By: Jonathan Xu
In the sweltering heat, Mark grew lethargic, causing him to forget about the grape popsicle in his right hand. By the time he looked down again, it had already turned into a sticky mess on the ground. Ranger, Mark’s Labrador Retriever, was also sluggish due to the heat of the equatorial summer, and was trying to sleep under the shade of the backyard canopy.
The only reason Mark and Ranger were outside the house was because the air conditioner had broken, so the interior of the house was boiling from baking in the sun all day. Mark had called the air conditioner repair contractor three days ago, but the repairer had told him that he had a full schedule and would come by in four days to take a look at the problem, meaning that the maintenance man would come by the next day.
“We’ll finally get our AC fixed tomorrow boy, aren’t you excited?” said Mark to his dog. Ranger just looked at him for a few seconds, then promptly went back to sleep. Mark sighed again and looked up from his dog. Then he saw a sight that made him jump: a light coming from the upstairs window.
. . . . .
Mark clearly recalled that he had turned off all the lights in the house because of the heat in the house. He got up from his seat and headed to the door of his house. Closing the door behind him, Mark headed upstairs to the room he had seen with the light on. Opening the door, and not knowing what to expect, Mark opened the door only to reveal the room, but with the lights off.
This made Mark even more nervous as he became aware of the clanging sound above. Carefully rounding the corner, he discovered that the ladder to the attic had been pulled down, with the lights in the attic on. His mind instantly flew to the possibility of a robber, but what that person was doing in the attic was beyond him.
Deciding to call the cops, he reached for his back pocket, but realized that it was still on the table outside. Careful not to alert the thief, Mark walked cautiously to the back door and headed to the table where he had left his phone. Picking it up, he realized that it was out of battery. He cursed himself for forgetting to charge his phone overnight and started for the phone inside the house.
When he stepped inside the house, he noticed a cool draft in the house. That’s weird, Mark thought. The house hadn’t had any breeze before, and plus, the air conditioner was broken.
Then, he heard the sound of the ladder of the attic snap back into position after someone had pushed the trapdoor of the attic back into place. His heart stopped, as he heard the thud of shoes on the bottom step of the staircase. Grabbing an iron pan he used for cooking, Mark readied himself, preparing to whack the criminal on his head if he had to.
As the man turned the corner, Mark suddenly recognized him as the repair man who had come to fix his air conditioner. But what was he doing here today?
When the repairman saw Mark brandishing the pan, he laughed and said, “Not expecting me here today were you?”
“N-n-no, I wasn’t.” Mark stuttered as he realized what he was going to do if he hadn’t had a good look at the man in his house.
“One of my appointments in this area canceled it because of an emergency, so I decided to come over to your house and take a look,” the repairman said, “I found out the problem. It was the evaporator coil in the attic, that was why I was in there.”