The Early Morning Races
Not so fast this morning...
Every morning at about 5, the races begin for Todd Blackner. Not wanting to waste early morning creative brain cells, he multitasks in the kitchen, so he can get on to his creative pursuits.
After bathroom duties are completed, he pours the oatmeal, mixes the water in the bowl, places the bowl in the microwave for 1:30, and is ready to make the coffee.
Even though he doesn’t actually start the coffee pot until an hour later when his wife starts rousing, he wants to make it a 1-touch operation when he is ready.
So, he empties the old filter and nasty grounds from the previous day, puts in a new filter, empties the remaining coffee from the previous day, rinses out the pot, fills it with water and empties the fresh water into the coffee maker – all before the microwave finishes and sounds five obnoxious beeps indicating the cycle is finished.
During the day, the five beeps are normal and expected, but at 5 a.m., they’re cringe-worthy.
By experience and practice, Todd knows the optimum time for the 1-minute oatmeal to be finished is 1:10-1:15. Any more and the food is overcooked. Any less and the food is undercooked – crunchy and inedible, unless you were a horse.
A creature of habit, Blackner has gone through this routine every morning for the past ten months, with occasional breaks when his wife made him breakfast on a weekend when she didn’t have to go to work, but otherwise a solid routine.
This morning, however, Todd’s routine was interrupted, not by his inability to get everything done before the microwave beeps sounded, but before he even made it to the kitchen.
His routine after his shower had him walking down the short hallway into the living room in pitch black darkness. In the middle of the night, his eyes were acclimated to the darkness and he could see clearly. Being under bathroom lighting for ten minutes, however, his eyes lost their night vision and he was literally feeling the walls as he made his way to the kitchen.
He should have known something was wrong because the short hallway to the living room was completely black with no green light from the smoke alarm overhead in the living room. He knew the tiny light was gone, but it didn’t register until it was too late. Blackner was only touching the right wall, and forgot completely about the closet door on the left.
He found it all right. Well, his left foot found it open, and by the time he was done, everyone in the house knew about his left foot finding it. He hopped and jumped and howled like a certified wild man, which was appropriate for the moment. Blackner used language he’d never used before, not because he was accustomed to using it, but because nothing else more creative came out of his mouth at 5:15 a.m.
Come to find out when his wife went looking for antacid tablets in the middle of the night. Lucky for her, she found them in the hallway closet. In the middle of the night, she was half-awake, so she couldn’t really be blamed for leaving the closet door half-open, could she? How was she to know that Todd would find the door was open in a most peculiar way?
In any event, this morning he let it all hang out. Later, when the oatmeal beeped to conclusion, it really didn’t matter who heard it. Everyone was already up.
Three Minute Fiction is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.