"I'm hungry," 8-year old Audrey proclaimed while 4-year old Tess wailed, "I don't want to go to bed I want to go swimming again."
It was 11 o'clock p.m. and the family had just returned to the quietude of the motel following a swirling a family wedding. Mom and Dad felt as if they had just lost a fight with Edward Scissorhands while battling for their lives in a riot that seems to follow every European and South American championship soccer match.
Sharla put a breadstick in the microwave oven, and turned to persuade Tess that she was too tired to swim and should go to bed. Todd said, "What is going on with the microwave?" Smoke was billowing out of it like oil belching out of the well in the gulf. Like Olympic synchronized swimmers they worked in tandem to open the oven, grab the burning breadstick and drown the flames in the sink. Smoke engulfed the room like Los Angeles smog.
Sharla exclaimed, "What if the smoke alarm sounds and the sprinkler system activates?" So they kicked the window open all six inches available and fanned the smoke while opening the door to the hallway. More attention they didn't need.
The alert manager ran down the hallway faster than a cockroach when you turn on the kitchen light. Of course they had to evacuate while the manager and a night custodian determined that they had done an excellent job of squelching the fire
The weary displaced family re-entered the room, had another snack and began to nestle in their beds for a long summer night's sleep. Then like a very high note sung by Johnny Mathis, Todd and Sharla detected a siren. "Oh, please not here," they sighed. Too late the fire truck lurched into the parking lot followed by a frantic knocking on the door by the manager ordering them to evacuate the room. Wearily the four intrepid wayfarers trudged out of the building and stood with many others beside the huge fire truck with the flashing lights, groaning diesel engine and blaring radio.
Three huge firemen clambered down the hall in their boots, fire resistant coats and huge metal hats, one carried a Paul Bunyan sized axe, another held an instrument that detects hot spots and the third was dragging what appeared to be a huge python snake by the head -- a water hose. They concurred that the microwave was the source of the problem.
They were allowed to re-enter their room. Finally, peace sweet peace. The sandman sneaked in and filled the eyes of Audrey and Tess and Winkin' Blinkin' and Nod sailed off in their wooden shoe to Slumberland at about midnight.
The phone jerked them awake as the manager advised them to go to the basement for a tornado warning. A group of disgruntled people gathered in the basement to wait out the possible storm. Audrey moaned, "This is the worst night of my life." Thirty minutes crept by like a snail with an arthritic foot before the warning was canceled.
As they checked out the next day, Todd explained to the desk manager that the microwave was in the capable hands of the Chesterton fire department for further investigation. He didn't need the attention that theft charges would engender or the extra cost on the bill.
Leaving the next day they were all feelin' kinda' tired all because, where there is smoke there is tired.
Larry grew up north of Calvertville on a farm and graduated from Worthington High School. He lives in Plainfield and can be reached at Goosecrick@aol.com or (317) 839-7656. Write him at Larry Vandeventer 6860 Sunrise Drive, Plainfield, Ind., 46168.