I'm upstairs cringing in a corner. Yes, I am, all 18 years of me.
Worse than that, it's not even my own corner I'm hiding in, it's Samantha's room. I'm too scared to hide by myself.
Why, you ask, am I - a college student - shamefacedly hiding in an upstairs room?
Because I didn't do my kitchen chores.
Laugh if you will. I can't help laughing myself, even while I feel a strange mixture of shame, apprehension, and sorrow. I'm so, so, so very sorry, Janice. (Though she can't hear me.)
You see, dear reader, there was to be a meeting of the college faculty this very evening (which is in fact, going on whilst I furtively type). Accordingly, we were asked to tidy things up a tad bit before they all arrived. Our R.A., Janice, had dinner engagements and as things ended up, only Samantha and I were left at the college. Being the lazy, slovenly sloths we are, we tidied up a minimum in the living room and class room, went on a walk, bought two very large luscious brownies from a local baker, came back, cooked brussel sprouts and cabbage and ate pickles, requiring me to open the perpetually smelly downstairs refrigerator which seemed unaccountably stinky tonight, left our dirty dishes in the sink, and headed upstairs to make a halfhearted attempt at homework as faculty cars arrived.
Of course, none of the faculty would walk through the kitchen, I reasoned as I laid down my pickle and cabbage stinking utensils. It would prove a much rued thought in retrospect.
I had barely bestowed myself in my room over various parchments, electronic and otherwise when I heard the door open and several persons enter. Suddenly, I heard a voice that halted my heart and seized it as in a chill ever tightening vise.
"Thomas [name changed]! What is that horrible smell!?!" A high woman's voice rose in what seemed an English strain of disapproval and concerned shock.
"It's cooking, my dear," a heavily British male voice replied calmly.
"Are you sure it's not the drains?!?" Every word carried easily into my room. I could not decipher his response.
It was the Mistress of the Establishment: Mrs. P, herself. Not that she would think of herself that way - she wouldn't - but being herself, she was the unconscious chatelaine of our group of young females to whom the thought of imminent encounter with Mrs. Dr. P would hurl into a frenzy of cleaning, sweeping junk under rugs, tidying, and de-odorizing. Never had I dreamt this day of Her entering the kitchen, our mess exposed to her eyes.
I shivered. I heard her voice beneath me, her steps toward the kitchen. I thought of the cluttered counter, the unwashed pots on the stove, the dishes in the sink. I saw in my minds eye, Janice, innocent, receiving a scolding for a catastrophe she did not create, domestic dirt she had dutifully consigned to our care. I shivered again and shuddered. Suddenly I was overwhelmed by an insurmountable desire for human company - for the commiseration of fellow sinners.
Ever so silently, I crept out of my room and tapped soundlessly on Samantha's door. "Samantha," I whimpered. "Come in," I heard her whisper, and I did. We looked at each other, the horror of realization visible in our faces. "That's S. isn't it," she said. I nodded, wishing with all my might that it were any other lady. "It never crossed my mind that she would come tonight," I offered, whispering, and we continued in soundless interjections of repentence and guilty confession recounting all the multiple things which were out of order on the floor below and which must perforce meet with disapprobation the cultured senses of M' Lady.
"Oh, if she should come up the stairs!" I gasped, and shivered with the horror of the possible event - horrible in it's possibility, possible on account of it's horror. I will not burden you, dear reader, with an account of the current state of the upstairs domain of the women, only suffice it to say that the current state is the past state under the effect of the Thermodynamic Second Law and as no outside force has acted upon it, it has with rapid, unfaltering motion careened in the direction of increasing entropy.
Noises from the kitchen indicated a busy cleaning and tidying. A new horror. And shame. Now we couldn't even sneak down and set all to order while everyone was in the meeting.
"Samantha," I whined, "can I come hide in your room with you?" We had both concluded that neither of us would be leaving the room while the Entity was busy below. She assented, and here have I remained, curled taunt in a corner, typing out the circumstances of my hilarious miserable guiltiness.
I heard Janice's footsteps on the stair. Furtively, I crept from Samantha's corner and intercepted her near her room. Red of face, I confessed our...urm...situation at which Janice laughed soundlessly, silently shaking from amusement. Relieved, I laughed with her. No, she hadn't expected us to clean up any more, yes, Mrs. P would see a speck of dust anywhere. Still snickering, she padded down the stairs to the meeting.
I felt as if a load had dropped from my shoulders. It had. But I'm still not going to go downstairs until my lady leaves....
Pardon the cowardice. :P