor thing had been sick all morning, and had fallen asleep on an exquisite century-old rug. As he sat up crying, he tells me that the sudden ringing had had a perverse effect on his track: he’d soiled his pants profusely. Still weeping, he also threw up, projecting the half-digested Continental Breakfast out of the makeshift bed I’d prepared for him. Even before he told me that, though, my nostrils had already sounded the alarm.
I immediately broke out of character and ushered him towards the bathroom, a long and excruciating way from the living room. We rushed through the bedroom as fast as we could but he still managed to let another copious wave of vomit to land on the fluffy pillows. And another one followed suit, caking a Federal-style trunk.
When he finally sat on the toilet bowl, I turned back to see the thick, smelly track of organic waste that lined the floor from the foyer to the bathroom’s door.
As I feared such a pious old lady could turn into a murderous rage, I was glad to wake up.
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(*) Originally published on Mar. 28, 2011.

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