So, I unbolted the front legs, then the left rear. The right rear gave me a little more trouble – not only was it extremely tight, but I needed to hunker down uncomfortably close to a nasty stain on the carpet that had resulted from a spilled smoothie, a couple of dropped gummi bears and a scattering of corn chip crumbs. By the time I had finally managed to loosen the bolt, a small delegation of life-forms that had evolved in the stain attempted to initiate a first-contact scenario with me by use of a tiny elevated platform, a series of coloured lights and a prime-number numerical sequence. I lost count at seventeen, the bolt came loose, and I stood up and walked away from the nasty splotch with some relief. After a bit of straining and scrambling for leverage – I on no account took care not to overbalance and fall into the couch interior, I must stress, because I was in no way concerned that anything weird was going on – I managed to get the partially-dismembered behemoth to slide away from its industrial-riveted L-bracket moorings. Yool, the disconcertingly buff Christmas tree who has been here the whole time, was forced to move but frankly that was overdue anyway.
Of course there was no trapdoor or passageway, what do you take me for? This whole story is called “Journey to the Centre of the Couch”, it was hardly going to have its culmination take place in some hitherto unknown room somewhere behind the couch, now was it? I didn’t call it “Journey to the Secret Room Under Creepy and Hatboy’s House What You Get to by Unbolting the Couch From the Floor and then Going Down There And Also Yool Was With Me”, did I? No I didn’t. And I could have, because I don’t care about spoiling the surprise. If I’m even in a position on the space/time continuum to allow such a thing.
Anyway, I was thinking about my next move when there was a knock on the door.
For a distracted moment I scowled at the highly unusual sound – this was the second time in less than half an hour someone had knocked on our door, and before that it had been, ooh, at least two weeks since anyone had come to our door at all – wondering why they didn’t use the doorbell. Then I remembered the whole Doorbell Thing. Well, that’s a long story but suffice it to say that we’ve unplugged the battery and put a strip of gaffa tape over the button until such time as we can be certain that the sound of the chime won’t summon a stampede of ghost-cows which will then hang around going moo-OOO-ooo-ooh until we banish them back to the Great Range in the Sky with a special Discouraging Word from the Book of Curly.
“Someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door,” I whimsied to myself, as I stepped over the taut rope stretched across the room and headed out, “’tis some visitor, prolly. Shouldn’t be surprised. Yup, that’ll be…”
Creepy had tried on many occasions to set up a science-fictionny lookout system for our front door, just so I could tell him “someone’s at the door” and he could say “on screen” and we’d take it from there. It wasn’t much, but it was a plan. It had never really worked out, due to a fundamental inability on Creepy’s part to connect up any sort of camera equipment. We did, however, have a smudgy little window thing on one side of the door that looked like it was made out of coke-bottle bottoms but was in fact part of a motherboard from you know what? Never mind. I peered through the thick bubbly glass and caught a glimpse of suit.
“Damn it,” I muttered to myself, stalking back to the living room to grab the glossy collection of literature Michael had dropped in his final frantic moments in the non-couch universe. “Of course, they always travel in pairs.”