By Dan L. Hollifield

"What was that noise?" I thought to myself in the dark. I was in bed, it was the middle of the night, and I live alone, therefore there shouldn't be any noises coming from my living room. I listened intently and heard what sounded like things being moved around. I felt for my pistol and panicked, it wasn't there! What am I going to do? I listened some more and the sounds receded as if they had gone into the further section of the house. Stealthily I got out of bed and put on my housecoat. I must have left the pistol in the living room last night when I went to bed. It was probably still stuck down in the cushion of my armchair. If I couldn't get to it before my little noisemaker came back, I could be in big trouble. Without turning on any lights I crept down the short hallway that led from my bedroom to the dining room and living room. There was a little light coming in through the window of the back door, the back porch light was on. I caught a glimpse of an old sword on the wall, a relic of my fling with the Creative Anachronists, at about the same time as a flashlight beam caught me full in the face.

"So somebody is home, " he said, "tough luck lady. I yanked the phone lines before I came in, you ain't gonna be callin' no 911." I heard the snict of a switchblade knife opening. I knew that sound from high school. I lunged for the lightswitch, hoping to dazzle him in the glare. "You shouldn't have done that." he said. "Now you've seen my face, you can tell the cops what I look like. I can't have that. I ain't doing no five years in the can for no burglary! I ain't doing no time in the can for nobody! You hear me lady? I ain't doing no time in the can!" He was yelling and coming at me. It was too late to try for the gun across the room. It might as well be on the moon for all the good it was going to do me. The last thing I thought clearly was that if I get out of this alive I was going to get a dog. A really big dog. Then he was running at me, everything slipped into some kind of slow motion and I remember taking the last two steps to the sword on the wall.


"Joe, here boy, supper time." I called to the big German shepherd who had come to share my life since the burglary. The years seemed to pass by so swiftly. I had developed some new hobbies to pass the time- and take my mind off things. I looked around at the shelves of canned goods in my pantry, all of them from my own garden and all canned by my own hand. I had always liked helping Momma in the kitchen, I guess that some things just never change. I got the last can of dog food and carried it to the kitchen. Joe came running in at the sound of the can opener whirring away. "Good boy! Good, good boy!" I said as I emptied the can into a red plastic dog bowl with G I Joe magic-markered on it's side. "This is the last one, Joe," I said to the dog, "looks like it's back to alpo for you." Then I noticed the date lettered on the bottom of the can and started to chuckle. I set the dog's bowl on the floor and giggled. "Well, Joe, what do you know? He was so worried, he was yelling and screaming as he came at me. But he was wrong," I giggled, "he was wrong, wasn't he , Joe?" I asked, indicating the date on the can in my hand. "He did last five years, in the can!" Then I tossed the can in the compactor and laughed and laughed and laughed.

Copyright 1996 by Dan L. Hollifield

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