>It takes me the better part of an hour to drag him into the middle of my kitchen. At first I hesitate to touch him too firmly. The last thing I want to do is wake him. Everyone will be more rational in the morning, I think, because Leslie’s warnings about kidnapping suddenly have a whole new meaning. It would probably be good to talk to Leslie before he even wakes up, and I wonder how early might be too early.
But the dead weight of a grown man is a lot for me to handle on my own and finally I have to grab him by the ankles and pull him flat on his back over the bump in the kitchen door. Sweat’s running down my sides by the time I get him as far as half way across the floor.
I catch a glimpse of myself in the stainless steel surface of the fridge. I look like a goddess of war, with my hair sticking up in all directions and my black sweater drenched and sticking to my back. I want to strip down to my bra, at least, but don’t dare, for fear he might charge me with attempted rape as well as kidnapping if he comes to and sees himself naked and me all sweaty in my underwear.
And who would ever believe my side of it? He is quite delicious. The boys retreat to their hideout under the kitchen table and at last I have him positioned as comfortably as I dare.
I grab a quilt intended for my guest room and gently tuck it over him, and put a throw pillow from my couch under his head. “Come on, boys.” I breathe a little prayer that this all be some weird hallucination brought about the combination of the candles and the incense and the phases of the moon and follow the boys up to bed.
In the night I convince myself, that Johnny, like the ghost of Jacob Marley, is most likely the result of too much poorly digested cheese. It’s not until I find him, curled up under my quilt, the dogs joyfully licking his face, still sleeping soundly as a newborn, that I remember that Scrooge was wrong about the connection between the ghost and the cheese.
As the dogs finish their business in the poop patch, I hear the front doorbell ring, and they bound barking into the house, even as I tiptoe past Johnny’s prone body.
To my amazement, it’s Leslie, sleeves already rolled up. She’s got a brown paper bag in her hand. “Here you go,” she says, and turns to leave. “I’d stay but I’m due at a depo-”
“No, Leslie.” I grab at her hand. “Wait - there's something... something wrong-”
“Wrong shoes?” she asks, instant concern creased across her forehead.
“D-do you have just a couple minutes?” I sag weakly against the door-frame. Suddenly looking at her in the cold daylight, in her dusty black suit and carefully applied makeup, makes me feel rather the way I imagine the witch from the Wizard of Oz felt when she looked up and saw the house falling on her.
“What’s wrong, honey?” She looks at me more closely. “Are you okay?”
“J-just come in a minute,” I say. The draft claws at my ankles and I can only imagine how cold the hard kitchen floor is.