A Beautiful Day In The Neighbourhood

One of the benefits of my current work situation, mentally and physically, is that I’ve set up my home office (which is separate from my writing office) in an alcove in our living room. It’s surrounded on three sides by very tall windows, which gives me a wonderful view of the shenanigans in my yard. There are blue jays, cardinals, and goldfinches among numerous other avian species, but they’re the most noticeable due to their bright colours. Then there are the rabbits, which worry me, because there’s this one really aggressive bunny who likes to chase the others to the point of exhaustion, often causing me to rap on the window and yell, “Give it a rest, ya hoppy f*cker!” I usually remember to mute my microphone when I do that. The other day, I muted my mike to tell Ken something, then I forgot to turn it back on, and I got really upset for a minute when I was trying to contribute to a conversation but people kept talking over me and interrupting to the point that I was like, “What the HELL??!!” I finally realized I was muted and hope that no one could actually see me moving my lips and getting more and more agitated, like an angry mime. There are also squirrels, which scamper around delightfully, and I have a favourite that I’ve named Moo, because he’s black and white like a Holstein cow. I promised Evil Squirrel’s Nest a while ago that I would try to get a picture of him, and I finally did. It’s blurry but you can tell he has white patches:

Anyway, there’s the activity in the yard, and then we move out onto the street, where I’ve grown accustomed to the comings and goings of several dog walkers, and can pretty well figure out what time it is based on which canine is passing my gate. If it’s German Shepherd o’clock, that means lunchtime, and at That Terrier, it’s time to call it quits for the day. The most interesting part of my view, however, has got to be the neighbourhood—more specifically the new neighbours, they of the mysteriously disappearing giant plastic wolf, which I have come to suspect may be residing in the middle of a pentagram in their basement.

Now, I’ve met them, and they’re very young and seem very nice, but appearances can be deceiving. For example, their yard is 30 feet by 50 feet, yet they have a riding lawn mower and have mowed their lawn TWICE in the last week. It takes approximately 7 minutes for this to happen, yet happen it has, not once but twice. In Ontario. In April. Are they trying to make the rest of us, with our province-wide pledge to wait until the Victoria Day weekend to do any yard work, look bad? Or is it part of some strange ritual to appease the wolf? (And this is no dig at you, Tom–I just read your post and I know how much you’ve mowed your lawn in the last week, but it’s a hell of a lot warmer where you are. Our grass is NOT growing!)

Speaking of things I don’t understand, here’s another one—while we should all have little houses for our cars, why do some people have little houses for their DOGS? What exactly is the point of having a dog and keeping it in a tiny house OUTSIDE OF YOUR HOUSE? How are you supposed to have a conversation with him when he’s IN THE BACKYARD ALL THE TIME?!

Me: I just ran that whole category on Jeopardy!
Titus: Yeah, I was here. You don’t always have to answer in the form of a question, you know.
Me: I’m not a MONSTER, thank you.
Titus: Hush! Final Jeopardy category is…Classic Cinema!
Both: OOOH!

See what you’re missing out on when your dog lives outside? Now back to the main road).

But the most recent development is the most disturbing. More disturbing than the wolf?, I hear you ask. No, but disturbing all the same. On Wednesday, I saw the young woman in their breezeway, and she was holding a cat. An orange tabby, in fact. Now, that in itself might not be unusual, but it was the WAY she was holding the cat that concerned me:

Me: The neighbours have a cat.
Ken: Oh.
Me: She was in the breezeway, holding it the way you hold a rifle, and she was pointing it at things.
Ken: Maybe it’s a laser cat.
Me: Exactly what I was thinking! Then she put it in their picture window and now it’s just sitting there staring at our yard.
Ken: The squirrels better be careful. Pew Pew!

(If you are unfamiliar with laser cats, click here to see the original documentary.)

So in honour of the neighbour’s laser cat, I wrote a song:

Laser cats! Scourge of the universe!
Laser cats! They don’t like squirrels!
Laser cats! They’re unpredictable!
Laser cats! Sometimes they purr!

This song is meant to be sung loudly and in a very staccato manner, which I have begun to do quite regularly. And because I can’t get a picture of the neighbour’s laser cat without arousing suspicion, I found this picture of my aunt’s cat Rupert (who is NOT a scourge—in fact he’s one of the sweetest cats I know), and I added lasers using my Windows Paint program, because I don’t know how to use Photoshop. The resemblance to the neighbour’s cat is, however, remarkable. Pew Pew!

(By the way, thanks to the support of all my family and friends, virtual or otherwise, my flash fiction story “Resurrection” is Publication of the Month at Spillwords. You guys are the best!)

65 thoughts on “A Beautiful Day In The Neighbourhood

  1. Bryntin says:

    Laser cats are not right. Ideally, I’d like cats to be at the other end of my laser. The sort of hot and smoky due to atomising end. Sound effect …Purrzzzzerrrphtttpfff

    Liked by 4 people

  2. “If it’s German Shepherd o’clock, that means lunchtime, and at That Terrier, it’s time to call it quits for the day.” I can’t think of a better way to tell time. As an animal lover, I can tell you most of the animals in the neighbors names and where they live…the owner’s names?…not so much

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’m not as good a photographer as you, and the little guy is very quick, but they’re definitely white patches. He has one on the top of his head too–he sometimes pops up onto my window ledge so I’ve gotten a good look at him:-)


  3. You live across the street from reality TV stars. That’s the only plausible explanation. They mowed twice to get extra footage for editing. The cat doesn’t have a laser but does have a camera in its collar.
    Scratch that. I want it to be a laser cat because I enjoy your song so much.
    And they’re using your garage for all their video editing equipment.
    The important question, though, is, what was the final Jeopardy! answer and did Titus know it?

    Liked by 3 people

  4. The neighbors have three cars? And they don’t use their garage? WTF?!
    I think the third car belongs to wolfstein, their plastic wolf, yes I gave him a name. He is most definitely like the Weeping Angles from Dr. Who, you won’t ever see him because your not blinking. He drives around with the cat, scoping out the neighborhood. For what? That remains a mystery, as for your gangster Bunny, Dennis Hopper, he needs to be “taken care of” not in a bad way, just taught a lesson to stop bullying the other bunny’s. You have a virtual Wild Kingdom in your yard there Player One. All I have are annoying doves and mocking birds that poop all over my yard, bastards! 😡🤬

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Suzanne,
    When you enter your home, do you put on your comfy shoes and wear a cardigan because it sounds wonderful where you live! We have four cats and two dogs under our roof at the moment; but I don’t think we have the right models that shoot laser beams. However, last night, Buddy (dog) decided to scare Millie (cat) half to death by quasi chasing her, and she slid right into the candle stand I have on the floor and knocked 3 out of 5 candles over. Thank goodness they weren’t lit…the candles, I mean. Anyway, we’ll call it a split and leave it at that. So even though we don’t have laser animals, we have dogs bowling cats to keep us entertained. I keep telling the dogs that one of these days the cats are going to unionize and then they’ll have hell to pay. Of course, I’m sure I’ll be the one who has to clean up the mess once that happens, but it might be worth it. The cats haven’t figured out that together they could be a much greater force to be reckoned with, but they don’t believe me when I make the suggestion. I guess they prefer their independence. Ah well…until then, I think the dogs have the advantage. Mona

    Liked by 4 people

  6. My scrolling finger got tired scrolling down to the bottom of the comments to add this. I’ve never seen someone who gets more comments than you do! But they are well-deserved. However, now my comment is going to seem lame. And I need to go tape my scrolling finger.

    Anyway, as I was reading your words to the Laser Cat intro music, I could not help but put them to the tune of “Danger Mouse”. I see an animated series in your future! Just remember us little people when you are rich and famous.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Cats are evolutionarily locked. They fit their niche perfectly. Dogs too. But squirrels, and rodents in general, given their tree to ground movement, omnivorous diets, digit grasping ability and clever minds, may be humanity’s replacement—once Covid mutates to kill us all off. Moo’s descendants may eventually unearth your bones and wonder if you were intelligent.

    Until then, your neighbors are definitely cult-members. You’ll notice that they have inverted pentacles hanging in their garage.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Lol, I hope your new neighbours are not on WordPress because if they are they will know their being watched by that strange woman who’s always looking out of the window, just saying 🤷🏼‍♀️😁

    Liked by 2 people

  9. So funny!! I just posted something that mentioned a neighbor who has lawn perfect in April. What IS it with these people? So rude. Ha!!!! It so interesting the things we are noticing now. A plethora of funny. Thanks for the laughs.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Haha.. I’m trying to find the pic of the guy holding his cat like an AR-15.. And, I’m afraid, we are two of those garage people. Riding lawnmower, three motorcycles, a generator and a kayak are the culprits. We need a shed in addition to the garage.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. You’d hate having me as a neighbour. I commit all of your sins, except for the yard work. And I feel the eyes of our elderly neighbours’ judgy eyes. Their yard is spotless, well manicured, every inch edged with perfect blooms. They are retired and clearly take great pride in it. So while I can understand the new couple wanting to make a good impression, I cannot live up to it myself (not that I’ve ever mowed a single blade of grass myself – Sean does it, and he’s allergic to grass!). If you go too far in the other direction, you’ll be judged for that too.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I’ll have you know that besides having an immaculate garage in which we fit our two cars perfectly, I keep my crazy-growing lawn cut to perfection, and I use laser vision to do it.

    Two of those three things are absolutely true. One is a bald-faced lie.

    (or is it a BOLD-faced lie. I honestly don’t know the difference)

    It was so good to hear from Titus today. Please keep him comfortable and next to you in front of the TV. Love that boy. ❤️

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Ah, Laser cats, plastic wolves, the new neighbors, AND mowing the grass with a riding mower. Of course everyone talks to their dogs, right? Another shot of humor into my sluggish system. Thank you, I can laugh again! That means I’m not a zombie yet!? Right?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. OMG, how did I miss this one til now? Be wary those neighbors, my friend. Something smells rotten in Ontario. OK, that lacks the poetry The Bard intended, but I was never a student of Shakespeare anyway. Anyone who cuts their lawn in such a manner and along such a timeline needs an extra eye on them. And i don’t mean the Lasercats’ eyes! Pew! Pew!!

    Liked by 2 people

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