A scream. Like one of those screams straight out of the scariest horror flick you can imagine. Picture the girl who goes wandering into the dark basement, the foreboding music, the faint sound of a chainsaw and maniacal laughter in the background. Yep, all that ran through my head when I heard the scream.
It wasn’t just a little yelp, like a crap-there’s-a-spider scream. And it wasn’t a damn-I-kicked-my-desk-and-possibly-broke-my-toe scream. No, it was a someone-is-KILLING-ME-RIGHT-NOW scream. And it came from my older daughter, who was downstairs in her room alone…apparently except for the masked intruder who was at that very second ripping her toenails out one by one.
The scream was so loud and piercing that everyone in the house went running. Jason wasn’t home, so it was just me and the rest of the kids—we all went running. Quickly, however, I instructed them, “Get back!” Because I totally had this under control, you know except for the fact that I was about to pee my pants. With a wave of my hand and a flourish of my weapon of choice, a soggy dishtowel I had been using in the kitchen, I ran toward the stairs.
Flinging open the door, I yelled for Micaela. “What’s happening?! Are you okay?!” (I simultaneously wielded the dishtowel like a pair of nunchuks, ready to attack in a split second.) As soon as I flung open the door, I saw her standing at the foot of the stairs in distress.
“WHAT HAPPENED?!” I demanded, worried that I still needed to extricate an intruder from the house.
Gasping, sobbing, she managed to get out the words. “Some…one (sniff, sniff)…It’s Johnny!” she said.
“Huh?” I asked, perplexed now. (However, at this point I was starting to think, what the HELL is she talking about?)
She tried again. “Someone threw my jeans down the stairs, and they hit Johnny. He’s BROKEN!!”
All of the adrenaline that had previously been surging through my body suddenly turned into a big overdose of Is-She-Freaking-Kidding-Me. I realized she was talking about the life-size Johnny Depp cardboard stand-up that occupies the space at the bottom of her stairs. I had been right. There had definitely been a murder. Someone had murdered Johnny. And I was going to have to attack that person with a limp dishtowel, apparently.
And for all of you who may be wondering, no, teenagers do not overreact at all.