Julian was on his hands and knees with his bottom pointing to the ceiling as he reached under the bed to pull out his left blue sneaker.  He was already wearing his other shoe, having put it on his foot just after finding it in the wardrobe.


“There you are!”  he said in a mock scolding tone as he addressed the shoe.


“And what did it have to say for itself?” Tony asked as he suppressed a grin.


“Ha ha, very funny” Julian groaned.  “You know, you are quite the comedian...for someone who hasn’t a single humorous bone in his body.”  He started brushing the dust off with his fingers.


“Ouch.  That hurt!”  Tony laid his hand over his heart, pretending that he was fatally wounded from the other man's comment.  Julian just rolled his eyes at Tony’s bad acting skills.


“You know, I don’t know how that shoe got under the bed.  I remember putting it in the wardrobe the other day.”  Julian manoeuvred himself around to sit on the floor with his back leaning on the bed before slipping his foot into the sneaker.  The dust scattered with every movement as Julian began pulling the white laces tight.


“Yes…sure you did,” Tony continued in his teasing tone, “and I am sure it walked under the bed all by itself.” 


Julian continued tying his shoes while wondering if he really was going crazy.  Things seemed to go missing a lot lately.  A shoe or a belt would disappear, and almost every single time, he found it under the bed covered in dust. One time, he had been looking for a sock, and he found the dog’s leash under the bed, covered completely in dust.


“Come on...let’s take Eddie for his walk.”


Tony reached down and grabbed Julian’s hand, hauling him onto his feet.


“Doggy walkies time” Tony sang tunelessly, and Julian just rolled his eyes again.  Maybe he wasn’t the craziest person in the room after all.



*        *        *



Annabelle waited until she heard the front door close with a click before daring to make a sound.


“That was close,” she said to her sister next to her.


“Yes. Too close,” Emma agreed.


“I thought he was gonna get mad again.”


“I remember the last time he got mad, he had that noisy machine that sucked up the whole of the Springfield family and all of the Rowe kids.” Emma said, shaking herself for added emphasis. “That was soooo scary.”


“And I hope that dog doesn’t come in again, either.”  Annabelle looked horror-struck as she remembered the day that Eddie found her under the bed.  “It isn’t fun being sniffed up into a dog’s wet nose and sneezed out again!”


The other dust bunnies, who had been sitting in the middle of the room after being unceremoniously brushed from Julian’s shoe, hopped over to join their sisters.


“Are you okay, boys?”  Carol, their mother, asked her sons. She was still worried for her children after seeing them being carelessly tossed around the room.


“Yay!!! That was fun!”  Annabelle’s little brother Joey cheered.  “I hope we can do that again soon.”


Carol shook her head and tried to hide a smile.  Nothing seemed to scare her boys.


She knew that her children loved to play with the climbing things they found, and short of locking them up, there was no stopping them.  Her kids would explore the house and drag home anything they thought was interesting and climb all over it.  It was their biggest joy in life, and who was she to stop them?


“Mum, can we go exploring?” Joey asked.


“Please, Mum, can we?” Emma pleaded.


“Yes.  But try to be careful,”  their mother sighed.  “And if you hear any noises, come home straight away!”  she warned.


“Yes mother!”  the young dust bunnies chimed, before leaving in search of something else to drag to their home under the bed. 


It wasn’t long before they found a shiny spoon to play with.  Their mother agreed that it would be fun to play slippery slides on the spoon, and she helped them drag it to the centre-most part under the bed.  And it was a good thing.  The front door had opened once again.


“Quick!”  Carol called to her children. “Hide!” And then in a whisper added, “and be quiet.”


The little dust bunnies obeyed their mother and hid under the spoon that they

had only just brought in. 



*        *        *



There was some clatter and laughter as Julian, Tony and Eddie arrived home. Julian headed straight for the kitchen to fill the kettle and turn it on, while Tony hung, Eddie’s leash on the hook on the back of the door before dropping into the nearest chair.


“Hey Tony,” Julian asked, “would you like a cup of coffee?”


“That would be lovely,” Tony replied. “Just let me help you get the mugs from the lounge room first.”


He climbed out of the chair and headed for the coffee table.  Earlier that morning, they had had coffee and watched television and chattered about nothing in particular before deciding to take Eddie out for some exercise.


“Thanks” Julian called from the kitchen.  


“Hey Julian,” Tony questioned, “did you already collect the coffee mugs from earlier?”


“No.”  Julian walked into the lounge room to see what Tony was asking about.


“I thought you might have already cleaned up and forgotten to collect the mugs when you collected one of the spoons,” Tony teased.  “I’m sure there were two spoons this morning, and now one of them is missing.”


“Maybe it walked under the bed, all by itself.” The laughter in Julian’s voice was obvious. “Along with my blue sneaker.”


“Or maybe....” Tony paused long enough for effect before continuing dramatically, “the dust bunnies under your bed came and got it!”


“Dust bunny thieves!”  Julian raised his hand in triumph.  And then he burst into laughter as he turned to the kitchen.



*        *        *



Good thing for Carol and her family that neither man heard her gasp.   However, Eddie, with his sensitive ears, heard the sound and trotted down the hallway, towards the bedroom.  As usual, the dog was ignored as the men continued with their friendly banter.


Eddie poked his head under the bed but couldn’t reach the dust bunny children.  They were safe once more and began to play on their new slippery slide, totally ignoring the worried looks from their mother.



I hope you enjoyed this story.

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