GuysterRules (guysterrules) wrote,

The stairwell

If I close the door at the bottom of the steep service stairs that lead from the bedrooms to the kitchen, it blocks out the distant light from the Gaffers and Sattler stove, making the stairwell itself a pitch-black downward tunnel. The last thing I do before I corral the dogs into the bedroom is to close the top door to that staircase, the lip of that first stair just a toe’s length away from a very bumpy and painful decline. You’ll never know what hit you.

I may not hear you coming up the front stairs, even with that broken oak plank of the fourth tread just before the landing. My bedroom door will be closed, the air conditioner on, the TV at a soft volume, but once that Klonopin kicks in, I won’t hear you creeping up those front stairs. You’ll be disoriented, anyway. It’s going to be dark.

Say you make it to the top without tripping. You’ll look around the dark hallway and see all of the upstairs doors closed. Which one am I in? You won’t know. Your first instinct might be to your right, but that’ll only lead you into the upstairs living room and with its deep dark blue paint, you’ll fumble around.

I still won’t hear you.

You’ll back out of that room and head toward the other end of the hallway. You’ll try the next door, but it only opens to a large bedroom, and the bed will be empty. No luck, buddy. Now you have a choice—one door leads to me lying asleep in my bed, and the other guarantees you, at the very least, a lifetime in a wheelchair.

Which one are you going to choose?

steve I’d bet my next paycheck you reach for the knob across the hall. Stupid move, sucker.You’re standing close to the door, your ears tuned for any movement, but the timer I set for the TV has already done its job and no matter how hard you try you’ll not hear anything. Not a peep. Your hand grips the worn brass knob and you slowly move forward.

You didn’t have a prayer. Your hands flail to grab onto something and one of them might even make it to the rickety handrail, but your feet are out from under you and it won’t matter if your butt hits the first or the second stair or if you’ve managed a comical swandive, because you’ll end up at the same point—at the bottom of the eleventh step, right where it takes a ninety-degree turn.

I hear the commotion, sit up in bed, shake my head, and laugh. Caught another one. Steve is barking and I’ll tell him to hush up, open my door, and walk across the hall. I’ll switch on that bare bulb that you didn’t know about, and stare down at your wreckage. Are you still conscious? I can’t really tell and I don’t much care. I just see you’re not moving.

Maybe I’ll call the police, maybe I won’t. One thing’s for sure, though. You’re going to be there for a while, so you just make that twisted body of yours comfortable.

Shit, you’d have gotten through the DMV line quicker than I’ll help you out.

Tags: house, neighborhood paranoia

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