(Written in 2012)
Our house is in on the edge of town, not in the country but not in the town either. On Monday night we had a light tornado in Belmont. The storm blew down hundreds of trees, damaged houses, barns and other property but thanks to God, no one was killed in the storms. My family and I grabbed the chain saw, rakes, and other tools and headed out to help clean up the debris and ended up working until around 10:00 pm. After a full day of work and then hours of manual labor, I was exhausted.
After I got through my routine of getting ready for bed, nasal strip, vitamins, benefiber, shower, setting the thermostat, locking the doors, setting the sleep timer on the TV, etc, etc. etc., it was about 11:30 pm. I took an Ambien and lay down to get some much anticipated sleep.
Our house has a little pond right outside the master bedroom window. It is a cute little pond and usually the frogs are vocal but soothing. On this night, after a rough storm and lots of rain, and I might add when I need rest the most, the frogs/toads decided to have an Occupy Movement, Tea Party Rally or a karaoke party, I’m not sure which. But it seemed that they had organized into hordes that would give William Wallace (Braveheart) cause for concern. I am not certain how my bedroom window became the podium for the keynote speaker, but he was there and he was fired up about something.
Now you have to understand how Ambien affects some people. For me, it makes me the loopiest person you would ever want to meet. The stories are endless so I will spare you but trust me when I say it can be funny and sometimes embarrassing but I rarely remember everything that goes on.
The meds had taken effect and I began to drift off when it seemed as if someone yanked on the cord of a freight train’s whistle right in my ear! I jumped up and tried to get a sense of what was going on and soon realized that there were about two hundred or thousand frogs, toads and other miscreants just yucking it up about three feet from my head just outside. I lasted about five minutes before I lost my cool. “I have had enough, this has to stop!” So just like any military trained, experienced defender of life and liberty would do, I grabbed my back scratcher off the nightstand and opened the window. The window fell on my finger on my first attempt which caused my wife to begin her giggle fit. I couldn’t get the window to stay up so I held it with my left hand and stuck my right hand out, back scratcher waving like a flag, trying to “whoop” the frog off my window. That didn’t work.
By the way, I just realized the three cats I feed and put up with daily were nowhere to be found during this battle. They are obviously cowards and are up for court martial when I catch them.
Anyway, the noise stopped just long enough for me to catch my breath and get laid back down. My head had not hit the pillow yet when Mr. Keynote Speaker on my window decided to rally the troops and start all over again. I nearly exploded!
I jumped out of bed looking for my pants. No luck. My wife is gasping through laughter asking me what I am doing. I said “I am putting a stop to this right now. I have to rest and this is ridiculous!” She agreed, but not on the same subject I was on. After I racked my knee on the table, pulled on some floppy shorts and strained my back, I was infuriated to say the least. Then I remembered the Red Rider BB gun and my police mag light. I grabbed both from the closet and headed out the front door.
Toni wasn’t able to get out of bed to assist me due to a sudden onset of some kind of asthmatic convulsion. All I could hear her say was “Ken, do you have on pants? Ken, Ken, what are you doing?” With that I was out the door and in full combat mode.
I turned the corner and the motion sensor flood lights came on. I kind of felt like the scout who first saw Chief Crazy Horse’s massive tribes at the battle of Little Big Horn. I am sure he had a slight pinch in the pit of his stomach as he realized the overwhelming force that Custer was about to face. Much like Custer, I didn’t have a chance.
I am a pretty good shot. I have four marksmanship medals from the Air Force and I feel confident in handling a gun… even a big one like a Red Rider BB gun. That coupled with the fury that came with being awakened after a hard day, a five cell mag light that can be used as a club, and bare feet for stealthy movement, (not to mention the Ambien courage running through my Irish veins) gave me the belief that “I can take ‘em.” With a southern yelp that “Call of the Wildman” would be proud of, I charged into the fray of combat.
Someone could have told me that pond was there.
I awoke, about ten minutes later, my wife tells me, soaked with a slimy green fluid and a rock knot on my other knee. As I turned the corner and in my haste I over stepped or “charged” as I like to put it, and was taken down by a strategically placed bolder. My wife calls it a pebble. I remember shooting and hitting the house with a few shots and I seem to recall winging a foe that was hiding between the rocks as his comrades cheered him on. She tells me that when I shot the window she had to step in and broker a peace treaty.
I remember two things after she yelled me back into the house. As I layed back down and waited for the MASH unit to tend to my wounds I heard her laughing at me. It was so bad that it shook the bed for what seemed to me like hours. In my Ambien state I couldn’t understand what the joke was. The other thing I remember is the victory speech given by the victor of the encounter/battle. “Ribbit Rambo” I call him. I thought, “We will meet again.”
I put a pillow over my face and cried myself back to sleep.