Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Danger Afoot

I’m walking two blocks down Ashland to mail something because they took away my favorite mailbox on Highland, just minding my own business when I’m stopped by a cop. He says I’m a suspect. I fit the description of the infamous Ashland-Highland burglar: 5ft 11 in, turkey neck, going bald.

Open your wallet, he says, and sure enough there’s a twenty just like the guy they’ve been looking for since last October.

But officer I used to be 6 ft 1 in. with a head of hair and I was about to get a couple of rolls of quarters for the washing machine.

Sorry Mac, that don’t sound like no alibi to me, he growls, tell it to the detective at the station.

Can I just drop my Netflix in the mailbox in case I get out in the next 3 years I’ll have something to live for?

Across the street, another guy my age is walking his dog. He sort of looks like me, the guy, that is. A police car screeches to a stop, pulls him over, too. Both of us are cuffed. Even the dog. I’m hoping he’s their guy and he’s looking over at me the same way. I’m beginning to think maybe I am guilty. I wouldn’t put it past me. It’s been a life of crime. The way I swiped candy once when I was twelve and copied my homework from the girl sitting next to me in high school. I have a vague memory of stealing third base but I suppose that doesn’t count. I even sneaked into a second movie in a multiplex a few years ago and returned twice to the salad bar at the Soup Plantation. What if they’ve been following me all these years with a special GPS and Google has it all chronicled?

Maybe I’ll get off easy with community service work in an orange suit landscaping freeways. Orange is my favorite color though my preference is for something less bright, a bit muted like persimmon or Sienna but I’m sure I could make the adjustment particularly if I roll around in the earth. It could be a teachable moment learning the names of all those plants and ground cover. A poet friend recently wrote about hens and chickens which is a common name for a group of small succulents growing close to the ground. The hen is the main plant, and the chicks are the offspring, which start as tiny buds on the main plant and soon sprout their own roots, taking up residence close to the mother plant.

I’m glad to have ended up in the natural world with my mind in dirt, free, at last, from my misdemeanors. I have a lot of remedial work to do to get myself one with Nature. I’ve been two with it for far too long. I do like scenery but that’s not quite the same thing as Nature.

I didn’t know where I was going with all this and could hardly wait to find out at the bottom of the page. Next time I have to mail a letter I’m driving the two blocks or taking the bus except I have to walk three blocks to the bus… or a better idea is to leave it out for the mailperson and hope the neighborhood burglar doesn’t spot it.

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