I love taking long baths.
Alone in the house, I decided on a bath. I made all the preparations, climbed in while filling – my favourite part – and gathered around me a hot soothing broth that would be my world for now.
I’m not a fussy bather. We’ve had large old claw-footed monsters with sloping backs that compliment the curve of my spine perfectly. Now we have a dated blue-coloured metal tub under a shower. Small and narrow, it’s a tub nonetheless. I lit a candle; pulled the shower curtain to create a tiny room and floated off into a warm watery reverie. My kind of evening.
Not two minutes into the soup, I heard a dull thud from downstairs at the back of our two-story house. Then another. I had locked the front door and knew the back was secure as well. A louder, longer thud came followed by the sound of the heavy patio door sliding open. I sat up in the tub and listened intensely. I heard stealthy footfalls and a mutter. Break-in.
As quietly as possible, I stood up in the tub and slid past the curtain. I dried my feet on the floor towel and wrapped the bath towel around my waist. I could hear the sound of brittle plastic clacking. They were after my CDs.
I cracked the bathroom door. The clacking grew louder.
With no phone on this floor I wondered what could become a quick weapon. Nothing came to mind. The heaviest thing on the floor was LPs. Why not, I thought.
I deeked into the nine by nine, grabbed a handful of LPs from the top shelf and carried them to the table at the head of the stairs. My towel fell off and I kicked it to the side. Naked I carried two more handfuls of LPs to the table. I had almost fifty LPs at the ready. The clacking continued the whole time. Just then, the cat came chatting down the hall toward me to investigate the commotion. I grabbed her, put her in the bathroom out of harm’s way and closed the door. The snapping of the door made the plastic clacking stop.
I heard someone say, “You get the rest. Hurry.”
Holding a stack of LPs, I peered over the railing. I saw someone step onto the first landing, looking up. He glanced away and I dropped the LPs. They mostly missed him but the corners grazed his cheek and disoriented him a bit.
“You son of a bitch,” he said coming up the stairs.
I grabbed a bigger handful of LPs and lifted them above my head. I saw a flash of metal in his hand. He was looking up at me; head tilted back swearing when I dropped them. Bull’s eye! The flat side of the records slammed into his upturned forehead. His head went back, I heard a snap and he tumbled backward down the seven steps he’d climbed amid a shower of LPs. Some of the vinyl escaped from the sleeves in mid air. He landed in a heap at the bottom of the stairs, limbs all akimbo, littered with LPs. A snub nose lay next to him.
I heard the accomplice say, “Nicky? Nicky? You okay?” in a semi-loud whisper. I saw a hand reach toward Nicky and give him a shake. I heard “Holy shit!” and the thump of a bag being dropped followed by the sound of a bumpy inelegant escape.
I leaned on the banister for support, my heart racing, breathing deep.
A few minutes later, I called the police.
I’d broken his neck. Killed him.
He was packing. Lucky for me. Self-defense. No charges.
Turns out Nicky was wanted for two gruesome home invasions. He’d bust down the door of one old man and gave him a heart attack. The other was an elderly woman in a wheelchair.
Police caught the accomplice twenty minutes later. His wallet had fallen out onto my living room floor.
My CDs and LPs were kept as evidence but I got the whole works back about three months later. There were twelve LPs in the first drop, weighing 8 lbs, twenty-one in the second, weighing 15 lbs. 33 records in all, 23 lbs total. All the heroic LPs involved are listed below. A few sustained injuries, noted with ^. There was one fatality, noted with ~.
The accomplice told police Nicky’s favourite song was “Stairway to Heaven.” Led Zeppelin IV was one of the LPs that killed him.
Everything is a circle.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s SDTK – Henry Mancini
Movies – Holger Czukay^
Fisherman’s Blues – Waterboys
Sea of Dreams – Nelson Riddle
Ptah the El Daoud – Alice Coltrane^
The Notorious Byrd Brothers – Byrds
All Aglow Again – Peggy Lee
Closing Time – Tom Waits
Greatest Hits – Wilson Pickett
No Pussyfooting – Fripp & Eno
Soldier of Love – Arthur Alexander
First – Jackson Browne^
IV – Led Zeppelin
West Meets East – Menuhin/Shankar
Silk Road – Kitaro^
Lonesome Echo – Jackie Gleason
Dear Friends – Firesign Theatre
Heartbeat – John Mills-Cockell
Relax With – Reveen
Rock Billy Boogie – Robert Gordon
The Red Bird Story – Various Artists
Time Out – Dave Brubeck Quartet^
Matching Tie & Handkerchief – Monty Python
The Golden Era – Bob Wills & his Texas Playboys
In Person Friday & Saturday Nights – Miles Davis
Ring-A-Ding – Frank Sinatra^
Floating into the Night – Julee Cruise
Rhythm of Resistance, Music of Black South Africa – Various Artists
Revolver – The Beatles~
Live Stiffs – Various Artists
Unrequited – Loudon Wainwright III
Music from a Sparking Planet – Esquivel^
Hawaii Goes A Go-Go – Martin Denny