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A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood

7

June 17, 2012 by Renee

The day hadn’t turned out quite like I expected. When I woke this morning, excitement bubbled in my chest, threatening to break free in the form of song and dance. Song and dance are not generally my thing, so the very idea that I could feel like doing that meant it had to be a good day.

I rolled out of bed, smiling at the brilliant expanse of azure that filled my dusty window, almost blinding in its brightness. Not one cloud dared to mar its beauty.

Humming a little melody, far too early for outright singing no matter how good my mood, I headed downstairs to make coffee. Not even a perfect day could make my sleep deprived brain admit that I was awake. Only copious amounts of coffee could achieve that feat. The clothes and dogs scattered across my bedroom floor made anything more graceful than stumbling impossible.

The morning passed pleasantly. I waited for the momentous thing I was sure would happen to hurry up and do so. What else could occur on such an awesome day but something life changing and wonderful?

I’ll tell you.

I think things took a downward turn when I went outside. Trudging down the narrow sidewalk that I often believe was put in as an afterthought as it was more of a curb than a sidewalk, my foot slid and suddenly I lay on my back, staring up at what I previously thought was a beautiful blue sky. I scrambled to my feet, hoping no one saw my clumsiness, and a sweet, awful, and familiar odour wafted to my nose. Dog shit. Judging by the warmth seeping through the ass of my jeans, it was fresh too. Fucking lazy pricks. How hard is it to take a tiny black bag and pick up after your wretched little dog? There are signs, for crying out loud.

I looked down and fury rose, burning my throat as I stared at the little brown balls of pooh left by, I was certain, the yappy little rat dog from three houses down. Mrs. Thompson, for all her money, couldn’t seem to afford shit bags. The temptation to scoop up the tiny pebbles—which, considering it was such a small dog, seemed rather numerous for one offering—and take them to her house so that I could shove them into her preachy, charity-loving, church-bake sale-organizing, I’m-so-much-better-than-you, hooker-red-lipstick-stained mouth, was overwhelming.

But I did not do that. I went home, as any mature adult would do.

At my house, safe from the perils of the sidewalk and my lazy neighbours, the day continued to spiral into a pit of blackness.

The hot water tank decided to go on strike, or rather, it just quit. The bottom gave way and flooded my newly renovated basement, ruining my pretty beige carpet. I did not call my husband. I tried to fix the problem before he came home. I would have done it too, if the dog hadn’t eaten an entire box of tampons and started coughing and gagging with alarming intensity.

I rushed the moron to the vet where they performed some miraculous manoeuvre that brought said tampons back up in an interesting pile of white-yellow slime. Five hundred dollars later, I went home with the dog whose life hung by a string, almost literally, and found that I’d left the stove on. The house was full of smoke, burning my nose and causing my eyes to tear up, although I suspect the fact that I was crying could have accounted for the tears. The alarm screamed for me to do something about it and the idiot dog barked back, eliciting a stabbing pain behind my eyes.

Apparently burners spark and blow up if you leave them on and forget to move the plumber’s receipt away from the stovetop. Who knew?

Now, I lie in my bed, yellow ball squeezed tight in my hand. If I open it, the ball will bounce back to its former roundness, but I’d have to stare at the black smiley face that I’m positive was put there to mock me. Why do they make stress balls with smiley faces? Whose brilliant idea was that? I will not open my hand. My eyes remain glued to the breathtaking sunset that fills my window.

My husband is downstairs muttering about how the house depreciates every time he leaves me alone in it. My daughter is practicing her newfound vocabulary which she learned after my husband and I “discussed” the stove and the water tank, and she’s sure to show it off at school. I am afraid to get out of bed. The sky is brilliant lavender streaked with amber, promising another beautiful day tomorrow. Fucking perfect.

Another beautiful day just might kill me.

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7 thoughts on “A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood

  1. Are you by any chance related to Murphy of Murphy's Law fame?Holy. Mother. Of. Dog. I think I would've shot someone if they looked at me sideways after this.

  2. Renee Miller says:

    Ha. Well, I "fictionalized" it, but this actually happened over the course of a weekend for me. The dog and the tampons, walking in dog shit (only it was a large dog not a tiny one) happened Saturday morning, and the water heater rusting out happened the next day.Once, the dogs ate all the screens off the sunporch and chewed a hole in the deck just hours before Kurt got home from his fishing trip. Yeah. Murphy hates me.

  3. Vero says:

    Your writing in this piece is sublime. Seriously. Kicks ass.

  4. Renee Miller says:

    Well now you're just making a girl blush. 🙂

  5. Mike Keyton says:

    All those compliments (well deserved) Watch out for the dogshit!

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Renee

Renee

I like to write stuff. Sometimes it's funny. I've published some novels and short fiction. I also battle an addiction to cake and potato chips, and I sometimes have inappropriate fantasies involving Kevin Spacey.

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