It's very late, later than we intended. In fact, it's nearly dawn, which doesn't give us much time. hantamouse and I consider aborting the whole operation, but there's still a possibility we can pull it off, and it'll be a major coup if we can make it happen.
Gaining entry into our neighbors' house was a lot easier than it should have been. We're going to have to make subtle hints to them about their safety later, although they'll most certainly know that somebody got into their house if we pull this off and that might be hint enough.
The house is incredibly large -- they always are -- but we easily find our way to the kitchen. I'm not sure why, when we're smuggling a live shrimp into the house as a pet for the 10-year-old son, we're bringing it to the kitchen, but there are vitally important things that must be done there. Perhaps we're bringing a birthday cake too? That's what the shrimp is for, after all, it's a birthday present. What kid wouldn't want a live shrimp for a pet? The shrimp is about the size of a softball and can easily run around the house on his eight cartoony legs, he's adorable. Unfortunately, when we take him out of the box we've been carrying him in, he immediately goes running off into some other part of the house.
hantamouse and I have a frantic whispered conversation about our options -- should we chase it? Somehow I instinctively know it's heading for the kid's room (as pets and their new owners naturally have a mystical bond, right?), so it'll be fine. But the father's alarm is going off, and we need to get the heck out of the house before anybody gets out of bed!
Since the house is incredibly large -- they always are -- to get to an exterior door we need to go down two flights of stairs to get to the garage in the basement where we came in. Just as we get there, the lights pop on! It's the father, rather ridiculously wielding a baseball bat, ready to confront a burglar. When he sees us, he does a double-take. "Oh! It's you guys! What the heck are you doing here?" The jig is up.
"It was supposed to be a surprise," I say. "We didn't want anyone to know it was from us."
Naturally, that's all he needs to hear to know that there's a birthday cake in the kitchen and that his son now has an adorable shrimp for a pal. He turns all smiles and says, "Don't worry, I won't tell anybody."
And then I wake up.
Seriously, brain, WTF.