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by Robert Aquino Dollesin

Allison is up on her elbows, awake again. Her eyelids flicker and she feels the cool breeze blowing in through the open window. The full moon bleeds bright through the glass, throwing shadows of shuddering leaves onto her bedroom wall. But it’s the noise — the grinding from the kitchen — that has Allison shaking her head.

She scoots into a sitting position, presses her back against the headboard and carefully listens to the clinking. She tucks her hair behind her ears and concentrates. The sound from the kitchen becomes clearer. Tap, tap, tap. A spoon. She’s sure of it.

A moment later Allison hears another spoon join the first. This time it’s a tinkling against glass. Then another and another and another until it is clear a full blast session of musical noisemaking is taking place. Spoons rapping against glassware, creating different tones. Spoons banging beat after beat inside the porcelain sink. Spoons drumming out a soulful rhythm as they brush and clash against copper pots and steel pans.

Allison, this time more determined than ever to catch them in the act, quietly slips out from under the covers. She swings off the bed, throws a robe around her shoulders and tiptoes toward the kitchen. The musical discord is out of control — spoons knocking the windows, spoons snapping the wooden cabinetry, and spoons steel-slapping the dining room table. Advancing through the house, Allison remains as noiseless and stealthy as she possibly can.

When she reaches the fringe of the kitchen, she raises her hand and glides it along the wall until she feels the light switch under her palm. She keeps her breath in and flips the switch up.

But they are very clever, these spoons. As soon as light spills over them they freeze in mid-air. Allison, having stepped into the kitchen, stares in disbelief at the suspended spoons, which are angled this way and that, floating at different levels. In the reflective surfaces of all those spoons, Allison’s startled reflection stares back at her.

She takes a deep breath, tells herself to remain calm. She shuffles over the linoleum, this moment stooping, that moment up on her toe tips, but always she is snatching spoons out of the air. When all the spoons have been gathered, Allison stows them in the drawer they had sneaked out of. She fastens the plastic safety latch so they can’t escape again.

Relieved and ready for some real rest, Allison shuts the light off and starts back to her bedroom. Halfway across the house she hears the creak of a drawer opening. Then, the swelling up of a new noise from the kitchen. The tiny hairs on the back of her neck prickle up. As with the spoons, this sound is rhythmic. But it is not a tap, tap, tap. This time Allison hears a scrape, scrape, scrape. The knives?

Then suddenly the forks, those silly, trouble-making forks, begin to rattle noisily inside their confinement — as if daring Allison, daring her to return to the kitchen and collect the knives.

Copyright © 2008 by Robert Aquino Dollesin

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