The ring of evil green lights glimmered through midnight blackness from the ceiling of the hotel room.
I held my breath, not daring to move a muscle. One minute. Two. An hour. An eternity. Finally, I could bear it no more. I gently nudged my husband, Steve, who'd been lost in peaceful slumber.
"Mygwtzx ?" he mumbled, then turned over and drifted off again.
In terror, I elbowed him harder.
"What the—?" Steve half-rose from his pillow.
"Shhhh! Quiet! They'll hear you!"
"Who will hear me?"
I trembled. "The Communists," I said.
Complete silence. Then, "Why would the Communists listen to us sleep?"
"I don't know. But look at those green lights! I know they're listening."
The bedside lamp went on. With spiky hair and incredulous glare, Steve resembled an indignant triceratops roused from his sleep. But he explained calmly that the evil green lights indicated the presence of the hotel's sprinkler system, and no, they had nothing to do with the Communists, voyeuristic or otherwise. I'd been dreaming.
After 27 years, Steve's an old hand at dealing with my temporary night psychoses. He's scared off screaming fighter jets who buzzed through our small Midwestern neighborhood (in actuality, snowplows). When nightly thumps and bumps convinced me an army of burglars coveted our obsolete VCR and ancient TV, his courage knew no bounds. When pink-raincoat-clad people carrying a black coffin followed me on a mad chase through ghostly hallways (a combination of too many old Doris Day movies and PBS Mystery programs), he dispelled them with a single thrust of razor-sharp logic.1