Be Sure to Check for Bombs Under the Bed

They live in a rental house in Corpus Christi while trying to find the home they want and selling their last home in San Antonio. The boy has already checked under his bed and in his closet—fortunately, he has found no bombs. Irrational? Maybe you haven’t seen Cloak and Dagger. Maybe you don’t remember that it involves a kid who is eleven and lives in San Antonio where the boy has just lived. You don’t know about or remember the terrorists pursuing him for code hidden in a game, killing his friend, blowing things up. Maybe you didn’t live through bombings in Lebanon and the Middle East. So you can’t appreciate how realistic it would be to have a terrorist put a bomb under your bed in Corpus Christi, Texas.

It is middle of the summer, and of course, he is in bed before the sun is down. They have hurricane shutters now, and he closes them to block out most light. He has said his prayers, settled into bed, and gotten quiet when he hears an audible click just outside his window. The tiredness he had felt is gone. He is awake.


He sits up. He definitely didn’t imagine it.


He goes to the window, opens the hurricane shutters, and peeks through the mini blinds. He can see nothing but bushes.


It sounds almost as though it is coming from right under the windowsill. Maybe it will just stop?


He tries lying down. This has to be irrational.


If he goes out, his mother will be furious.


Nope, he can’t bear it any longer. He exits the room quickly, heads down the hall, and turns to the front door.

“Where do you think you’re going, young man?” his mother says from the front room.

“There’s something ticking outside my window. I have to see what it is.”

“Oh for crying out loud—”

He doesn’t wait for permission, and she doesn’t stop him. He steps out the door, off the front porch, and turns left into the grass. On the property line between their house and the neighbor’s is a small tractor-like object connected to a hose. On top, it has what look like propellers that spin around and spew water. Every ten seconds or so, the rear wheels click forward. He sighs, then laughs, then feels ridiculous. He walks back inside.

“What was it?” his mother asks.

“A walking sprinkler,” he says not bothering to stop and test her patience further.

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