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By: Cameron Dashwood

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Tuesday, 22-Jan-2013 21:39 Email | Share | | Bookmark
With a cry of rage

I threw open the front door and raced barefoot down the front steps onto the lawn as the kids shrieked in terror and pedaling toward the driveway, little legs pumping furiously. They had a considerable head-start on me but I almost had little Courtney Jr. in my grasp before slipping on the wet morning dew and tumbling head over rear end to the curb. I can still feel my hand sliding down the back of Jr.’s Razorback jacket.

I sat up and shook my fist angrily as they flew down the street and disappeared around the corner, Crystal’s voice tinkling back to me, See! I told you he’d come out! This was the best time ever!
That was it – I was riled. I jumped to my feet and glanced back at my house where I could see Lauren in the front window, doubled over with laughter and pointing at me. She reminded me often I took my yard work too seriously and if I would just leave them alone they would soon tire of the game and move on to someone else. This only infuriated me more.

I wheeled and marched directly to Courtney Havemeyer’s front door and pushed the doorbell repeatedly. A few moments later his wife, Debra, peered out at me through the sidelight window before opening the door, adjusting her housecoat with one hand and smoothing her hair with the other, not that it mattered. ‘Putting lipstick on a pig’ floated through my mind. Debra Havemeyer was the spitting image of a female Jay Leno, complete with jutting chin and a long, drawn out face.
All right, all right, what’s with the doorbell? she asked indignantly. What’s wrong with you, John?

I’m sorry about the time, Debra, but I need to speak to Courtney please, I said in a clipped voice. By golly, I meant business.
Yeah, sure, just a minute, she said slowly, giving me a final up and down appraisal before turning and shouting in her grating nasal honk, Courtney! It’s John Callaway. Says he wants to talk to you.
A recliner footrest slammed shut and Courtney Havemeyer appeared in the doorway. Looking at him, I couldn’t help but feel sympathy for him; I mean, what kind of parents name their little boy Courtney? Not only was he short and rail thin, he was currently sporting a wispy mustache under his hawkish nose. He had been trying to grow a mustache for several months and the results were…well, less than spectacular. I can almost assure you he came home every day after school with a black eye as a child.
Where’s the fire John? he drawled laconically, his mustache quivering slightly. It was only then I noticed what he was wearing: a bright red pair of Hershey’s Kisses silk boxers and a skin tight wife beater T-shirt. I kid you not.

I’ll tell you what’s wrong, Courtney, I replied tersely after recovering from the shock of his wardrobe. I’m tired of chasing your kids off my lawn. Now, I’ve tried to be patient with’em. I’ve asked them time and time again not to ride on my lawn but just ignore me. I motioned to the driveway. They’ve got this whole street to ride on and they still would rather ride on my yard than anything else!

A nervous tic developed in his left eye. Well John, I’m sure sorry about that. I’ll sure have a talk with’em when they get back home. He leaned out the doorway and glanced toward my yard. It doesn’t look like they did any damage though. He looked at me with a patient smile. And come on John – it’s only grass.

I could only gawp in disbelief but I shouldn’t have been so surprised by Courtney’s reply. His yard was a landscaping nightmare, riddled with crabgrass and other assorted weeds and in need of a good mowing, as usual.


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