One Moment the Light Shined

Across the road from our house the streetlamp went out earlier in the week. It was the only one still alive and now our stretch of road is totally black all night.

Nevertheless, when Annie was in the bathroom brushing her teeth before bed, I set the alarm for 3am. I know it’s kind of silly. Who could possibly spot me out there, or would even be outside after around 11. This is a neighborhood of Wall Street stiffs who hit the liquor cabinet after work then pass out. But…all in all, 3am makes things more secure. Air tight. Security being essential for the undertaking of any important task.

When the clock buzzes at 3am, I silence it quickly. Annie, snoring lightly on the new Beautyrest, is unaware. I pull on my clothes from earlier and carry my work boots, taking the stairs gently so they don’t creak.

It’s a cold night, starless. I stand in my yard looking up at gray puffing in the blackness. Could be some snow coming. Shoving my hands in my jacket pockets, I make my way down the driveway hill. Stopping when I reach the bottom. Not out of fear or indecision. Just to get a good look at my prey. Painted white, the house across the way is easy pickings. Moving panther-like I cross the road.

The first thing to go are the white lights swirled on two stumpy bushes like sentries guarding the foot of their driveway. It’s a kick to tear off those strings of white lights. I get a rush. Lightning come down from the heavens, helping to rid the world of this trash. Christmas junk. What happened to Jesus in the manger? Who started all the baubles and bangles? The lights and trees? And, yeah— those lit icicles hanging from the porch sofit.

Moving up their front path I reach and grab onto the string of icicles. The whole line of them comes down in a sudden flash of light to dark. As if they were never meant to be.

One moment the light shined, the next the world was pitched into blackness. I have to cover my mouth to keep from laughing.

A part of my brain is telling me it’s time to get out. Get out now. Yet there’s still that big floppy wreath on their door. Even a few lights stuck in those branches. I stride toward their stoop secure as a cowboy about to mount a trusty horse. Ripping the wreath from its door and chucking it. “Good night and God bless,” I say under my breath.

Susan Tepper has been published several times in Oddball and enjoyed every moment. She’s the author of seven books, including the newly released sexy linked collection Monte Carlo Days & Nights (Rain Mountain Press, NYC).

Art can illuminate even the most elusive and difficult to comprehend ideas. Visual rules and tightly codified visual metaphors help scientists communicate complex ideas mostly amongst themselves, but they can also become barriers to new ideas and insights. Dr. Regina Valluzzi’s images are abstracted and diverged from the typical rules and symbols of scientific illustration and visualization; they provide an accessible window into the world of science for both scientists and non-scientists.