Not My Name

23 Jul

He offers to be paid to mow the lawn. I agree and he starts in. The police arrive. There is a long conversation about some previous issue.

Then his line trimmer breaks.

He assures me he will finish. I say that’s all right, he’s done enough for the forty bucks. Which he has.

He says he will finish it himself, because that’s the kind of guy he is.

I finish it myself, the next week.

Then it rains. It rains a lot. About a month later, he mows all the grass without my permission.

I put up a No Trespassing sign on the fence, for a few days.

Months later, the neighbor asks me if I want some rocks. She is nice, I like her. Her son sits like a stone on the porch, as we arrange the rocks on my hand truck. They are nice rocks.

Recently, I am outside at night and the son is lying on the sidewalk by my fence, with a flashlight. He has lost a ball. He likes to hang out on the street in front of his mother’s house. He has his own house here in town. I do not know why he spends so much time here.

He is playing with his mother’s dogs on the street. His mother has half an acre of yard in the back with a six foot fence.

He tells me the ball is in my yard, that it was a bad bounce. The dog yaps furiously. I ask him to wait. He tells me that if my dogs are inside I could let his mother’s dog in my yard and that dog could find the ball. My gate is locked, as usual. I live with only one dog, and have for almost a year.

I again ask him to wait, and I get my flashlight and my glasses and find the tennis ball and hand it to him.

“Mrs. O’Brien, you’re the bomb!” he says.

That is not my name.

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