Fred Gibson squinted against the cloudless sunrise. He was sprawled out on the lawn at an odd angle, his left foot bare on the sidewalk. Dirt covered his hands and caked his fingernails. Thistles and burrs had taken up residence in his clothes. As the sunlight battered its way past Fred’s eyelids it carried with it the understanding of his condition.

He sat up, filled with alarm. A glance at his watch told him it was still early. Maybe early enough. If he acted quickly Carol would never have to know. Springing to his feet he hurried into the house and straight to the bathroom, careful not to get dirt on any of the doorknobs. Fred stripped and stepped into the shower, wincing at the noise the pipes made. He scrubbed until there wasn’t a speck of evidence left on him, dried, and dressed in pajamas. His old dirty clothes went into a plastic bag and out into the garage. He grabbed some cookies from the kitchen and the remote from the coffee table before flopping onto the couch. He sunk in deep, pulled a blanket over himself, and clicked on the TV, low volume. A pinch of cookie crumbs were sprinkled around like birdseed. His feigned ‘I fell asleep on the couch’ routine always worked best if he actually fell asleep. 

So he did.

Fred woke up (for the second time) three hours later. Carol hadn’t disturbed him and that wasn’t a good sign. Trudging into the kitchen he found her sitting at the table, staring absently out the back window.

“G’mornin’ hun,” he offered.

She turned to look at him. He could see that she was on the brink of tears. “You went out again last night.” 

He leaned on the fridge and sighed. “I’m sorry. I didn’t tell you because I knew it would bother you. It wasn’t for very long.”

She rose from where she was sitting and strode to a cabinet door, swinging it wide. The contents were completely empty. “Where are all the cans, Fred?”

Fred failed to recall the previous night clearly. “Uh… I don’t know.” 

She slammed the cabinet and returned to the chair, but she didn’t sit, she pointed accusingly out the back window. “Does that have anything to do with two cupboards of missing cans, Fred?”

He shuffled over and looked out at the three dozen freshly dug mounds of dirt in the grass of the back lawn. 

The jig was up.



What the heck is Fred up to on his wandering nights? Find the rest of the funny little short HERE.