Never saw my dog jump as high as the first time we walked by that storm drain. I saw those hollow green eyes dart to me from down there, and well it creeped me out too. Just a cat though, one of those, think it’s called a tabby. Except the stripes were different.
Anyway, I crouched to make sure she could get out and she just purred, loud and echoey. “Guess you’re fine,” I said. The hollow eyes just receded and stared up from the dark.
Imagine my surprise when the tabby nudged my side, purring, as the eyes watched.
It was gossip that defined them.
If it weren’t for gossip, about celebrities, and politics, and family and friends, they wouldn’t have a thing to say or a thought in their heads. Gossip wasn’t confined to whispers in the back row of church anymore. Gossip was loud so that others might hear. They relished in the shockwave. They posted and traded it online and delighted in the hordes who ate it up. Real life was stupid. Boring. But everyone loved gossip. They shouted it at each other. Louder, and gaudier, one over the other. A never-ending rookery of sea lions.
When she walked into a room, the small talk began.
She was a sweet, old woman but everything that came out for her mouth was a cliché. And she wasn’t alone. There was a trail of small-talkers she checked in with, from the beginning of her morning walk to the children playing in the courtyard at the end of the night. Her tone would rise as the day grew on so by dark, it sounded like child’s play. Inane small talk. Pointless chitter-chatter. The day would end at a pitch so high that only her loving pets could hear it.
Living with a little kid is exactly like living with my college roommate. He hates wearing shoes and socks. He leaves comic books on the back of the toilet, and thinks it’s hilarious to pee off our balcony. His two food groups are cheese pizza and ramen noodles. He loves to burp. Side note; the house always smells like Italian or Chinese. We can spend up to forty-five minutes looking for the remote he lost. He listens to the same damn album over and over and over again. And sometimes I find him passed out and wedged behind the couch.
There’s a rickety couch and side table perched on the curb at the end of the street, and on the arm of the couch is a sign that says, FREE.
I’m proud of them. How long did it take to inch their way out of that house? Did they have to climb upstairs from a basement, or navigate trappings of furniture down dark hallways? It’s clear no one cared for them anymore, so good for them.
Now, the terrifying wait for the one thing keeping them from freedom; a truck, and anyone willing to get them far away from here.
I spend my time in rabbit holes, tunneling in endless fascination. I love the smells, the sounds, the look of the walls, and am delighted when they bend in directions I hadn’t thought of. I can spend hours down here. Days. Sometimes the maze behind me caves in and I wonder, how did I get here? But I love it. Up on the surface, there’s commitments, and questions about things I think I need to do. It never ends. Down here, it’s quiet. It’s simple. It’s peaceful, and I’m at ease.
That’s why I spend my time in rabbit holes.
If vehicle windows are cracked open, they will be marked and remain open to that level. If any window is smashed out by rescue workers to gain entry, it’s sufficient to seal said window with 0.25 mm clear polyethylene plastic sheeting and tape. The vehicle’s owner will be handcuffed to the steering wheel, and made it stay in the vehicle for the duration they left their child inside. The duration will double for dogs, as they are unable to perspire as efficiently as humans. The sentence will be carried out within 24 hours, at approximately the same time of day.