She’s got the Heebie-Jeebies

There were five or six of them, quite the little team. The Heebie-Jeebies were pretty much constant companions these days.

Admittedly they sat in a corner and behaved themselves when she was in her office. The orderly piles of payroll records and timesheets kept them quiet most of the time, on a good day. And today had been a good day. Beverly and Owen had smuggled in champagne and birthday cake, and then everyone had piled into her office, spilling the fizz into plastic cups. A couple of the Heebie-Jeebies had rustled around when Owen made a gushing toast about how she deserved the best, and glared at her while saying this would be the year She.Got.The.Best. But generally they’d behaved themselves. When she’d left at 5:00, she was only dimly aware of them hovering in the back seat of the car.

That all changed when she reached home and saw the driveway was empty and the house dark. The Heebie-Jeebies sprang to attention. One of them liked to trickle a cold fingernail from her collar up into her hairline, and he was the first into action. Fierce overlapping whispers followed.

“He’s not home! Why isn’t he home?…Drinking, he’s drinking…Drunk. Drunk. Drunk. Coming home drunk…You’re dead this time.” One of them struck up his familiar theme: “Run. Run. Run. Run…”

She ignored the clamour as best she could, slamming the car door behind her and making her way cautiously up the steps and into the house. The whole team held its breath while she approached the answering machine, its red eye flashing on the kitchen counter. The voice of Dan’s mate at work, sounding tentative, said, “Uh, Dan? You left your jacket on the bench. I’ll, uh, bring it over for you tomorrow.”

She erased the message. “Well, that’s nothing,” she said aloud.

The team paused for a horrified moment, then detonated a firecracker cacophony. “What do you mean, NOTHING?!? It means he’s been fired…He’s been fired…Fired again…Fired and mad….MAD!…Fired and mad and drunk…Mean drunk…BIG DANGER…You’re dead. This time you’re really dead…Run. Run. Run. RUN.”
But she didn’t run. Instead, she sang, “Oo-bla-dee-oo-bla-day” so loudly that she drowned them right out. She got out the scissors and sliced off her long hair, then stashed the scissors behind the answering machine. Two hours later the Heebie-Jeebies shrieked out Dan’s impending arrival when the truck was still at the top of the street. He staggered into the house and grabbed for her hair, only to discover that his favourite handle wasn’t there. While he roared in anger, she winded him with the chop she’d been learning in karate, and then slammed the scissors into his groin. He dropped to the floor, incoherent and already spurting blood.

Panting, she swung around to confront the Heebie-Jeebies. There wasn’t a murmur.

“Do what you like,” she said to them, grabbing her keys. “I’m hitting the road.”

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