I saw them scurry away as the garage door started to open. They ran to the far corner of the garage and hid themselves in a dark crack under a pile of cardboard boxes. Their tiny feet kicked up little paths of dust as they retreated erratically across the garage floor. I sighed, and slowly pulled forward, my headlights reflecting off their beady eyes as they watched, cautiously, from their fortress of cardboard. I stopped the car and surveyed the carnage of overturned totes and paper bags that lay strewn about my usual parking space.
I relaxed a moment, staring back into the forest of smiling Amazon boxes, and then slowly rolled my window down.
“Clara!” I called over the echoing sound of engine noise.
One set of eyes blinked in the corner.
“Clara, I need you to come here!” I called again.
Finally, there was a shifting of cardboard, and the two small creatures hesitantly emerged into my headlights. The smallest raised a hand to shield her eyes. The older squinted slightly and began motioning with her arms, directing my glowing rocket ship to her space terminal.
“No.” I yelled out the window. “What are you doing? You have to move all of this stuff out of my way first. I can’t just drive over all of this garbage.”
She quickly, and inefficiently dragged a majority of the larger items into a messy pile to one side, and then promptly sat down on them crushing one box and causing the rest to slide back in front of me. I slowly crept forward and wedged my car between the debris field and our minivan. With a one last deep breath, I shut off the car and squeezed myself out of the barely open car door.
The girls giggled and jumped a few times. I worked my way their direction on uneven ground and asked, “Why did you hide when you saw me coming?”
They looked at each other conspiratorially and shrugged in unison.
I came closer and gave them each a hug, and when I did, I noticing shiny flecks surrounding both of their tight lipped mouths. “Wait, what have you guys been eating?”
The smaller creature shook her head, but she simultaneously raised an arm to show a stack of green paper splayed out in her hand like a deck of cards.
“Is this what you were eating?’ I asked them, “Seriously?”
They stared back at me. Clara opened her mouth to say something and revealed a mouth full of teeth bordered by small green squares of tinsel.
“How much of this did you eat?” I asked in patient exasperation.
“Just three containers.” The older of the two rodents quickly replied. She held up three fingers.
“Three containers? Three Costco sized containers? You snuck out to the garage and ate three whole Costco containers of seaweed paper?”
They stared back at me for a few long moments, and then the younger stepped backwards towards the wall and tripped over her own feet. In the commotion she awkwardly fumbled her hand full of seaweed onto the floor, crushing half the sheets into confetti in her frantic effort to save them.
As the last of the shiny pieces drifted to the floor, they broke the silence.
“Welcome home, Daddy.” They each hugged a leg.
“Thanks.” I pat them both on the head and stepped inside.