In the Den of the Beast

by pjmcbride


I had just returned home (yes, I did Black Friday at Walgreen’s, and I had a 25% coupon to do it with, too) (the Toilet-Talking Snowman is $5 off, for those of you who thought $14 for such a thing is exorbitant, but $9 is entirely reasonable) when I received a message from Nick. This in itself is not unusual–in this technological age, a stalker can be expected to text you–but what he said was, “Coming to game night?” I was not sure what Game Night might be. It sounded ominous. Getting further information from him was not unlike haggling with a Turkish rug merchant, but I finally determined that I was, in fact, being invited to something. He sweetened the deal by saying that Officer S.S., his partner-to-be, would be present.

Now I have not said anything about this previously, because such a development is disturbing. The knowledge that such things might hunt in packs…is not a welcome thought. But think about it I must, because it will come to pass at the beginning of the year. And Nick has been giddy at the prospect, and fantasizing that our ride-along will actually come to pass as a result of this. (I guess he can’t handle me without back-up.) So I decided it would be in my interest to actually meet this Officer S.S., with a view to sucking up, I mean establishing a cordial working relationship, in the event that Nick is right.

Nick’s owner came to pick me up. She is the sort of assertive and no-nonsense individual that a BeastMistress needs to be. She informed me that, as a result of his recent surgery, it actually does hurt Nick when he laughs. Useful information indeed–I’m guessing he could now be tamed by tickling.

I was greeted by a dog, 2 cats, and the two beastly cubs previously spoken of. The older had apparently not taken his Super Mario hat off since Halloween. The younger boy was all you could ask for in a baby (well, except for the un-housebroken aspect)–cute, prattling happily, seldom crying. In fact, both of those kids were so vocal, I’m sure they’ll grow up to be the sort of adults who never shut up.

Nick was in his lounging pajamas and stocking feet. Every time someone came in the house, this beast would roll onto his back so he could show them the spot on his belly where the armor plating had been reattached by DRILLING HOLES IN HIS SKIN, which looked as creepy as it sounds. He explained his exhibitionist behavior by saying, “This is the only excuse I have to pull down my pants.” Of course, he was also on pain pills. I’d thought he might be too tough to take them, but excessive toughness was not in evidence.

I was introduced to Officer S.S. She resembled nothing so much as an elf, albeit an evil elf. No, let’s just say…mischievous. (I’m not very skilled at sucking up.) I am not at all sure she will mitigate Nick’s more mischievous tendencies. She was accompanied by the lovely and self-possessed H.S. There was also an Officer C.O. who was supposed to show up, but who I suspected was really just a robot-generated voice on the police radio, until he finally made his appearance much later.

We watched Identity Thief, which is, of course, a comedy. I don’t think it was a wise choice, because the funnier scenes led to Nick laughing, then gasping in pain, which was pitiful to behold, and patently not what the doctor ordered. “I’d fall down on the floor and cry if I sneezed,” he said, although I don’t think crying would be a good idea, either. and certainly not falling on the floor.


We adjourned to a different section of the plush-lined and toy-strewn subterranean den for Games. Now, Rom will doubtless be annoyed by this account, because he hasn’t been able to get me to play games FOR YEARS (OK, decades), because HE ALWAYS WON. It’s a little better in a group, where I’m not the only one losing, and I have been known occasionally to participate with my numerous and aggressive in-laws. It quickly became apparent why I’m not more of a player–I am GAME-IMPAIRED. In spite of having a vocabulary that speaks for itself (interminably), I’m even bad at Scrabble. And here I was, faced with games I had never played before.



This was with 2 people attempting to explain it to me. Just read the above in 2 different voices. All I figured out was that you roll some dice when your turn comes around, but I couldn’t even keep straight how many I should roll at any given time. Nick was basically playing for me, which amused him greatly. And he is nothing if not a show-off–I never knew there were so many dramatic ways to throw dice. You’d think he was in Casino Royale.

We then moved on to some sort of Monopoly you play with cards. I was bad at that, too, but not a total disaster, whether because I sometimes played Monopoly as a kid, or because, unlike Yahtzee, there was something besides numbers involved. I envied H.S., who didn’t understand the game either and was not ashamed to admit it. I, on the other hand, was ashamed. Of course, I also managed to tie myself to my chair with my headset the other day at work, so what’re ya gonna do.

The evening was finished off by the older cub racing down the stairs (and their basement stairs are the precipitous sort that someone always falls down in a horror movie–I DON’T WANNA GO DOWN IN THE BASEMENT!!!, to quote the Ramones) and yelling, “Beat me to my bed! Beat me!” I’m sure that’s some sort of racing game and not, in fact, evidence of child abuse.

The BeastMistress graciously drove me home, stopping on the way at an exotic Thorntons never-before-visited-by-me for fountain drinks, both of which we obtained for free thanks to being such loyal customers, which pleased us inordinately. Speaking of drinks, while at the Plush-Lined Den, I was introduced to the delights of Redd’s Apple Ale. (I only had one bottle–this is not some tale of drunkenness and cruelty.) Beer is normally just a way to get alcohol into my system (“I don’t often drink, but when I do, I’m goal-oriented”), but this stuff was downright tasty. So much so that, when eating lunch at the Hilltop today, I almost ordered some, until I remembered, oh right, I’m on the way to work.

And why am I recounting this admittedly low-key evening at such excruciating length? Because Nick told me to. Let’s hope it doesn’t make him laugh.