Hide and Seek
by Martha Powers
As we approach the holiday season, it is time to consider the art of hiding. Parents are always hard-pressed to think of places to stash the mother lode of presents they have bought for their little darlings.
My mother always hid magazines we shouldn't read under the mattress. Anything else was in her lingerie drawer. Dad went for height. Tops of cabinets and closet shelves were his specialty. My sister , who was afflicted with a trusting nature, put everything in the back of the closet under her bathrobe.
My brother David had an ingenious system. His theory was, if you don’t want it found, bury it in the yard. There are many things that got hidden that to this day have not been found. I can picture an archeologist a hundred years from now wondering as he unearths $5.87, my roller skate key and 43 box tops from Coco Wheats. I’m not even sure they make that cereal anymore.
I’m a good hider. I know how low human nature will sink to satisfy greed, hunger or just plain curiosity. There are no easy hiding places when I’m doing the hiding. I stored the Easter candy for a month in a box marked “Mothballs.” I was really annoyed when I discovered Matt with a mouth full of jelly beans and a chocolate ring around his mouth. In my ingenuity I forgot he couldn’t read, so the subtlety of the hiding place was lost on him.
I hide a lot of things. Bill says it’s because I am dishonest by nature. I hide the chocolate cookies because I know that there’s no one in the house who won’t eat them, bag and all, if they find them. I usually keep them in an empty box of cereal. Since it’s one of those that’s good for you to eat, it will be untouched until the next ice age. I hide Bill’s handkerchiefs that I haven’t gotten around to ironing. At last count there were fifty-four. I’ve tried to convince him that no one really uses them since the invention of tissues. I hide money. I never have much to hide, but it gives me a feeling of independence to have two tens tucked away.
On the other hand, I hate to have things hidden from me. I think it has something to do with curiosity, or possibly just plain stubbornness. Bill traditionally hides my Christmas presents and traditionally I look for them. To my credit, I will say that I have never looked inside any of the boxes once I’ve found them. I did shake one a few years ago, but that was more of an accident. Besides, it was the year that Bill was threatening to give me an electric broom for Christmas and I really needed know if that was what was in the box so I could be prepared to sulk through Christmas dinner.
Bill is not a very good hider. He assumes that I have a better nature than I actually have. He tends to go for the obvious. It usually takes me awhile because I give him more credit for creativity than he uses. If it’s something that he thinks I shouldn’t have, he just puts it out of sight. His assumption is that, even if I was despicable enough to look for it, the mere fact that he’s hidden it, will discourage me from taking it. You cannot base a theory on faulty logic.
Whenever we have an economy drive, Bill hides the checkbook. Now I hate to tell him that putting it under his shorts is not very cunning. If I did, I’d have to confess that I tore up the wall to wall carpeting and took off the back of the television set while I was looking for it. Now, if I hid the checkbook, I’d put it inside the access panel to the bathroom pipes. Being honest is a real stumbling block for Bill.
Martha Powers is a former humor columnist who left behind the winters of Chicago for the sun and sand of Vero Beach, Florida. She is the author of eleven published novels. Martha writes fiction thrillers but finds that killing off the bad guys isn't as much fun as writing for laughs. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org