MONSTERS AND JOHNNY GETS SHOT

The Scot is away for the night.

He’s playing trumpet with an orchestra somewhere in the heart of the Highlands. The musicians will get barely enough to cover the cost of gas but they’ll have some fun, b’y.

And the drinks are free.

The Acadian and two of her daughters are home alone on what turns out to be a stormy winter night.

“Votre coucher.”

Bedtime. And so, we go to bed.

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She stays up though, knitting and worrying.

“With 10 kids, do you have to set aside certain times of the day for each child in order to get all your worrying in?”

She smiles, shakes her head and returns to her knitting … and worrying.

Her big worry for this particular week is Johnny. Recently divorced, he is a sad shadow of his previous self.

Full of the devil even when he isn’t full of the rum, Johnny is lively and joyful. He can always be depended on to bring his guitar and his singing to a gathering.

Lately, though, he’s been quiet and sad.

So, she worries into the night. When worrying time is up, she goes to bed. She sleeps until the doorbell rings at 1 a.m.

The woebegone Scot, no doubt. He’s foolishly made his way home in the storm.

The Acadian stomps down the stairs, tying her housecoat. She is loaded for bear. The Scot, in case you were wondering, is the bear.

No one at the door. Why is the doorbell ringing if there is no one at the door?

“Don’t open it!”

Of the five girls, Alice is the oldest and the most easily unnerved. She has watched all the horror movies and has actually heard the scrape of a hook on a car door as she smooched one dark night with her boyfriend.

She knows of such things.

“It could be someone waiting to jump on you when you open the door.”

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The Acadian frowns at her logic.

“But if it’s someone who means to do us harm, why ….

“I’m calling Johnny.”

“Oh, don’t wake him up at this time of night – he has to work in the morning.”

Alice insists.

“He’ll come and check it out,” she says.

The doorbell rings again, as if to underline the wisdom in her words.

We wait at the window, growing more and more unnerved. Johnny will come. He will handle whatever nightmare is ringing our doorbell at this ungodly hour of the morning.

Finally, we hear his little jeep make its way up the road. You can always hear it before you see it. He plows into our snow-covered driveway and shuts the vehicle off.

It rattles and shakes and shudders, until finally, it’s quiet. He leaps out but before he gets the door shut, we hear a loud bang.

“Oh, my God, they shot Johnny,” screams the Acadian. As she’s running towards the front door, Alice reaches out to grab her arm.

 “Wait – don’t open the door – they’ll shoot you too.”

Someone is now banging on the door.

“They’ll come in and kill us all – don’t open the door,” screams Alice. Her eyes are wild.

“Get away with your foolishness,” scoffs the Acadian, bravely turning towards the door. She unlocks it.

“It’s Johnny.”

In he comes, stomping the snow off his boots and shaking his head.

“You crazy bunch,” he says, chuckling.

“The doorbell was ringing because a toboggan was leaned up against the mailbox and when the wind blew, the toboggan pushed against the doorbell.”

Oh.

“Well, what was that bang? We thought you were shot!”

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Alice is sheepish-looking now.

“The old jeep backfired,” he says, smiling broadly.

The Acadian smiles back at her second-born son.

“Well, I’ll make some tea and cut some bread,” she says, turning toward the kitchen.

“Might as well,” he says.

“Is my old guitar here? Maybe I’ll play a few tunes.”

And so, he did.