“Who would want to hurt me?” whined Arizona Mat. “I’m so sweet and lovable.”
Mongrel and I shared a look. “Well,” I said, turning back to Arizona Mat, “you know there are a lot of strange people in this world. Maybe we can come up with a list of suspects if you can think of anybody who might have a particular dislike for you.”
“Um, let’s see. There’s Tall Square. . .my brother. . .a couple of old roommates. . .that UPS driver who delivered the package. . .the pizza delivery guy I never tip. . .my mailman. . .the curator of the museum. . .my barber. . .that elderly lady whose seat I stole on the bus. . .”
Two Hours Later
“my third grade teacher. . .that kid in kindergarten whose glue I always ate. . .and that’s about it.”
“Huh?” I grunted as I woke from a light sleep. “All right. Since we’ve narrowed down the list to everyone you’ve ever met, I think the best thing to do would be to post a guard until we catch whomever is behind this.”
I volunteered to take the first watch, though it was probably not the best of ideas. I’m not much of a night owl and I was now forced to admit that I truly was sick. My sore throat was still bothering me and now I was starting to ache as well as feel incredibly weak. I fought sleep as long as I was able, but ended up nodding off. I was awoken by a shake from Mongrel.
“Hey. You OK?” asked Mongrel.
“Yeah, I just dozed off. Let’s check out Arizona.”
We knocked on the door to Arizona Mat’s bedroom, but received no response. Cautiously I opened the door and found Arizona Mat hanging from his ceiling fan by his underwear. Somehow his attacker had slipped into the home and past me. Man, I wish I wasn’t such a heavy sleeper.
Since his attacker had made it clear she or he could get to Arizona Mat at any time, we vowed that one or the other of us would keep an eye on Arizona Mat at all times. I went to the local grocery store to lay in some supplies while Mongrel kept an eye on the panicky explorer. After returning, Mongrel announced that he had to go out for a while and I agreed to watch over Arizona Mat since my illness rendered going out a highly unlikely scenario. We stayed indoors all day playing Uno and watching films, though every sound seemed to send Arizona Mat into a frenzy.
“What was that?”
“The house settling.”
“Ah! What was that?”
“Your electronic parrot, Polly.”
“Ah! What was that?”
“My foot connecting with your keester in about a minute,” I said under my breath.
About 4pm, I asked Arizona Mat if he would drive me to St Mary Magdalene so I could attend a evening worship service. Donning a cheesy disguise of an oversized handlebar moustache, a monocle, and a ten gallon hat, Arizona Mat drove me to the service. I invited him in, but his paranoia made him reluctant to do so.
At 5:40, he picked me up and seemed a little more relaxed. Apparently, he had killed the hour at a Barnes and Noble and when he wasn’t accosted, he thought the worst had passed. He drove us to a sushi restaurant when we enjoyed a peaceful meal full of delicacies such as eel, salmon, spicy tuna, miso soup, and other delights.
Arizona Mat was starting to behave more like his old self, regaling me with stories of his explorations which I managed to ignore while nodding politely to present the illusion of listening. As I turned to take a drink of water, I saw one of the teppanyaki chefs slowly approaching from behind. In his hands, he held a samurai sword which he pulled down from the wall.
“Look out!” I shouted, shoving Arizona Mat to the side. The sword passed harmlessly between us. I grabbed my water glass and smashed it over the attacker’s head, while Arizona Mat started walking over the teppanyaki grills to escape, dancing as the hot grills scorched the soles of his shoes.
We hotfooted (pun intended) it out to his car and he tore out of the parking lot.
“How were you found?” I wondered aloud.
“I don’t know. I didn’t tell anybody. I just posted it on Facebook.”
“I said I just posted in on FB.”
Given my normally polite nature, I’ll spare your ears from the barrage of invective I unleashed on Arizona Mat. Suffice to say, I ordered him to have no contact at all with the outside world and not to leave the house unless Mongrel or myself was with him.
Mongrel had returned by the time we got back and he slept outside Arizona Mat’s bedroom, while I slept on a chair in the room. The night passed without incident.
The next day, Mongrel again left to run some errands and Arizona Mat and I stayed indoors all day playing cards and watching movies except for a brief lunch stop at In and Out Burger where we picked up animal style double cheeseburgers to go. No attacks happened that day and the slow day helped my health as my sore throat finally disappeared in the evening and I began to feel stronger.
After a supper of grilled steaks and salad, I decided to swim in the pool. Too scared to take his customary evening swim, Arizona Mat stayed in the dining room area looking out so I could keep an eye on him. As I floated in the water, letting it take all my stress away, I was suddenly surprised as I was carried off on a tidal wave that launched me into the air. The last thing I remember before everything went dark was the backyard rushing up to meet my face.
To be continued