Perhaps I have neglected to mention that my husband, Hick, is a collector. Not in a well-heeled, artsy-fartsy, gallery-perusing, benefactor kind of way. In a one-horse-town, flea market, Thursday night auction, hoarder kind of way.
This is what he brought home last night:
Not the just-turned-thirteen-year-old boy. I'm pretty sure that's against the law, even here in Missouri. That's The Pony, our youngest son, modeling the wooden mask that Hick paid money for at the auction.
We hate the mask. My introduction to that hideous false-face came at 9:30 p.m. There I was, relaxing in my basement recliner, watching the season premier of Triple Rush, that bicycle messenger show on the Travel Channel. Maybe I had nodded off. It has been a long week. I was lulled into a light slumber by the ambiance, toasty warm under the green velour throw that I won at my sister's Christmas Eve party, watching the big-screen TV by the light of my plier-lamp and the soft, colorful glow of the lights on my artificial Christmas tree. Yes. I know it's April 15. Let's just say I have trouble with transitions.
You know what it's like when you're startled awake. Your heart pounds as you try to discern where you are. There was The Pony, halfway down the steps, holding the creepy mask at arm's length.
"Dad says to show you what he got at the auction."
"Get that out of here! Take it back up. Right now!"
"I didn't want to touch it. But Dad made me."
Hick chuckled from the upstairs recliner. "I thought you'd like it." Uh huh. Like the Dirt Devil vacuum that he gifted me with in our sixth year of marriage.
Sometimes, Hick is a little slow on the uptake. He does not sense subtle clues. Like, "Get that out of here!" means I don't want the mask in my home.
Fifty minutes and another nod-off later, I was awakened by a muffled, "Mom!" I looked to the steps and saw the shadowy figure of Genius, our sixteen-year-old, with the mask over his face. I heard a scream. Then realized it came from me.
Sure, laugh at my expense, sitting there safe and secure, viewing the mask in the light of my kitchen while wide-awake. You can't truly feel my angst until you snooze an hour in my recliner, and spy a dim, masked dude watching you at the moment you regain consciousness.
Hick swears that he is taking the mask to his cabin down in the woods. Which pretty much guarantees that I won't be visiting the cabin any time soon. He left it on the kitchen table overnight. This morning, in our rush to get off to school, I noticed that The Pony had turned it face down. When Hick came home from work this evening, he said, "Who moved my mask?" He flipped it over. After he went out to feed the chickens, I saw that the mask was once again face down.
We are getting a bad vibe from that objet d'art.