Saturday, February 11, 2012

Richard, You're a Dick!

Dick was a dick! That being said, there is a reason why I refer to him by such a name and with such an irreverent tone. He was my neighbor when I lived at my dad's house for a bit. He was an outright son-of-a-bitch, who would one day get the comeuppance he deserved. This is the prologue to said comeuppance.

His name was actually Richard, but I called him “Dick” because I felt it was more applicable. He was a terrible neighbor. He once called Animal Control, because my dog barked at the water birds in our back yard every morning for about fifteen seconds. An annoyance, yes. But one worthy of calling animal control, I think not. I came home from work one day, only to find a notice saying my dog was being a “nuisance.” The story of how Richard became Dick starts here.

Part of the deal for me to stay in my dad's house rent free (thanks dad) was that I paid the utilities and kept the yard in immaculate shape. One of those chores was cleaning up hundreds of mangoes that fell from the tree in the backyard. It was an especially fruitful season of mango precipitation that year. It seemed like there were over a 1,000 of them strewn across the yard when I finally made the effort to collect and dispose of them. Because I had delayed the chore, they were no longer solid orbs, but more of a plasma-like substance that emitted an awful stench. I spent an entire laborious weekend scooping them up with my gloved hands and placing them into garbage bags. I had to use gloves because I am allergic to the sap and juices of the mango. The worst part of that chore was dragging the 50 pound bags of mushy mango pulp to the road.

I believe I amassed over a dozen oversized industrial strength garbage bags full of the itchy and scratchy skin and pulp during that two-day escapade. And due to my supreme exhaustion, I haphazardly piled them by the road for the disposal gentleman to sling into their chariot of waste. At that point, I thought my job was done. I would soon find out that it was not.

The next day, I came home from a long day's work, and tried to relax on the couch and watch some television. My relaxation was interrupted when I heard a light knock on the front door. I turned my head to see who was standing on the doorstep, and I saw no one. I got up and walked toward the entryway, and when I arrived, it was empty. I only saw Dick standing at the end of my driveway. I assumed he was not the perpetrator, and that my mind was just playing tricks on me. I returned to my couch perch in an attempt to continue my workday decompression.

Less than 60 seconds later, I heard the ring of the doorbell. I glanced quickly, only to see the blurry streak of Dick scurrying away like a cockroach when the kitchen light comes on. I sprang from the couch to make sure my eyes had not deceived me yet again, and caught him mid-retreat.

I opened the door and said, “Richard, what do you want?”

His only response was to turn away and wave at me to follow him. I was confused.

I shouted at him again, “Richard, what is going on?” Again, he just looked at me oddly, then continued walking away. I reluctantly followed him.

He did not turn back or say anything as he walked to his house next door and into his driveway. I wasn't sure if he thought his house was a neighborhood embassy, and that he was safe from any harm as long as his feet were touching “base.” As I approached, he looked down at his driveway and ominously pointed his finger toward a tire track stain behind his car. There was a Latino gentleman sweating bullets next to the car, with a wash bucket resting at his feet. This man was obviously under Dick's employ, and had been working hard to scrub away the tire track stain to no avail. Dick would explain the rest in great detail.

He said, “Wade, did you see that your garbage bags are leaking?”

I responded, “No, I hadn't noticed. I'll go check.” Before I could go check, Dick stopped me.

He continued as if his question were rhetorical, “Well, they are. And worse yet, whatever is in those bags is leaking into to gutter and got stuck on my tires when I drove through the gutter and into my driveway last night. I came out here this morning, and found this stain. YOU caused it, and I want to know what YOU are going to do about it.”

I muttered, “Nothing, I guess. It's your driveway.”

He grew angrier, and explained why he was in such a tizzy, “Wade, YOU let whatever this garbage is leak into the gutter, therefore it is YOUR responsibility to clean it up. I have had my friend here trying to clean it all morning. He has tried regular cleaning supplies, turpentine, bleach, and nothing has worked. YOU are going to have to get someone out here with some industrial strength supplies to clean this, and I expect YOU to pay for it! What is in those bags anyway?”

I responded quickly, “Well DICK, those bags are filled with mangoes. I can't imagine anything besides water is needed to clean up this stain. Have you tried water yet?”

Dick replied, “Wade, I already told you. We have tried everything. If bleach and turpentine won't work, what makes you think that water will miraculously wash away this toxic stain?”

I calmly exclaimed, “Because this is mango juice, not tar. Go get your hose, and I'll show you.”

He said, “I don't have a hose long enough” (laces out, Dick).

I returned to my yard, and dragged my hose over to the spot where his man-servant had been scrubbing all morning with unnecessarily strong chemicals. I unleashed a steady spray of the earth's most plentiful resource and watched it immediately chip away the sticky stain, bit by bit.

Once I was 100% positive it was working as expected, I stopped staring at the stain, and aimed my gaze right at Dick's eyes. He was blushing, and I was smiling ear to ear. I did not look away, I just kept smiling at him and washing away the nuisance stain without looking. His cheeks became flushed, and my grin expanded to the point that I felt my cheeks stretching. I had not smiled this big in ages. It was the most satisfaction I had felt in quite some time. All the while, Dick said nothing.

I told him that he should finish the job himself. I would even let him borrow my hose. I wanted to stand next to him, and bask in the glory of my immaculate win. But it felt even better to watch him from afar. He stood there in the gutter, freeing the rest of the mango juice from its dry state into a river of orange liquid. I watched out of the corner of eye as I put the leaking bags into a garbage can. He was amazed, angry and embarrassed at the same time. It was wonderful!

After he has ushered all the mango remnants along the gutters, and into the drain. He returned the hose to where it belonged. Needless to say, he did not come over after he was finished to knock on my door and apologize or offer any sort or thanks for my brilliant remedy. He just coiled up the miracle rubber tube by the water spigot, and went on his way.

I assume he went inside after that and took a long shower to wash off the shame and embarrassment. I also assume he did so after a short spell of rocking back and forth while lying in the fetal position and crying. I should have felt bad about being such a dick to him. But hey, one dick deserves another.