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dude where's my life?

An odd moment this morning, after a late night last night. No, not that kind of late night. I stayed in, catching up on my editing. (The new book is in page proofs, but there are still tons of mistakes and sore spots and creases that have to be rectified, soothed and ironed out. Not just commas, either. Last night I came across a reference to a character I killed off two years ago in an earlier draft. It was like meeting a ghost. Ahh! I said. What are you doing here? I had to perform an exorcistic document search.) Anyway, I was up til 3:00 or so drinking way too much coffee and swearing at the screen, so when I got up an hour or so ago I was not feeling perky. No, not perky at all. Getting the garbage from the kitchen to the curb was a saga of spills, mis-steps, and more curse words. But at last the quest was fulfilled, and I stood back and looked around, breathing in the new day. I noticed that the place next to mine is for rent again. (Poor Marv can't seem to keep his tenants for very long.) I noticed a strange teenager slinking out of the crack house across the street. (I am probably libelling the good folks who live there. It may not be a crack house. But no one seems to go to work, and the building is falling down, and many of their visitors seem jittery and anxious. And the cops drop by now and then. Just saying...) And then I noticed that my car was missing. I didn't panic. I was still groggy from no sleep. And having four teenagers means that your car is often missing. But I remembered that I had been out yesterday evening, and hadn't lent the car after that. Hmmm. Like an idiot, I went right over to my empty driveway, and peered down at the familiar oil stains. (I don't know what I was expecting to find. A ransom note? That my car was there all along but invisible through some Stealth-type technology?) Whatever, the thing was gone without a trace. First things first. I went inside for a cup of coffee, which cleared my brain sufficiently for me to work out my next steps. Check that I had the car keys. Yup. Pour more coffee. Yup. And now call the police. Upstairs, phone in hand, I looked across at the crack house, the big-screen-TV-guy's house (giant colourful images flash out of his livingroom window and into the street, visible day and night, winter spring summer or fall -- I don't think I have known the set to be off for more than an hour or two at a time) , and the parking lot where businesses on King Street load and unload. And there, in the middle of the lot, was a familiar gray sedan. Police, how can I help you? said the voice in my ear. I hung up. The good news is that I didn't panic and put the cops to a lot of unnecessary bother. The bad news is that I have NO IDEA how my car got across the street. It's like that character in my book -- popping up unexpectedly, leftover from an early draft of my life.


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