After all was said and done, Mr. Jim's family sold his house and other people started to move in…young families mostly with bratty spoiled kids.It seemed as if he had been the glue that held the neighbourhood all together. And I missed my friend way too much. I had only known him for a few short months and I felt as if I had lost a much beloved family member…
The new people were clueless, letting their dogs and kids run amok. I would wind up being the old bag who would yell at them to “Get off my lawn!” and pump the shotgun, or be the wicked witch in the haunted house. I didn’t care. I left notes on their cars and bags of poop on their doorsteps. I picked up after my birds, I didn’t see why others couldn’t pick up after their dogs. They’d park wherever the Hell they wanted even if it was right across from my driveway so *I* couldn’t get out if I had to. They’d have all night pool parties and I hated to leave the house in case one of them got out of hand, an ijit got into the yard, and hurt my girls. I actually busted one bonehead climbing over the fence, zapping his gonads in the process because he had lost their football in my yard. The Brahma ran right up with her hackles flared and pecked his ankle HARD…when she went to spur him, I grabbed her. Then I tossed the ball over. It had some beak marks in it. Oh well. Not my problem. I told him the hot wire was always on and next time come around to the front door and ask…he limped away, grumbling, and bleeding from the chicken's bite. All his buddies were laughing at his predicament.
When the cats tried chasing my girls or snatching birds off the feeders, out came the good old green garden hose on full jet. *I* was a good neighbour. The others weren’t. I got in touch with Animal Control and he told me I was in my rights to SSS: Shoot, Shovel, Shut Up…I asked if it was applicable to the owners…he snickered, but said that was the homicide dept and not his. Dang. At least he was on my side, and issued citations left and right to the idiots. One dog, a dopey dipstick of a Designer dog (they were Mutts when I grew up) called a Dalmatian Pointer that the owners bragged that they had paid a tonne of money for insisted on chasing cars: except for mine. I stopped suddenly and he ran into the back of it. I couldn’t help it if a figment chose that very second to hop off the sidewalk and cross the street in front of me, and I didn’t want to smoosh it. Now, don’t get me wrong: I LIKE animals, well trained, well taken care of, cherished pets. Once they’re running loose, they’re predators and I refused to back down. Once again, I called the dog officer. He came out and issued a citation for an unleashed dog. In front of the “owners” he asked if I wanted to file charges for damage to my car. Slobber was the only actual damage. The blockhead of a dog was fine. And I was now on the neighbour’s shit list. If they couldn’t control their animal, it wasn’t my fault. They KNEW he roamed the neighbourhood, chased the cars, treed cats, raccoons and foxes, and stole food off grills. And they didn’t do anything. But, at the very least, he stopped chasing MY car.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t do that with my ex. I would be in jail, like that lady in Florida who ran over her cheating hubby like he was a friggin' speed bump. They caught it all on tape too! He was still being an annoying pain in the ass. He left a message on my machine that he was looking to move into a house nearby and wanted to know if I knew of any that might be for sale. I didn’t answer and deleted the message. Like I wanted him anywhere near me?! Hell, even Pluto would’ve been too close. A one-way ticket to the International Space Station might’ve been in order.
He even started following me on my walks, when I started exercising again. The first couple of times, I was crying too hard to make it even half way, curling up on one of the scattered benches or finding a convenient log. At least I could pass off the runny nose and red eyes on allergies. That was my ME time and he was NOT going to muck it up! I called the cops on my cell, but they couldn’t do anything because it was a public park. Shit! Of course, being a fat tub of lard, he didn’t get too far. Every time I saw a different animal, or heard a new birdsong, I wanted to tell Mr. Jim. And he wasn’t there. But I did it anyways. Okay…so the other walkers thought I was nuttier than the proverbial single fruitcake passed 'round the world…
One morning, before it got really and truly hot and muggy, I went for my usual walk. I had my water bottle, my eclectic music selections ranging from System of a Down, Serj Tankian, and Scars on Broadway to The Who, Apocalyptica, Iron Maiden, Three Days Grace, Deep Purple, The Moody Blues…well, you get the picture; and my cell phone and digital camera. I was putting together a scrapbook of all the things I saw when I walked and I was going to self-publish it and dedicate it to Mr. Jim. I was on the bike path heading back to the car, when I saw it: a white tailed deer with a set of antlers that would make a hunter make a wet spot, standing quietly in the small space between the bike path and the Scout Nature Trail like it had been waiting for me…Wow!! It was the first one I had seen in the park…and it was a once-in-a-life-time picture. It let me snap more photos than I thought possible for a wild animal. Other walkers flowed around me without stopping as if I was a rock in a stream. How sad for them! They didn’t even SEE the beautiful animal. It let me get so close that I had to wonder if it hadn’t been someone’s pet and released into the wild…I reached my hand out to touch the velvety nose. It snorted and flapped it’s tail before bounding off…it hadn’t moved for any of the other people rushing by and I knew who it was…my stupid ex!!!
“Gods Dammit!” I yelled.
“It was only a dumb animal.” he panted. He had obviously been trying to follow me. Depending on what I wanted to do for the day, I could make the whole bike path anytime between and hour and a half to ¾ of an hour. I was doing the fast one, which I had stopped short when I saw the deer. I put the headphones back on and started my walking again. I was able to tune him out and leave him in my dust as I continued, but he had ruined the nice feeling I had had having such a close encounter with the woodland critter.
I went straight home, hugged all my girls, and took a shower to get rid of the ex germs. I still had trouble getting over the deer acting so tame…I wondered if they got rabies…I looked it up and found out that they didn’t usually, but I wasn’t terribly reassured.
I called my boss, then settled down to work, and things went along fine. I took my lunch break, letting the girls roam the yard. I rounded them back up, and started working again. 5 o’clock came, I called into work and told her I was done for the day. I made dinner for us. The girls put themselves to bed and then it was my turn.
I had just settled in with a good book and was all comfy in front of the fan, when the phone rang. I had caller ID, but this one was an unknown #. I answered it and I could barely understand what the caller was saying. The receiver sounded like it was being passed from person to person and they were learning English from a language that didn’t even have 12 letters, let alone 20+ and the syntax and grammar were screwy too. It was a very stilted conversation reminding me of the odd crowd at Mr. Jim's funeral and I had to have them repeat themselves too many times. Finally, I got a “goodbye.” Well, at least that’s what I thought it was. I hung up wondering what the Hell had just happened, looking at the phone like it had connected me with the Twilight Zone and I was waiting for Rod Serling's voice over. I looked at the clock and realized I had been helping the ESL class for almost an hour. I was even more tired than I should’ve been, hardly able to keep my eyelids open. I turned off the light and rolled over.
I tossed and turned, flipped and spun, instead of having a restful night's sleep. I kept dreaming of that strange group from the funeral and of creatures that could’ve come right from Greek, Egyptian, Assyrian, and other ancient mythologies that were part people/part animals…
I shook the cobwebs away when the alarm went off, actually wanting to pitch the clock radio straight out the window, like a Nolan Ryan fastball. I dressed, turned on the coffee, let the girls out, then ate breakfast. Cold cereal with milk for me and layer pellets for them, with no milk, because chickens are lactose intolerant.You don't wanna know what milk does to their systems cuz it ain't pretty, neither is cleaning feathery behinds which I learnt from experience.
I really didn’t feel like doing my walk yet, so I attempted working instead. I kept looking at the clock, and after a half hour of doing nothing but drumming my fingers on the keyboard, I gave up. I got the girls back inside and instead of driving to the park, I decided to take the hidden path. It was still warm, but not stew in your own juices hot yet, and it would warm my legs up a bit for the hills that came up later.
The path was only a few 100 yards long, but it was shady and cool. I was glad I had taken a sweatshirt. I could tie it around my waist when I started sweating as I kept walking. I was near where it came out into the bike path when a hand grabbed me and yanked me into a thicket in the Big Meadow. I struggled, but couldn’t get away, the person was way too strong. I was really scared, recalling that a while back some women had been mugged when they walked. But the body of the person holding me had an almost calming aura. We hunkered down as footsteps clomped by. I caught a whiff of the Old Spice Lime cologne that my ex used…he probably bathed in the stuff. He was cursing as he blundered by. Unfortunately the cologne made my allergies act up as usual. I tried valiantly to stifle the sneeze I felt coming, but I was unable to. Dammit! I was pushed farther into the thicket and into the care of another set of arms that could’ve lifted a semi…what the Hell?! I KNEW that I was awake. I pinched myself to be sure and it hurt. The original person that had pulled me into the bushes had now gone and in exact spot was a White Tailed Deer! I wondered what drugs my mother had done in the late 60's-early 70’s to cause me to be seeing such weird shit so many years later.
The deer sproinged out of the bushes and almost landed on top of my ex. I saw the gleam of a gun in his hand as he tried to avoid the collision. How the Hell did he get that? But then I figured that one of his skanks dujour knew someone who knew someone…What he was going to do with the gun was pretty obvious. Like I had said before, I had read enough Ann Rule books…Maybe the lazy scum sucker had taken out an insurance policy on me and was trying to collect! There was sposta be no guns, bow hunting, drinking, loose dogs, etc in the park, but people ignored half of those rules…
When the deer-man came back, after what seemed to be a day or so, but was really only like a half hour, he said that I could go now safely. Well, thanks for that I said. I glanced at the person behind me, and she blinked. I saw a third eyelid, like my girls had. Okay...so she was a bird in the off season…that would explain the strong arms reasonably well: she’d need them to fly around.
I was too tempted to head right off to the packy, then call the nearest loony bin to see if they had an opening in a nice, safe, padded room.
I walked home somehow, gathered my girls, and pulled the covers over my head. This was just too much for my mind to have to deal with…
When the phone started ringing, I just let it go to the machine…I wasn’t in the mood. I finally got out of bed when I heard my boss’ frantic voice on the tape. Shit!!! I dialed my work and she was almost out of her mind. How could I tell her what had happened? SHE’D put me in the nuthouse in a second! I just told her that I saw my ex and he had a gun and I was afraid he was going to use it, so I was hiding…true enough…I was hidden under mounds of feathers, sharp beaks, wicked talons and pointy spurs.
She suggested that I call the cops. I had thought about that, but didn’t want to stir the pot too much with my ex. Especially now I knew that he was armed…I think that finally scared me…I put my sandals back on, hugged and kissed each of the girls and went straight to the PD where I swore out a formal complaint against my ex for stalking and that he was packing…Because I had seen the gun in actuality, they could pick him up if he didn’t have a permit for it. I rather doubted that he did because that would’ve cost him money. Hell, I made it easy for them too…I gave them the address of my old apartment in town!
I went home again, made sure all the windows were locked and checked the cellar for lurkers. Thankfully there was nothing but spiders, house centipedes and boxes.
I redialed work, got my boss and let her know what was up. There would be patrols a couple of times a shift to make sure I was okay.
I did a little bit of work, but I kept making mistakes because my brain was back with the deer-man and the bird-woman. When the latest job was sent back for the third time, I called in and gave up for the day.