Biking to work today, I saw the reason why we have copious "non pesticide vegetation control" signs up all over the bike road. Orange men walked up and down with weed eaters.
So intent! So community oriented! So....
So carefully watched by the man in the black uniform with badge on the shoulder. Not just community spirit, but encouraged community spirit.
Not a bad idea really; everybody wins.
And then I saw them. The females of the orange vested species.
There were two of them. The males seemed to far outnumber the females who in turn sought comfort in the safety of the each other's company.
Hey, if there were eight other guys with powerful and destructive machinery out there and all I had to defend myself was a rubber traffic cone or two...and couldn't run very far....(trust me), then I suppose I would keep trying to put my companion between me and them.
"Redgirl!" I scolded myself, "they probably just got caught littering and are now picking up after other people!"
Then I passed them and heard "He didn't mean to hurt no one but just 'cause he had a gun--"
Wild theories began forming, the story coagulated.
Steve from the hole in the wall coffee shop on ninth had more than a mild crush on SaraLee who worked at WalMart to support her ailing a sofa-bound late husband's mother-in-law. Things stayed pretty constant: SaraLee would catch Steve following her every now and then, but he didn't seem to mean no harm. It felt kinda nice to have someone acting like he cared.
But one day, it wasn't enough.
Roy, who worked at the locally owned nursery, came to pick up a quart of oil for his burnt umber Chevy came through her checkout line. The moment her hand brushed his accidentally at the 20 items or less aisle, she knew he was special. Sure enough, next week he came in at the same time and bought a vehicle interior freshener shaped like a pine tree. "I'm needin' my truck to smell nice," he said. The next week after that, he offered to take her out to coffee and then drive her home.
It was great not riding the bus, as she usually did. Roy offered to help he in with her things, and SaraLee accepted. Halfway up the walk, Steve emerged from the scrub bushes. "SaraLee!" he entreated, "What's gotten into you? You're MY girl!" He picked up the corn ear that had fallen out of her bag. When he held it towards her, Roy felt the testosterone kick in.
"Don't you make a move on her!" He reached inside of the polyester purple windbreaker he sported and SaraLee saw something shiny. Steve the Stalker must have too, because he dove at Roy's legs and knocked him into SaraLee. Her bags went flying everywhere--the tinkle of broken glass and squashing vegetables sharp and wet (respectively) on the concrete.
As the two men struggled, SaraLee watched in stunned awe at the two men fighting over her. Into the melee came Officer Smithyjones. When the two men saw him, they stopped, eyes and flailing limbs stilled. Steve jumped up and limped back into the bushes as if her were in some kind of trouble with the law.
Roy left because he DID have trouble with the law, and possession of that gun was breaking his parole.
SaraLee wrung her hands. "Oh thank you officer, I was so afraid they were going to hurt each other! How did you come in time?"
Officer Smithyjones sighed and nudged the shards of glass with his foot. The biggest one zinged over to hit the box of a sleek green clock radio. "They caught you stealing that clock radio and those now broken champagne flutes on the surveillance cameras." He said "I'm arresting you on the charge of petty theft...you have the right to remain silent..."
Or maybe it was just the littering.
I've got to get to work now, anyways.