Aug 20, 2005

Something Wicked This Way Comes

It's my favourite line from Shakespeare's Scottish Play. It's the title of my favourite Ray Bradbury book and it's equally good motion picture adaptation. And it's just an all around neat line in it's complete form: "By the pricking of my thumbs/something wicked this way comes."

It's also been used as the name for about a dozen pop songs, as the name of a couple of television show episodes, and even as a Harry Potter song. Much maligned, much abused, but it suits me pretty well as a title right now.


Second Witch

By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.
Open, locks,
Whoever knocks!

Enter MACBETH

MACBETH

How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags!
What is't you do?

ALL

A deed without a name.


In movies, as in any dramatic act or style, it seems that when wickedness or evil is approaching, foul things begin to happen, horrible acts seem to occur. When Dracula is skulking about the boudoir window the buxom maiden begins to have horrible nightmares, and cries are wrenched from her pretty mouth while wolves howl in the dark and, I assume, do horrid wolfen things.. Flies cover the windows and the air gets a horrible chill just before the poltergeist strikes out. The opposing team enters the field when the Saints are ready to play football.

If only real life were like that. It'd be nice to know that when things seem to be going wrong all day, or that you have a sense of forboding hovering all day, you can be certain that things aren't suddenly going to get better. No, you'd know that there's going to be a cusp, a point at which the tension can get no higher, the moment occurs where you face the evil, and then you are past it.

Well Sparky, unfortunately Stephen King didn't write this script. Nobody is writing it but us, and the sets and background character changes occur with fair randomness.



Clinical Manager

By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.
Open, locks,
Whoever knocks!

Enter Irrelephant

Irrelephant

How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags!
What's up?

ALL

You are so in for it, jerk.



The day started out heading downhill. I usually get to work at 7:30, since I live four miles away, and do the little morning things that get the office underway, like turn the thermostats back to 73, start a pot of coffee or hot water for tea, and make sure there's toilet paper in the restrooms. I turn the radio on and listen to bits of the news on NPR, get the computer booted up and logged on, and in general just get ready for the day. Alone, or sometimes the elder daughter comes in early, and we get things ready in companionable near-silence.

Not so this Friday. When I went to open the door, it was already unlocked. My first reaction was panic, that someone hadn't bothered to lock up after leaving, because there were no cars in the lot. I walked in and realised that RMB was already inside, doing what there's no telling. There went my quiet morning ritual.

The two clinical nurses both had admits that morning, so they were gone for a few hours, and when one returned she was in an utterly foul mood because she had been forced to do her job that morning. The other had to spend hours in town getting some vehicle work done, so that made his opposite even crankier. As the day wore on RMB schlumped her way around the office with her usual sour expression plastered on her hound dog face, there were raised voices trickling up from the back offices, both the account manager and the account executive were feuding with each other, each in their own indirect way, and the tension was getting so high I felt like I could have reached out and twanged the office like a violin string.

The end finally came, 5 o'clock rolled around, and we all poured out like rats leaving a burning building. I got home expecting to find the comfort and security of my fortress, only to walk up the back hallway and into a huge puddle of water. With a sinking heart I opened the A/C intake vent, and proved what I suspected--the water lines that feed the inside unit were leaking, and there was an inch of water in the A/C chamber which was leaking out from under the walls and into the hallway and the Tiki Bedroom.

It was of course 5, so any call to any repairman was going to be time and a half for emergency calls, but it wasn't something I could just avoid, so I placed a call to the family repairman. Three calls and an hour later he's diagnosed the problem as not being life-threatening nor a frozen-up something or other, and asks if my drip bucket is big enough to last the night, because he's stuck on another job that's going to take several more hours. No choice, done and done. More fresh towels to stem the tide, soaking wet ones in the washer for a good wringing out and dry, and to bed in an increasingly warm house in an atmosphere of anger and snappishness.

So I ask you--where is the climax? The scary music has reached it's crescendo, the evil deeds have all occurred, and...nothing. The repairman is going to be here sometime early this morning, and things will settle back into some sort of normalcy again. I've been drawn and pushed and shoved until the tension is just about enough to make me scream, but there's no sudden release, no explosion in which my secret character strengths can come out and prove the day, no heroic sacrifice at the hands of the villain so that the Pure Light Of Truth and Justice can shine down and destroy It forever. No, nothing of the sort. Talk about your letdowns--it's all going to end with a whimper, not with a bang.

On the other hand, I do have a secret fear that I know when the REAL peak of evil is going to occur--

when we receive the A/C guy's bill.

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