On Sunday mornings I try to sleep late — which means 8:00 a.m., if the stars are in alignment. By stars I mean the brothers (who are known to crawl into our bed around 5:00 a.m. and invariably suction themselves to me), the husband (who must be willing to respond to the woofing dog who needs out of her crate around 7:00 a.m. or face certain explosion), and the mutt herself who will re-enter the house after being taken outside, sprint up the stairs and onto the bed, jump on my face, and lick off a layer of skin before I call it a morning. But if the kiddos stay asleep, the hubby gets up, and the bedroom door gets closed, I can get a much needed extra hour or two of shut eye.

Yesterday morning Dave was racing in a triathlon which required him to leave the house at 5:00 a.m. I made him promise that he would exit the premises without waking me, the brothers, or the dog so that I could at least have a chance at 7:30. And he did very well. In fact, I don’t remember hearing him leave. But at 5:40 a.m. the phone rings, waking me out of a really good dream. I throw myself across the bed and fumble for the phone. I am expecting to hear Dave on the other end telling me he forgot his goggles or his blueberry crisp Clif bars and could I please drive out to Chester County and save him. But it wasn’t Dave.

Me: Hello?

Man: Is Ernest Menold there?

Me: It’s 5:30 in the morning.

Man: I know ma’am but this is the Tinicum Township Police Department. Is he there?

Me: (Sigh) This was his old phone number. We’ve had it for a few years but we still get his calls.

Man: Do you know how to reach him?

Me: No – I don’t even know if he is alive. (Why I added this commentary I have no idea.)

Man: Thank you ma’am

No, thank YOU. I am now wide awake and obsessing about the Menolds.

Ever since we moved to our current home three years ago, we get about a call or two each month for good ol’ Ernest or his wife Helen. Sometimes the calls are from telemarketers or insurance companies but often they are from people who actually sound like they are friends of the Menolds. (Some friends if the Menolds didn’t bother to tell them they were changing their number, but I digress.) These callers always sound about the same age of John McCain really old.

Me: Hello

“Friend’: Helen?

Me: No, they don’t use this phone number any more. They haven’t for years.

“Friend”: Oh my, well… thank you dear.

I have always pictured the Menolds as cute little octogenarians who moved to an assisted living facility somewhere far away. But I am now completely perplexed because what could be so important that the police have to call before the crack of dawn to reach Ernest Menold? Was there a crime? A murder? A double murder? The Menolds have officially changed costumes in my mind. Where they were once a sweet elderly couple, she in a house coat and he in a cardigan, that played cards twice a week, they are now the mysterious international duo being sought by the police department down by the airport. Maybe they wear leather pants.

Coincidently (or not) within the last few weeks my hankering to write some fiction has returned with a vengeance. My dear friend, Julie Mars, who writes great fiction suggested that I start by just writing short 500 word stories about something that intrigues me. I had a few half-baked ideas but nothing that motivated me to put my fingers on the keyboards. Until now.

The Universe may be conspiring against my deep REM, but only perhaps because it has something else in mind…. Stay tuned.

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