Thursday, April 30, 2015

Not Alone in the Backyard

Sometimes you’re working late in the office you made out of your backyard garage. And sometimes the security light suddenly just blinks on. You can see it through the side window that allows you a look at a few measly square feet of the yard. Nothing is moving, at least within your view of the big, bad world outside. But something is clearly moving somewhere out there, because why else would the light have turned on?

So you sit there at your desk, but turned away from the computer to see if whatever tripped the light will make itself known. But even this is pretty dumb, you realize. Were it a skunk or a raccoon or a possum or a cat or whatever other four-legged creature wants to think that there’s something delicious buried beneath your geraniums, you wouldn’t be able to see it. The only thing you would see in through that window would be a person.

This is not a comforting thought.

The light turns off. Whatever was moving has left. Or it simply stopped when the light turned on and is waiting.

You can hear Highway 5 in your little garage. Does that seem odd? It’s not as if the highway runs through your backyard, but you can hear vehicles rumbling on by.

You can hear a train pulling out of the Glendale station. You’ve never actually seen the train, but the horn sounds often enough to remind you that it’s there.

You wonder if you even turned on the security light. Someone clearly did, but you cannot remember doing it. You usually don’t. It’s bright and you think it might annoy the neighbors. How considerate of you.

With the backyard light having blinked off, the only thing you can see in the side window is your own face, illuminated but the light of your monitors. If someone were looking in right now, you wouldn’t be able to tell. But they’d see you in a goddamn spotlight.

You remember that you looked down at the floor today and thought someone had spilled water. But the marks weren’t quite round, and upon closer inspection, they turned out to be the footprints of a cat that had walked through the dust. You followed the prints, and they went into Glen’s room, not yours, thank God. How long had that cat been here? When had it ventured inside?

The light blinks on again and you really wish it were windy tonight, because then you could say that the wind was blowing that big sage bush you have outside the garage. But it is not windy tonight, and you know that you will only find out what it making the light blink on by opening the door and checking yourself.

But you will not do this.

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