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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Comedy · #2244643
A surprise present for Robert Waltz
Daily Writer's Cramp Win

“What are you looking for?”

Caught in the act of throwing things out of the closet back behind my head, I stopped, froze everything except for my tongue. “It is Robert Waltz’s birthday today.”

A groan escaped my wife, biting my ears from behind. “Who? You’d better clean up this mess before my bridge party starts. You’ve got exactly five minutes.”

“You remember.” Obviously she hadn’t. We keep old wrapping paper carefully stored along with empty boxes, ribbons and presents given us we don’t want in the back of the closet. It is always a major battle fighting through out of season sports equipment and other forgotten stuff.

“They’re here.” I dodged a tennis racket ball unsuccessfully. Diana, my wife, trying to be helpful? Or just venting frustration? I felt her foot kicking a pile of this and that’s, striking my behind, wedging me tighter, where I hung half inside, half outside the closet door.

“Hey! This is important. He’s a major player on the Writing.com channel.” I yelped, sound muffled by my mom’s eight foot long, handmade scarf, last year’s Christmas gift wrapping itself around my face.

Diana is a fast worker and organizer. Me and the past year’s other leftovers wedged ourselves together. The closet door closed with me behind it as the front door in the hall opened. “Hello, girls. Be right there. Coffee’s hot and there’s fresh homemade pastries waiting.”

Bird like Magpie chatter passed me. I heard my wife hiss like a striking snake, “I will not allow my friends to see you looking like that. I’ll let you come out of the closet and show yourself when it's safe and they are gone.” The closet door lock clicked shut.

By ‘they’, I knew she was speaking of our snotty, gossipy neighbor Eleanor, who lived for prying out little nasty secrets she discovered, unwrapped and displayed to anyone passing by within earshot.

Diana’s groan now lay on my lips. I settled down as best I could in my skivvies. I’d been on my way from bedroom to a bathroom tub, not realizing the different kind of hot water I was getting myself.

A good old fashioned claw tub filled to the brim with hot water and steam wafting mysteriously up to coat the bathroom mirror was my favorite creative space to be. I’d been finger pecking my cell phone, eyes perusing the WdC website when Robert Waltz’s birthday news glared back at me.

There wasn’t much wiggle room left in the closet, nor was there much time to come up with something for his online birthday party. Somehow, I unwrapped myself from mom’s eight foot long boa constrictor while fighting flying hangers attacking me.

When freed, I could use my cell phone as a flash light, find a present and take a photo to put online for Robert and the online gang of writers I hung out with to ‘ooh and aww’ over. We were doing a Zoom thing for the celebration.

The closet became a torture chamber. I got goosed by Diana’s tennis racket, bare feet bit by the jaws of a fallen box opening and closing around my toes. I let out a high pitched scream only dogs could hear.

Katie dog, our German Shepherd, barked to a stop in front of the closet door. “That dog’s after something.” I heard Eleanor’s voice ring out along with her feet pounding excitedly towards me.

“I’m sure it’s nothing. She just wants to be let outside,” Diana cried, following behind. I could hear the magpie voices of the other women tagging along.

This was not the time for me to come out of the closet to reveal my true self. This and that claw-like enemy of what I was trapped in there with, had torn and pulled my skivvies down.

I fumbled with my cellphone, accidentally activating the zoom camera on, doing a selfie as the closet door sprang open. I was all present and accounted for, to the combined gasps of Robert Waltz and company, and my wife’s gawking set of female friends.

It will be a present my wife Diana will remember (and remind me of) forever, when she needs to vent a laugh. As for how Robert Waltz took it, let me just say he thought I looked as puny as I felt standing there in my birthday suit. “Happy Birthday, Robert.” Diana threw me my mom’s eight foot boa constrictor scarf as I came out of the closet. Her friends scattered like birds.

There is good news that seems to cling to bad news, if you know where to look for it. Eleanor’s jaw had dropped open so wide at the sight of me, she unhinged it and couldn’t talk for weeks without a strange lisp. It made it hard for her to work her mouth around any form of gossip without it becoming a painful squeak.

Dog’s around the neighborhood begin barking when they hear it. No-one else can, but we know what it is. My wife thanks you, Robert Waltz, for the residual side effects of the gift found in my closet for your birthday.

I do too. It has really given me something to think about writing about as I lay relaxing in the hot water of my steamy hot tub and that's the naked truth.

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