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Live & Learn


“Why did the phone keep doing that?”

Ann rolled over groggily. “Doing what?” She mumbled.

“That, that-” James snapped his fingers but nothing helped. The words wouldn’t come. “That thing. You know, with the ding ding diowng. That isn’t normal.”

James took off his glasses, wiped down the left lens with the bed sheet, then placed them on again. Ann was lost to sleep which left him to figure out the mystery of their cordless phone. Getting up, he slipped on his house slippers. Though Ann was dead when it came to conversations in the morning, she would know the minute his bare feet touched the floor and the last thing he wanted was a morning dragon. So he tucked away the possible argument for a later date and shuffled quietly through the house.

The house was a split level apartment. They got the pleasure of living downstairs to a bunch of rowdy top-level neighbors. Not one person lived above them that was under the age of ten but that didn’t stop what always sounded like childish behaviour. There was running, throwing, dropping, screaming. As if they knew he was up and already cursing their existence, there was a distinct sound of a crash above his head followed by a shouting match.

James sighed. It was only nine-thirty. He shook his head, wiped his lens again, and slid back the hallway closet door. He and Ann had plans for it to be their storage slash coat closet when they first moved in. She wanted it to be like all her friends, or rather, she wanted to be like all the movies she obsessed over. He just wanted to have a place so he could tell his parents he wasn’t lazing around. He could handle a nine to five, a long time girlfriend he intended to marry eventually, and living on his own with bills to pay. He wasn’t going to be like his brother so they had no need to worry.

The phone rang, causing him to pause in his search for the manual. Two dings and then the diowng. “Nope. That isn’t normal.” He sighed to himself.

He groaned through gritted teeth as a box fell on his hand. Checking it, he groaned louder. Why couldn’t it have been the box he needed? If things were going to fall, he preferred if they were going to be helpful.

He put the box aside and stuck his head back into the dimly lit closet. He did learn a few things in the three years they moved there. One, always get the top level when moving in to a rental because overhead neighbors sucked. Two, don’t cheap out because you never know when the stupid thing will give out on you and start sounding like a dying bell. Three, never go window shopping at jewelry displays because then your girlfriend will get the wrong idea and that spreads worse than a virus at a doctor’s office. And then there was four, forcing yourself to grow up was not worth it if you had a good gig in your parents’ basement all along.