Neighbors / Neighbors

Trees up and down our block were filled with toilet paper.

Garbage cans overturned in the street. grass bags gutted. mailboxes knocked off their hinges, lawn art destroyed.

An old woman wearing rhinestone rimmed glasses stood in her front yard weeping into her hands.

The remains of a bird house lay in shambles at her feet.

Someone had knocked it down?

She and her father had built it when she was just a little girl.

Now? it was gone. with it, a sweet memory of time spent together.

Lois Ahnya removed her glasses and rubbed her eyes.

We all knew who did it.

It was those Macgillycuddy Bastards.

I’d dealt with these two before.

Troublemakers. make no mistake about it.

Rocks, bottles, bricks, boards and bats were the instruments of their trade.

If you had a son or daughter the age of these boys? You spent the better part of your day dodging em.

Not an easy thing to do when you’re from a small village.

Timmy Macgillycuddy , younger of the two boys. Shifty eyes, mean, cunning. I wish I could say he was highly intelligent. but that would be a lie. he was trouble, a weasel. equally adept using his feet or fists to inflict damage . His preferred weapon of choice was anything he could get his grubby little paws on. Didn’t matter. rock, stick or garbage can lid. anything he could throw at your head.

Billy Macgillycuddy, the older brother. When he looked at you? It felt like he wanted to chew on your face. something was just not right about that boy.

First time I saw them. they were standing in the street in front of our house throwing rocks at a mailbox.

They had moved onto our block a few years before we did. people felt helpless. some gave up, moved out.

Surely it can’t be as bad as that?

You got a minute? My neighbor Monty Asked.

When they first moved into town, the boys were invited to a birthday party for one of the local kids. You know the Monahan’s? Their son Finn?

Well, At the party……One of the other children made the mistake of telling Timmy to…Stop chewing with your mouth open.

Timmy took it up to ninety. flipping the table over on top of the birthday boy. His older brother unaware of what was happening, having just come out of the bathroom, picked up a chair and threw it into the melay. both boys grabbed an armful of gifts. and fled out the front door.

Nobody knew what to do? call the parents? they’re just kids after all. kids being kids.

They’ll grow out of it. right? isn’t calling the parents a little excessive? You want to do it? go ahead. The Mother is a Nut. The Husband? a hardchaw not to be trifled with.

I asked if anyone ever saw them at parent teacher conferences?

Responses varied from. “Oh Thank God, No!” to “Holy Jaysus, I hope not?” to “No? Is She Here?! I said good morning to her once…..she told me to go shit in my hat.”

The entire neighborhood had their fill, it was looking like the next incident would push good people too far.

We all wanted these little hooligans gone.

We just didn’t know how to do it? the coppers weren’t being much help.

Garaging was rampant in the neighborhood. Items reported stolen included, tools, balls, bats and bikes.

Most of the handy work having been done after dark. no one saw a thing. people were installing security cameras, The town locksmith was working overtime. One of my neighbors suggested we dig a pit in his backyard and try and trap em.

Lois had reached her limit. enough was enough. from then on? anytime the boys made an appearance on the street. they got the hose. playtimes over now eh?

When the boys hit or kicked a ball onto her property. she’d burst out the front door, grab the ball, stare the boys down, and return with it to her home.

If they tried to enter the property from the rear? she’d sick her dog on em. German Shepard, Named Doug.

Something was gonna give. a few bets were made on the side. everyone had their money on the boys.

I wasn’t so sure.

Weeks passed. things quieted in the neighborhood.

Tuesday Night turned to Wednesday morning.

A favorite pastime of the boys was ghost riding bikes.

Our street has a slight grade to it, which makes it the perfect test track.

Ghost riding a bike is an art form. you have to know exactly when to dismount. when to release. and a general idea where you hope to have it go.

One judges a good ride on the length. the longer it travels un-piloted, the better the rush is.

Lois was backing her car out of the driveway.

The bike had been released. rolling on its own accord. Riderless.

On impact the back tire rotated over the front. striking the passenger door window shattering it.

Broken Glass flew every which-ways.

Lois catching most of it in the beehive.

Thankfully she was wearing her glasses.

Bridie Donovan out watering her porch plants shrieked. she had witnessed the whole diabolical thing from across the street. barreling inside to call the police.

Billy and Timmy scattered.

Ducking between the Mulligan and Kelly’s straight home to establish an alibi.

At The Macgillycuddy residence.

The boys were questioned by our village finest. One Officer Fink. followed by a trip with their mother to the station to fill out some paperwork. their attorney apprised of the situation would meet them to assist.

Malicious mischief, destruction of property were the charges. all misdemeanors. sadly? not a felony to be to be found.

They claim to have only borrowed the bicycle. and were on their way to return it when it jumped up, took off and plowed into Lois car.

This wasn’t the boys first trip to court.

“No Boy is Bad If Given a Chance?”

Father Flanagan of Boys Town obviously had never met these two. Pah! What did he know about good boys? No boy is bad is it?

Well aware of who was in front of him. The judge sighed and shook his head.

A warning was not going to suffice this time.

1500-2500 to fix the damages estimates provided the court stated.

In Addition, Her attorney asked the court for compensatory damages to her bird house.

The judge, while being sympathetic to her testimony. was unable to indict the boys on the bird house destruction. there were no witnesses after all? unlike the ghost ride.

Seated nearby, Lois enjoyed the proceedings immensely. leaning forward cupping her hand over her mouth while she listened intently.

The judge heard the case as put forth by the attorney’s representing each party. after which he remanded the boys to juvenile detention for 30 days.

What started as a giggle turned into uncontrollable hysterics.

Rising from her seat. she exited the court room laughing all the way out.

The Macgillycuddy’s glared, watching her in silence.

A month? that’s it, is it? Well?

Better than a sharp stick in the eye.

All anyone knew or care, was they were gone. for now.

Everyday is a gift.

I’m excited to find out what’s next?

You never know what tomorrows going to bring.

Raking Leaves

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Leaves were falling. the village was beautiful. the richness of colors, stunning. you don’t get this living in the concrete jungle. or if you live in an arid landscape. We deal with cold temperatures Bub.

The beauty of the changing seasons is our reward. something to embrace.

The doorbell rang. I opened it.

They thought I didn’t recognize them. It was The Macgillycuddy Boys.

Billy and his younger brother Timmy.

Both boys ran with the gang that would throw snowballs at my car last winter.

It was them. make no mistake about it.

The older brother was doing the talking now.

“Mister? do you need someone to rake your leaves?”

I locked eyes with the little one. he was giving me the stink eye.

“Is there something wrong young man?” he wouldn’t answer me. “Is this your brother?”

“Un-huh,” Billy responded.

“Are the two of you registered to rake leaves in this state?” they looked at each other.

“Are we what?” Billy asked.

“Registered. are you Registered? Do you boys speak English?”

“Un huh.” Billy said.

“So, let me get this straight? You two are Brothers. You live in Illinois, You speak English. You’re here today to ask me to rake the leaves in my yard for money. Are you boys Troublemakers?”

The younger one rolled his eyes. I looked at him. “Do you remember me Timmy?”

“No.” Timmy said.

“You Don’t?” I asked him very directly.

“No.” he said. I stood there staring at Him. Timmy starting tugging at his brother’s coat, he cupped his hand whispering something in his ear.

Billy spoke up.” “Mister we gotta go.”

“Go? but you just got here? wait a second, you came here today with a business proposition and now you want to run off before you get an answer to your question?”

“Umm? we…Umm?” Billy stuttered.

“Young Man ask me your question again.” they exchanged glances.

Billy softly asked “Umm…Would you like somebody to rake your leaves?”

“Somebody? Who?”

Timmy rolled his eyes again. exasperated he blurted out, “Us.

I shook my head from side to side like I was being offered something that smelled rank.  “No Thank You.” and closed our door.

I woke the next morning and looked out our window. the nine bags of leaves I had left out on my curb for pick up were spread all over our front lawn. the bags were missing and so were the yard waste stickers you are required to purchased from the village. no sticker? no pickup. someone was sending me a message.

It was The Macgillycuddy Boys.

Standing in your yard trying to clear it of leaves while more leaves drift down on you from the trees above can wear on you. Last year I raked 47 bags of leaves. a few of my neighbors were quite amused at the eager new guy on the block who thought he could stay ahead of Mother Nature. Mother Nature wins every time. don’t even try to take her on. she’ll kick your ass pal. Imagine trying to keep snow off your driveway in the middle of a blizzard? That is the feeling you get on my street when the leaves start to fall.

“Why don’t you hire a couple of kids from the neighborhood?” My neighbor Nancy asked me. “Why are you putting yourself through this?”

I smiled and almost bit through my lip. I wanted to throw her in her bushes.

Pay someone to tend our land? Never!

Never say Never……Ever.

I woke up and felt like a hundred year old man. My Back was killing me. my left shoulder ached.

I went over to take a look at the community bulletin board at our grocery store to see if I could find someone to handle the leaves for me. Tacked on the board was a piece of paper. It read in bold print.

FALL CLEANUP. We Rake Leaves.

At the bottom of the page was a phone number.

I called the number, a woman answered.

“I’m calling about the Fall Cleanup.”

She said, “Sure, hold on a second. SHAN….NON it’s for You!”

Shannon? a few seconds later a girl’s voice on the other end said, “Hello?”

I introduced myself. “Are you the person to speak to regarding the fall cleanup?”

“Yes.” she said. “My friend Eileen and I will rake and clean up your yard.”

“Great, How do we get started?” she informed me that they could come out tomorrow after school for an estimate. I gave her our address. we arranged to meet at 4:30.

4:30 on the dot. I was out in front of our house when two young girls with rakes walked up. Shannon the young woman I spoke with on the phone said “Hello.” then introduced me to her friend Eileen.

I showed them the yard, “Ladies? what’s this going to cost me?” they gave me three options. once a week 40 dollars, twice a week 60. and for the season 160.

“I’d like you to handle the season. When can you start?”

They looked at each other smiling.

“Right now? If you’d like?”

They went to work. no smirking, no shuffling of feet, no stink eye.

They raked both the front and backyard. bagging about 17 bags of leaves all neatly stacked at the curb. Once they finished they knocked on our door, still smiling. telling me they would be back on Saturday.

“Ladies? before you go? do you know the Macgillycuddy Boys from down the street?”

“Yeah, We Know Them.” Shannon replied.

I sensed an edge in her voice.

“Ladies? I’m worried that Billy and Timmy won’t be happy with you taking their business. I have it on good authority that these two boys are known troublemakers around town, it’s possible they might try to undermine your business.”

“Undermind?” Shannon inquired.

“Yes, undermine, They want to try to keep all the business to themselves. we’re not all bad ladies. but these boys? The Macgillycuddy’s? I just don’t trust them. Billy told me that if you want a Woman to do your work for you? go ahead hire one, see what kind of job they do? they’ll take your money and never show up. they also said you two ladies had been in trouble with the police?”

“Police?!?” The smiles disappeared.

“Yes, The Police. I also suspect that they might try to sabotage your work by dumping the leaves you worked so hard in raking on the ground.”

Eileen looked at me and said, “They better not.”

“Yes.” I pointed at Eileen. “They better not, keep an eye out for them.”

They told me they would, and to not worry.

Want to be treated like a professional? prepare like one. project yourself as one.

It was clear these girls knew the score.

In the business world today. when you look to provide a service to someone. you better be able to provide the customer with the factual information they need to make a well-informed decision that is best for them. You can’t stand in front of someone during a sales pitch and say, Umm? and Roll your Eyes at the potential customer. You sure as shooting can’t give them the Stink Eye and then expect them to give you money?

“Tell that to your little brother, The Eye Roller.”

Uncle John

Uncle John

Uncle John lived a couple of doors down from us at our neighbor Bobbi Carrs house.

Bobbi ran a rooming house. the only two people I ever knew to live with her were Alec, 75 years old. german national. a very quiet, round old guy who walked around with his hands behind his back like he was contemplating something? nothing sinister, mind you? plotting? perhaps. most likely, only reliving his life through memories long past.

The other gentlemen renting a room was Uncle John. Now…John wasn’t my real uncle. I just called him that. John was in his late 60’s, early 70’s I’d guess? he was 6 foot something. to me? he might as well have been a giant.

As a boy, I thought Uncle John was the coolest guy around. former US soldier who served in WWI. a retired widower. His wife had passed of an illness twenty years prior. he never re-married. moving around the country holding various jobs to makes ends meet.  settling in Oak Park Illinois just a couple a doors down from our home at 830 Wenonah Avenue in the late 50’s.

Oak Park Illinois is located just west of the city of Chicago. a stones throw on the Eisenhower Expressway or The Ike as locals call it.

I’m not sure how it was that Uncle John and I started taking walks together?

I’d see him from the window and wave. he’d smile, waving back. I was about 4 going on 5 then.

Perhaps Mom saw it as an opportunity to watch her daytime soap operas without some ungrateful little sneak underfoot. I used to beg her to let me go with him.

Uncle John was shy and polite to everyone in the neighborhood.

I was grateful for his company. we got along. He listened to me blather about this and that. I had questions man. lots of questions.

If he had the answer. He was patient and kind and would explain things to me. If he didn’t? He’d let out a deep sigh. look at me and shrug.

I wanted to be just like him.

What I enjoyed most about our walks together was ignoring my normal boundaries. those set by my folks.

“No farther than the corner.” they’d say, “Stay on this side of the alley.”

Uncle John didn’t operate on that frequency. he wasn’t gonna be content just walking back and forth on our block.

I knew it. so did Mom I imagine?

Uncle John was a smoker, While on our walks together he always took the opportunity to light up a butt.

Sometimes we’d walk to Al’s Grill on Madison Avenue. Where he’d get a cup of coffee, I’d have a glass of water.

Al’s was a great place, typical fifties diner. long counter. several booths. if you sat at the counter you could see the cook. this big guy moving around in the kitchen. I’d watch him shoving the food through a small window to the waitress. wondering how he fit through that tiny window? did he live in there? was there another way in?

One particular afternoon as Uncle John enjoyed his coffee and cigarette, I was spinning myself around on the counter stool, content for the moment, trying to make a revolution without using my hands.

A Large Cadillac pulled up out front. A man in a black suit stepped out and headed inside.

He ordered 3 cups of coffee at the counter from the waitress. placing five dollars on it. She brought him his change. followed by his coffee to go.

I didn’t see the man from behind when I spun kicking the cups of coffee onto him and all over the floor.

He started waving his arms around. Shouting. mostly at me.

Uncle John got between the man in the suit and me.

“It was an accident. He’s just a boy. Look? I’d like to buy you the cups of joe to replace what you spilled.”

“What I spilled!?!”

My Friend held out his hands palms up. “Please the boy.”

The man glared at me.

I wish he hadn’t.

He leaned in to whisper something to Uncle John.

Who then looked at me and said, “we’re leaving.”

The man immediately stepped in front of us. Putting his hand on Uncle John’s chest.

I never saw Uncle John move so fast. he hit the man with something he’d pulled from his pocket. knocking him to the floor unconscious.

It was a blackjack he carried for protection.

The cook came out from the kitchen

“Do you know who that is? he works for Momo. you better get outta here quick. C’mon let’s go!”

Uncle John grabbed my hand and the cook led us out the back door into the alley.

“Run.” was all the cook said. “Run.”

We did. couple of blocks away we stopped. I looked at Uncle John who was breathing hard.

He kept asking me if I was OK?

“Who’s Momo?” was what I wanted to know?

“Robert, time to go home.”

He might as well have been Walt Disney for all I knew or cared.

Alec was sitting on the front porch of Bobbi Carrs house as we hurried up the street.

John said something to Alec. who got up and went inside.

We knocked on the door of our house. My Father answered. Mom came to the door behind him.

John asked if he could come inside a minute, first looking over his shoulder and up the street as we entered.

He spoke with my parents in the front room a few minutes.

I went in the next room to turn on the TV. Hoping to squeeze in a couple of cartoons or some Three Stooges. Maybe Garfield Goose was on?

I knew I was in trouble. Though? I had no idea of the severity.

I thought I’d probably get a spanking? maybe no tv? very likely have to go to my room? dollars to doughnuts going outside to play was out.

I heard Uncle John leaving and went out to say goodbye. I told him I was sorry. he knelt down, looked me in the eyes telling me it wasn’t my fault. Then he mussed up my hair said goodbye and left.

Alec met him on the sidewalk in front of our house carrying what looked like….is that a gun?

Closing the door behind him, I thought, here it comes. Dad’s gonna yell. Mom’s gonna send me to my room. only they didn’t?

Mom came over knelt down and hugged me.

Then Dad walked over putting his hand on the top of my head for a second. before he picked me up.

Something was wrong.

We all went to bed early that night.

I slept in bed between Mom and Dad.

They sent my Brother and Sister to sleep over that night at their friends.

When they got home the next morning. my brother would explain that the man I kicked coffee on was a bad man. he might come looking for us, try to hurt Uncle John and me.

In the weeks that followed, word went out. someone was looking for an old guy with a little kid.

Questions were being asked.

It wasn’t good at home. everybody was acting weird. mood was wrong.

I had to stay inside for a while. if I did get to go out? my parents, brother or sister went with me.

Mom and Dad were constantly looking out the front door or back windows of our house, scanning the street and alley. certainly no one went out after dark. my brother and sister were driven and dropped off everywhere.

it was a Friday Night, the light in the alley behind our house went out. it never went out. ever.

Dad wasn’t home, Mom grabbed my sister, brother and I, we headed for the basement.

Someone was in our house. we could hear them upstairs.

Mom immediately called the police from the phone we had downstairs.

We all huddled in the corner quietly. listening in the darkness. terrified.

The police arrived, entered and searched our entire house. they could find no sign of forced entry. no signs anyone had been there but us.

I knew better. we could hear them walking around, our floors creaked. there was no mistaking the sound. Ask my sister. we all heard it.

Eventually things seemed to calm down.

Mom and Dad acted like Mom and Dad again.

I didn’t complain, a rarity in our household at the time.

A few years later after my brother graduated high school, and went off to college. my parents sold our house in Oak Park, moving us to a suburb north of the city of Chicago. I was 8 years old.

When I got to be my brothers age, I became aware of the facts. the man I kicked coffee on worked for a man who lived on our street.

That man was Sam Giancana. The Boss of the Chicago Mob. the man in the black suit who Uncle John belted worked for one of the most powerful mobsters in America. certainly in Chicago.

Giancana lived quietly in Oak Park.

My Brother Tom explained that Dad spoke with one of his guys. telling him what had happened. that it was an accident. the guy listened. then, made a call while dad stood there waiting. after the call? he told him, no one would bother me or our family.

No such assurance was made for Uncle John.

So? Unbeknownst to anyone, Dad gave Uncle John some money, he disappeared the next day.

I never got to take a walk with my friend ever again.

Every year on my birthday I would get a post card from him. usually from some place with palm trees and a swimming pool.

When I was 14 or 15 the post cards stopped?

Mom and Dad sat me down.

Uncle John died peacefully in California in 1975. he was 81 years of age.

No one ever came looking to harm my family. and they never found our friend.

Uncle John had protected me. Dad recognized that.

For all the negatives others attached to my father over the years. this time he got it right. This man had done right with his son. And it was his job to do the same for him. In a time when things like loyalty and honor meant something.

Funny how things work out? nothing ever happened.

You worry. you wait, the bad you think is coming, doesn’t.

On June 19, 1975, 67 year old Sam Giancana was shot in the head and neck at 1147 S. Wenonah Avenue in Oak Park Illinois.

His killer was never found.

To this day.

Several times a year I take a ride to Oak Park and drive down our old street. I’ll Park. look at our old house, think of my childhood. Remembering those innocent days of my youth.

Then I drive down Madison Avenue. Al’s Grill is still there. Though, I stay in the car. I’m always afraid to look inside. maybe that old gunsel is in there? waiting for me?

I don’t take foolish chances anymore.

I just want another day. you know? another memory.

Sadly for me, Everybody is gone now. Uncle John, Dad, Mom, My Brother. Bobbi Carr, Alec. They’re all gone.

I miss my friend. I wish so very much we could take a walk and talk about that day so long ago.

I’ve got questions man, lots of questions.

You can’t ever go back. Nobody’s there anymore. You can only go forward.

We All Just Move On. We Have No Choice.

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Oona and Eamon

Oona and Eamon

Characters

Oona O’Brien fifties

Eamon O’Brien fifties

Place

Rural Ireland.

Present Day

Interior of a small cottage. a table with four chairs. a sink and stove. couch and television. a small fire burns in the fireplace. it’s late. a womans loud voice is heard, screams intermittently fill the room. in the corner of the room Eamon has his ear to the wall. his wife Oona enters.

Eamon  Jaysus! they’re still going at it.

Can ya believe it darlin? Did ya hear what she was saying to that lucky lucky man? got us a hairy growler living next door. better lock the doors and shut the windows. hate to think of what she might do to me, were she to get in here?

Oona  She’s a grin on her like a dead hare.

Eamon  She’s a mauler alright, are you listening to that? Oh my Jaysus! easy now. take it easy woman. the man has to work in the marning!

Oona  Steal the blessing from the holy water. face on her like a plate of mortal sins.

Eamon  Maybe I should talk to er, let er know we can hear em going at it?

Oona  If you could hear what I hear? you’d never speak to yourself again.

Eamon  I wonder how long he can last in there? Da poor fella. she’s eating the head off.

Oona  The wheels turning. but the hamsters dead innit?

Eamon  Good Fuck. Didja hear it! Call the Peelers. God Help Em! something broke in there.

Oona   Settle Down, Careful, Careful Now. your blood pressure is shar to be up. It’s a Dangerous Game yar playing.

Eamon  Yore Ma!

Oona Ya Gobshite, Me Mam Warned Me About Ya!

Eamon Ah Here now woman. I’d be lost without ya. if I upset yas? darling? I,I, I was only….

Oona  …..Don’t talk about me Mam.

Hang on? it’s gone quiet.

Eamon  Maybe they’ve finally gone to sleep? I’ll just go next door and listen through the lock?

Oona  Is that what you’d like? is it?

Eamon  It is.

Oona  Well go on. Get a leg over. maybe you can join them.

Eamon  Well now, I don’t think I could keep up with em.

Was it not too long ago that was us now woman? have you forgotten? I remember the first time I saw you in secondary school. walked right into an ambush on me heart. you batted those eyelashes of yours and smiled. was mighty. you didn’t know it at the time. I hid it from you. fearful you wouldn’t feel the same. make no mistake about it. you took my heart that day. I’d had it. making me pursue you throughout school, letting me get close. though never close enough to me liking. seemed like the longest courtship a young lad should ever have to go through.

Standing outside at night, looking into the sky, wondering if you were awake. if you had your knickers on?

Teasing me, ever so slowly, letting me. go a little farther.

Oona  I remember the where’s and the when’s. they are treasures I hold in me heart.

Eamon  Ah me as well darling.

I wouldn’t trade the journey we’ve been on together for anything in this world. in the darkness, we found each other. at that right time. in that right place.

I hope those american kids, enjoy their youth, that she flattens him every night for as long as possible. for as we both now know, it’s slips away all to soon. maybe we can’t have what we once had. though perhaps? we can find something new, something different.

We all make plans. somewhere along the road. in ways we never expected. change occurred. through it all. we stayed loyal to each other. life got interesting when it got tough. once I was old enough to understand that bad things weren’t just happening to me. that they happen to us all. my perception of life changed. I stopped feeling that weight. all that sorrow I carried around inside me for so long? disappeared.

I miss us the way we use to be Mrs. I get lonely. don’t you have feelings for me anymore? yer me bride. I love ya. is there no hope for us? it’s not natural. is it? acting like there’s nothing wrong?

Ever since they moved in? and all that racket began. I’ve been thinking of when that was us.

I can still see ya with one leg up’n the dash and nothing on but the radio.

There was a time. everywhere and anywhere we could, we did. do ya remember? in the woods, up the hills, by the stream. we couldn’t wait to see each other. anticipation. passion. ohh darling, in the park. on the beach, at night, during the day, if we thought we could get away with it, sometimes, not caring if we did or not. we were free. I want that back. my heart is not long for this world. I can feel it. is it too late for us to try, to try to…perhaps recapture a little of our youth?

Maybe they’re taking a break in there? poor mans gotta be exhausted. didja hear what she was doing to him? what she was yelling. he’s lucky to be alive. did ya not hear what I heard? the walls shook. screaming? like they were killing each other.

Darling please. come here, give us a kiss.

Maybe I should just go over there and check on their well being? it’s called a well being check. Garda does it all the time. there’s no sense in involving the law if we don’t need to. but Mrs? I’m worried. we’ve only met her the one time. I’ve never seen him. not once. what if there is evil living next door to us? what if after they’ve had a bit of drink that like us all, the true revealing really begins? what then now? what if they burst in here naked some evening? and we’re forced to fight for our lives? would ye fight with me Mrs? WOULD Ye? For God’s Sakes Woman! look at me. stop yer laughing this isn’t the least bit funny.

Ah here now, I need to feel the warmth of ya. to hold ya, smell ya. let’s go to bed. ah darling, yar the only one for me. you have me heart, me spirit. me soul. you have me. I’ll be needing them back when your finished with em mind you. but for now? they’re yours.

Oona You troublemaker. I’ll bet you say that to all the girls.

Eamon Just you love, only you.

Oona I like when you’re gentle with me. Gently Sweetie. Gently.

Eamon Can I carry ya to the bed? cross the thresholds.

Oona Will you not be listing to the woman shouting through the wall?

Eamon Do the best I can darling.

Oona Eamon?

Eamon Yes Dearie?

Oona Eaaamon?

Eamon Jaysus Mary and Joseph. What is it you want me to say?

Oona May the Cat Eat You and The Devil Eat the Cat!

Eamon  Are we going to bed then?

Oona Married to the likes of you am I?

Eamon I told yas? magic. we were meant to be together.

Oona Away and pull ur wire.

 

JimmyFlynnAbout a year ago a man moved into our community from Ireland.

His wife had passed away back home, he woke up one morning, alone.

Searching for something to give his life meaning again. to show us all that he still had something to oooffer it.

A Purpose. in a new land by God!

Phone’s ringing.

America was calling.  And he would answer it’s call.

“Wha? Who is this? I’ll be right over.”

When I first met him at a neighborhood party he told me he moved here because He and his Mrs. had always wanted to see America.

She’d have wanted him to go on some grand adventure.

He had mourned her passing long enough. he knew now as well as any, that we’re all running out of time.

How do you want to go out? doing good or doing bad. that’s the choice really in the end.

I tried to explain to him that our village already had a police force.

That he couldn’t just establish Himself as Sheriff.

The local police force had things covered.

He disagreed, His mind was made up.

He wanted to give something back. so began his campaign for sheriff.

His request to speak to our village board at an open forum was granted.


“Howareyas,

I would like to take this time to announce my candidacy for Sheriff.

As the fella says. I’m officially offering my services to you good people.

I am ready to faithfully serve the village at large as your sheriff.

It’s high time we take a look to see if maybe establishing a position would be a good thing in this age of no manners. 

That said now, I would be willing to make sure a few quid might find their way to the right people for some assistance from time to time.

No questions asked. nothing illegal, you see? really. nothing you would likely do time for? I think? no questions asked, Eh?

I think it would be just grand, to be like Fife was in Mayberry.

Ah that one. Was just as likely to shoot himself in the foot as yours.

Cagey, that one. kept you on your feet all the time.

Mad Genius he was.

I also need to find a dog I can sick on potential criminal types lurking in the park at night.

Should anyone of yas know someone with a vicious dog for sale or rent? give me a ring eh?

I don’t want to be speakin too much about my Candidacy yet as we’re still formulating a game plan.

It’ll be grand though.

We’ll have the biggest hooley you’ve ever seen the likes of in yer day.

I can promise you that!

Course ya need a favor? I’m shar we can come to some kind of arrangement.

I don’t want none of ya’s to think that we be all fun and games.

The sheriffing business is nothing to be taken lightly. I want all the citizenry to know that I plan to honorably uphold the law in the fair vicinity of the village boundaries. making sure that any riffraff or hooligans will be dealt with, severely if necessary?

I believe that all the tom foolery and lollygagging that’s been going on around here has gone on long enough.

It’s time that the law steps up, and protects us from the likes of some of the rabble I’ve seen with me own eyes out after dark.

Never was a scabby sheep in a flock that didn’t like to have a comrade. I can tell you that! There are far too many scabby sheep out walking the streets these days.

And what does the current law do about it?

There’s trouble in every house and some in the street.

If elected? I will deputize two to possibly three deputies to serve as my confidants.

We would be happy to work with the local government if they’ll just admit that there is a problem.

Stop breaking your shin on a stool that is not in your way.

My god man?! life doesn’t have to be this hard. where is your good sense? eh?

Furthermore, I’m offering my help in bringin justice and safety to us all. god bless us, all of us. except the troublemakers.

They are on their own. the godless heathens. may they get what they deserve.

For now, we’ll operate out of my friends garage til the village comes to its senses and offers us suitable headquarters for our base of operations.

I don’t want anyone of yas to be thinking we will be playing favorites.

Having history with me or me constables will not buy you any favors. those will have to be negotiated with discretion at the time of the transactionas it were.

No need getting ahead of ourselves.

I’m sure we can work something out. we are, after all, reasonable people. aren’t we now?

I’m pleased to informs yas, that my candidacy is fully funded.

There is absolutely no need for any donations at present.

Save your money for permits you’ll no doubt be needing to purchase.

Yer businesses will after all? need to remain open and functioning smoothly.

So? we will need to receive some sort of kindness paid to us to maintain the proper standards befitting a village of our comfortable surroundings.

We can discuss this further when the time comes.

Suffice it to say? might not be the worst thing for you to do.

Law is costly, let’s shake hands and be friends.

As a wise one once said, He who doesn’t look ahead remains behind.

I say, keep an eye on your back, you never know who’s lurking about.

My Name is Jimmy Flynn and I’m running for Sheriff.”

  

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I always loved Halloween as a kid. What’s not to love? dressing up in a costume you thought was cool? going to people’s houses and getting free stuff?

Who doesn’t like free candy? Psychotic’s, Sad People and Oppressors of Fun. That’s Who.

Living in a high-rise in the city, there is just not a lot of families with kids. mostly single people and couples having a good time trying to make kids.

I missed out on a lot of years passing out candy to trick or treaters while living in a high-rise.

Got Married and Bought a House a couple of years ago.

Now when Halloween rolls around I find myself flashing back to those youthful times of Trick or Treating.

I absolutely look forward to passing out the candy.

I figured after what went down last year? I would try to make this one memorable for the kids who come to our door.

This year, the kiddies are going to remember coming to our house. they’ll get a treat of course, they’re are also in for a few tricks.

Halloween is supposed to be a little scary, isn’t it?

I’ve always thought? you keep em guessing. No complacency on our block. I strongly suggest you pay attention. Scary things might happen. the unpredictable may occur. keep your shoelaces tied tight, and be ready.

It’s Wooooooo….Muhahaha….Halloween!

I’ve decided I would scare a few of the little critters by dressing up. I don’t want to just go with some lame costume or mask. I want to create a scene. a happening. a little something they won’t forget.

I bounced some ideas around with the fellas at work. which were all shot down.

So? I’ll come up with something on my own.

I’ve got a few ideas. Though I’m not spilling the beans. it’ll wreck the surprise.

I was told some of these kids were too small to scare. the parents wouldn’t find it cute or the least bit funny if I dressed up like Michael Myers and jumped out of the bushes like last year, standing there silently, clutching a bloody cleaver to see what they would do?

As it turned out, last year? most of them cried.

It could have been a lot worse, I decided not to put on a hockey mask, smear fake blood on my shirt and run at them throwing raw hamburger meat.

I thought it sounded like a great idea. give the darlings a little scare. get their blood flowing.

I underestimated in hindsight how many freaked out kids would end up having really bad nightmares,  due to my miscalculations.

A lot of these kids today are on mood stabilizers.

How was I suppose to know that? I didn’t know? nobody told me?

Admittedly, I was a little surprised that so many youngsters would lose their water standing there on our front doorstep frozen in fear.

I didn’t have any idea how many would drop their bags of candy and cut and run screaming?

How did I know that many of the parents would absolutely freak out?

Who calls the cops on someone trying to bring joy and smiles to the little creatures of the night anyway?

I’ll tell you who. the uptight, the ungrateful. My neighbors, that’s who.

The thing that was really embarrassing, and I quite frankly couldn’t understand was? That We… Well I?…made our local paper. Right there on page 3. “Local man over does it on Halloween Pranks.”

Funny how sometimes trying to do the right thing can turn out so wrong?

Police cars were everywhere.

I counted seven at one point. Must have had every squad car in the village here. For what ?!? No one got hurt…except for the kid who got trampled by a couple of stampeding fat kids. nothing serious, just a scraped knee and a bloody nose.

Clearly parents are wound way too tight when it comes to their kids these days.

Listen, They aren’t going to change their career path because someone scared the pants off them on Halloween.

If anything? it will toughen them up! So? when they are actually confronted with their first taste of real terror years from now? they won’t curl up in a ball on the sidewalk holding their knees rocking back and forth with their thumb in their mouth!

I told the cop. “Officer? if you think about it? I was celebrating this holiday in the fashion it was meant to be celebrated, by us scaring the ever-loving crap out of each other! it’s just one night? besides? it gives these little monsters something to talk about in school the next day.”

“Hey Scooter? how about when the crazy old dude jumped out of the bushes holding that cleaver? I swear man, I thought I was going to mess my pants right there! that was awesome! and he gave out full size candy bars! I can’t wait to see what that old kook has cooked up for us next year!”

Now, thanks to some overprotective parents who think they know what’s best for their precious little angels? I have to come up with some kid friendly idea this Halloween so I don’t scare the poop out of them.

My wife suggests we go out-of-town. which I think is a bad idea. do you remember what happens to houses of people who aren’t home on Halloween? then she suggested “OK, we’ll just leave a basket of candy out on the porch with a sign that says, “Happy Halloween! please take only one piece.”

C’MON! as a kid if we saw that sign we’d empty the basket into our bags and then throw it on the roof of the offenders house.

Doesn’t everyone already know this? it’s one of life’s universal truths.

You gotta be kidding me?!? take only one? got news for you honey? no one only takes one.

Last year? I was slapping these little punks hands away from the bowl of candy all night, if they could get their grubby little digits into the bowl they were coming away with at least a fistful.

Take only one? that never….ever happens.

Some of these kids need some coaching OK?

I had way too many 6 year olds showing up to ring the door bell completely unprepared.

Last year, I’d open the door, the kid is standing there in costume, maybe some face paint on. they’d look up at me and say?……….nothing.

We’d lock into a stare down, I wouldn’t move, they wouldn’t move. I’d just look at them. they’d look at me. after what seemed like forever. I’d shrug my shoulders at them as if to say, What? What do you want kid? they’d just sigh and say?………nothing.

Say something kid. what brings you to our doorstep today? hello? anybody home in there? silence. I’d settle for anything at this point. it was more than a little disturbing.

Say something kid! anything? who cuts your hair mister? Why dontcha rake your leaves? your decorations suck.

Eventually I’d just give up waiting for the “Trick or Treat!” reach down and put the candy in their bag, and close the door.

I place the blame on the parents who instruct them not to talk to strangers.

Halloween has a set time limit. It Wasn’t always that way. Years ago, we had beggars night.

This was nothing more than the night before Halloween, you would show up in costume and hit 10 or twenty houses as a warm up. you’d be surprised at how many people would at first say, “Wait?…What?” Then, tell you to hold on a minute. Coming back with a few pieces of candy.

Occasionally you got some grump, who would stonewall you.

But if you were really Wily? You’d make up some nonsense like you were going out of town with your parents and wouldn’t be able to go trick or treating the next day. it helped if you could sell it with a sad face.

Another clever ruse was you had to help volunteer tomorrow with treat or trick for UNICEF.

How would they know? We knew they wouldn’t call UNICEF world headquarters and ask, “Yeah I’m just checking, we got some kid at the door says his name is….? what’s you name kid? he says his name is Larry Sellers he’s here tonight asking for candy telling me he’s working for your organization tomorrow? Can you confirm he’s on the list before I drop a Zagnut bar on him? He is? OK Thanks.”

The Next night on Halloween after the candy giving ends for the night. and it get’s dark? That’s when the older kids set out with mischief and mayhem on their minds.

And since I got tired of cleaning up all the mischief and mayhem off our house last year. I’ll be ready for them this year. I’m renting a police officers uniform and patrolling my yard after dark.

My friend Jocko tells me it’s a bad idea, That I could get arrested for impersonating an officer.

Doubtful it would stand up in court?

“It was just a costume your honor.”

Halloween is what you make of it.

We aren’t celebrating some religious holiday. Nor are we celebrating the birth of some national hero or great leader.

Halloween is different. there is no fear of offending some ethnic or religious group on this day.

It’s the one day every year we can put aside our differences of opinion. our politics, our various religious beliefs and scare the ever-loving snot out of each other.

Make no mistake about it, I don’t ever want to see anyone get hurt. nor do I encourage property damage of any kind. all I want is your psyche to be a little messed up when you get home from your trick or treat rounds.

That said, sadly there are way too many overprotective parents out there. you people know who I’m talking about?

Halloween use to be a lot more fun.

What’s happened to us? there are way too many rules now. too many constraints. you can only trick or treat between the hours of 4 and 7 pm?

“I’m sorry, it’s 7:05 and we’re having our dinner. Halloween has ended. please stop ringing our doorbell and leave our front porch immediately or I will be forced to sick the dog on you.”

And please? what is it with this? Don’t give kids anything with peanuts in it. because they might be allergic to it? boo hoo! if they are? that’s tough. that’s on you and your kid. lock that kid in a bubble at home and quit screwing this up for the rest of us!

I’ve read that 5 out of every thousand kids has a peanut allergy. something about kids today not getting outside enough to play in the dirt? too much time spent on the Computer, or in front of the TV?

OK? here’s an idea for a costume for your allergic kid. get a Hazmat suit that fits them and turn them loose. when they get home? hose them down in the garage. after that? you take their bag of candy and sort it for them? give all the peanutty stuff to someone else whose immune system won’t crash because of a snickers bar?

We are celebrating fun. And our youth. And candy. And who doesn’t like candy? That’s right! sad people! and psychotic’s! and oppressors of fun!

Now I want you people to get out there and scare the hell out of the kids this Halloween. I will be. Woooooo! Muhahaha! Boooooooo! I don’t care if I do get arrested again. if I do happen to get pinched by the Po Po? I will be out on bail before the 10 o’clock news. As a matter of fact? I will consider this Halloween a colossal failure if I don’t hear some real screaming or see some kids running for their very lives!

Come to my house? you won’t forget it. I promise you that Sparky. You’ll thank me when you’re older. You’ll remember me. Nobody remembers the Nice Lady who hands out Milky Way’s dressed like a Fairy Princess. Or the Dad dressed like Dracula with the Charleston Chews. They remember the guy who scared the heck out of them.

That Old Guy down the street who opened the door in his robe and slippers holding an Ice cream scoop. Who asked them, “if they wanted Vanilla? or Chocolate?” and when they didn’t respond fast enough? he dropped a scoop of ice cream right into their bag.

They remember That Guy!

 

Moving into a new neighborhood, one never can be exactly sure who your neighbors are going to be.

You can do advance scout work.

You can go to the street on which you hope to live and park your car at night.

Roll down the windows, listen for barking dogs or screaming children or loud disturbances that might seem out of the ordinary.

But in the end? you roll the proverbial dice, and take your chance.

It’s a bigger gamble for those who own in this regard. if you rent and get stuck next to an intolerable situation. you can break the lease, or wait a year and move when the lease runs its course. either way you can get out of dodge sooner than later. at a lot less of a cost.

When you buy? it’s a little more of a bite in the rear. you end up in most cases losing money on the deal. depending on the market of course. maybe you luck out, and the housing in your neighborhood goes up. maybe not? you’ll most likely be asked why you are selling? everyone asks that question. and no one wants to say it’s because of the kook down the street.

Maybe everyone has a Boo Radley on their block. Maybe you are the Boo Radley on your block and you just don’t know it?

Sometimes even with the best game plan possible, you might miss something. Boo Radley’s can be quiet. only showing themselves on those rare instances.

Maybe? at first you won’t see them.

Perhaps? you will hear stories. your neighbors who have lived on the street on which you have moved will start to speak of them. there won’t be any eerie music accompaniment when you get your first sighting. the Boo Radley on my street is a woman. everyone seems to have a Boo Radley story that they like to tell. neighbors on all sides of her house. people who live one street over have a story.

I had been warned, to watch out. never under any circumstance turn my back on Boo. even for a second.

I should give you a visual description. this may be why some of the neighborhood is a little uncomfortable around her. I’m guessing about 45 years old? whisper thin, pale complexion, her eyes are the thing that concern me. She never seems to blink. in any staring contest? Boo would destroy the competition. when she walks? she never moves her arms. that thousand yard stare has freaked out more than a couple of the kids in the neighborhood. no kid will walk on the sidewalk in front of her house anymore. you’ll see them ride their bikes or approach her house on foot. Right before they reach her property? they veer into the street. no one ever walks on the sidewalk in front of her house. except for me. seems a wee bit unusual doesn’t it?

What are they afraid of?

There have been stories of her standing in the windows of her house for hours on end just looking out the front window, never moving, just looking out of the window. when cars drive by, her eyes follow them, when people walk by, her eyes follow them.

The house she lives in is a brick ranch. no grass in the front yard. just some dirt and several large old trees. a late-model car is parked in her driveway. home security sign prominently displayed out front. and a “no trespassing” sign on her door. I see a light on in the front window from time to time after dark. but for the most part at night? it looks like no one is home. the mailbox next to her front door is crammed full. I’ve watched our postman deliver her mail, hustling up to the door doing the quick step, he doesn’t linger on her property. I’m guessing it’s not his favorite stop?

I know of no laws for people being odd or creepy.

Does she have some quirk’s? some think so.

She’s a little of the anti-social variety. I listened to my neighbors warnings upon moving in. “Watch out she’s a handful.” “She hates kids.” “Be careful about offering to help her shovel her driveway during heavy snow falls.” “Stay off her property.” “Don’t park your car in front of her house.” “Do not try to chat her up.”

OK? So I should just let her do her own thing? Doesn’t sound too bad to me? Some people just want to be left alone.

You never know what traumas they may have had or continue to have in their life? Maybe they are dealing with an illness or suffer from social anxiety and need medication to level things off.

I can handle that. I’ve been told by friends at times, I’m no summer breeze myself.

Her name isn’t really Boo, I call her that in the small chance…that billion to one shot, she stumbles onto this story. I don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night and see her standing there looking in our windows with blood dripping from her teeth. clutching a squirrel with no head in her left hand and a holding a list of names with my name crossed out in her right!

My wife passed her house the day before the Fourth of July last year. one month after we moved in. Boo was outside watering her dirt. my bride smiled, waved and said, “Happy Fourth of July.” she turned towards my wife and muttered “F*#& the Fourth of July.” I wasn’t there. I didn’t see it or hear it. I do believe my wife’s account. she’s just not the type to make up stories like this. Perhaps Boo had a bad experience with fireworks on the fourth? maybe this is part of that social phobia thing she may have?

When my wife see’s her now? she’s polite, she will say hello, but that’s it.

Boo Hysteria was running rampant around our neighborhood. and I kept missing it.

The village in which I live, celebrated a founders day recently. This was to honor the very first residents who settled here many moons ago and were the first to call it their home. many of these founders have street’s in town named after them. there was the usual small town celebration. pancake breakfast in the park. historical lectures and tour. an old fire truck was brought in to give rides to the local kids. the route of the fire truck went right down our street. the kids on board were between the ages of 5 -10. and kids being kids? when happy?  like to yell and scream a lot. apparently this did not please Boo Radley. by the 3rd or 4th trip? as the fire truck rounded the corner once more?

Boo appeared in her doorway. she came out of her house, walked down to the curb. most of the other neighbors were out in front of their homes waving at the screaming kids enjoying their ride. And the kids waved back. Boo did not wave. She extended both her arms and middle fingers. she didn’t shout at them, not a word passed from her lips. I don’t think the kids on board knew what hit them? the residents out watching her sure did. but then? no one had the gumption to say anything to her. once the fire truck passed. she slowly turned around and went back into her house. closing the door. as calm as someone is when they go out to pick up their morning newspaper.

No one believed me when I shared the story at work. I’ve had more than one of my neighbors tell me that they witnessed it firsthand.

Still? I wasn’t so sure…..at first.

I’ve always liked to think everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt. People are just too quick to judge others. just because someone behaves in a manner that is? Well? is a little odd to some. everyone is capable of a bad day. right?

Haven’t you ever done something you wish you hadn’t? that you later regretted? we all have a few skeletons in our closets. don’t we? C’mon now? tell the truth.

The more I heard the tales. The more I thought, Wow? it’s like the villagers in “Frankenstein” with their torches! wanting to storm the castle. wanting to destroy what they were afraid of, odds are, at least one or two in that crowd had to be thinking, “I don’t know? Hans? are we sure we want to burn down this guys house? I don’t even know him?”

I remember the day that my mind changed. The day Boo turned on me.

I was walking home from work. as I passed her house, Boo had come outside to take her garbage to the curb for pickup.

I’d had a difficult day at the office and wasn’t thinking clearly. my mind wandering on the days events as I passed her.

I said it by accident. I swear! it was, an accident.

I said, “Hey Boo.” I kept walking and heard behind me. “What the F*#% did you call me?”

I stopped, turned to face her, scrambling to recover. in my panic I couldn’t remember her real name? shit shit shit, What the hell is her name?

I broke into a Jackie Gleason “Hamana Hamana Hamana.” she snapped. charging at me, growling. was on me before I had time to react. I fell backwards. she pounced, Screaming. “I KNOOOOOO OOOOOH YOOOOO ARRR!”

You’re never supposed to hit a lady, right? of course not! Never under any circumstances. it wasn’t like she was trying to stab me in the leg with a pair of broken rusty scissors. So I just pushed her off. ran to our house. made it to the door. key in hand.

I don’t know if she chased after me? I got inside, slamming the door behind. looking out the peephole. nothing.

Then, I went around the house making sure all the doors and windows were locked up tight.

That night? I slept with one eye open.

I haven’t told anyone what happened that fall evening. Until now.

These Days? I try not to make eye contact with her. I walk in the street like the kids on the block. hoping she’s willing to let bygones be bygones.

Perhaps? I should have been a little more careful. I didn’t mean to call her Boo?

It just slipped out.

Everyone has a Boo Radley on their block.

Maybe you’re the Boo Radley on your block and you just don’t know it?

Maybe I’m the Boo Radley?

You never know who your neighbors are going to be.

We all roll the dice.

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What is your kid going as for Halloween this year?

How about you? What did you go as when you were a kid?

Kids Halloween costumes today?

Are you kidding me?

It seems like there is no thought put into it anymore. every little girl is a princess and every little boy a ninja.

After a kid turns 12 years old? they’re on the verge of hanging up the trick or treating for good. the costume selection process goes right out the window. when it should go into overdrive.

Let’s go kid?!

You’re a little older now, got a few more life experiences. put some forethought into that costume, some imagination, Will ya?

Your career as a trick or treater is almost over.

Very soon, You will be going into forced retirement.

No self-respecting kid goes trick or treating once they hit high school. you’d get teased by your friends. Not to mention the houses you attempt to get candy from? will shun you.

“Can I see some Identification Kid? What’s that? Left it at home huh? Sorry, I’m going to have to deny you candy from my domicile. We believe you to be too old for this sort of thing anymore. Shouldn’t you be chasing the skirts around school instead of engaging in this sort of behavior? You have passed through the looking-glass Alice. There is just no more free candy for you. I’m afraid? it’s over. Don’t you let me catch you coming around here anymore ya hear me!”

You’ll spot those on the cusp trick or treaters. every year a couple show up at your door.

Notice the changes in their body language? it appears their hearts just aren’t as into it as they use to be?

“What happened to you kid? You use to be so full of life? Now look at you?”

Last year I had two young men I think were about 12 or 13 show up at the door. the first kid had a Michigan State stadium blanket over his head so you couldn’t see his face. one hand extended from underneath it and in a high pitch girly voice I hear, “tricks or treats.” followed by what seemed like 7 minutes of giggling.

A blanket? C’mon buddy? that’s the best you got? his friend standing next to him is in a complete full blue body stocking. all he did was grunt.

I’m not sure if they were kidding? or high as a kite? They stood there extending their hands to a row of bushes on the side of our house. I wanted to throw a bucket of water on the both of them. it’s a miracle that they even made it to our front door.

“Stop That Giggling!”

I should of handed each of them a roll of reflective tape. just in case they happened to accidentally walk into traffic later that night.

I decided that this was the parents responsibility. not mine. Tonight? I’m just the candy giver.

I really do like seeing kids enjoy themselves on Halloween.

Some of them seemed really excited to get the candy.

When it comes to their costume? not as much excitement. some are shy, I forget that.

It’s about the kids enjoyment on Halloween. Right?

One costume I do enjoy every year is the “Hot Mommy.” who is dressed in a cute costume escorting their little boy or girl on their rounds.

Talk about upstaging your kid? Mom?!?

Some of these Mom’s either have no idea what they’re doing?…….or…….quite possibly? they know exactly what they’re doing.

You be the judge.

You’ll see the mom in a kitty outfit, a cheerleaders uniform, or dressed like little red riding hood.

Ladies….Ladies…what in the wide wide world of sports is going on here?

Last Year one mom showed up in a french maid outfit with her kid. as I looked past her, I could see the husband standing out on our front sidewalk giving me the stink eye. holding the leash of the biggest Great Dane I’d ever seen.

I waved to him, he didn’t wave back. So, I gave him a double thumb’s up.

Look Daddy-O? I didn’t dress your wife up like this? if you didn’t want her out getting ogled by the men folk in the neighborhood. then get her out of those fish net stockings and that short skirt and for goodness sakes? put some pants on her!

What am I, a monk? I don’t answer the door dressed like Tarzan with my Johnson hanging out. Do I? No….I do not. The Mrs. simply wouldn’t approve.

Yet, Every Halloween? The Hot Mommies show up at our doorstep. I wonder what would of happened if I gave candy to the Mom’s instead? just ignored the kid?

That Dad with the Great Dane would of sick the dog on me for sure.

Every Halloween Kids are told to do what they are told not to do every other day of the year.

First, they have the go ahead to talk to strangers.

“Wait? What? talk to that weird guy who’s house you want me to stay away from? Mom? Dad? did I do something to make you mad?”

Second, after telling me to never ever take candy from strangers.

“It’s OK? Really? but you told me to never ever do that?”

Lastly, they are also encouraged to dress up in something that the parents might not normally approve of.

How many other days of the year do kids get free rein? as a kid you’ve just got to take advantage of that.

It’s make-believe, you can dress up and pretend you are anyone on Halloween. you can blame the bad behavior on the costume, probably get away with it in most cases. but these kids today don’t seem to care. why is that?

It’s not only about the candy. you’ll see that when get to my age.

The Lemonade Stand

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The sign said, Ice Cold Lemonade 75 cents.

Seemed a little high for a lemonade stand. I stopped my car anyway. ordering a glass from a little girl about 6 or 7 years old who appeared to be in charge.

Look? nobody likes to be taken advantage of…especially me. I don’t care if it’s a Telemarketer, a Car Salesman or a 7 year old kid hustling watered down lemonade at 75 cents a pop. fair is fair. right is right. Unbelievably everything about this kids stand was wrong.

Where do I begin?

It tasted funny, not the least bit sweet or tart. clearly a bad product.  The presentation was all wrong. the table top was a mess. she was holding a dirty rag to wipe it with, but it wasn’t in use when I walked up. immediately I was convinced it was overpriced for what she was selling. and even though? I can’t prove it. I’ll bet she stirred it with her dirty little fingers.

The lemonade was lukewarm, it wasn’t ice cold as advertised. there wasn’t any ice that I could see anywhere. in the glass or in the pitcher.

I told her it was simple. Either give me a fresh one in a clean glass with some ice or give me back my money. she tried to the give me the bum’s rush. it was at this moment her mom came out of the house. she could sense some tension and asked her daughter.

“Is Everything OK Sweetie?”

I interrupted,

 “Everything would be fine, as long as I get another one with some ice.”

The kid told her mommy that,

“He didn’t like the Lemonade.” 

I said that was correct and explained why.

I felt like I was getting ripped off, that if I wanted another one? I had to give her another 75 cents?

The mom laughed at me like I was nuts. at this point I decided I didn’t want another glass. this transaction had gotten way out of hand. I just wanted my money back.

That’s when the little girl started to cry.

The mom asked, “Are You Happy Now?” to which I responded, “No I’m not, all I want is my money back.”

I let them know, I could call the village and report them? as I do not see a permit? or a license to operate a beverage stand?

That’s when the kid really started bawling. and said to me, “You’re Mean.” to which I replied, “Oh Yeah? Well?…You’re a Bad Business…Person and Your Lemonade Stinks! How long have you been doing this?” her mother then scolded me with, “That’s Enough!” over her little girls response of “All Summer.”

Then?!? she stuck her tongue out at me. while the mom continued with, “What is the matter with you?!?”

I was only trying to help instruct her daughter on how to run a business properly. If you want to do something? Do it right. which unfortunately made the kid cry more. that’s when mom informed me that I should open my own stand if I felt that way. I told her, “If I did? My stand would crush theirs and put them out of business.”

Silence and Dirty Looks were exchanged.

I decided it was time to leave. refund or not, what’s done is done. I just wanted to forget the whole thing. so I left.

A couple of days later there was a knock on our door. I opened it to find the father standing there holding his little girls hand.

He asked me if what he’d heard was true? I said there had clearly been a huge misunderstanding here. 

His eyes narrowed.

He wanted me to apologize to his daughter. I tried to explain my position to him, and flatly refused to apologize. I felt I had done nothing wrong? Dad was not happy with me. I could tell by his expression. then he asked me “If I wanted to step outside? Where we could settle this like Men.” I told him, “We could settle it…We could settle it in court if he’d like?” and closed the door in their face.

I couldn’t prove it of course, but the next morning I found that someone? had yanked out all of our flowers in the front yard by the roots. The kids in the neighborhood have started calling me sourpuss and lemon head. and someone keeps ringing our doorbell and running away. I also have found several lemons left in our mailbox.

Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me.

This incident thankfully never made it to court, I’m happy to report. I’d like to think that cooler heads have prevailed.

In the end, This seemed to be a simple case of bad parenting.

Which is easy for me to say. I don’t have any kids of my own. Though, if I did? you can be damn sure that if they did open a business? They would be prepared with the proper knowledge and resources to succeed. it’s a tough business world out there.

I believe you should give your kids the tools they need to survive. I don’t care how old they are?

I haven’t seen her around lately.

My wife has requested that I stay away from her.

If I do see her? I’m suppose to look the other way. turn the other cheek. rise above it. I don’t know about all that.

I simply won’t stoop to her level.