Keeping gnomes and frogs at bay
I don’t often sleep while my husband is driving. It seems mean to flop into the bunk when I know he’s ten times tireder than me, but sometimes I just need a nap. It’s always interesting to see where we’ve landed when I crawl out of the bunk.
I usually wake up tangled in the cargo net, dreaming I’m a giant tuna on my way to certain death. That’s if I can fall asleep at all, sometimes the roads are just too bumpy to drift off. It’s nice sleeping in an idling truck, but not so nice trying to sleep while you’re being bounced around like a lotto ball.
I’d had an especially hard time sleeping one night in South Carolina, mostly because we had a reefer next to us that was built in 1908 and apparently ran on warthog power. It squealed and walloped all night long, making more than fifteen minutes of sleep impossible for me. I was just a little cranky the next day, and my husband sent me to the bunk for a nap.
When I woke up, I was disoriented (like I always am when I wake up tangled in a giant tuna net). My husband wasn’t in the truck, and I knew we were backed into a dock because I could see the yard dogs zooming around. I got out of the bunk and stumbled over to the window to get a look at where we were about the time my husband got back into the truck.
“Well hello, sleeping beauty.”
“Where in the unnatural hell are we? Are those garden gnomes?”
“Indeed they are. Every shape, size and color imaginable.”
I squinted out over the lot and saw, to my amazement, an entire army of garden gnomes. They were absolutely terrifying. These weren’t your ordinary, run of the mill garden gnomes. Theses were sturdy little bastards, cast from concrete and ranging from a foot tall to the size of a well developed toddler. I don’t think I have ever had the urge to run screaming from a place be so intense.
“HOW LONG DO WE HAVE TO STAY HERE?!”
“Calm down, babe. They’re just garden gnomes. You should see the inside of the warehouse, the painted ones are in there.”
“DO THEY PAINT FACES ON THEM?”
“Well, yeah. What the hell is wrong with you? Are you scared of concrete garden gnomes?”
“I WASN’T UNTIL I SAW A GABILLION OF THEM, LINED UP AND READY TO EAT MY FACE OFF!”
“Did you hit your head getting out of the bunk again? You need to go lay back down. You don’t look so good.”
“I WANT TO LEAVE HERE. NOW.”
“It’s okay, we’re getting ready to pull out. I’m almost loaded.”
“OH MY GOD, ARE WE HAULING THOSE EVIL LITTLE THINGS?”
“No, babe. We’re not hauling gnomes. They make those frog birdbaths over there, too. We’re hauling those.”
I looked to the other side of the lot, careful not to turn my back on the gnome convergence. There were approximately nine thousand concrete frogs in varying sizes. Now, I’m more comfortable with frogs than garden gnomes, but when there are eleventy million of them, all lined up like they’re an advancing army, it gets creepy.
“PLEASE TAKE ME AWAY FROM HERE.”
“Green light. Strap in and we’re ready to go.”
“Please don’t ever bring me back to this place.”
“Babe, it’s okay. They’re all wrapped up in boxes, they can’t hurt you.”
“Great. They’re all wrapped up, being bounced around and pissed off royally with the whole night to think about how they’ll get out and eat our faces off.”
“You’re not going to sleep again tonight, are you?”
“What was your first clue, the sheen of terror sweat or my uncontrollable shaking?”
“Another long day tomorrow, huh?”
“You better quit thinking about tomorrow and start thinking about how we’re going to survive the night with concrete demon frogs plotting to kill us.”
“Are you sure you didn’t hit your head?”