“You-hoo,” I shouted through the doorway. “Are you home, Edna?”
“Yes I’m in the kitchen. Come on in.”
Stepping into the room, I looked about, but Edna was nowhere to be found.
“I don’t see you,” I said in a sing-song voice. “Are we playing hide-n-seek today?”
“I’m down here. Behind the island.”
I turned and looked down and there she was, glasses on the end of her nose, crawling about the floor.
“Don’t tell me you’ve given up on Swiffer and gone back to scrubbing the kitchen on your hands and knees.”
“No, I just lost the battery out of my hearing aid. I dropped it here somewhere.”
“Don’t worry. Your vacuum will find it and emit a gasp to let you know.”
“That’s what I’m afraid of. Or worse, yet, the cat finds it. Or Harry slips on it.”
“Okay, let me give you a hand,” I said, joining her on all fours, both of us looking as intent as toddlers searching for a pacifier. After several minutes of scouring for the minuscule metal disk, I leaned back on my heels.
“You know about the Law of Fallen Objects, don’t you?”
“No, I’ve never heard of that one. Is this another thing you’ve made up?”
“Okay, so what’s your ingenious discovery?”
“I could explain it better if we were sitting around the table drinking a cup of coffee.”
“All right. Let’s see if we can get up from here.”
My Theory on Fallen Objects
We flopped and moaned like a couple of beached manatees until—with support from the kitchen chairs—we got onto our feet. Edna set out the remains of a three-day-old Danish and we began softening the pastry in a cup of decaf as I unfolded my discovery. I had hoped for a more scientific forum for the roll out of my findings, but Edna’s kitchen would have to do
“I have tested my theory many times and have found it as immutable as the Law of Gravity. I’m surprised that Newton didn’t include it in his journal of observations. Perhaps an oversight. Or something he wanted to leave for future generation to uncover.”
“Get on with it, for heaven’s sake. What do you know that has anything to do with my lost hearing aid battery?”
“I have found that any dropped article—round, square, soft, hard—has a tendency to bounce, roll, crawl, or hop underneath the object closest to it. There is a high probability that a fallen object will not remain in the open, but seek the nearest and most secluded hiding place. That could be underneath a bed, a counter or a sofa. I’ve had a square-shaped earring fall onto carpet and lickety-split disappear halfway underneath the dresser. Pills are especially agile. They can bunny hop across a room and duck behind the drapes before you can say, ‘Where’s that damn pill?’”
Edna pursed her lips and scowled as though she was giving my thesis some thought before dismissing it. Her response surprised me.
The Search Continues. . .
“You may have something there. Let’s take another look,” she said. We eased back onto the floor and began running our hands underneath the refrigerator, stove and island. Ah, the gems of yesteryears that lurk in obscure places. We uncovered a Canadian penny, a half-dozen fossilized blueberries, enough shards of glass and pottery to excite an archaeologist, a cherry pit, a McGovern button, and a herd of dust bunnies, but no battery.
It was disappointing not being able to prove my theory. In self-defense, I suggested that she might have dropped the battery elsewhere. Looking for an excuse to get off the floor, she allowed that might have happened. We retraced our previous ascent, washed our hands, and returned to the soggy Danish.
Several days later, I got a call from Edna.
“Found the battery,” she said gleefully.
“In the bedroom. It must have dropped on the carpet and bounced under the bed. While I was excavating, I also found two earring backs, the car keys Harry lost last year, a piece from the Monopoly set, and enough pencils to stock Office Depot. And—get this—a ticket stub for a pair of shoes I took to the repair shop two years ago and never picked up!
“So did you get the shoes?”
“I was a bit sheepish about inquiring after all that time, so I just gave the ticket to the clerk and smiled.”
“He looked at the ticket and said they’d be ready tomorrow.”