A personal diary keeping people abreast of what I am working on writing-wise.

Friday, May 11, 2007


What old men who sit in their houses and yell at kids on their lawns don't tell you is that they aren't yelling because they're cranky, but because it's actually kind of fun.

The kids in my apartment building are mostly pretty good. There was a short while one summer where the Mexican kids kept trying to steal the Badtz Maru pencil sharpener that propped my window open, not because they were bad kids but because they were fascinated by it, as any kid would be, and didn't seem to understand that it could bring the window crashing down on their fingers. My friend Terry gave me some Spanish phrases to shoo them away with, but their little kid sixth sense must have warned them because they stopped before I could try them out. (One of the kids loves Spider-Man, and that's what I always call him, so if you ever have Spidey stuff you want to get rid of, send it to me.)

The first time I ever yelled at any of the kids was when a couple of boys were throwing healthy-sized rocks at each other. Not only did I fear for their skulls, but I didn't want one coming through my window so I told them to knock it off. They immediately snapped to and started stating their defenses. Neither of them had started it, to hear them tell it, and I told them, "I don't care who started it. Just knock it off before you get hurt!" They gave me no trouble, and I kind of liked how quickly they fell in line--even if I can hear my own father when I raise my voice. Funny how that sneaks up on us, isn't it?

Today, though, was a total blast. I was sitting here typing when a water balloon exploded all over the window by my desk--which was open enough that we could get air in here, but not enough for Sadie to squeeze through. No water actually came in, but Sadie was sleeping on the window sill and she freaked out. (She hasn't come out from under the bed even though a couple of hours have passed.) So, I yelled at the two boys--one who had been a rock thrower--and told them to watch it. "We didn't mean it," the boy said, repeating his pattern of defensive bullshit. "I know," I said, "but I'm sitting here, so be careful. You got me wet." Which was a total lie, but whatever. I don't believe he didn't mean it. I think he was trying to scare Sadie and just didn't see me sitting there because, if there's one thing I've learned about kids, it's that they aren't very bright.

A little bit later, I'm sitting and watching TV in my living room, shades mainly drawn. No one can really see in, but I can see the courtyard through the opening in the window fan. There's a loud bang at my door, and I realize that the kid who said he didn't mean it has lobbed another balloon right at my door. His friend comes running over, and the liar points at what he did, and they start laughing. As they do so, the liar goes into his apartment, leaving his friend standing there, giggling and staring at my door.

"Keep laughing!" I shout.

The kid flinches, and then freezes there, his shoulders hunched. He looks around at the windows above me, not sure who is yelling at him, unable to see me through the window fan.

"That's right, dumbass! I can see you! Why don't you go get another balloon, and we'll see who laughs!"

With that, the second kid fill his pants and totally high tails it back to his place. It's like a Scooby-Doo gag, where Scooby is frozen and then suddenly only a puff of smoke remains where the dumb dog once was. When the liar emerged from his apartment, yet another balloon in hand, he was totally baffled. He went off in search of his friend, and any time they've come back this way since, they run at full speed into the apartment and shut themselves inside; when they come back out, same thing.

I actually went looking for my water pistol in hopes that they would try something and I could ambush them, but they're too wussy to mess with the geezer!

Current Soundtrack: Nico Fidenco, Black Emanuelle's Groove

Current Mood: predatory

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All text (c) 2007 Jamie S. Rich


Terry said...

Your next book should start this way! Haha!

Chynna said...

Oh man, yelling at neighborhood kids is the best! That was my favorite hobby when I lived in the 'burbs. Down here in El Cerrito Jon actually scared the hell out of these two little girls that were messing around in our yard and chucking little stones down the pathway between our place and the separating fence- we call them the crazy twins, though they're just sisters (they'll parade up and down the street with tape strategically placed all over their faces- over eyes, pugging out their noses, etc and trying to get reactions from passers by, or honking on kazoos). They kept creeping up to our place for whatever reason and running back over to their side of the hedge next door and continued chucking stuff. So Jon put on one of his especially scary halloween masks, a voodoo zombie/head hunter looking thing with rope sewn through its mouth and eyes, and snuck behind the hedge when they weren't paying attention. The youngest of the two girls peeked over the hedge at him while the other one was off doing something else, and saw him crouched down, slowly turning to look at her, making sure he was partially obscured by the bushes for extra effect. She gasps and hightails it out of there in no time, and Jon just comes back inside and doesn't put on the mask again, he goes back to the project he was working on. The best part was that for the rest of the evening we could hear the little one trying to convince the older one that she saw a "mask", and the older one thought she was talking crazy. But then she seemed convinced enought that they both started softly calling to our house, "Maaask, maaaaaaask," and wouldn't shut up for ages, but it was a lot better than having little stones thrown at us. They haven't forgotten it since, either.

Ian said...


steve said...

Jamie, if that's all you've really had to deal with, consider yourself lucky! The hoodlums I have dealt with where I live have been much, much worse, and older. Strange though, since I supposedly live in a "nice" area...