property

I open the front door and let Samson bound out into the yard. He leaps down the stairs, spurts along the dirty brick path, and hops over the second set of stairs. He dips into a spot between the brick wall that faces Urban Avenue and the planter box near the mailbox. He stares right at a pair of golden mutts across the street, lifting his leg, as if to assert that he lives here. He does not just show up in a dented up 1982 Volkswagen Fox, like some other dogs.

I want to talk to the two men across the street working on our gas lines. I approach. They are wearing bright orange overalls. One sits at the controls of a large digger. Dale, let’s call him.

“Don’t worry about my dog,” I offer. “What’s with the ditch? Will there be room for bulbs?”

I mean will there be room for narcissisum, amaryliss, and other beautiful bulbs.

A brown orb of spit, about the size of a blow pop, slips from Dale’s mouth. Dale must be one of those types who lived in North Carolina before it was invaded by people ferreting boxes of samosas back and forth in their all wheel drive Samosa, before Duke found out how to raise money properly, before Governor Martin invented the research park.

“Sir?”

“Right,” I turn and ask more specifically, “so where’s the gas line?”

He walks me back across the street. The line extends on roughly the boundary between my yard and that owned by my neighbor. Except, of course, I don’t really have a neighbor. I have a property flipper Said flipper is currently not home, because a realtor and an older lady are coming out of the home as I make my way up the embankment.

Samson barks to announce himself.

The realtor fiddles at the door with the keys. The other lady, I presume she is the homebuyer, folds her arms and stares back at Samson.

“He has an electric fence,” I tell her. Sometimes I think it is possible to be to outwardly kind to people. Why go the extra step of bending over backwards to comfort a stranger? She might be a dog lover. She is certainly in no danger. Samson’s not crossing that line.

I was right to wish I hadn’t been so kind. She folds her arms and turns to me.

“I am not worried about him,” she says, her tone indicating that were she worried, I would know. “But if he barks, that will be unacceptable.”

Er, excuse me mam, but you are what, a prospective neighbor? Fine, you are so smart, so go ahead and pay $220 per square foot for a home that is on a block that was pricing out at $75 per square foot in January 2003. I guess you really have one up on me!

“Er,” I offer, “I believe he is a dog. Dogs bark.” Then I am just silent. I stare.

She crosses, again, tighter. She looks away.

I hear the sound of a heavy dollop of tobacco juice hitting the ground.

“Sh…Yankees,” says Dale.

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