It’s 10:30 at night. My sister is sitting on her bed, eyes locked on her laptop. Two small dogs lie peacefully at her feet. In all probability, not much is going on. I don’t know, I’m not there.
At 10:33, my sister’s phone hums to life. My name is on the screen. She opens the text.
‘Sis,’ it reads. ‘The X in the hallway. 3 minutes. Bring the kettle.’ The reference flies straight over my sister’s head, but that’s fine. She texts back.
‘X in the hallway?’ A moment passes. The dogs snore on.
‘You’ll know what to do when the time comes.’
Our communication ends.
Placing her laptop down beside her, gently pulling her feet out from under the morass of blanket and disgruntled dogs, my sister cautiously steps out into the dark hallway.
‘The X in the hallway’ she remembers. What X? She casts her eyes around, and then reaches for the light switch. The hallway snaps to a muted amber. There is a white X taped to the floorboards, halfway between her room and my own. If this is a reference, my sister doesn’t get it. But that’s okay. She remembers the rest of the text.
‘3 minutes. Bring the kettle.’ She makes a left out of the corridor.There is 1 minute left.
Stepping into the kitchen, my sister finds the kettle – recently boiled. Something strange is happening.
She turns back, rounding the corner, taking in once again the soft tungsten hallway, and finally spots me. At the far end of the hall, I step briskly out my bedroom door. A six-foot-one ginger scarecrow, wearing my usual t-shirt and jeans with the addition of a fancy tuxedo jacket that I found in my wardrobe moments prior. It seemed… suitably ridiculous. And it works! My sister is already laughing.
In silence, struggling to contain my own laughter, I approach the X. There is a mug clenched in my right hand. My sister, still giggling away, walks over to meet me.
At the exact half-way point between our two rooms, I take the kettle from my sister, and pour boiling water over the instant coffee granules in my mug. She’s still laughing as I hand her back the kettle.
‘Wait,’ I say, gesturing for her to stay a moment. I reach into the breast pocket of my suitably ridiculous tuxedo jacket, and withdraw a small rectangle of A4 paper. I hand it to my sister, and return wordlessly back to my room. My performance is finished.
My sister looks down at the little card. It is blank, but for the hand-written missive:
And in the moment of climactic WTF?! that follows – I can only hope – a lasting memory is formed.
So… yeah. Fuckin’ ART!