A police officer once told me he estimates about 75 percent of my neighborhood population suffers from a psychological disorder of one type or another. While that information remains unconfirmed, five years of residency leaves me tending to agree with his assessment. Any doubts I may have had evaporated yesterday, as I waved at two potbellied middle-aged men cruising the subdivision by way of a golf cart. A common sight near a golf course, but I haven’t seen many drug dealers driving pimped-out golf carts near the hood.
One of our more notable residents lives a few doors down from me. To call Cal somewhat unique is like calling Simon Cowell somewhat opinionated. An Army veteran, Cal has a head full of ambitious project ideas and ample time to see them to fruition, much to the delight and/or horror of the rest of us. He can often be seen in his standard uniform of a t-shirt, shorts, Birkenstocks and, um, white socks. The plastic cup containing an adult beverage is optional before dinner.
Nothing this guy does is on a small scale. Where most people would plant a reasonable amount of tomatoes for eating and canning, Cal planted three gardens on his average-sized lot and bought over 100 canning jars in preparation for either a serious salsa craving, or the Apocalypse. I'm not sure which, but both scenarios disturb me.
His recent yard sale showcased his tendency to be overzealous. Cardboard signs advertised prices for the usual household doodads and unwanted items. Not content to earn mere pocket change, Cal posted For Sale signs on everything he owned. Trying to sell a car is not unusual, but I had to question his motives when I read "House For Sale - Old Lady Included," scrawled out in black marker. Had he sold his car that day, he might have brought in enough cash to pay for a divorce attorney.
Several months back, Cal's hankering for bacon got the better of him. He loaded his trunk with some rope and a roll duct tape, then headed to a local swap meet. Much to our relief, and that of the pig population, he was unable to procure his pork that day. Figuring common sense kicked in and crushed his dream, we all breathed a sigh of relief. Until a few weeks ago when I headed out with my dog for our evening walk.
"Hey! Wanna come over and see my pig?" I heard, in that unmistakable Brooklyn accent. Looking quite pleased with himself, Cal, beverage in hand, stood nearby with a neighbor. I tried to avert my gaze from the socks and Stocks he had going on.
"Oh, is that what you guys are calling it these days? No, thanks!" I shot back. However, I couldn't help myself. I had to take a look.
Said piglet resided in a metal cage. I first saw him in the garage, a fan blowing humid air on his little pink, shivering body. I asked Cal what the deal was. He said he'd just given the pig a bath. Hmmm. The plan is to raise this poor beast until he reaches a desirable dinner weight. I guess clean ham from our local subdivision tastes better than the store-bought variety.
Regardless, I don't care what Cal says. There's no way he's prepping that pig for sacrifice. Last weekend he was in his backyard, a drink in one hand, and the garden hose nozzle in the other. A frolicking pig played in the refreshing blast of water on a hot summer day. Both parties clearly enjoyed the event. With a little background music, it would have made a lovely bonding scene for a PETA bromance movie.
Like a dog, that pig follows Cal all over the yard. No flies on Pork Chop, he's a swift one. If he plays his cards right, he might become Cal's new favorite pet, instead of the main course at our next block party. Someday we'll see them in the car, riding around the neighborhood. Cal driving, and a pink pig head hanging out the window, hooves on the door. What a picture.
Come to think of it, I haven't seen Cal's dog in a long time. We may need to rethink accepting any dinner invitations for a while.
If you enjoyed this story, my new book, Confessions of a Southern-Fried Yankee, is available at Smashwords. Here's the link if you're interested. Thanks so much for reading.