I was awaken from a deep sleep. I rolled over and checked the time in the darkness. 2:30. Somewhere, off beyond the veil of my bedroom doorway, I could hear a high pitched buzzing sound.

I lay there for several minutes trying to identify the sound. Was it the dishwasher? Could it be coming from the neighbors? I finally gave up and went in search of the noise.

Stumbling into the hallway, my first thought was to check on the girls. They were tangled in their blankets where I had left them several hours prior, fast asleep in spite of the tormenting buzz the was coming from somewhere else in the house.

I closed the girls’ door and started towards the kitchen at the bottom of the stairs. Halfway down I realized the sound was now behind me. I slowly turned and entered the bathroom in the upstairs hallway.

The buzzing was echoing off the walls, but it’s origin was not apparent. In the dull light nothing looked out of place. I turned the light on and stood blinded for several moments, checking in the bathtub, and behind the toilet for some hidden object. There was nothing. Just the persistent mind numbing cry of some dying invisible robot. Patiently I let my ears triangulate the source of the noise. I slowly moved my head until I was stooped with my ear against the drain hole of the sink. Kneeling down, I opened the cabinet under the counter in order to trace the pipes.

What I discovered was bewildering. A small automatic bubble blower sat under and behind a pile of towels, toilet paper, and hair supplies. I could see the carousel of bubble wands spinning past the air blower as the party machine desperately tried in vain to fill our cabinet with millions of sparkling soap bubbles. But its soap reservoir was dry, since it had sat in this cabinet unused for nearly a year since Lydia’s birthday in June.

I frustratedly dug it out of its hiding place, and mashed my finger on the off switch on the bottom. The switch was flush with the base and difficult to move.

As silence once again filled my home, I climbed back into my bed. But I couldn’t get back to sleep. Every explanation for what had happened was terribly frightening. And in the milky darkness all I could picture was some form of ghost clown wandering my hallway tortured and waiting for the enraptured joy of bubbles to set his soul free from his clown chains.

So today I’m going to put the machine outside and let the children play in bubbles and I’ll stand to the side and quietly nod to the invisible clown as he tips his wig and steps through an archway into clown heaven. And hopefully I’ll not be woken up again tonight.