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IIf Age Knew Its Youthful Wood

by Paul Kesler

The trick is to manipulate the articles in the room in such a way that the chair is fooled, so that instead of arriving at midnight, like it always does, it will come around mid-day, while you are  away at work. Arriving, it will pry the door open in a clumsy fashion, the metabolism of its peculiar constitution damaged by the dimly-recognized, but nevertheless distorted similarity to the room in which it normally finds repose. 

Just how you reconfigure these articles, of course, is not a crucial matter --- whether the window curtains, for instance, are tied in such a way that they partially reveal or totally obscure the fire escape. The throw rug before the bathroom, however, might be moved to the dining hall --- this will disorient the chair, and possibly, if you are lucky, cause it to break or splinter its legs. The ashtrays, for their part, might be rearranged, placing one on top of the radio (the chair will hardly expect it in such a ludicrous place), while another might be tilted at a slight angle by the side of the kitchen sink. Meanwhile, the bedspread could be ruffled, not completely ripped aside and tossed, but snarled, mildly tweaked here and there. It's possible the chair will approach tentatively, believing you're asleep, and this is a vague risk, but it will leave abruptly when it realizes there is no one there after all, especially when the intermittent silence caused by lapses in the traffic outside brings it to sudden lucidity. 

Take, meanwhile, a slightly different route before leaving in the morning; otherwise, your patterns will be recognized, and the chair might still contrive to burden your departure. Whistle a bit --- better yet, attempt a tune you do not generally employ --- the foreign melody will derail its normal expectations, and slow it down considerably. After all, you do not want it positioning itself at the curbside, or sliding subversively down the ramp at the city parking lot before plotting your trip back home. In such cases, it might pick up a mendicant, human or otherwise, and this could pose difficulties. Recall, in any event, that time last March when it showed up at midnight with a coiled-up cat, an animal you had no idea was anywhere near the premises, whose markings were unlike those of any cat you knew, or had even heard about --- you, who never so much as considered, at that early date, even the possibility of such an adventitious passenger. 

At all times remind yourself that, regardless of strategems, the chair learns quickly, and surprise is therefore critical. There is no way, moreover, of predicting what the chair is capable of when confronted with new variants, even the slightest perturbations in the usual stream of events. Since it is accustomed to maneuvering through the door, and even abiding clandestinely near your work place, it might be disposed to other things, might even, perhaps, seclude articles of sabotage within its baffling constitution. Given these factors, it's best to use every resource and be continually on guard. 

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