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  • mariokiefer

Flora's Massacre

3:00 AM

I awaken and rise. As I shuffle through the bathroom door, from the corner of my eye I see a flash of light. Out of habit I count . . . one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, four Mississippi, five Missi . . . until I hear the crash of thunder.

“That one was a ways away,” I think to myself.

I finish my business and return to my bed sliding between the sheets and pulling my teddy bear closer.

Yes, I am a grown man who sleeps with a teddy bear. What of it? I don’t need to justify it to you. I don’t use Teddy for security or some emotional palliative, rather Teddy gives me physical relief. (Not like that - get your minds out of the gutter!) Throughout many decades, I have often awakened with a hard crick in my neck. Once it was so debilitating that it took three months and the hands a very skilled masseuse in Cozumel to finally relieve the pain. So, I sleep with my arm thrown over Teddy in a way that ensures my neck stays aligned and I do not wake with a pain in my neck. But I digress . . .

Just as my eyes droop and sleep begins to take hold I hear that sound. First a snap, then crackle, then pop culminating into the telltale whoosh of a tree being felled. The sound is loud and obviously nearby. I jump from my bed surprised that my husband remains asleep and snoring. Should I check it out? I wonder.

Quickly, I make my way from the bedroom into the hall, through the living room and to the back door in the kitchen where I don the jacket and the flip flops that I keep nearby. Dressed only in that jacket and my boxers, I open and go through the door.

Even in the darkened night, to the right I see the outline of the tree limbs that came down from the my neighbor’s yard and into the fence yesterday afternoon. I can barely see the back of the yard - it’s just too dark. I turn my attention left and there I see the faint outline of that neighbor’s tree - the one that came down just five feet from my bedroom window only moments ago. Cautiously, I walk in that direction and peer down the side of the house. It does not appear that anything has hit my home. But it is way too dark to properly assess anything.

With a heavy sigh, I go inside my home. I doff my clothing and return to the warm embrace of my bed covers. I throw my arm around Teddy and there I remain, eyes open, worrying about the danger that lurks in the yard; a danger that may yet manifest before the sun kisses the sky. I am unable to return to slumber while my husband continues to snore away oblivious to massacre of the flora.

In the light of the morrow, I will return to the scene of the crime to assess any further damage. But until then, there is nothing that I can do, but hold Teddy tight.

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