I’ve been stuck working in my house so long, I’m starting to hear voices. It begins when I wake up.

Bed: “Whoa, where you going, John? It’s only 7 o’clock. C’mon back, I’m still warm.” As I turn back toward the bed, I hear a voice from downstairs.

Kitchen: “Yoo hoo, coffee’s on!” I stagger down the stairs. 

Bathroom: “Better stop in here first.” After I fill my first cup, I hear a voice from the living room.

TV: “Turn me on, turn me on, Fox News has another breaking Clinton scandal.” I sip cup after cup, watching a parade of bad news and polarizing political discourse.

Bathroom: (Clearing throat) “Isn’t it about time we get the show on the road?” I start to fill the bathtub.

Kitchen: “It’s me again — you haven’t had your banana yet.” As I drop the peel into the container, Garbage speaks up: “Better get me out of here before I smell any worse.” I pull on shorts and shuffle out to the alley.

Bathtub: Alarmed, “Hey, hey! Did you forget about me?” I shut the overflowing water off and hear a muffled voice from the medicine cabinet. “Psst … I’ve got an antacid. Think you might need it after that burrito last night.” All cleaned up, I climb the stairs to face my toughest challenge.

Sock Drawer: “Hey, we’re in here. Bet you can’t match us.” It’s like playing Concentration. Each time I think I have two identical ones, I see their subtle differences. After choosing close-enough, I finish getting dressed.

Shirt: “I don’t want to complain but I’m way past retirement age. Are you sure polyester is still in?” It’s finally time to start work.

Computer: “Important email! Oh sorry about the spam.” I click on the emails, but the computer interrupts me. “Facebook, get your Facebook! And don’t forget to check LinkedIn.” After staring at photos of food on Facebook, I find out 37 people want to connect with me on LinkedIn. 

Computer: “Isn’t it time we get some work done?” 

Kitchen: “Ice-cold water in the fridge! Got to keep hydrated.” Returning with a bottle, I notice it’s a beautiful sunny day.

Outside: “Let’s play. Life is too short. Golf anyone?” Meanwhile, the computer won’t shut up about all the reports and articles I have to write. 

Ed’s Way: Shouting from half a block away: “I think you need a break and you haven’t made your daily visit.” After buying more bananas, pork chops and a newspaper, I realize with a sinking feeling that my social life for the day is over. I can practically hear the computer screaming when I get home. 

But first, Mail: “Bill, bill, bill, flier, coupon. Sorry, no check.” At the end of the work day, the familiar voices begin.

Kitchen: “Better get in here. These pork chops aren’t going to cook themselves.” 

Bed: “First a nap — dinner can wait.” 

You guys are driving me crazy, I think, as I take out the pork chops. After a real conversation with my wife, they start up again.

TV: “It’s time to watch Singin’ in the Rain again.” 

Couch: “Sit here, it’s soft.” 

Fridge: “I have some cold ones inside; they’re not going to drink themselves.”

Car: (Sternly) “Either call me in, or put me away!” 

Bed: “Why don’t you come up and read your book? I promise it will put you to sleep in five minutes.” 

Detective Novel: “Hey, I heard that!” 

 John Rice is a columnist/private detective, who has seen his business and family thrive in Forest Park. He thoroughly enjoys life in the village and still gets a thrill smelling Red Hots, watching softball and strolling through cemeteries.

John Rice is a columnist/novelist who has seen his family thrive in Forest Park. He has published two books set in the village: The Ghost of Cleopatra and The Doll with the Sad Face.