Friday, April 16, 2010

Regarding the Man on the Lawn – a #fridayflash

To Sheriff Oliver,

I’m writing to inform you that I once again saw an unidentified man out on the lawn just the other day, out right in front of my house at [redacted]. This is after the guarantee by your Deputy Matthews that there certainly was NOT a man out on my lawn during this past weekend when I called your office to report just such a man a total of five times.

In order to keep things neat and tidy and not have to spend another two hours on hold with your receptionist waiting for you or the Deputy to become available, I’m going to write down here exactly what happened as clear as I can remember it. Not sure it’ll help, though. It’s not much different than the report I filed last week.

I was out watering the nasturtiums yesterday morning when I first saw him this week. Apparently your Deputy’s car had scared him away during the weekend but now he was back again, standing on the edge of my lawn the same as ever. He was a nondescript man, maybe in his 30s or 40s. Just like any other guy you’d see. Though he was wearing a suit. Let me tell you, that’s rare enough these days. Men casually out in suits is one of those things I thought had died back before computers were invented.

He was just standing there watching me watering my nasturtiums. Normally I wouldn’t mind that. My nasturtiums are the pride of the block, ask anybody. But this was just how it started last week and I wasn’t having any more of his loitering. I turned towards him and shut off the water spray. I told him to leave and that I didn’t want him hanging around my property again, but he didn’t give any indication that he was listening to me.

I went back to watering my nasturtiums, hoping that he’d respond to the cold shoulder. It must have worked, because when I glanced back at where he was standing over my shoulder he was gone. Satisfied, I gave it no more thought until noontime when I was making lunch. I had just put together a modest plate of egg salad sandwiches and was carrying them out onto the porch to eat when I saw the man had returned.

This time he was standing in front of my nasturtiums, not twenty feet from where I stood. I nearly dropped my plate of sandwiches, he startled me so bad. I set the plate down and then leaned over the porch railing to shake my fist at him. I told him he had no right to be on my property, that I was going to call the cops again if he didn’t listen to me and get out of my yard instantly.

He didn’t seem to listen at first, just staring at the nasturtiums. I wondered if he wasn’t deaf or mentally ill or something, but he looked too slick for that. No crazy ever wore a suit so well who wasn’t a politician. And no politician would be standing in Sweetcreek looking at my nasturtiums. I gave him another warning and then walked inside to get the phone. By the time I picked up the receiver and dialed I noticed that out the window, he was no longer in front of the flowers.

I have to admit here that I did hang up on your receptionist. Maybe there’s a note of a call from yesterday around noon in your records. That was me. Sorry for not calling back to clarify, but I was so surprised that I hung up the phone. That guy was like a damn ghost, appearing and disappearing. I almost thought that maybe he was a ghost, but when I went out to make sure he was gone I saw that he had left footprints in the still wet ground near the flowers.

I decided to think nothing of it, and went about the rest of my business. I’m a busy man, for a retired person. And the mysterious guy seemed to have finally given up for good. So I finally settled down and spent the rest of my day in peace.

This morning, roughly 6:23 AM, I woke up to find the man standing on my lawn again. He was as immobile as always, standing just on the border of my lawn looking at the house. I couldn’t tell how long he had been there or what exactly he was looking at. But him being out there greatly disturbed me. People shouldn’t be lingering on lawns at that time of the morning.

So I called the police. And you guys said that you’d sent a patrol car out. Which was the last time I heard from you. Because despite me having a valid complaint, you see fit to treat me like some kind of kook. No patrol car has come past here, nobody’s shown up to check in on me. It’s been hours. At least the sun’s fully risen, though I’m not completely sure what time it is. Still nobody coming.

I have to admit that in my 80 years living in Sweetcreek I’ve NEVER seen such disregard for the complaints of a local citizen. I’m sure if the same complaint came from someone who owned a business or sat on the city counsel, you’d have the deputy up here checking things out. Instead it’s just me, waiting while that … that MAN is out on the lawn.

He started right on the edge of my property. It was barely a trespass, just the toes of his shined shoes hanging over the lip of the sidewalk. But it was enough. Yet by the time I got back from talking to the dispatcher at the police station, I found that he had advanced some two feet into the yard. His expression and pose hadn’t moved. In fact, I had never actually seen him move before.

And so it’s gone for the past four or five hours. I’ll watch him, standing there staring off into space. Then he’ll be so strange and immobile that I can’t bare to look at him, yet when I look back he’ll be a few feet closer. Now he’s standing right in front of the three concrete steps that lead to the porch. He’s kindly stayed put while I wrote this letter, but who knows how fast he’ll advance now that I'm finishing? Will he climb the stairs soundlessly? Will he open the door without me looking? What will he do after he’s here?

I don’t have the answers. I shouldn’t have to provide them. I pay your salaries, you assholes, and you didn’t come to check out my damn house when I gave you the damn phone call. I hope you’re happy.


Horace Waterson

[ Mr. Waterson was reported missing some 6 hours later by a jogger who happened by and noticed the door was open and nobody was home. Police found the letter, but no evidence of forced entry or a struggle. Mr. Waterson’s whereabouts are still unknown. ]


Anonymous said...

Creepy and amusing. I like it. Nice to see you back in the #fridayflash game.

Marisa Birns said...

Scary good!

Welcome back to #fridayflash

mazzz in Leeds said...

creepy, and the old man's voice comes through very well - as does his outrage!

Optomistic said...

Spooky, very spooky.

Optomistic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Eek, spooky. You really captured the old gentleman's frustration.

Good story.

Cathy Olliffe said...

Awesome story! Completely enthralled. Reminded me of Stephen King, and yet not. Just the pace of it, the "what is going on" suspense of it.
Very cool!
And love the name: Sweetcreek.