False Alarm

Second day going into the new job with one mission besides looking important. My ride to work was a recital—CODE, CODE, CODE. The day was raining, and besides disabling the ALARM, an urgent letter needed mailing--personal of course. Procrastination let me believe today was a better day to mail it than yesterday, only proving that procrastination is in fact, entirely evil.

The rain was the type whose mist aimed for your lashes, the type you couldn’t use an umbrella to shield without looking weak—just enough moisture to annoy the shit out of you. Letter mailed and mostly damp, I hunched away from the eye-lash perpetrators and into my office. The mist episode allowed CODE, CODE, CODE to become a secondary thought to the day’s ill-timed rain.

Within seconds, ALARM reminded me of my thoughtlessness, mocking my mistake. CODE was saved in my phone, my phone resting in one of two oversized bags, both filled with items I neither needed nor used. I dumped each bottomless sack out, convulsing them like a Moroccan dancer. Within four seconds, I spotted my phone and found the pin. ALARM's ringing ridicule stopped.

I let out a profound victory breath, squatted to put my unneeded items back into their mobile homes; relived for only a moment before Lovely Security Assistant rang.

Mother, She Wrote: “This is Mother, She Wrote. How may I help you?”

Lovely Security Assistant: “CODE please?”

Mother, She Wrote: “CODE”

Lovely Security Assistant: “It's a word Mame, not a number.”

Mother, She Wrote: “It's my second day, I don’t know a word! All I know is CODE!”

Lovely Security Assistant: Click.

Lovely Security Assistant knew it was my second day, pitied me and chose to go against all training policies and company Standard Operating Procedures to grant me a sympathy pass. She knew I needed this.

Coincidently, it was also the second day of my female cycle. With CODES and Daughter to juggle, I forgot to add supplies to any of my two oversized mobile homes. Thankfully, I found one Slim, almost de-robed but still functional. I went to the bathroom with Slim and my purse. Slim turned on me as soon as she was free. Un-wrapped, she jumped out of her cardboard cylinder case and back into her mobile home. I picked her up, abiding by the three-second rule--determined to make her little cotton string of rebellion go back down its cylinder. I pushed and begged gravity to work with me. Pushing, and tapping the cylinder end in a repetitive tap-tap combo, that was bound to make the cotton string emerge from the cylinder’s bottom in the exact replication of its manufacturer. With each tap-tap the string inched closer to the cylinder’s end, closer to the grasp of my pinky. If I could just reach high enough, pin the string against its cylinder wall and simultaneously slide it down, Slim would be mine.

In the midst of the commotion, my imagination got the best of me, “maybe the Lovely Security Agent isn’t really on my side and she’s actually following Standard Operating Procedures. What if Lovely Security Agent went as far as calling the PoPo!” Standing with my tights around my ankles, face flush white, begging gravity to work with me, and tap-tap taping on the end of the cardboard cylinder, I knew I had to move quickly. I couldn’t look important if they broke down the bathroom door, found me in the squat position, vulnerable and tampon less, and threw me down to handcuff me in a very unattractive and exposed way. At this point, my palms were sweating too much to force the string back into cylinder, sadly, Slim had won.

I came back to reality and stopped obsessing over my cycle. I put a mock pad in place and strolled up the stairs to find several missed calls. Slim’s rebellion had caused me to miss a call from the Boss, a call meant to avert a visit from the PoPo--Boss knew it was Mother, She Wrote who set off ALARM. I connected with her just past the nick of time--the PoPo were already in hot pursuit of the bugler. She revealed the SECRETWORD--maybe I was still important after all--with instructions to tell this to the PoPo when they arrived to prevent my arrest.

I heard them before I saw them. Loud and boundariless—they brought a dog for when I chose to run. Dressed in black façade and armed with multiple guns and possible a grenade, Officer Huff needed a culprit. I came out of hiding, creeping around the corner, at first peaking with only my right eye then my left, then my right foot, next my left. My right knee emerged followed slowly by its counterpart. Each body part exposed itself in a similar fashion. I walked with the determination of a turtle and squeaked out, eyes closed and my palms clinched--fingernails imprinting my hands-- “secretword?”

PoPo: “I’m not a security system, I am the police.”

Mother, She Wrote: “SECRETWORD?” (Said like a lioness.)

PoPo: “I’m not a security system, I am the police. What happened Mame?”

Mother, She Wrote: “IOBTONVEUB” (This is SECRETWORD, but in a foreign accent, so it’s difficult to understand.)

PoPo: “I don’t know the SECRETWORD Mame, I’m, again the police, not the security system. What happened here?”

Mother, She Wrote: “I set off the alarm, day two.” (Day two was flashed like a peace sign, using both the pointer and middle.)

PoPo: “You've set off the alarm two days in a row?”

Mother, She Wrote: “No, this is my second day on the job and I forgot about ALARM.” (Second day on the job was again shown as a peace sign—another subliminal message to Officer Huff, “let me remain important today”.)

PoPo: “I'm going to need your name and birth date please Mame.”

I didn’t get thrown in the slammer, but ALARM frequents my nightmares. No matter what I do, no CODE works and he mocks me continuously. I yell SECRETWORD at him and relentlessly punch CODE, over and over, but still, he won’t turn off. PTSD overcomes me each time I hear his sick beep, beep, beep. If I listen closely, I can hear him now.