Friday May 31st, 2013

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the unknown.

Today was mostly about cherries and berries. I helped Kat's parents begin to net their cherry trees, they helped us pick our first strawberry haul of the market season. Which came to a grand total of 42 pints. Considering we peaked at 50 pints last year, I'd say the plants we added to our garden last season are settling in nicely.

My mind boggles when it tries to imagine what this year's peak is going to be.

Boggle, boggle, boggle.


It's paralyzing, this fear of the unknown. It keeps me from making a choice, moving on to other adventures and mysteries and... life. Better to take a chance now and hope for the best... right?

"I'll take what's behind door number... two."

Thursday May 30th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the injury.

All of the tomato plants we set aside for ourselves are now planted out in the garden, and we shall attempt to sell those that remain in the greenhouse at the next couple of markets.

After a little break due to lack of interest (and lack of time on our part), we've restarted Max on solid foods. It seems to be going much better this time - here he is enjoying a piece of chicken while smushing some avocado to death:

He must have sucked on that thing for twenty minutes yesterday. Oh well, at least he kept himself entertained while the rest of us had our dinner.


We've been receiving some much needed extra help from a friend's brother in recent weeks. He's been weeding and mulching and planting and generally being an awesome worker. We've really felt fortunate to have him around.

We asked him to come every day this week, hoping to get on top of things before strawberries devour all of our garden time, and he said he could make it except for Wednesday. Apparently he needed to get some physio done on his knee that day.

I asked him about it on Tuesday and he said that while he was playing hockey in college this spring he took a knee-on-knee hit, which is just one of the nastiest things the sport has to offer. The only thing worse that I can think of at the moment is a hit to the head, as concussions are never fun.

That was about twelve weeks ago and he still wasn't really trusting the stability of the knee. So he got referred to a physiotherapist in order to get some more work done. His first appointment was yesterday and... he found out he needs surgery to repair his ACL.

The injury itself is terrible enough (he's going to miss at least two months of his next college season because of it). But the fact that it took seeing four different doctors before getting the proper diagnosis must be utterly infuriating.

Wednesday May 29th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the marshal.

We took Max in for his six month vaccination this morning. Thankfully it was only one shot this time, and he hardly cried at all. Probably the least he's reacted to any of his needles, which was great. Plus he doesn't have to go back until November, which is even better.

To celebrate the occasion, it pretty much rained all day. So not much was accomplished in the garden.

Hopefully we'll make up for that tomorrow.


He stands motionless on the sidelines, hands clasped behind his back as he watches the runners stream past. As one of the many course marshals monitoring the day's event, he wears no uniform. His grey sweat pants and black hooded sweater are his own, and would not be out of place on a more casual spectator.

One of the few orders he was given that morning was to blend in. Competitors should not be able to determine who the officials were, he was told. It would only be an unnecessary distraction, seeing such intimidating figures watching their every move.

So he took up his assigned position and effectively disappeared. He became just another member of the audience, nothing to distinguish him from those around him.

Well, other than the gun at his hip and directions to use it on any runners who attempted to take a shortcut.

Tuesday May 28th, 2013

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: sweetness.

Planted out a whole lot of tomato plants in the garden today, thanks to our farm intern and some extra help. While they were working on that we harvested for several local orders, mostly consisting of salad greens.

But we did manage to find enough ripe strawberries to fill three pints. And so the strawberry madness begins...


One little taste is
all I need before I know
it's too sweet for me.

*     *     *

Sugary words drip
from your lips, tearing my heart
apart as it rots.

Monday May 27th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the hideout.

Good day of work in the garden was rewarded with the first strawberries of the season. If the weather cooperates we should have a decent amount for the market this weekend.

And by next weekend I expect we shall be swimming in them.


The tree was not much different than its neighbours. No obvious markings on its trunks, no peculiar twists or turns among its branches. It was not especially tall, nor especially short.

To a casual observer it was just one more tree in a twenty acre orchard. Unremarkable.

But when I had need of it, when it was time to disappear completely for a little while, I knew exactly where to find my hideout.

Sunday May 26th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: connections.

Enjoyed a quiet day off, now feeling ready to get back out in the garden to tackle those pesky weeds.

Thankfully our internet connection decided to start working again tonight or who knows when this would have been posted.


"And how about this one?"

I look at the card the nice lady is holding up for a moment, then return my eyes to her face. She seems as though she really wants to help me and I don't want to let her down. And she has spent so much of her time with me. So I look at the card again.

There is a man pictured there, a close-up of his face. Middle-aged, needs a shave. Dark eyes, thick lips. It seems like he's about to smile, at least I think so.

I turn back to the nice lady. Those lines on her face have returned. Like she's concerned. About me? I hope not. I don't want to upset her.

"Sorry, miss," I say with an apologetic shrug and a gentle smile. I hope the gestures will ease her disappointment with me. "I don't know who that is."

Saturday May 25th, 2013

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: promises.

The sun shone for the entire farmers market today (though it was still fairly chilly), so I am feeling grateful for that. I'm also grateful for all the people who came out and bought our plants and rhubarb (and one of my cards), making for a better week for us than last go around.

Kat brought Max up late morning and we had a lot of fun introducing him to friends and customers. I think he liked it too.

Next weekend? Next weekend we might have some strawberries to sell.


You keep telling me
To never say never,
But your promises
Are as empty as ever.

Friday May 24th, 2013

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: dormancy.

With the forecast looking pretty reasonable, I shall be returning to the market tomorrow morning. Should things stay as predicted, and everybody gets a decent night's rest, Kat will be bringing Max up a little bit later in the morning for his first farmers market appearance.

Here's hoping for a good turnout.


The villagers stroll through their streets, calling out relaxed greetings to old friends. Their pets and livestock (one and the same in many cases) run freely, nipping ankles and chasing and being chased by half-naked children.

And I watch from my lofty perch, knowing what they seem to have forgotten.

That a dormant volcano does not stay quiet forever, and that I am preparing to wake.

Thursday May 23rd, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the revival.

Because I had to light the fireplace this morning, it was so bloody chilly in the house. Had really hoped we were past that by now.

Made some progress in the garden today with weeding and mulching. Would have rather been planting tomatoes out, but the weather has decided we'll be doing that next week instead.

Right now I'm just hoping the forecast for Saturday drastically improves, otherwise we might be skipping the market. Which would suck, considering how many seedlings we still have to sell.


It grew cold from neglect, forgotten as the heat of summer made spring promises we should not have believed. An obstacle in the midst of our home, its accoutrements potential hazards for a baby learning to crawl. Nothing more.

But one night the cold within was matched by the cold without. We came shivering before it, begged forgiveness as its doors creaked open. We filled it with paper and wood, making assurances that it would not be ignored so eagerly again.

It grumbled, breathed black smokey threats. Turned away from our entreaties and refused to perform its usual duties. The cold settled into the walls, into our bones. Panic slipped through the cracks around the doors and grasped at our ankles.

But at last the fire caught and warmth was restored, one burning log at a time.

Wednesday May 22nd, 2013

The exercise:

All right, I simply could not resist Greg's suggestion in the comments yesterday. You are, for the sake of today's writing, a member of a band named Damaging Winds and your first album, Chance of Large Hail, is about to be released. Write something inspired by this scenario - the lyrics to one of the songs, a concert review, an album release party scene...

Okay, now I'm just listing all the things I considered for mine. I'll just leave you guys to it.

Pretty miserable day here, weather wise. So I spent a good chunk of the morning in the greenhouse counting tomato plants, trying to figure out if we have enough of each variety potted up. Hopefully tomorrow will decide to return our sunshine to us.


Damaging Winds Concert Cancelled Due To Light Breeze

Last night's highly anticipated performance by fast-rising stars Damaging Winds ended before a single note could reach the local airstream. Stadium officials were forced to give ticket holders the cold front less than an hour before the opening act was set to hit the stage.

"We were concerned for the safety of both our performers and their fans," one official later told reporters. "When the crowds were first informed of the unfortunate news the barometer was definitely rising outside the gates. We feared a riot was on the verge of manifesting, but thankfully cooler heads prevailed."

"Obviously this was a disappointing turn of events," lead singer Kevin "Cloud Burst" Thompson said in a released statement. "But we will return to make up this date later in the year, and me and the boys are looking forward to getting our meridional flow on with our stormy fans."

Tuesday May 21st, 2013

The exercise:

Write two haiku about something or someone: energetic.

Our farm intern's daughter is surely somehow related to the Energizer Bunny.

Our plant sale this afternoon, which we actually bothered to advertise in the local paper, was much more successful than I had any right to expect it to be. My meager predictions were due mostly to the windstorm that nearly blew the tent off our deck while we were trying to setup.

Not to mention the weather forecast which called for a chance of 'large hail and damaging winds'.

But people came out and bought plants and I was very relieved that all our efforts to prepare for the sale were not wasted.


All that is greater
than her energy are all
the stories she tells.

*     *     *

So full of buzzing
energy he never sleeps;
damn that lightning strike.

Monday May 20th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: weariness.

Max had a slightly better sleep last night, though he's still, like his parents, struggling with his cold. Very much looking forward to everyone being healthy and sleeping reasonable lengths of time again.

Managed to get our entire potato crop in the ground today, with lots of much appreciated help. Here's hoping this year features weather that is actually conducive to a happy production of spuds.


His movements are slow and heavy, as though the bones within his body are gaining weight with each passing moment. This struggle has demanded a punishing payment but still he pays it. As though he has no choice in the matter... which is only partially true.

A rest would help. The relief of sleep, of allowing his aching, throbbing muscles to pause in their labours, could make all the difference. But he is afraid.

Afraid that stopping would lead to paralysis. That the inertia would be insurmountable. That this battle would be irreversibly lost. And he is unwilling to admit defeat, despite the mounting evidence which suggests that victory is unattainable.

So he continues on. Slowly, slowly, but still he continues on.

Sunday May 19th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: echoes.

Today was a day off in name only, as I ended up getting very little rest. Kat was in class for most of it so I was in charge of Max during that time, and after a night of not much sleep (I'm awake! Time to try crawling again! I'm so close! What? No, I don't want to go back to sleep... why do you ask?) he wasn't in the best of moods.

Oh well. Here's hoping for a better sleep for everyone tonight and then a good morning of planting potatoes tomorrow.


She is gone,
But I cannot miss her;
Like a burn
Living within a blister,
She is here,
Near me evermore,
With questions
I have no answer for.

In the night
There is no silence;
Her words live,
Edged by rage or kindness.
I hear them
In streets and in meadows;
I must heed
These unending echoes.

Saturday May 18th, 2013

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: waiting.

Had a pretty successful first farmers market of the year, despite the cold and sprinkles of rain and a very quiet start to the morning. Sold a whole bunch of plants, quite a bit of rhubarb, and... no greeting cards. Which is fine, card sales tend to pick up quite a bit in tourist season.

Katherine and Max remained home while I brought our farm intern and her daughter to help me at the market. But if the weather is nice next week the whole family will be there which, if today was any indication, will make a lot of people very excited.


The whistle sounds,
The market opens.
Will customers come?
I'm sure hopin'!

Friday May 17th, 2013

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the inevitable.

Do you ever get a word stuck in your head and you end up using it over and over again, either in your thoughts or out loud, or both? Well I do, and inevitable was today's word.

I imagine making it a prompt isn't going to help any.

Heading back to the market in the morning, to sell plants and rhubarb and greeting cards. Fingers crossed the rain will leave us alone.


The destination awaits our arrival. We may get there early, we may be late, but it knows we will reach its murky shores one way or another. There can be no other ending to our story.

But still we fight as though another option existed.

Thursday May 16th, 2013

The exercise:

Tell me a tale that has something to do with: medication.

I don't remember the last time I felt the need to actually take cold medicine when I was sick. Normally I just wait it out and don't bother. Not this time.

It's that time of year again: tomorrow we prepare for our first farmers market of the season. Assuming the forecast for Saturday doesn't get much worse. And that I'm feeling well enough to go.


The relationship
Left him devastated,
And heavily medicated.

The days were long,
The nights much longer.
He believed the liars
Who said he'd end up stronger.

At last he knows what must be done,
No longer haunted by doubt.
So she better start running,
Now that his pills have run out.

Wednesday May 15th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the tree.

Max has kindly shared his cold with both Kat and myself. Generous little fellow, isn't he?

First morning of work with our farm intern went pretty well. Hoping I won't have to send her out to the garden on her own tomorrow morning because I'm stuck in bed.


Roots twist and turn deep into the earth, searching for something long forgotten. Something secret. Something infused with old words and older magic.

Something best left undisturbed.

Still it reaches, safely out of sight. High above, in the warmth of the sun and shade of its boughs, children play and couples picnic. Laughter fills the air, tears slip from eyes, wine stains the ground.

Wait... no... who spilled the bottle? What fool gave this monstrous tree the power it needed to complete its search?

Too late... much too late. All that is left for us now is to pray.

And run.

Tuesday May 14th, 2013

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: rocks.

Very busy but successful day around these parts. Had two helpers in the garden this morning, so a lot more seeding was accomplished and, most importantly, the strawberries are now fully weeded and mulched.

This afternoon we sold some plants and things on our deck and our farm intern arrived. Brittany and her daughter are now settled into their tent in our backyard and training/working shall commence in the morning.

Max's cold... seems to be bothering him a little less at this point. Hopefully that carries through the night.


Her ten dead husbands
are with her always; a huge
rock on each finger.

*     *     *

This crushing weight is
not getting me what I want;
add another rock.

Monday May 13th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the storm shelter.

There's definitely a storm brewing out there. The light after sundown tonight was... electric. Like there should have been lightning forking across the sky.

I went down to the basement to grab some laundry and felt like I was going into... well, today's prompt had to come from somewhere, right?

Big day tomorrow. Going to try to get some extra sleep tonight.

Which might be hard, considering Max has just come down with his second cold.


Rain lashes against the walls in fruitless fury, making nary a dent upon its surface. Wind uproots trees and hurls them toward the building like a giant's javelin, and those huddled within notice nothing. No cup is overturned, not even a stray drop falls wasted to the floor.

It had been built to withstand the end of days, and this storm was a far cry from doomsday. Cracks were nonexistent, foundations dug deep into the earth. Too deep, some said. Ancient things might be disturbed at such depths.

Such concerns were met with scorn and summarily ignored. The shelter would keep them safe from any disasters Mother Nature might think to hurl against its exterior.

Disasters born within those walls, however, were an entirely different matter...

Sunday May 12th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the lion.

Celebrated Katherine's first Mother's Day today. Rather enjoyed it, especially the parts that involved coercing Max to join in. Like when he signed her card:


Behind thick bars, he paces back and forth. His anger is palpable, it can almost be seen as it radiates from his body. His keepers brought him lunch hours ago and it remains untouched while he grows ever more hungry.

We are safe, those of us who watch this spectacle from the safety of the sidewalk. Fully aware of what this beast would do to us should he gain access to the fleshy softness of our bodies, we snap pictures and point and laugh.

All the while dangerously unaware that there should be two lions inside the enclosure...

Saturday May 11th, 2013

The exercise:

Following up on Monday's prompt, today we write a four line poem about something that is: flawless.

While I was weeding the third to last row of strawberries this morning, I made a rather alarming discovery: the berries are forming already. Must have been all that heat they've been getting recently.

Definitely time to finish weeding and mulching those plants.


Her beauty is beyond compare,
Her words have the perfect lilt!
Well her balance is quite fine
Atop the pedestal you've built.

Friday May 10th, 2013

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: takeout.

Had a yard day today, managing to make a reasonable amount of progress on having a presentable yard. Back to the garden tomorrow, which should be the last Saturday I'm not at the market for quite some time.

In the meantime, we're preparing to have a plant sale here at our home the next couple of Tuesdays, and maybe even sell some greens too. The farming season is gathering momentum.


"So that's two chicken burgers, one tossed salad, one large fries, and two medium Diet Cokes, all ready to go."

From his seat by the window Derek watched the elderly man pay for and collect his takeout bag before making his way slowly out the door. Overall it was a pretty good order; he would have preferred regular sodas, but he couldn't afford to be that picky.

Shifting in his seat he signaled to his partner Tommy, who was leaning against a shop across the street, letting him know that their dinner was ready to be taken.

Thursday May 9th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about something or someone that is: caught.

Took the entire day off today, and even had a good portion of it to myself as Kat took Max up to Penticton for a get together. Felt fantastic. And also managed to get caught up on a few things around the house.

Still owe like twenty different people emails, but whatever. Progress was made. Focus on the positive.


Went out for a swim
In the lake today;
Exploring here and there,
Whiling my time away.

A tasty treat appears
And without a second thought
I take a big old chomp,
And suddenly I'm...

Caught a break at work
With some unexpected time off,
All thanks to my ability
To fake a nasty cough.

I'm fishing on my boat,
Though my line has snagged naught;
I'm thinking I might go hungry,
When suddenly a fish is...

Caught in a whirlpool,
The three of us are spinning:
The boat, the fish, the fisherman,
Not a one of us is winning.

There's no escaping,
We go around and around and around;
We're trapped in a rush of water,
And we're going down, down, down.

Wednesday May 8th, 2013

The exercise:

Today, as promised, we return to Mejaran.

For those of you just joining in, click that link and have a read through what has already happened in that little village (it's rather an impressive amount so far, really). Then you can jump in with something (and possibly someone) new, or simply add on to who and what's been created in the first four installments in the series.

Weather update: still way too hot. Like normal highs of 19 degrees for this time of year and it hit 32 today way too hot.


"Where have you been?"

Yarel flinched as though he had been struck, but recovered quickly to thrust his chest and chin forward. Proud and defiant as the wildest of horses, he was. Slightly less so, however, when a few moments later he remembered that in the dark of his home's midnight kitchen his mother could not see this display.

"I expected you to be sleeping," he said, still trying to determine where, precisely, his mother was lurking.

"I could say the same about you," Jocelle said softly, appearing at her son's side without warning. Yarel flinched again as his bladder relaxed long enough to wet his trousers (but only a little). "Last I saw your troublemaking face, I could have sworn you were ten dreams into a fifty dream sleep."

"I... may have been playing a bit of pretend." Yarel shrugged and took a seat at the kitchen table, pulling his knife out of its sheath as he did so. Without appearing to realize what he was doing, he began to whet it as he added, "Good to know I'm a good enough actor to fool your sharp eyes. Perhaps I should audition for -"

"Where. Have. You. Been."

"Practicing with the boys."

"Practicing?" Jocelle shook her head in disbelief, then produced a match from somewhere on her person and used it to ignite the lamp on the table. "Practicing what, and with which boys?"

"Swordsmanship." Yarel tried to say it nonchalantly but his throat seemed to get entangled with all those letters. "And I can't remember everyone who was there. Liefert, Azmar..."

"What have you gotten yourself into, child?" Jocelle's tone caught her son off guard. It was so much softer than he'd been expecting, filled with genuine concern. The moment ended quickly, however, as she happened to glance down at her son's arm. "You're bleeding!"

Tuesday May 7th, 2013

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the knockout.

I was vaguely tempted to make this month's visit to Mejaran be in haiku form (since I admittedly forgot all about it until g2 reminded me in the comments), but I really want it to be a year full of prose for that place.

So tomorrow it shall be. Get ready.

In other news, game four of the Canucks opening round series went tonight. Not terribly surprisingly, their season is now over and their fans get to pretend, once more, that next year will bring better results.

In other other news, Max turned 6 months old today. Not sure how that happened already.


I lowered my guard
at the worst possible time;
good morning, doctor.

*     *     *

So much promise, gone.
Hopes dashed, expectations smashed.
One more wasted year.

Monday May 6th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about something that is: flawed.

It is freaking hot here. Like summer arrived overnight hot. Like seasonal transition? Screw seasonal transitions hot.

I may have melted a few brain cells while working in the strawberries this morning.

I don't think Max cares for it either.


"I don't believe in flaws."

"What?" Natalie was genuinely confused. "They're not like unicorns or something."

"Precisely." Mrs. Edwards nodded her head sharply, obviously pleased to have found someone who agreed with her. "Unicorns exist. Flaws, on the other hand, are the creation of young minds with not enough work to keep themselves occupied."

"I'm not sure that's entirely true." Natalie wanted to ask how much work would be sufficient to keep those young minds properly busy, but she reined herself in. Down that road lay madness, along with better than average odds of additional homework assignments.

"That's because you're too young to have learned otherwise," Mrs. Edwards said, looking away with a loud sniff. Disappointment that yet another potential ally in the fight against flaws had evaporated right before her eyes settled on her shoulders, pushing them earthward. "Now get back to work."

"But it's nearly midnight!"

"Precisely." Mrs. Edwards returned her gaze to her mouthy student, her nostrils flaring slightly. "So if you want to get any sleep tonight I'd suggest you perform this next song as perfectly as it was intended to be sung when Mr. May first wrote it."


"Once more, from the top!" Mrs. Edwards clapped her hands together with enough force to blow the hair away from Natalie's face. With a heavy sigh, her student returned to center stage, took a deep breath, and began to sing.

"Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer..."

Sunday May 5th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the staircase.

With a third straight loss, the Canucks are pretty much over and out for this year's playoffs. Yes, they could still win the next four games in a row in order to advance to the next round... but that's feeling extremely unlikely at this point.

So, more of the usual from them, basically.


Dusty, creaking stairs disappearing down into smothering darkness. You may descend, but know that there is no coming back. If you go, everything that came before those steps will cease to exist.

There are benefits of making that choice, of course. A price so dear must be balanced, or else none would pay it. The question each of us must answer is whether the rewards outweigh the sacrifice... though with so many factors on the other side so poorly defined, that is a very difficult calculation to solve.

For some of us, at least. Those of us with caution and wisdom on our side.

But then, life would be far less interesting without fools such as yourselves hanging about...

Saturday May 4th, 2013

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: Icarus.

Today's topic inspired by this song, which I discovered during a recent click-along adventure on YouTube (hey that song looks interesting... hey, so does that one... and that one...).

With some help from a friend's brother, we got quite a bit of good work done today. Finally made a dent in all the work we need to do with the strawberries, plus I got him to finish some other tasks that I had no real interest in doing myself.

Money well spent, I reckon.


Blessed with the gift of wings,
He set off to see things
From a whole new point of view...
But forgot his parachute.

Friday May 3rd, 2013

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the coming darkness.

The Canucks lost again tonight, meaning they're down two games to none. Just like they started last year's playoffs. I'm hoping this trend does not continue.

Had a very windy day here, which kept us out of the garden for most of it. So we did a few things around the house, including setting up Max's new crib. He's in it right now, snoring away, which I figure is a sign he likes it.


I know it is coming. The inevitability is the worst part; that certainty that there is nothing I can do, that there will be no avoiding it. It is, quite simply, just a matter of time.

One morning I shall wake up and the darkness will remain, coating my eyes for the remainder of my days.

Thursday May 2nd, 2013

The exercise:

You remember that story you started yesterday? Now that you've had a day to think about it, continue it.

And if you didn't start anything yesterday, go back and do that today. When you come by tomorrow, then you can carry on with it.

Yes, I'm being bossy. You know you like it.


"My name, my real name," the stranger said as he stood over my crumpled heap of a body, "is Reginald Evergreen. But, as I already mentioned..."

"That name means nothing to me," I heard myself say. The words sounded strange though, like echoes in a large, dark, unknown room.

"Yes, quite right."

He smiled again then, this Reginald fellow. And I realized, with a little jolt of surprise, that I was no longer angry. That I was no longer... anything, really.

"However," he added as he walked around my body, his hands clasped behind his back, "you will be most familiar with another name that I am known by."

"Who are you?" Again, that strange reverberation.

"My name is Death," he told me then. "And I have come to recruit you to my army."

Wednesday May 1st, 2013

The exercise:

Write the first three of four paragraphs of an adventure story. You may be tempted to keep going, but I shall ask politely that you do not. For now.

The Canucks opened this year's playoff adventure this evening with a loss in the first game of their best of seven series. Hopefully that is not a sign of things to come.


"Who are you?"

"My name would mean nothing to you."

I was angry at that point, not thinking clearly. The alcohol might have had something to do with it as well, to be honest. But how would you feel if you came home at two in the morning to find a stranger sitting in your living room, eating the last of your chocolate mint ice cream?

I raised my sopping wet umbrella overhead and took, from my perspective at least, a menacing step forward. The man in the black trench coat smiled, pointed a thin finger at my chest, and life as I knew it came to a rather abrupt halt.