by Benjamin Williams © 2002

The doorbell rang once with a long-drawn-out aggressive sound. It was that night again. Kids invading nightly streets, dark shadows moving swiftly from door to door.

I was lying on the bed, smoking my aftermath cigarette in a peaceful mood, thinking how practical it came to have two women.

The faithful wife away from the weekend to take care of her sick father and the adulterer washing up in her bathroom.

Since it was that night, I had phoned the kid I'd be held up in a meeting, but he didn't care, too much thrilled with his new Halloween costume.

The doorbell rang again, twice now. Could it be her husband, back from his weekly business tour? No, it should be those stubborn kids.

"Take it, honey, it must be the mail-order man," she yelled from the bathroom. I remembered she was hooked on mail orders as a kind of compensation to her lonesome life. I let out a deep sigh and stood up, bare-naked.

"I need a robe," I yelled back, and she replied to look in the wardrobe. I found one that must belong to her man, a simple blue one that stopped above my knees. My hairy legs looked ridiculous in it.

The doorbell rang thrice, now with so much violence I grew angry and careless. I stepped into the hall and saw that it wasn't close but hanging on that long chain of hers. Some time ago she had been harassed by a drunk courier and from then on, she had installed a long chain to have the parcels slip in without unlocking.

Obviously I hadn't closed the door properly, being too much stirred up by the prospect of having great-uncommitted sex. I quietly sneaked onto the door. I didn't see a human shape in the gate and understood the kids had gone. I reached for the knob.

An impatient boy's face appeared bolt from the blue before I could close up.

"Trick or ..."

The voice died down and my world slipped away from under my feet.


x x x

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