During the winter, I was stuck in my house for so long, I started to hear voices. It began when I woke up.

Bed: “Whoa, where you going, John? It’s only 7:00. C’mon back, I’m still warm.” As I turn back toward the bed, however, there’s a voice from the next room.

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

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

TV: “This is TCM. Have you ever watched Singin’ in the Rain? It’s on right now.”

Phone: “It’s time to mindlessly scroll through news stories and social media posts.”

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

Kitchen: “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 boots 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 go to the bedroom to face my toughest chore.

Sock Drawer: “Hey, we’re in here. Bet you can’t match us.” Sure enough, it’s like playing Concentration. Each time I think I have two identical ones, I notice their subtle differences. After settling for 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 that, I meant spam.” I click on the emails, but the computer interrupts me. “Facebook, get your Facebook. And don’t forget to check Linked-In.” After staring at photos of food on Facebook, I find out 37 people want to connect with me on Linked-In. 

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, the computer won’t shut up about all the articles I have to write. 

Ed’s Way: (Shouting from a half-mile away) “I think you need a break and you haven’t made your daily visit.” While buying more bananas, ice tea and pork chops, I banter with the clerk. As I leave, I have the 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 day, the familiar voices begin again.

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, the voices 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 read your book? I promise it will put you to sleep in five minutes.” 

Detective Novel: “Hey, I heard that.” 

John Rice

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.