TO EACH HIS OWN
Harry noted the damage over his morning coffee. He stalked into the back yard and spotted his neighbor Maxwell on the other side of the fence.
"I see you took advantage of my vacation," Harry roared.
"What do you mean by ' took advantage'? I'm the homeowner who was inconvenienced by this blasted tree. I have told you several times that I don't like leaves in my pool, and I don't want those big avocados rolling around on my deck. Apparently you didn't believe me, so I took action on my own. So sorry you're upset."
"Maxwell, I love this tree! It's beautiful all year round and....avocados are good to eat, everyone knows that! I make a great guacamole with this fruit. The best!"
Maxwell studied his manicure, and frowned.
"Well Harry, maybe you and your rowdy friends gorge on guacamole and salty tortilla chips, but MY friends appreciate lighter food. We don't sit around shouting and chugging beer every weekend during football season."
Harry's blood pressure rose and pushed out a small vein in his temple. He stared at the maimed tree. Very few avocados for at least five years, he thought.
"Who did this job? Some guys you found down at the corner? We're neighbors, for God's sake! How could you ruin my favorite tree?"
Maxwell shrugged indifferently. "I've got rights. Avocadoes are your thing, not mine."
"I'm going to report this trespass to the neighborhood council, Maxwell. See you at the hearing!"
Both men spun around and walked quickly back inside their homes.
Harry hurried into his den to find his digital camera. He needed photos of the damage for the future hearing. He focused through the den's sliding glass window to take the first shot. What d'you know, he thought, I've now got a clear view into Maxwell's extra bedroom.
Just as he raised the camera and pressed the zoom button, Maxwell entered the camera's field of vision. He wore black women's bikini underpants. Harry hit record and filmed an interesting scene. He'd often wondered and now he knew.
Maxwell pulled on a girdle, struggled into a padded bra, stepped into a hostess gown, donned a blonde wig and clipped on pearl earrings. He leaned toward a dressing table mirror to apply eyeliner, mascara and lipstick - brassy red.
As his neighbor pirouetted in front of the mirror, Harry thought, that's your thing, not mine. But I'm going to share your thing with YouTube. So sorry.
Darlene waited in the doorway of the social hall. When his truck arrived, her grandson helped her up the high step into the passenger seat.
"Huey, I stood in that cold prairie wind for almost half an hour!"
"Sorry Granmma. Couldn't get into fourth gear. Stick shift is tricky, and Dad always takes the new truck into town. I kept killin' the motor every time I braked."
"Huey, I can help. I grew up drivin' the stick. I still got the reflexes. It's like ridin' a bike or learnin' how to swim. Good Lord, I taught your Dad and both his sisters! "
"Well... OK. No one else wants to help me. Dad threw the car keys across the kitchen last time he tried. Said I was as clumsy as a three legged calf."
"Put the car in neutral. That's right. Always push in the clutch when you do gears or brake. Push it in again and shift up to first. Don't worry if the truck hops like a chicken, Huey, or if the motor kills. Start again. Here we go in first."
"All right, we're crawlin' along now, Grandma. What next?"
"Push in that clutch and just slide back into second as you give it a little more juice."
"Ouch! Guess I ground the gears. But we're goin' faster! I just push in the clutch again and coast into third....now fourth! EEEE-HAW! "
"See Huey? Just takes confidence. Natural as puttin' butter on toast. Watch out for that dairy truck up ahead....know how to drop back down the gears? Don't forget that clutch - push in and move back up to third. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do somethin' - just keep workin' at it."
"Thanks Granma. Hey, when we get home, I'll turn on the computer and start teachin' you how to do email."
"Think you can teach an old lady, Huey? Well, I'm ready, I'll tell you that! I want to read email from my sister in Toronto. And send one to my brother in Seattle... without your mom's help. "
"You'll do it, don't worry. I'll show you how. Fair is fair."
"I'm gettin' warmer, glad you turned on the heat in this old Chevy. No more gear grindin'! Good job! Put on the Willie Nelson tape. Let's sing."
"On the road again..."
The dusty '91 pickup smoothly passed the dairy truck.
KATHERINE HIGHCOVE experienced an attack on her nervous system ten years ago that was diagnosed as benign MS. Her eyesight and nervous system recovered slowly and she was housebound for a long time. She began to write as a form of therapy gradually relearning typing and computer skills as she composed poetry and prose.
Katherine's work has been published in DogFancy, Dialogue, PLUS Magazine, local newspapers and newsletters. Her home is in Woodland Hills, CA. These featured stories are two of her first attempts at flash fiction.
"To enjoy myself and entertain readers as I expand my writing experiences."