April 1, 2020
It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood. I’ve got that tune running through my mind and driving me crazy. But it is a beautiful day and I am taking a much longer walk than usual. From my own yard I’ve walked to the far end of my street where it meets up with Ironclad Street. The Burkes’ house is on the corner facing Ironclad so I can see into their big glass-walled family room on the back of the house. What the hell is that? A huge grey and silver something—it looks like a stink bug on stilts—hovers over a table in the middle of the room. It must be five feet tall and just as long. I stop and watch for a minute to make sure it isn’t moving.
Jenna pops up from her work at the edge of her hosta bed and comes toward me, wiping her brow with the side of her arm.
“What in hell is that?” I still stare, half-expecting the thing to start destroying the room.
Jenna turns, following my gaze, and grins. “It’s a gorilla walker. Don’t you have one?” She explains that this is the kids’ project. A Star Wars creature they’ve made out of Legos.
I wonder how much this many Legos has cost them, but rather than ask, I say that she and Gary will be stepping through a Lego mine field until the children are grown and gone. I remember going through this myself. “By the way, I’m sure you’ve heard about Victor. Marian and I are thinking about what we can do to honor his passing. A regular funeral, you know, is out.”
“If you need any help, let me know.”
Jenna’s husband, Gary, is a firefighter and I wonder if he was part of the rescue effort that delivered Victor to the hospital. I try to think of how to bring up the subject without sounding nosy. “I saw the firetruck when it came to his house, but I didn’t notice; was Gary with them?”
“No, but he did take the call. It was Megan Anderson who called it in. Said her son, Matt, I think his name is, walked in and found his grandfather lying on the kitchen floor.”
“Did he get the impression that . . . did anything else seem . . .?”
Jenna understands what I mean. “There was no sign of a struggle or anything. It looked like he simply passed out and fell. Hit his head on the corner of the table. Big knot,” she says, touching her own forehead.”
Walking back to my house, I see that Angus Mink’s trashcan is out for pick-up. I must put mine out, too. I cross over to that side of the street and notice a small object on the street beneath Angus’s trashcan. It’s a tiny syringe, needle missing. Odd. I know Victor was diabetic, but Angus isn’t. I mustn’t pick it up, so I kick it under a sprawling dandelion leaf. I may come back later and pick it up with protective gloves.