This One Time, 15

This one time I was sitting on my porch in the rocking chair, bourbon lemonade in one hand, my pipe in the other, and my second-favorite 10-gauge lever-action single-barrel shotgun across my lap. It was the time of day when the kids get out of school and walk on home down the lane. It’s a mistake if you don’t take every opportunity to remind the younger bunch that your interests in the neighborhood are firmly represented in local politics.

It’s all for show, of course. If someone were to step up, I’d have to drop both the thirty-year-old bourbon and a two-hundred-year-old meerschaum pipe sculpted by my grandfather’s grandfather when he was my age. Also, if you care to, you can imagine was happens when a shrunken, shriveled old man fires a ten-gauge from a rocking chair. If I’m ever serious about it, I’ll finally get around to setting up little end tables somewhere in reach. As it is, my pipe stuff keeps rolling off the living room’s window ledge. For damn sure I’ll remember to stand up and plant both feet before I go pulling any trigger.

People tell me all the time that the neighborhood has gone to shit. They’re typically referring to the number of people that have bought houses and moved in that ain’t white. While my parents might have thought such things, I know better. The old missus and I never had any trouble with people of other races. We both know any human being can be a saint and any human being can be a monster. The color of your skin don’t make you rearrange your priorities too far past a hot meal, a place to sleep, and nookie.

The old missus is my cat. My wife Ellie’s been dead for ten years. She was racist as hell.

Anyway, the old missus and I own this little section of the lane. This is my house, my yard, my pecan trees, my shade, my hedge, my little hill overlooking the mausoleum. Mine and the missus’s. We’re happy to share it all with our neighbors, of course. As long as they respect the amount of work it takes to keep it up and show respect  where respect is due.

This is also my bourbon. As in, I make it. The old missus doesn’t take any credit for it, seeing as how tough it is to run a distillery with no damn thumbs. She does help drink it, though. She’d be embarrassed if I told you how much.

People being what they are, it’s not hard to imagine what passes for trouble around here. Money gets tight, people steal. Kids break things for the sheer hell of it because they’re damn kids. A man having a rough time of it at work brings his frustration home and raises his hand to his wife and/or kids. Loud parties. Climbing in and out of other people’s beds and getting caught at it. Blood rituals and sacrifices to Satan. Demonic visitations.

I’m sure it’s the same all over the world.

Oh, don’t look at me like that. You see ’em every day, just like I do. You hear them snuffling around under your windowsills. You see them dressing up in funny clothes and hanging out with others of their kind in the parks. And every time when they meet up, maybe once a month, there are more and more of them, running around and sounding like asthmatic pigs and knocking people down.

The people watching them just laugh and laugh and laugh. But not me and the old missus.

We go every month and watch. We see the darkness in the sky that follows them around, that gathers overhead, that wells up out of the woods and oozes back when they all go home for the night.

Every time they get together, exactly three days later I get news that an old acquaintance of mine died. A friend from grade school, someone I served with in the Army days, an old friend of Ellie’s.

I chart it all up in a journal. I’ve been keeping track for years. Wanna see it?

Damn pugs. Every month there are more of them. What the hell is wrong with people?


January 15, 2011 · by xalieri · Posted in This One Time  


Leave a Reply