If you are the Caretaker...
If you are the Caretaker you take care of the manor house. The family who lives here blew out of town in a last-minute rush. It was almost like an Alien Spaceship evacuation. Food still on the table. Shoes and clothes strewn about. One day the family up and vanished and the Caretaker comes to fill the void. It's strange living in one of these massive dark manor homes on the edge of the lake. So big. So many empty rooms. Plush, comfortable, palatial. Can't imagine how people live here.
It's me and the dog. Yesterday, we had guests. An alarm went off in the kitchen (who even knew there was an alarm, I mean, I've been Caretaker for years, never set an alarm, never knew there was one to set), a quiet little beeping. Of course, the dog and I were in a totally different part of the house, didn't hear a thing. We were watching football on TV, about the most perfect time-waster invented. We heard voices coming from the kitchen.
The dog goes into a barking fit. I get up and head to the sound of voices. Two young cops in full regalia - bulky, bullet-proof vests, billy-clubs on the side, holstered revolvers, body-cams, comms devices, fully loaded officers of the law, full metal jackets, are standing in the kitchen, a little beeping in the corner, the dog getting loud and unruly.
I must say I was "dis-oriented," didn't really understand what was going on. How did two cops get in here? I can't really convey how strange and surreal it was for me to be confronted by two cops in the kitchen. I did flash on all those little videos we've all seen of cops and citizens accidentally working themselves into violent tragedies, misunderstandings, miscalculations, mistakes, bullets and bodies. A little chill went down my spine. "Hi. What's going on?"
The cops were young, wary, suspicious, but courteous at the same time. I suppose I am not the typical "home invader" profile. Luckily, we were all the same "color," if you know what I mean.
One of the cops - "We responded to the alarm." Me - "What alarm?" Cop (suspicious) - "You don't hear an alarm?" The beeping is now louder. Me - "Oh, yeah." I walk over to the alarm next to the door. Cop - "You know how to turn it off?" Me - "I think so." I press the off button. End of beeping.
I explain to the cops that I'm the Caretaker. They take my name and number and wish me a good day. Then they are gone. They vanish so quickly, I wonder if they were really there to begin with. Did that really happen? Surreal. What happened? What's the answer? Low battery!
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