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Susan Bain

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By Susan Bain
Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Rated "G" by the Author.

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A brother and sister alone at home are able to move past their usual "blame game" behavior to resolve a scary situation.

“What on earth is Alan doing now?” wondered Jenny irritably, as a weird hooting noise distracted her from her book. “It sounds like he’s fooling around with that old bicycle horn.”

She turned back to her book, but in a few minutes, she heard the sound again. She hopped off her bed and went into the hall. Leaning over the banister, she hollered at her brother, “Alan, leave that old horn alone. I can’t concentrate with that racket every few minutes.”

Alan hollered back, “I’m not doing anything, so quit yelling at me! You blame me for everything.”

“Well, if you didn’t do so many noisy, annoying things, I wouldn’t be always blaming you. I just want you to stop fooling around with that horn.”
Alan’s curly head appeared at the bottom of the stairs. “What horn? I’m not playing with any old horn.”

Just at that moment, they both heard the strange sound again. But they were in plain view of each other, and neither was doing anything to make a noise. There was a brief moment of silence, and then Alan ran up the stairs and both went into their mom’s room and shut the door.

Jenny said, in a shaky voice, “I’m scared. Let’s call Mom and tell her there’s a burglar in the house.”

“Yeah, maybe we should, but even if she left her meeting right away, she wouldn’t get here for almost an hour.”

“Then let’s call 911.”

“Yeah, we could do that. But you know, there’s something funny about this”, said Alan, with a puzzled expression on his face.

“What do you mean?” Jenny looked less scared and more focused.

“Well, burglars sneak around. They don’t blow horns. They don’t want people to know they’re in the house. What else could this be?”

He opened the door a crack, and they both peeked out. The sound blared again, and seemed to be quite close to them. Jenny looked up.

“What’s that?” she wondered, as she pointed to a flashing light on the smoke detector attached to the ceiling.

“Oh no!” exclaimed Alan. "Mom asked me to change the battery in that thing and I forgot. The light flashes when the battery gets low, and when it gets really low, it makes a warning noise. I bet that’s what it is.”

They both edged out of their mom’s bedroom and watched the smoke alarm intently. Sure enough, after a minute or two, it gave a great hoot! It really did sound like an old bicycle horn. The two started to laugh.

“Well”, said Alan, “Looking after that smoke alarm was my responsibility. I guess that’ll teach me to take my responsibilities more seriously.”

Jenny went to find the battery while Alan set up the step stool. She held it steady while he changed the battery.

Then they decided a game of “Sorry” would be a good way to end the evening together.


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Reviewed by Ronald Hull 5/1/2014
Well written. It is a pleasure not to have to self edit what I'm reading. As I've told many others, Microsoft Word has hidden formatting that messes up the AD editor. You should downgrade your document to text (.txt) or rich text format (.rtf) by saving in one of those formats. After copying, make sure that you paste it special (not just paste-I use Paste and Match Style) in your browser under the edit menu.

Typical brother and sister behavior. A psychiatrist once told my sister (she suffered from agoraphobia and wouldn't leave the house until she found a drug that worked after she was over 40 years old) that she was that way because she was surrounded by twin brothers both older and younger, and didn't get the attention she deserved. We work together on the important things (my ailing mother), but many of her ideas and problems are the direct opposite of mine.

What alarms me is that these kids did not know what the sound of the smoke alarm was. Smoke is often undetected until it is too late. Hearing that alarm requires immediate action, not thinking something else is happening.


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