Someone was knocking at the door. The wind was still and the birds silent as Ted Twombly hid out in his bathroom on the other side of the house and listened intently.
The knocking continued. Twombly glanced around and found a toilet plunger he could use as a weapon. It stank bad from lack of cleaning but it would work to inflict some pain. He never should have pawned his .38 revolver.
His mind raced as to who could be doing the knocking. The bookie, the loan shark, the drug lords. All of them knew where he lived, but the amounts he owed them barely warranted a daytime visit to his home.
Twombly looked in the mirror as the knocking continued, slow and steady, with a stark lack of urgency.
“Think, Twombly, think. Who have you wronged recently?”
Wait a minute, he thought. His mind raced straight to a negative reason for the visit. But maybe that was not the case. After all, sometimes people come knocking to sell things or for community safety reasons.
He decided to check out the knocking. First he put his toilet plunger into the toilet and splashed it around to make it look like he had been using it. Then he exited the bathroom and went to the door. The knocking continued once more.
“Who the hell is it?” he yelled.
A silence came back. Twombly was not about to look through the peephole because that’s how people get shot in the gut.
“Mr. Ted Twombly?” asked a meek, soft sexy female voice.
“That’s right, that’s me. Who wants to know?”
“I’ve got a little surprise for you,” she said back.
Twombly hated surprises. One time he got a surprise smack in the head with a lead pipe when he bought some pot off someone who then mistook him for a narcotics police officer. Another time he got a black eye from a stripper who somehow misinterpreted his comment about her looking thinner as somehow meaning that she used to be fat.
“Just tell me what it is and then I’ll open the door.”
There was silence. “That would spoil the surprise. Maybe if you could look through the peephole.”
“No way in hell am I doing that.”
“A window then?”
“That’s even worse,” he exclaimed. “There’s a reason I keep my shades down, so I don’t get popped by people with guns.”
“Please, sir,” begged the woman. “It’s so hot out here.”
Twombly was intrigued by what she said. He wasn’t about to look through a window or the peephole, but the soft voice made him believe that the girl wasn’t there to kill him.
“Okay, step back,” he ordered her. Twombly then pulled open the door quickly and rolled to the right of the entrance onto the green grass. He pulled his toilet plunger back as if to strike.
Then his jaw dropped as he saw a big gorilla in front of him that held a big bouquet of flowers.
“Happy birthday to you, Ted Twombly, from your ex-wife,” said the woman inside the costume who seemed more scared then nervous.
Twombly was relieved and took the balloons. “Thanks very much,” he said.
“I was supposed to jump around like a gorilla inside your house and eat a banana,” said the costumer character worker who was now at a loss as to what to do next.”
“You’ve caused plenty of excitement for me for one day. That’ll be all, and thanks.”
The gorilla lady left and Ted Twombly went back inside. Maybe next time he will not jump to such negative conclusions when it gets a visitor. After all, he just missed out on a good time with a gorilla.