Greetings, WYMOP readers!
Gravel crunched as the Mini rolled to a stop in the driveway, in the spot normally occupied by the homeowner’s SUV. We got out, casting surreptitious glances to the neighboring houses before focusing on the one in front of us. It was Christmas day, after all, and the car was in a neighborhood in which it did not belong. In a driveway where it didn’t belong. And we were about to enter a house in which we didn’t belong. If one of the neighbors noticed the Mini, and the cops showed up while we were in the house, things could get . . . awkward.
We shared a nod and my partner scooped a small box from the back seat, then we went around to the front door and tried the knob: unlocked. With another glance around we stepped into the empty house, closing the door behind us . . .
Okay, at this point I might want to mention that my “partner” was actually my son, Handsome, and the house we were entering belongs to his girlfriend, Miss D (and thus his girlfriend is forever named Miss D, here at WYMOP). Okay, it was technically her mom’s house. And Handsome had gotten the mom’s permission in advance to enter the house while they weren’t home—in fact, she’d texted to let him know when the house was empty.
The boy moved through the kitchen in a cabinet-rattling tiptoe—at fourteen, he’s much larger than he is deft—and into Miss D’s room, laid the box from the car on her bed, lifted off the lid, and drew forth a squat gray cylinder, maybe four inches across and two high. He placed the thing on Miss D’s desk, wiping it down and dusting it with a paper towel. I drew a black box from my pocket, a blocky, rectangular portable charger, capable of reenergizing my tablet twice before needing recharging itself, and handed it over. Handsome plugged the cord from my block into the back of his cylinder, then went back to the box on the bed.
He came back to the desk with a small crystal obelisk, maybe four inches tall, the words I Love You running up the front and capped with a rose, all laser cut beneath the smooth face. He went at the obelisk with the paper towel, polishing away fingerprints and shining every surface. He placed the gleaming crystal upon the center of the cylinder—now a base—and stood back. He stepped forward, made a minute adjustment, then back again. Nodding, he stepped forward and flipped a tiny switch.
Light shot from the center of the base, rifling up through the crystal to highlight and split at the laser-cut words, the recently-polished surfaces suddenly suffused with all the colors of the rainbow as the opening strains of “Hotel California” filled the room.
“That should play for hours,” I said, “maybe even a couple of days, plugged into that charging block.”
Nodding once more, the boy found a paper and pencil and bent to the desk, writing quite a lengthy note. Another song came on as he wrote, and then a third. We packed up all the extraneous material and left, making our escape in the world’s smallest getaway car, grinning widely as the music continued to play in the empty house behind us.
And that was how Miss D, coming home from Christmas dinner at her grandparents’ house, and probably wearing the sweatshirt given to her earlier by Handsome as her “Christmas gift,” discovered her true Christmas present: a rechargable, programmable, 21st century music box, filled with ten of her favorite songs, the titles figured out by the boy during a conversation weeks earlier.
Yeah. I have a pretty good kid.
I’m fairly proud.
I’m understating wildly here.
Talk to you later.