It was dark inside the living room. The silhouette of the tree outside formed a black image on the window pane. In a strange fashion, it seemed swaying back and forth, moved by the evening breeze.
Alice left her husband in bed, snoring excessively like a fat boar, either because of his heavy supper or the games they played afterwards.
Who came from behind her she did not expect.
At first, she imagined a burglar sneaked in from the kitchen, ready to cover her mouth so she could not scream for help. But, the creepy sound was delivered in such way she was involuntarily pushed forward, nearly felling her to the carpeted floor.
She turned around immediately, fearing the assailant would pounce on her while she was most vulnerable. Instead, it looked like an apparition from the jungle or wherever it came from which almost frightened her to submission.
“Who the …? Hiccup.”
The gurgling laughter of her husband was unmistakable. He stood in front of her, draped in a blanket, the masquerade complete with a spooky mask of a gorilla which he removed slowly.
“Is it gone?” he curiously asked. “It worked!”
A second later, she proved him wrong.
“Hiccup.” She did not find his stunt hilarious. “God! Are you crazy? You nearly gave me a heart attack! Hiccup.”
“Damn! That didn’t work?” he asked himself, perplexed why the common belief was not effective.
“Hiccup. If you want to help me, go get me a glass of water.”
“Oh, you believe that crap?”
“Yes. Hiccup.” She motioned him to go quickly. “In fact, I do. Hiccup.”
Mark ran to kitchen, dropping his costume on the couch like a superhero changing into his casual identity.
“Seven small gulps of water and it would be gone.” She recalled her grandmother instilling the lesson when she was five.
“I don’t think that will remove the hiccups,” he said dismissively.
“Hiccup. Just wait. Hiccup. My grandmother is always right. Hiccup.”
“I doubt that.” Mark rolled his eyes, showing his disbelief.
Alice seemed to concentrate as if in a trance. It was important that she followed the exact timing in between gulps.
“Well?” he asked anxiously.
“Hiccup.” She frowned, shaking her head repeatedly. “Hiccup.”
“You know what my grandfather used to say.”
“Hiccup. Your grandpa was weird. Bless his soul. Hiccup.”
“You don’t believe his tales?”
“Hiccup. Did you?” she asked incredulously. “You did! Hiccup.”
Mark looked as if he did not hear her because he noticed something under the couch.
“What do we have here?” he trapped it with his palm, the movement under it ticklish. “I think I found a remedy. My grandfather told me about this.”
“Hiccup. What is it? Let me see. Hiccup.” Alice, too, wondered if the old guy was not all air.
Mark lifted it up, holding it by the tail: she screamed at the sight of it.
“Get that thing away from me!”
“Quick! Open your mouth!” he ordered, approaching her. “Swallow it!”
“Never!” she yelled, running up the stairs, straight to their room.
He doubled up laughing, seeing her contorted face almost grimacing with disdain, coughing out her obvious abhorrence for his vomit-inducing idea.
“Well, it works every time.”
Mark let the small lizard escaped: it crawled so fast it vanished under the couch in a flash.