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January 15, 2014

(originally published in BLUE BEN REVIEW)

     I want to go back to work. It's been way too long. I'm bored and I feel better. Summer is here and now that I'm taking my medicine I no longer have the problem-the one that caused them to put me away. The Doctor tells me that I'm not quite ready yet and I suppose I must believe him. When I was in school and this happened they let me go back after I told them I was ready.

     Ernie, my neighbor and older brother, is planting pretty little plants and whistling. He took a day off from work to do this. It just means that his wife Carla isn't going to get laid by the gardener or the pool guy today. Someone should tell Ernie. I can't. Ernie thinks I make up everything. He still doesn't believe that I had a date for the junior prom in high school. Amy promised me first, but she went with someone else. I can't talk about that any more. No more. No more.

     Ass in a sling

     titty in a wringer

     that's what happens

     when you tell a hum dinger.

     Ernie and Dad sang it to me when I came home. Now there's only Ernie, but since the sessions with the Doctor he doesn't sing it any more. But I know he thinks it.

     Ernie's whistling. He's dumb and happy-that's the way to be. I wish that I were dumb and happy, then I wouldn't see as much as I see, and have to tell about it. It's hard not to tell, but I won't be better until I stop.

     I'd feel better if I didn't know that I was being watched, or that my phone was bugged. I've always been too smart and aware for my own good. Mom was right. When she was alive she used to say that all the time. "Timothy, you're too smart for your own good." What good does it do me? It doesn't, and I can't help it. And I can't stop. Sometimes I can.


     I watch Carla in her thong bikini bringing cold drinks out to Ernie and I know that as soon as he finishes planting his flowers, he's going to plant Carla. I watch him watching her, and he begins digging like he's getting paid piecework. Carla rubs all over him while he sips his lemonade and then she goes back inside. Ernie takes a flat of pansies and tosses them into the woods behind their house. One more visit from Carla and he'll burn the other plants.

     I like looking at their flower garden. I'm going to start my own today. After breakfast I'll go down to the nursery and pick some plants. They'll be looking at my garden soon.

     That Carla is something. Long brown hair, boobs spilling out in all directions from her bikini top, and just a hint of a little belly. And of course that ass in the thong or the thong in her ass. Whichever. She keeps dropping things and bending over to pick them up.

     I push the shade up a little more to get a better look and I catch a movement and see a light through the Venetian blind in the window of the brick house behind Ernie and Carla's. That's not right.

     Carla slow walks over to Ernie and points to a spot, and since he's already on all fours he nods, and I half expect Carla to pat him on the head and give him a treat. Instead, Ernie grabs Carla and pulls her down next to him, and they go at it right then and there next to the newly planted marigolds. I saw her do the Fedex man there once.

     Carla gets up and looks my way. I know she can't see me but she smiles anyway and then turns and jumps into the pool. Ernie walks to where he tossed the pansies and retrieves them. I drop the shade and quietly place the binoculars back on the floor.

     I make my way though the darkened rooms and turn on the kitchen light. My sister Lisa wants the shades up but I pull them all down. I take out the milk, cereal bowl, spoon and Oreos. Sex makes me hungry. I crumple the Oreos with the squeeze of one hand and when the bowl is filled I add milk. Just as I am sitting down to breakfast the phone rings.

     "Did you get a good show, Timothy? Were you taking pictures or using the binoculars?" Carla doesn't sound angry, but there is a taunting edge to her voice. "Why don't you invite me over to have breakfast with you some morning? I love Oreos too, and I know how to say thank you. One of these days you'll talk to me, won't you, Timothy? You've been naughty. Bye."

     See . . . I knew that I was being watched. I'm not paranoid. I really don't need the medicine. Carla always calls but I don't know how she figures out when I'm watching. She must have bugged the house. Next Lisa will call. She calls me a lot during the day-but always right after Carla's call. I should have waited . . . my Oreos are getting too soggy. The hell with Lisa-I just won't answer the phone until I finish my cereal. She'll yell at me when she gets home, but what else is new?

     The phone. I should count the rings to see how many I can take before giving in. Nope. I won't answer it. I like to eat my cereal lazily, but now I find myself shoveling it in so that I can answer the damned phone and still keep my promise to myself and not answer until I finish eating. Finally, with both cheeks stuffed with soggy Oreos I leap for the wall phone and say, "Mmalllow." The phone clicks and I hear a dial tone.

     I'm washing my breakfast dishes when the doorbell rings. Wiping the milk drops from my chin with my arm I go to the front hallway. The bell rings two more times and I open the door. It's Carla in her bikini. I notice Ernie's car pass by, and he waves without looking.

     Carla stands in the doorway. "Lisa was worried when you didn't answer the phone. She said that I should come over and see if you were all right. Are you all right? You look all right to me. Is that what I should tell Lisa? She'll want to know why you didn't answer the phone. You answered it for me. Were you doing something that you shouldn't have been doing?"

     I watch the pool guy cruise slowly by Carla's house. He spots her talking to me, slows to a crawl and sideswipes the gardener's truck which is parked across the street. Carla doesn't notice -- she's too busy with me. I'm not going to answer any of her questions. She will tell my kid sister anything she wants to tell her anyway. It doesn't matter what I say. It's never mattered in the past.

     Carla pulls her thong up and walks towards her house. The gardener, holding his hoe, steps out from Carla's bushes where he'd been hiding and watches her until she goes inside. He goes to his truck and stands scratching his head at the dent. The pool man comes around the corner in his banged up truck and not seeing Carla keeps driving. He and the gardener wave to each other. I grab my camera and sneak out the back door, hiding from the sunshine, heading for woods and then the hedges, all the time keeping Carla's bedroom window in sight.

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