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Penny and Mike
The Curse of Neighborly Investment
© 2016 James LaFond
“U.S. Stocks Slide in Global Rout”
So the Wall Street Journal declares two days after my youngest son inked the contract on his house, the search for which has occupied him for 200 hours and his father for 30 over the past few months. He brought me around to check on the neighborhood. He is a conservative financial consultant who wants a nice cozy place to stash his woman and perhaps raise some children. The Feds may not have put a dent in the drug business, but they have made buying a house something very different than what I went through 35 years ago. Yesterday, as his lap dogs wrestled on my sleeping carcass as they fought for the cap of my coffee thermos, where I lay on his 5K couch, he generated a 36 page document for the bank, proving that I gave him small cash amounts to purchase my own books from Create Space and Amazon.
A day later, after consulting with the alien life form growing in my guts and then puking, I decided to head to the market for some aloe juice and yogurt, which seems to still the beast that somehow mistook me for Sigourney Weaver last year.
Leaving the house I ran into Penny, the darling of White Avenue, a beautiful big-eared beagle of slight build, silently waging her tail and regarding me with recognition. Once, a year ago, when she was six months old, before I found out her name, I was standing at a bus stop when her master drove by, with her sitting on the passenger seat and looking up into my eyes with recognition. She can spot me from 200 yards. I suppose she still believes in Santa Claus.
I spoke to her and said to her master, who was holding her leash and packing a small baby in a white man’s backwards papoose, “My roommate loves Penny, she is the darling of the neighborhood, and it’s nice to have some young neighbors.”
He smiled and extended his hand, the very image of the yuppie homesteader, having bought an old country mansion on an acre of land that looks like it could be on a Pennsylvania farm if you didn’t look behind you at the wasteland, having paid less for it than my son is about to pay for a middle of a row brick townhome in the suburbs. I’m well aware of the inducements he was under to buy in the city, with additional loan perks, all intended to get this young white professional to put his ass on the line in a dying city. If he was my so I would have talked him out of it.
After we exchanged names and I walked down into Hamilton, I checked his yard to make sure he has not put up a fence. If he puts up a fence, I’ll speak to him about not letting Penny out back by herself lest she be snagged by innocent, unarmed, black, youth and used as a bait dog.
My strategy moving here, was to squat and write in a den a lair, in some gutter I reviled and felt no attachment to, so, that if things hit the fan, I could walk out to wherever my son and other non-violent people I care about live and see to their security needs. Now I find myself caring about Mike, his wife, his infant child and his charismatic, mute beagle.
For the next purge, when the negroes with baseball bats and gas cans walk down this street again, if Roger isn’t there to stop them with his .45 auto like he did last April, Mike will either be the first or last to get hit. Now that we shook hands I have to check in with him.
And it snows.
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