Night Terrors

OK, time for a confession. When I was a kid, I used to watch Unsolved Mysteries, a true crime type show about real live criminals who had done heinous things and were out running around. I think the show especially focused on bad dudes who did bad things to good little kids. Clearly, I wasn't supposed to watch it, because it was not kid-friendly tv. And I didn't even really want to watch it, because it scared the hell out of me. But every time I flipped past it, I'd stop to watch a bit (and we only had maybe five channels, so it's not like I had a lot of other options).

Anyway, I used to get so freaked out by this show. Just the music would probably give me cold sweats even today. Because I used to wake up in the middle of the night, hearing something. And living out in the country, there was always something. Probably just an animal, but something out rustling around.

So I'd wake up, hear these sounds and just be convinced that my time was up. I'd try to convince myself it was nothing. It's just a TV show. That murderer lunatic went missing in Kentucky, which is probably a long way from Oregon. I'd tell myself these stories, but really, somebody was definitely coming through the window to get me, and that was that. Tough break kid, but maybe your story will make it on TV.

So there were a few problems with this. One, once you wake up convinced you're about to be murdered, you get a serious surge of adrenaline and can't fall back asleep. And two, which is probably related but I ain't no doctor, you start to hear everything. And like I said, out in the country where I grew up, there were lots of sounds. So forget falling back asleep.

Picture little six year old me, lying in bed terrified with the covers pulled up to his chin. Dying to turn on the light and make sure there's no killer out there, but too scared to move. At least in the dark I'd have a fighting chance. The only hope was that the sun would come up soon, the killer would have to run away and hide, and maybe I'd live to see another day. I would stare out the window, trying to will the sky to start turning pink and solve all my problems.

OK. Fast-forward a decade or two. Picture full-grown me (the man), lying on some cot in Africa, sweating bullets and trying to fall asleep. Like Luke said, there are a lot of sounds here, but most of them are distinctly domestic animals. So, not that scary right? Whatever. Exactly. Then something heavy lands on the corrugated tin roof of our little bungalow and scratches around for a while. No big deal. I'm grown. Probably a chicken or something.

The scratching continues. For a while. And I'm starting to get annoyed. I'm trying to sleep here people. Keep down the racket. Scritchscratchscritchscratch, right above my head. Now this is getting ridic--

Then the scratching goes from above my head to sliding down the wall. Quickly. Then my mosquito net starts to shake. At this point, I'm six years old again. About to get killed in Africa by a cobra, or a mongoose, or a mongoose-cobra fight. The specific mechanism isn't important, just that I'm toast. I briefly consider trying to hide.

No, that isn't going to work. So I call out for Luke to turn on the light. He groans. SERIOUSLY. TURN ON THE LIGHT.

Dive-bombed by a stinking lizard. He was still chilling up there when I woke up the next morning by the way, so this weren't no LSD dream, thank you very much.


  1. I have seen Jurrassic Park many times. I recognize a baby raptor when I seen one.

  2. I think that what we are learning from this blog is that you guys watched too many scary movies/TV shows as kids!

  3. Heightened sense of hearing...could be your superpower.

  4. Pill, hope those things aren't poisonous. Opening Day today. Can you get MLB TV in Africa? I had it in London.



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