There Goes the Neighborhood

This is a response from a Writer's Digest prompt. I think it has some potential.

I wear pajamas. My girlfriend makes fun of me for it.

It all started back before I started school. I would floss, brush my teeth, take a shower, towel off, and I would put on my jammies. My mother would buy me a new pair every Christmas and on my birthday. I had ones for hot weather (a breathable number from Patagonia®), and I had long underwear for the cold winter months. This morning, at around 3:15 a.m. I happen to be wearing my chili pepper pants. My shirt was lost in the midnight tossing and turning.

I awaken to the sound of the doorbell ringing. And ringing. And ringing.

I throw off the covers.

My girlfriend tosses her arm over my chest and makes a sound similar to a lioness in heat. “Hmmrrrgggg. Who that?”

Her faculties haven’t quite kicked in yet.

“I don’t know, hun. I’ll check it out.”

The doorbell rings again, and as I walk from my bedroom and grasp the handle of my Louisville Slugger I hear the urgency in the knocking on the door.

I hear him first. Winston. He’s muttering something under his breath. When I peer through the eyehole, I can see him, distorted and bloated from the tiny window, with two packs and dressed in black.

My fingers glide the deadbolt back into its seat and I squeak open the door.


“Pack a bag quickly. I have to get out of here now and you need to come with me.” He speaks quickly and quietly.


“I thought you might say that. It’s dangerous out here. Here,” he offers me the other bag, “take this.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Hun? Is that Winston?” Grace has woken up.

“Hey Grace. I need to borrow your boyfriend. I’ll have him back soon.”

“Okay.” She yawns. “See you later.” Her faculties have obviously still not kicked in.

I throw up my hands and Winston snatches my car keys from the bowl by the table and grabs me by the collar, pulling me out the door and into the humid night. “Can we take your car?”

“Dude. What the hell is going on.”

Suddenly, Winston’s attention snaps down the street. “Um, no time.” He turns back to me. “We move now.”

He unlocks the car, making that little unlocking sound, and motions for me to get into the passenger. He tossed his pack into the back seat while I do the same.

The car starts without hesitation. “You get better mileage.” He notices the fuel dial. “Sweet, almost a full tank.”

He pops the car into reverse, squeals down the driveway, spins into drive and in 5.3 seconds we’re pulling 60 in a neighborhood.

“Winston!” I shout. “What the hell is going on!”

He looks into the rear view mirror. “Take a look behind us.”

I spin in my chair making the car’s warning bell tone in.

Behind us, the street lamps blast out. Houses look like they’re being swallowed by the night.

“You dragged me out of my house, where I was sleeping soundly, attached to my girlfriend, to show me a power outage?”

“Look closer.”

I squint. The night is actually swallowing the houses. There is nothing but darkness down my street. Then, a small light, almost insignificant, illuminated the middle of the street. Then, a blue-green explosion.

“And, did you really sleep well last night?” Winston looks over to me. “Because I certainly didn’t.”

I sit back in my chair, my car finally placated. “So… what’s next?”


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