The Hellhole

Monday, December 20, 2004

As promised, the tale of my odd neighbors continues with the giant bonfire held by the male leader of Shouting Redneck Family. It was a normal, everyday day until I arrived home from work. When turning from my driveway to my garage, I have a clear line of sight to the backyard of Shouting Redneck Family, so I noticed immediately that a giant bonfire was burning. Shouting Redneck Guy was poking it with a lawn rake. I’m not exaggerating the size of this bonfire - it was huge! He was walking around it, poking from various angles and I doubt he could see one side from the other, that’s how big a bonfire this was. Both the size of the bonfire and the time of year were unusual; in this region one normally sees bonfires in the autumn (leaf-burning) while this was summer. I went inside without saying anything because I figured if Shouting Redneck Guy wanted a summer bonfire, it wasn’t any of my business and anyway he was armed with a flaming rake. However, once inside I did some active spying through various windows because it had been a dry summer and when a redneck guy, shouting or not, holds a bonfire, you can never be certain how drunk he might be. My house is far from grand, but I’m rather fond of it and didn’t want it incinerated should Shouting Redneck Guy lose control of his conflagration.

While monitoring the flamage, I saw Shouting Redneck Woman suddenly burst from the back door of the house and run to the backyard - shouting (no, really!). I couldn’t understand what words she was saying, just loud, hysterical female shrieking. He kept poking his bonfire, ignoring her. The shrieking went on for some minutes until she shoved Shouting Redneck Guy on the shoulder. He tossed the rake aside and grabbed her by the upper arms. I’m a firm believer in minding one’s business and ‘live and let live’, but I’d have no choice but to summon The Law if he hit her so I kept watching. They argued some more but he never struck her; he got a firm grip on her arm and ‘speed-walked’ her back into the house. After that, all was quiet, except that the giant bonfire continued to burn and Shouting Redneck Guy kept poking it with his rake. I checked on the fire periodically but it never spread out of control and nothing further happened.

Several days later - I’m not sure exactly how many - I realized that I’d been sleeping until my alarm woke me (as opposed to being awakened by the Typical Morning Exchange of Shouting Redneck Family). That evening, I looked over at their house and both cars were gone, but they still had outdoor furniture and children’s toys on the lawn so I figured, particularly as it was summertime, that they’d gone on vacation. Another a week or so passed before it occurred to me that they hadn’t returned. Weeks passed, lawn furniture and children’s toys remained but there was no sign of Shouting Redneck Family. Eventually, a realtor's 'for sale' notice appeared out front and Shouting Redneck Family never returned.

In retrospect, I wonder if I’d witnessed the demise of the Shouting Redneck Marriage - could it have been not lawn refuse, but all her stuff he was burning? If not that, at least something unusual was afoot or they wouldn’t have decamped without their lawn furniture and the children’s toys. If I were a better spy, I’d know all these answers but I’m not very good at it yet. I think I need more cats, more black dresses with lace collars and more furniture that smells of lavender polish.



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