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It’s A Bird, It’s A Plane, It’s Trashbag Man


There was this one time… when my kids were still little, we all lived in this tiny little house in Hartsville SC, just my children and me. It was in one of the poorest sections of town because being an unemployed single mom at the time, it was the best I could do, but overall it was an okay neighborhood, mostly pretty quiet. Now I will say that to look out the window and see cops swarming all over somebody’s house like a bunch of angry hornets wasn’t surprising, but I never heard any gunshots or anything. There were a lot of kids in this neighborhood, a hodgepodge collection of all colors and ages and for some reason, they all always seemed to wind up in my yard, so I eventually became at least nodding acquaintances with most of my neighbors and that was okay too, they seemed like nice people (except for this one lady, but that’s another story). An older man lived directly to the right of me and sometimes I would see him piddling around with his plants while I was outside watching over the kids while they played and he would throw up his hand and give a wave. Occasionally he would call the children over and give them a piece of candy or something (but only after he had asked if I would mind, which was very mannerly of him). So there came a time when I didn’t see the man any more, but there were other people coming and going, so I just assumed that he had probably moved out (because nobody seemed to stick around for too long on that street) and that new people had moved in. I didn’t know a lot about these new people and to be honest, I didn’t really want to. I usually tried to stay to myself and mind my own business as much as possible, but a couple of times I heard a knock on the door and this young girl from next door would be there asking to borrow a lighter. She seemed harmless enough, no bigger than a minute, (I could have took her if I had to), but I was pretty sure that they were smoking up something over there. So I wasn’t overly friendly, not wanting to encourage her to hang around because after all, I had a family to think about. Then one day, there came a knock at my front door and I answered it to find the older gentleman standing there, very distraught. “I’m sorry to bother you” he said, “But I just got home, I’ve been in the hospital and my girl has trashed my house! Do you have a garbage bag I can have? Because I’ve got to start cleaning up all that mess, I just can’t stand it, I don’t know how she could have done that to my house! There’s trash everywhere, cigarette butts, dirty dishes, dirty clothes, I love her, but I just can’t live like that!” I was very sympathetic, I could just imagine what a shock it must have been to come home to something like that and I was more than happy to help him out. He had always been so nice and I felt bad for him, especially since he said he had just gotten out of the hospital. So I gave him the biggest bag I had, told him it would all be alright, he’d get it straightened out and then watched him walk across to his side of the yard, his head slightly hanging. Poor old guy… The next day I was outside with the kids and the neighbor from the other side of me walked over. She was pleasant enough, but I hardly ever saw her venture out, so I was surprised to see her ambling toward me. I greeted her with “Hey, what’s up?” “Did you hear?” she asked. “Hear what?” (I never hear about anything because I usually just limit myself to those neighborly nods remember). “Your neighbor, that man that lives on the other side of you, he got arrested last night.” “What?” I immediately had visions of him strangling his little girlfriend because he flipped out over the mess she made. “Yeah, that’s right. He was high as a kite on crack. The police caught him running down the street buck naked. Not a stitch of clothes on, but he did have a trashbag tied around him.” A trashbag, a big black trashbag… The very same one I had just given to him…

Lacey ☮

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