The Shrieking Smoke Detector Dumpster Massacre

humor, bad neighbors, smoke detectors, mental health, real life, Modern PhilosopherLast weekend will go down in the history books, Modern Philosophers, as one of those many times that I very nearly lost my mind.

After an exhausting week, all I wanted to do was relax.

But my stomach wanted no part of that plan.  As I’ve already detailed in Saturday’s post, something evil took up residence in my belly and made the weekend very gassy and uncomfortable.

To make matters even worse, we had a neighborhood incident that really fanned the fire of Austin’s discontent.

I shall refer to it now, and forever more, as The Shrieking Smoke Detector Dumpster Massacre.

And whenever I refer to it, I shall cringe and mumble horrible curses under my breath in my thickest Brooklyn accent.

I went to bed Saturday night feeling miserable.

As I settled in under the covers, after sprinkling my belly with Holy Water, and promising my first born to any being that would slay the Demon hosting a rave inside my abdomen, I heard a steady, incessant beeping.

Since the noises in my stomach were almost deafening, this new annoyance had to be extremely loud for me to hear it so clearly.

humor, bad neighbors, smoke detectors, mental health, real life, Modern PhilosopherAt first, I tried to block it out.

I was too damn tired to select another item off the weekend’s menu of misery.

Ignoring it was impossible.  It sounded like an alarm, so I was compelled to make sure it wasn’t coming from inside the house.

Once I’d established that the steady pulse of my looming mental breakdown was originating from someplace other than The House on the Hill, I went back to bed.

It haunted me until I drifted off, but with the windows closed and my stomach gurgling, it was more of an inconvenient white noise machine than a deterrent to sleep.

However, every time the Beast In My Belly awakened me in the middle of the night, that damn beeping was there.

Taunting me.

Disorienting me.

Bothering the $%^& out of me.

When I woke up Sunday morning, the cacophony of chaos continued.  I couldn’t believe that almost ten hours later, no one had banished the beeping.

I mean, it had to be coming from someone’s house or car, and there was no way I was the only one who heard it.  Why hadn’t anyone dealt with the invader?

humor, bad neighbors, smoke detectors, mental health, real life, Modern PhilosopherI was ready to turn green and go door to door through the neighborhood on a search and destroy mission that was light on searching and heavy on smashing.

What kind of alarm went off for hours?  Why hadn’t the police responded by now?

Even though my tummy was in turmoil and I hadn’t slept well, I decided to go for a run.  To be honest, I just had to get the hell out of the house.

And away from that beep…beep…beep.

But I had a plan.  Before I hit the raod, I was going to do some recon and find the source of the noise.  Once I’d pinpointed its position, I would come up with the next step.

I opened the kitchen and bathroom windows.  The sound that was constantly punching my brain was definitely coming from somewhere behind The House on the Hill.

So I went out in a light ran to hunt my target.  I circled the block, but couldn’t really narrow down an exact location.

I decided to recruit some help.  I grabbed my neighbor Mark and asked him if he could hear my new archenemy.

To my chagrin, Mark couldn’t hear anything.  He claimed to be hard of hearing.

I began to wonder if I was losing it.

humor, bad neighbors, smoke detectors, mental health, real life, Modern PhilosopherHad my lack of sleep, combined with the Alien crawling around inside my stomach, driven me to madness?

Was I hearing things?

It would explain why an alarm would sound for ten hours without a response.

I dragged Mark into his driveway.  Perhaps if he got a little closer…

He still heard nothing.

He wandered over to my driveway, where I could hear the beeping so clearly that I was certain my ears would start to bleed.

Mark just talked about his bad hearing.

Damn it!

I convinced myself that a run would clear my head.  If that didn’t work, an hour away from The House on the Hill was bound to be long enough to drain whatever power source gave that beep the ability to crack away at my sanity.

But when I turned down my block, after almost five miles away from THAT NOISE, I could immediately hear it loud and clear.

It was going to be a very long Sunday if I couldn’t silence that @#$%^& beep!

So I did what any sane person would do.  I grabbed the rake out of my garage and charged up the driveway of the house behind me.  My gut told me it was there somewhere.

Mind you, I was soaked in sweat and pale from my sickness.

I probably looked like a madman to anyone looking out the window.

humor, bad neighbors, smoke detectors, mental health, real life, Modern PhilosopherBut I felt like Thor, ready to wield my hammer to crush the @#$%^&* life out of whatever the @#$% was driving me batty.

As I strode down the blacktop, the beep got louder.  I was definitely getting warmer.

I was close enough to taste it.

That was when I realized the beep, beep, beep, @#$%^&* beep was emanating from the dumpster at the very end of the driveway.

Why in the world would a dumpster have an alarm?

I peered inside, dripping sweat onto the trash, and that’s when I saw it.

A box of smoke detectors.

What @$$%^&* throws out smoke detectors without making sure they were silent?

I used the rake to smash the smoke detectors, but they would not shut up.  There were two of them.  They were in the very bottom of the dumpster, so I couldn’t reach them to pull them out and stomp on them with my giant monkey boy feet.

I was sick, but not sick enough to go dumpster diving.

I was lightheaded and the stench of the trash made me want to vomit.

humor, bad neighbors, smoke detectors, mental health, real life, Modern PhilosopherI decided to go home, take a shower, and tackle this once I had settled down a little.

These smoke detectors might very well be indestructible, and I needed my wits about me to figure out how to dispatch them into the great permanent silence.

Shortly thereafter, I found a comment on Facebook from my friend Joy, who had recently moved in across the street.

The smoke alarms had kept her up all night.  And her roommate had added a comment about how they were driving him insane.

I excitedly posted that I’d found the bastards and was forming a posse to make sure they troubled this neighborhood no longer.

I rushed out of the house and headed to Joy’s.  Along the way, however, I saw a resident of the house behind me, armed with a snow shovel, going postal on the dumpster.

Moments later, there was silence.

A delightful, calming quiet.

The kid had killed the monsters in the dumpster.

I thanked him and went home to tell Joy we were free.

And the crowd rejoiced.

humor, bad neighbors, smoke detectors, mental health, real life, Modern PhilosopherAll was right in the world.

I could finally enjoy my day of rest.

My stomach still hurt, but at least my ears weren’t ringing.  Things were looking up at The House on the Hill.

About an hour later, I went to the kitchen for some Snapple.

Still smiling.



No.  It can’t be.

I had to be imagining it.



Was I feverish?

I had seen the dude with the snow shovel avenge us all.

Mother#$%^&* BEEEEEEEEEEP!

I grabbed my phone, texted Joy, and told her to meet me outside.

It was pouring rain, but I did not care.

humor, bad neighbors, smoke detectors, mental health, real life, Modern PhilosopherI needed my peace and quiet.

My moment of Zen.

I found the ice chipper in the garage.

I trudged through the rain to meet Joy in front of the house.  We climbed up the hill to the neighbors’ parking lot.

We went right to the dumpster and we smashed.

Then we fished out the remains and removed the batteries.

Finally, there would be silence.

I let the rain wash away the insanity, smiled at Joy, and then went home a hero.

The Shrieking Smoke Detector Dumpster Massacre was over, and the good guys had won…

About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
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8 Responses to The Shrieking Smoke Detector Dumpster Massacre

  1. Something similar happened to my wife and a few months ago. One night, which happened to be the night we returned from our vacation to Montreal, there was a beeping from outside. I was disoriented and couldn’t tell where it was coming from. When I opened the patio door for a better look the beeping was insanely loud. As if it were right by me! It was then I remembered the stupid smoke detector we’d taken from our ceiling after the umpteenth time it went off falsely. I brought it inside and closed the doors. Hoping that no one saw me, that no one knew I was the guy. I held it in my hands trying to get it to shut up. Then my wife showed up with scissors, slid them in the vent like opening and snipped whatever wires she could get a hold of. We weren’t sure if it was smoke from the wildfires or the battery dying that had set it off. Either way, we felt lucky that it hadn’t happened any of the six prior nights. Also, I’d like to point out that this was a secondary smoke detector. Made especially for the kitchen. It went off all the time, even with toast.

  2. markbialczak says:

    Well, all the batteries had been installed the same time, apparently. I wonder how long a smoke detector with a low battery will beep before that sucker will finally go completely dead? You almost had that experiment completed, Austin. I don’t blame you a bit for the smashing conclusion.

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