It has been an odd weekend, here in Highland, IN. Friday, at a red light on my way home, I got a text from my editor, saying that the Reincarnation Blues paperback is going into a third printing.
That’s fun! My dad has said, a time or two, that if it was his book, he would want to go see it actually running off the presses, getting chopped into pages and glued between covers. As I understand it, this happens in a huge facility out in the New York countryside, somewhere. At any rate, it was fun to come home and tell Janine and Jianna about this. It also makes a great excuse for hitting a shot or two of Cinnamon fire whiskey stuff. You know the stuff I mean.
Okay, that was fun. I was up early the next morning (6:00) to spend several hours at Sip2, working on the Ahab book. Then home to do some household stuff, blah blah. Later, after dark, I was installed in my Big Blue Chair, petting the dog and staring into space, when Janine and Jianna came home from dropping off Jianna’s friend, and they had unsettling news.
“There’s something big and furry in the backyard,” they said. “It’s just sitting there, not moving, between the two graves.”
Our cat, Simone, and dog, Jake, are buried in the yard, back by the trees, with cool flags for markers.
We theorized. It might be a racoon. Or a skunk, but it was too big. It could be a dog. Why wasn’t it moving?
I got my flashlight.
“Go sacrifice yourself for us,” commanded Jianna (she’s almost 14, and has a gallows sense of humor worthy of a plague survivor).
No one followed me out. Whatever it was was too big, and too furry.
I shined the flashlight, and sure enough, there it was. The wind picked up at that exact movement, and it hissed (hissed!) toward me.
A big, gray plastic bag from Strack’s.
I shared this news with Janine and Jianna, who sternly emerged from the house to see that the beast was properly recycled.
In 7 years of living in Highland, I’ve only seen a few wild animals of note. There used to be trash-raiding racoons, but a sprinkling of processed coyote urine took care of that. Sometimes a ‘possum used to visit, but she’s moved on or met some kind of fate.
My neighbor Charlie has a chicken coop. Sometimes it attracts foxes. Skinny, malnourished, suburban foxes. But that’s about it.
I’m hopeful, though. Lately, there have been snakes. Garter snakes and black rat snakes…no Copperheads or timber rattlers, yet. But I’m hopeful. I’ll keep you posted.
Meantime, I’m sadly aware that we don’t live at the edge of a mighty forest; we live down the street from every fast food lair you can name. Ridge Avenue is a fierce wilderness of McDonaldsWendysWhiteCastleKFCPopeye’sCulversArby’sTacoBell and more.
I’m on plastic bag patrol, flashlight and coyote urine in hand, windswept and vigilant.
Moonlight and low clouds.
A crawling sort of sound from the edge of the driveway…
Soft drink lid on the hunt.