Last night, whilst stumbling, tripping, crashing through the pitch dark garage on my way to the broken breaker box, I encountered a flashlight-lit terror that evoked a (manly baritone) scream, and flashed me back to my most frightening Doom3 nightmares. It was just a flash, a brief peripheral glance at an odd something that pulled my Maglite back for a second look. And then, “YAAaaa!!”
Under normal circumstances the average person gets one or two really good scares a year. I don’t mean forgetting your wife’s birthday, or that brief windup before your wet dog lets loose with a room-showering shake. I’m talking about the type of scare that punches you right in the chest and laughs. Stripped of reason, your humanity dives for cover as feral you screams (in a manly baritone), and for a split second you’re stuck in a latent subroutine that was originally written to prevent your ancient ancestors from getting squished by Woolly Mammoth.
Twice in as many months I’ve experienced that level of scare. This was the second. The first occurred soon after a troupe of antique canvas mannequins came home from an auction to live with us. They’re six original occupants of “The White House” department store in New Albany, closed some thirty years now.
The mannequin “Dad”, possibly angered over what may have appeared to him as an indiscretion shared by his wife and I as I brought her in off the truck, but was in fact purely innocent and the result of me attempting to juggle too many 40lb antique mannequins at once, lay in wait behind the living room recliner.
Being something of a night owl, it’s not uncommon to find me rummaging through the pantry at 4:00am in search of a monster chomp. I was on just such an expedition, and in the throes of rummaging, when I noticed out of the corner of my eye someone leering from behind the recliner. Now, I had seen my wife put that mannequin there not 12 hours earlier, but that didn’t silence my (manly baritone) shriek, nor did it prevent my sideways leap directly into the pantry. The crash of collapsing shelves and foodstuffs set off a collateral panic through the rest of the household.
All members of the Mannequin family now live in the basement where they have lately formed a jazz group and seem to be happy. Especially the “Dad” who I swear appears smug, as if to say, “Touch my wife again, pal, and I’ll rip my arm off and beat you with it.”
In any case, below is the essential tableau that sent me vaulting sideways over the lawnmower in my garage last night.
If you’ve never played Doom3 before, then you should get a copy and set aside a Saturday very soon to have some really scary fun.