By Sandy Gingras

Featured art by Pierre Châtel-Innocenti

Pull up any rug, there’s a hole.
An easy chair sits on a trap door, which leads to
a slide. I am still surprised, after all these years,
how many tunnels are in my house.

In the basement, which is under the place
you would consider the basement, is
what I call “the secret room.” But all my rooms
are really secret rooms. It has a large
colored map on the wall, a folding table under
a fluorescent light, a red couch.

I go down there to find
a way to slip something into my dreams or to
block my escape routes. I am a spy, don’t
you know? I don’t look like a spy, and I’m paid
nothing for my work, but I do it anyway.
I was called, as they say, to duty.

Under my clothes, I’m naked.
Within my ID card is another identity.
I can change at will. I have a machine
that scrambles my words into code,
a pill I can bite to shift my mood,
a certification to never sleep.

Now I must run.
Even though there is no such thing as a
hiding spot in this house. Even if I put on
my invisible suit. Even if I cover my face
so I can’t see myself.
In the bathroom cupboard is a shelf that lifts
to reveal a chute which looks like it’s for laundry,
but it isn’t. I can’t hear when I hit bottom.

Sandy Gingras is the author and illustrator of twenty-five gift books. She designs stationary products for several companies and owns two retail stores. She lives with her husband and her golden retriever on an island six miles out to sea off the coast of New Jersey. She won the Crime Writers’ Association’s Debut Dagger Award for a mystery she wrote in 2012.

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