My mother and I were poised on the fake leather sofa in our living room watching The Exorcist on television when my father sneaked up behind us and yelled "WAAHHHHHH!" as loud as he could without pulling a neck muscle. I nearly jumped out of my dermis, and I imagine my mother did, too, because she promptly grabbed a thick, vanilla-scented candle off the coffee table and chucked it at him, missing wide to the left. The candle landed dully in the corner, and she emerged from her afghan and griped across the blue shag carpet to retrieve it. "Asshole," she hissed, not quite under her breath. My father orangutan-laughed and moseyed off to the bathroom with the sports section and a pack of Winstons. Startling people when they were lost in thought or folding laundry or reading an issue of Mad Magazine remained one of his few hobbies. No daydreaming or concentrating in the Williams household.
"So Dad's sleeping out in the family room?" I murmured into the faltering darkness.
"He better not come in here," my mother replied.
"Did you finish watching that movie?" I said.
"There was a priest who made the devil jump into his body and then he threw hisself out the window to save that little girl."
"Did it work?"
"I guess so, but another priest was standin' at the top of the stairs where the first'n landed, and he had a funny look on his face."