The Enigmatic Case of the Wandering Smoke Alarm


Hands down! A “Chirp-Chirp” is infinitely better than “Fire Fire!” but both are irritating in their own way.

“Now where did I put that durn smoke alarm this time?”

The intruder was most uninvited and unwelcome. My ordinary mundane blessed silence of predawn beauty was shattered this very morning with the incessant and equally annoying “chirp chirp” agonal cries of a dying smoke alarm battery that demanded my undivided attention. It soon began to rival fingers screeching over a chalkboard with an echo of reverberation that seemed eerily mobile too. It was all over and random in its stealthy snobbery. What the heck? It became so elusive that I actually began to have visions of the movie #TotalRecall and entertained possibilities of a gigantic rat of sufficient size to have swallowed the whole annoying thing; said rat now loose and at large as he scurried all about the house. I verified my sidearm at the ready. Affirmative

After an initial failed reconnaissance mission to acquire the target, I wisely chose to brew my coffee to settle my quickly fraying nerves. As the percolator perked in delightful joy I sulked in ongoing aggravation. I began anew my fruitless search for the culprit alarm as I actually ran reconnaissance into four rooms and two hallways only to stand the mandatory 60 or so seconds as I impatiently waited for the familiar but elusive beeps. Somewhere else! (I subconsciously pondered 4-lettered words.) This “Somewhere” began to giveaway to other dormant fears… maybe it, or God forbid, maybe I, am trapped in a sort of Stephen King novel experience of alternate universes. Where’s the door?!?!

The vision of the monster rat gnawed away again but eventually broke through to another troubling speculation that perhaps a disgruntled worker from Comcast or maybe the AC company had maliciously planted a failing smoke alarm somewhere in my 3500 foot attic and underneath 2 feet of fiberglass insulation some months back as he was duty-bound to crawl in my attic. That didn’t make sense though so I considered perhaps the previous owner had legitimately jerry-rigged a smoke alarm overhead, whose time had now come. This too seem too bizarre. It is so challenging to remain sanctified in times such as these, when fears and imaginations converge in something akin to the Bermuda Triangle, all at 3 a.m. in the morning. In betwixt my ears. 

The coffee brewed and sighed its completion so I poured a cup and filled my extra thermos, and scurried outta here to my secret back porch Bethel in search of P&Q. Gnarly disruptions to my morning quiet… Huh! I think not! I discovered once again silence is golden especially when reinforced with a closed door as insurance. The wife is always at locating such things in an effortless fashion anyway. “Let the woman You gave me find it, Lord.” Right. 

My Quiet Time silence was soon invaded by the open door to Bethel as the incessant chirps of Lucifer himself seemed to follow Amy and alas, they found me once again. Conversation and morning kiss complete, we then exchange frustrations of our failure to locate the chirping source. I am especially alarmed as perhaps for only the 2nd time in our recorded marital bliss, the wife has failed to find and fix the problem; most often said problems are of my own devices and design. Nevertheless disregarding the current failure that is still an arguably impressive record. We discussed contingency plans and were ultimately unpersuaded by any options other than eventually the battery will die of old age, so therein our hope lay. Yeah!

Back to reading and prayer. But alas, silence and joy must always eventually end, so I trudge downward off my personal “Mount of Transfiguration” and find myself confronted with chirps again now beginning the drone into patterns that might imitate demonic screeches of a dying demon and not a smoke alert. “Lord we tried to cast out the batteries but we couldn’t find them. Need a little help here, Lord!” Back onto chairs and step ladders I go, and again both wife and I are transfixed by the mobile nature of the chirps that come from nowhere but everywhere all at once. If the wife with her bat-like ears stands baffled as to the location, I knew I was in big trouble with my AARP qualified ears that had for years been crying out for Miracle Ear intervention. I refuse. What’s that you say?

We have a house guest at present and I even begin to wonder if this whole thing is some sort of an obnoxious February 1st February Fool Day joke that they celebrate in Georgia or something. That really did not add up either since she too likely would have disturbed by the omnipresent sound throughout the night. Then the wife said in response to my trial balloon attic theory, it sounds like it may be in here and on the new book shelves, but I am the one who arranged books and artifacts on them, so I know there is no smoke alarm there. 


Somewhere upon my mind’s back burner I vaguely recall an extra alarm with no hanger for it for walk installation. As a surgeon calling for scalpel I called for the stool. Rising up, up and away, and guess what? There hidden away on the top shelf behind a silent figurine Rabbit who seemed to smiled stupidly in provocation lay the culprit. Double OOPS!

So I say in a brilliant recovery attempt, “Well it’s in a good spot, up high and out of sight and all.” Wife was both unconvinced and irritated. I felt somewhat like David as Nathan pointed a finger in his face as he simply stated, “You’re the man!” After a welcomed change of the battery the CO-Smoke alarm combo gave one last, loud, long satisfied chirp before returning to its baseline silence we had searched for all this early morning.  

The one lost sheep has been found and all heaven rejoices more over it than over the ninety and nine who need no rescue. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s