Scrape-squeak-squeak. Scrape-squeak-squeak. Dunk-gadunk squeeeee.

“ I think we have rats in the attic.”  I stood in the hall looking up.

Scott came from his office and listened with me. “Attic fan.”

“But it sounds like The Devil in The Exorcist. You remember that scene where Ellen Burstyn tries to convince the housekeeper there’s a rodent infestation, only it turns out to be Satan?”

“Jessie, the only thing I remember about The Exorcist is that you said it was suspense and dragged me off to see the director’s cut in 2000.”

“It is suspense! And it sounds like it’s living in our attic.” I pointed at the ceiling.

“Attic fan.” He returned to his office.

I followed. “And the housekeeper keeps insisting there aren’t any rats, and that’s true, because…”

Scott rested his head in one hand, and then went to the kitchen without listening to the end of my sentence. He handed me a flashlight and went for the ladder. The outside thermometer said 102.  But the when he came back to the hall and moved the ceiling square aside, the attic felt more like 130.

He climbed up and banged along the aisle that runs the length of the house. I followed his progress and stopped where his noise ended. The squeaking thunks continued their intermittent song and then suddenly cut out. Silence.

Bump schlep-schlep thud.

“Are you alright?”

“I’m fine. Just hold the ladder still, will you?” Scott passed me the flashlight.

Sweat drenched, he stepped down.

“Well? What was it?” I handed him a towel.

He mopped his forehead. “Attic fan.”

“Are you sure? How did you make it stop? Do we need to fix it?”

“Yes, I’m sure. And I turned the sensor up so it won’t crank on when it’s still so cool.”  He handed me back the soaked towel. Leaving the ladder behind, he went to the kitchen for a long drink of ice water.

“What about fixing it??”

He shook his head. “I can’t even figure out how to turn it off.”

“But do we …”

“Let me ask you this. If we don’t fix it, is there any possibility you will stop believing The Lord of the Flies is hiding out under our old coffee table up there playing with the K’Nex that Sam’s too young for?”

I looked at the ground. “Probably not.”

“I’ll call Dixie Electric in the morning.” He put down his empty glass and went back to collect the ladder.

“What do you think it’s going to cost?”

“Jessie, I’m dealing with one problem at a time today. I’ve done basic demonology. I’m not starting in on accounting.”

He carried the ladder back out. I stood in the hall and listened. After a few minutes, the sound started again. Scrape-squeak-squeak. Scrape-squeak-squeak. Dunk-gadunk squeeeee. I wondered if we really had to wait until morning, or if I could call Dixie Electric right away. I wondered if they would understand that this was an emergency.


read to be read at yeahwrite.me

About jesterqueen:
Jessie Powell is the Jester Queen. She likes to tell you about her dog, her kids, her fiction, and her blog, but not necessarily in that order.


Bump — 55 Comments

    • Yay! I’m glad you liked it. Damned thing cost too much to fix, too. But it was keeping the kids and dog awake at night, not just bugging me.

    • Yay! Poor Scott did not enjoy the trip to the attic to figure out there was NOTHING he could do. I figured the least I could give him was a funny post out of it.

    • I’m SO brave, except when my superstitions kick in. And then, I’m outlandish. Knowing and believing wouldn’t coincide for me at all.

    • My grandparents — I’ll tell the story of the flying squirrel in their bedroom sometime. Yes. Rodents above do not appeal. Even a little.

  1. The Exorcist was SCARY, Id be freaking out too. LOL. I’m glad someones coming in to fix it so you no longer have to be paranoid of Satan.

  2. Ha! I suspect if it were me we’d becoming back to the “but IT WAS SATAN!” part repeatedly for the rest of the day.

  3. I love the wordplay here, Jessie. Poor Scott. I know how infernal that attic had to be this time of year in The South.

    • I felt terribly guilty. It was truly unholy up there. And I kept offering the Dixie Electric guy water when he came to fix it. He kept refusing.

  4. That’s ALL he,remembered from The Exorcist? Ah come on! 😉

    Is the squeaking gone? I totally agree with you: its an emergency. Have you tried 9-1-1? It’s warranted…

    • Dixie Electric has been, the fan has a new motor and bearings. All is quiet. And Scott LOATHES horror. I got him to watch Psycho with me when we first started dating. And we were snuggled on the couch, and I was musing during the shower scene, “Can you imagine what it was like for all those audiences when this came out who thought it really was Mother. Who didn’t know NORMAN was MOTHER?” And there was this silence beside me. And I suddenly realized he HAD NO IDEA what the twist was in Psycho. Sigh. And he did confess to remembering pea soup later, but absolutely couldn’t recall “fuck me”.

  5. Your husband has the greatest turn of phrase. I didn’t know you could get an attic fan. Unless I plug one in when it’s baking hot and I make the husband sort something out there then, the fan placates him a little. A little. 😉

    • This is a dealie that goes on the roof and sucks the hot air out of the parched attic and back into the great outdoors. It’s always moving, so it’s pretty well leak proof. I had no idea we had one until ours started dying. Which is just one reason I was sure Satan was up there.

  6. Have you been living in my head? Because we have the same sort of conversations. I already had to tell my hubby he was my hero for saving me from a spider and it’ not even 8 in the morning yet.

    • Haa! I’m AWFUL about spiders. But I have a twist, because my Mom loves them, and she inGRAINED in me that they are good bugs and you can’t hurt the “dear little things”. So I’m always screeching “SPIDER, PUT IT OUT! DON’T HURT IT”. They got one in my daughter’s summerschool classroom the other day, and the teacher was wigging out. And Caroline totally got a cup, caught it, and dismissed it rather than let her squish it.

      • Aww! When Spiderman first was in theaters, my boys would freak out if we killed a spider saying, “MOMMY! What if you’re killing Spiderman!!” So we learned from watching Zoboomafoo that you can use a towel to get a spider out of the bathtub (very timely, since we saw it the day before there was yet another spider in the bathtub). I was FREAKED OUT taking it all the way from the bathroom to outside.

        • I have to have a cup or I’m convinced it’s going to bite me. Even at that, I’m sure it’s going to slice through whatever I’m using as a makeshift lid.

  7. Loved this! And I love that your hubby knew that it was better to get into that attic than to listen to you jabber about a demon…

    • Also that if he didn’t, I’d keep coming back to him with signs. “I hear it in the kitchen now. Do you remember when the film flashed to the kitchen ceiling corner and showed the evil face?”

    • Ugh. Yes. Especially when it MAKES NOISE. Even assuming that it is NOT demonic (and I refuse to rule that out), it probably has TEETH and can BITE me.

  8. hehe i enjoyed this. immensely. i love the quick pace and the dialogue. good stuff. now get that damn fan fixed already!

  9. Fun post! Loved the dialogue. When I saw the subject line I thought you were going to talk about a baby bump but then I got scared when I read “Scrape-squeak-squeak. Scrape-squeak-squeak. Dunk-gadunk squeeeee.” If you’ve spent any time on my blog, you’ll know – YOUR RAT FEARS WERE NOT IRRATIONAL!! 🙂

  10. Again, what a keeper you have in Scott! I would have been freaked about rats also and never could have stood at the bottom of that ladder! Scott would have been on his own! I also loved the dialogue you created. Good work!

    • I was all ready to stand there at the top and give him orders, but he probably would have keeled over from a heart attack induced by perfectly justified heat induced frustration. It was bad enough that he was having to deal with it in the heat, I tried to just hover and worry at the bottom.

  11. Oh my, it is SO hot going up in an attic in the summer. Glad he pinned down the problem and that you got it fixed. I don’t think I could have put up with it for a night. I’m too impatient. 🙂

    • I have had earplugs in at night ever since the new dog decided he sleeps in our room, or else I’d have been unable to sleep either.

    • I actually had a call into a Catholic friend to see if she would steal me some holy water. Probably just as well that things turned out the way they did. I’m not sure what she would have had to do at confession after THAT.

  12. It was Satan! What did the attic have to do with the possession anyway? It doesn’t make any sense to me now. Regardless, you just gave me the shivers even thinking about the attic thing. ugh. Yeah. An emergency.

  13. Your husband is a saint for going up there in that heat. My husband would’ve said, “Fine! Call Fr. Juan to schedule the exorcism” because certainly that would be cheaper than an electrician.