Nothing startles one out of a perfectly peaceful recliner slumber than the tread of giant sweaty feet on the basement stairs. At 11:45 p.m.
While I was still in that "Whaaaa?" stage, Genius barked accusatorily, "Where is my pillowcase?"
Because of course I had smuggled it out from under his head and onto a slow boat to China. Had folded it over and over into a tiny square and enclosed it in a plastic Easter egg for him to find on an egg hunt. Had used it to make a sleeping bag for my sweet yet recalcitrant dog Juno. Had stowed it away to use next Halloween when begging for candy. Had used it to hold a bar of soap to beat that screw-up Private Pyle while he slept. Oops! That was Full Metal Jacket.
It's not like a pillowcase can disappear. Especially that one. It is chartreuse. It matches his sheets. The color he asked for after painting his room monochromatic shades of gray. Aside from his bed, there were only two places that pillowcase could be. In the dryer. Or in the washer. Each Sunday, The Pony gathers the towels and bedding, and brings it to the laundry room. I wash it. I dry it. The Pony gets it out. If he had not delivered the pillowcase to the room of Genius, it had to be in the dryer. Unless it stuck to the side of the washer and didn't get dried.
Genius declared that he had looked EVERYWHERE! That he had gone through the entire contents of the dryer, TWICE, and his beloved pillowcase was not there. I told him to check the washer, but in that instance it would be wet and unsleepable. He ascended the stairs in a huff. When I went to bed, I saw that he had laid his weary head to rest on his bare pillow.
There was no need for that. For his chartreuse pillowcase lay jauntily upon a shiny wooden table in the hallway between his room and the kitchen/laundry room area. The very path upon which he embarked to find his special pillowcase. The very path over which he went to look in The Pony's room. Because everybody knows a younger brother covets the drooly pillowcase of his elder sibling. The very path through which he returned to his own room to pout over his late-night misfortune.
If that pillowcase had been a snake, it would have taunted Genius with, "You're blind as a bat!" and "HELLO! I'm over HERE!" and then bit him on the butt. Just on general principles.
This morning, I asked The Pony if he happened to drop the pillowcase on the way to the laundry room. "No. When I got mine out of the dryer, before bed, I put his on the hall table where he would be sure to see it."
Across the land, fugitive needles in haystacks are breathing sighs of relief.