• meet the neighbors •
Yesterday, I spent the whole day cleaning out the basement, bringing up bags and boxes of stuff – tons – figuratively, but enough to fill the living room and front room back to back, about head high, or so, what a clutter! To have a yard sale is the plan. So, last night the boy has a few friends over for a fire out back, and one of his friend’s parents want to meet me – so they come in. All the time, we’re at the door between the kitchen and the living room. From the start, they looked uncomfortable, but we chat about our kids, and whot-not. And finally, they leave, and then, I turn around, and realize, behind me, what they have been looking at: stacks and stacks of shit! And then, it comes to me, what they must have been thinking the whole time we were talking: “Hoarders! My god, the poor child!! How can they live like that?!!”
And that’s not the half of it. Ry had all of his air-soft guns out, on the kitchen table, and the parents are like, “My, Ryan has a lot of weaponry…” (I had just shown them the broadsword I am making for him.) So, I go into this long-winded decipherment about how responsible he is, and how he knows (from the stage combat I taught him), how to “protect the other guy”, and so, when the boy comes into the kitchen, using the boy for a stage-prop, I show the parents how to do a “stage choke” – so I’ve got him by the throat, and I’m like, “Okay, now you grab my wrists. Now you push my hands together, while I pull apart. Aaaand, GO!!” And, so, we are struggling in the kitchen, the boy’s eyes are bugging out, he’s gurgling, with full stage-effect, (just like we’ve rehearsed it, a thousand times, since he was just a wee little kid) and spittle is coming from his lips, and I’m saying, “See, it’s really SAFE!! IT JUST LOOKS LIKE I’M KILLING HIM!!”
You should have seen their faces – their mouths, one big “O”. Now, that I think of it…hmmm.
Now that I think of it, I think they may have just collected their child and left.
And I’m like, to myself, “Well, that went well.” And as they are scuttling away into the dark neighborhood, I shout, “Y’all come back, now, y’hear?”
Honestly, it was all so innocent.
~ Tim Burchfield