Melville, Montana – Just last Tuesday, Todd Johansen, loan manager of the local Bank of America, came home to find his wife, Karen, sitting deliberately at the kitchen table.
“He’d called my cell during lunch and said it would be another ‘late night at the office,’” she said. “I admit I was getting more than a little suspicious, and thought that I’d finally find out what was going on.”
“Nothing was going on,” Todd said with a sheepish grin and a shrug. “Things had just been tight at the office since Bob retired and no one had been hired to replace him.”
“But I didn’t know that at the time, so when he came home, I kind of got carried away and started yelling.”
Todd nodded. “That was about when I said, ‘I didn’t expect the Spanish Inquisition,’ and then –”
Suddenly, the door behind me burst open and three men in red jumped in from the kitchen. The leader lurched forward, a gold cross dangling from the chain around his neck, and bellowed, “NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION!”
Taken aback, I glanced at Todd and Karen.
“Just like that,” Karen told me, pointing at the newcomers.
“Our 18 chief weapons are…”
“Ooh, 18 this time!” Todd exclaimed, shifting in his seat, clearly eager to hear the rest.
“Are…” the leader started, “Amongst… Our 18… chief, but not all inclusive, weaponry are: Fear and surprise, surprise and fear, and a ruthless efficiency, an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope, wealthy friends, oil for the chains, these nice red uniforms – really, feel them, aren’t they soft?”
They were, indeed, quite soft. Almost velvet, and yet with a sheen of silk. Both Todd and Karen gave satisfied nods before the leader stepped back to continue.
“Right. Spears and nun chucks, nun chucks and spears, a hand grenade or two, no three, comfy chairs, an iTunes gift card, politicians friendly to the cause, a philosophy degree, these cool hats, a turbo-charged VW Beetle, a stretching rack, baseball bats, and a defunct partridge in a pear tree… Are…”
One of the leader’s compatriots tapped him on the shoulder, holding up four fingers. One of the things he whispered in the leader’s ear was the word “nineteen.”
“Amongst…” the leader shouted at us before turning to the other and hurriedly whispering, “are you sure?”
The three of them clustered into a huddle back by the china cabinet. From what we could hear, the leader seemed to think that “spears and nun chucks” were only one item. The others seemed to be in disagreement. Todd watched on in rapt attention to their antics. Karen was pleasantly bemused.
With a sudden flourish, the three of them jumped from their huddle and back into our midst. The leader stepped forward, took a great, long, prominent inhale, then shouted “We’ll come again!” and they all flew back out the door.
“Well,” Todd said, then added, “there you have it.”
“And if you say ‘I wasn’t expecting…’”
“Yep,” he cut me off. “They’ll come bounding back in. It’s happened every time since that first time last Tuesday.”
“It’s quite fun to do, sometimes,” Karen stated.