Kyle slowly drove his car past 3 Tupelo Avenue.  The house was completely in darkness and the driveway was empty.  It was exactly as the young man knew it would be at 7pm, on a Wednesday night. 


He drove his old pick up truck around the corner, and parked well away from the street light.  The last thing he needed was to be stopped by one of the locals, who would recognise him.


Kyle pulled the flashlight from his pocket and checked the contents of his sports bag.  After he was satisfied that he had everything he needed, Kyle closed the bag and dropped the flashlight into his pocket.  He straightened the baseball cap on his head before another quick check to make sure that no one was about, then he got out of his car. 


He climbed out and when he closed the door of the car, he checked again, just in case someone was around and had heard the slam of the car door.  Kyle breathed a sigh of relief when he realised that no one had seen him this night. 


The young man slung the sports bag over his shoulder as casually as he could, and walked around the corner towards the house he had been watching earlier.  Kyle was sure the owner of the house would have locked the front door, so he walked past until he came to a window in the back of the house.  The window was slightly ajar, and Kyle was able to slide it open the rest of the way.   He pulled the flashlight out of his pocket and pointed it into the room and turned it on.  The room that Kyle had found was the bedroom, which was unsurprising, and he noted that the bed was nicely made and the room was neat and tidy. 


The young man reached through the open window with the sports bag and dropped it on the floor before looking around for something to help him get through the window.  An empty planter was nearby and it was just the right height to give Kyle the added boost so he could clamber up and through the window.


Kyle sat on the window sill for a moment and blew out a breath.  He was almost amazed that he had gotten this far undetected because he had never done anything like this before in his life.  He kicked off his shoes and left them on the window sill as he hopped down into the room.  Kyle didn’t want to leave any incriminating footprints around for evidence. 


Kyle picked up his bag and using his flashlight, he walked through the house.  When the light flashed in the mirror, he jumped with a start and then laughed when he realised it was his own reflection that had scared him. 


The first room that Kyle stopped at was the kitchen.  He went looking to see if there was anything to eat or drink.  He wasn’t really hungry but just interested.  There was a half full bottle of coca cola in the fridge and he plopped his sports bag on the bench as he drank the cola directly from the bottle.  After he had his fill, he screwed the lid back onto the bottle and replaced it, in its former position on the door of the fridge. 


Kyle took a small item out of his bag and placed it on the bench before picking up the bag again and going to the bathroom.  He shone the light at his reflection in the mirror and grinned.


He walked through the other rooms of the house picking up items and inspecting them.  He placed a slim bottle on the coffee table and left the room.


Kyle continued his journey finally ending in the bedroom where he had entered the house in the first place.  The young man took off the baseball cap he was wearing and then his black coat.   When he heard the sound of a car engine in the driveway, Kyle started to panic. The owner of the house had arrived home early and Kyle was stuck.  He quickly threw a piece of paper onto the bed and when he heard the key in the lock of the house, he climbed into the closet to hide. 



*        *        *



Greg turned the key in the lock.  This day wasn’t turning out as he had hoped.   He was going to grab a cup of tea and go to bed.  It wasn’t the way he wanted to celebrate his big day, but then, Greg also knew that things happen and sometimes get in the way and you have to adjust or you go crazy…and wasn’t that how life was at the moment.  Maybe tonight sometime, he would get the phone call, the one that he had been waiting for all day.


He walked to the kitchen with a plan of filling the kettle and grabbing a sandwich, for a solo celebration dinner, before going to bed.  When he flipped on the light, on the bench he saw a lone chocolate cup cake.  The small cake had the words ‘EAT ME’ in pink frosting on the top.  Greg grinned.  He hadn’t been forgotten after all.  But how did the cake get into his kitchen?


Greg picked up the cake and took a bite before walking over to the stove, where the tea kettle sat.  He grabbed the kettle and carried it over to the tap, filling it with water.  He took the kettle back to its usual spot near the stove, plugged it into the socket in the wall and switched it on.  The kettle would turn itself off when it boiled, so he could leave the kitchen without concern. 


Carrying the cup cake, Greg started walking through the hallway and was going to go to his bedroom when his eye caught a glint from the lounge room.  Greg reached into the room and flicked on the light and he saw to his delight a bottle of wine marked ‘DRINK ME’.  Greg picked up the wine and grinned.  The kettle whistled and Greg returned to the kitchen.  He decided that he would rather have the wine instead and turned the kettle off at the power point on the wall.  He opened the kitchen drawer and pulled out a corkscrew before grabbing a wine glass from the cupboard.


Greg started walking towards his bedroom, making sure to switch off the lights on his way.  He reached his bedroom and flicked on the light.  On the middle of the bed was a note.  This note read ‘TURN AROUND’ and Greg turned around and saw his closet had another note tied to the handle.  He placed the cake, wine bottle and glass on the side table before going to his closet.  The note on the closet read ‘GIFT INSIDE’. 


Greg sucked in his breath and wondered what could be in his closet.  He reached the handle and slowly opened up the door. 


“Surprise!”  Kyle grinned at Greg.  “Happy Birthday!” 


Greg couldn’t believe his eyes.  The man in his closet was totally naked except for a red ribbon tied around his waist. 


Kyle’s grin faded.  “Aren’t you surprised?” 


Greg was speechless.  The only gift he really wanted for his birthday was there, in his closet, naked, and was waiting for him. 


Kyle started to regret his surprise after all.  He had worked hard, trying to make this a great birthday for Greg and now he was starting to feel rejected.


Greg shook himself out of his stupor.  “I am totally surprised.” he said. “And this,” Greg reached out to run his hand down Kyle’s arm, “is the best birthday present I have ever received.”


“Ah,” Kyle stepped closer to Greg. “You have to do this first.”  He pointed to the note that was attached to the ribbon.


“Yes,” Greg agreed as he lifted the note that read ‘OPEN CAREFULLY’.  “I should follow all instructions to the letter, shouldn’t I?”


He pulled the end of the ribbon until it pooled at his feet and then reached one hand behind Kyle’s head and pulled him in for a kiss.  Yes, this was turning out to be his best birthday ever.



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