I dropped immediately to hands and knees and held a shaky stance, like a paratrooper who’d hit ground hard. I kept low as if underfire. My eyes made a careful sweep of the underbelly of the kitchen table. Nothing. I whipped around then, fabric covering knees helped whirl me around fast on the smooth floor. I scoped out the other direction. My hands squeaked with sweat when pushed against the white tile. Nothing over there. I froze in place, listening for unfamiliar sounds. It was hard to hear over the sloppy thumps of my heart. I moved only my eyes, looking for signs. That old geezer had something to do with this, but how?
A siren screamed in the distance. My eyes bulged at the sound and I collapsed my body. The sound grew deafening. Wincing, staying low, I crawled on my belly to the kitchen window. I hesitated there, to strengthen my gut, then slow as possible raised my head enough to peer out the glass. My eyes blinked fast in anticipated terror of what I was about to see, half expecting a police car to come screeching to a halt in my driveway. And in the back seat, an old guy with finger pointed right at my door. That misshapened finger, that grotesque engorged malignancy of hand. In front of me, outside the glass, a normal world bustled about its business. An ambulance, blinking red, rumbled on its journey, now almost two blocks away with sirens softening as it continued farther and farther away.
I moved quickly away from the window. I admit that I felt a little disappointed.
I checked the bag. It held its stubborn position on the kitchen table. It teemed with yellow and green like it was alive. Without taking my eyes off the bag, I circled the kitchen table from a safe distance. I stopped suddenly, once, to see what the bag would do. Nothing.
I had the urge to touch it. My mind played with my desire to feel one of the lemons or limes. But I was not going to touch any of it; I was not going to give that decrepit old man the satisfaction.
The light from the kitchen window waned as early evening approached. And what of the night? Anything could happen in the darkness to come. Was I comfortable leaving this interloper of a bag unattended? I backed out of the kitchen to the hall closet and pulled open the closet door, then rushed back to peek into the kitchen. Nothing. I raced to the closet and fumbled around in the back. I crept again to gaze into the kitchen. Nothing. I ran to the closet and this time grabbed my bat, not the light-weight aluminum one either, I tugged out a heavy wooden bat and clamped my hands around it. I raced to the kitchen and revealed the bat to the bag. I showed those limes and lemons that I was no PUNK.
I kept watch over that bag with bat in hand. It slipped lower in my sweaty hands and I heard every second tick off the kitchen clock down to the Midnight hour. And one second into that new morning I got mad.