The Square Peg – Patti Peeksalot Tells All
© S. Bradley Stoner
Well, it appears we are getting new neighbors. How do I know this? Patti Peeksalot buttonholed me today. I try to avoid Patti. She’s a prolific panderer of private and public prevarications and palaver. In short, Patti is the neighborhood gossip. Seems like there’s one in every neighborhood no matter where you live. Yep, they’re the behind-the-blinds slat lifters whenever they hear a noise outside. If they could do straight reporting, the NSA could use them. But they don’t. Their idea of information is what Barbara Blabbermouth told to Teri Tellsall who parleys with Yuri Yakker who shares it with Brenda Barfly and Gabe Gabber.
Our new neighbors are twenty-somethings. Of course, that alone is enough to generate a ripple of conversation in this neighborhood where the average age is somewhere around forty and a good share of us are retired. The thing to remember is that none of us started out that way. We were all twenty-somethings at one time or another, and some of us are not afflicted with old-timer’s disease or a selective memory, at least not those honest with themselves.
Anyway, by the time the news about the neighbors makes its way through Blabbermouth, Tellsall, Yakker, Barfly, and Gabber the new neighbors have transformed into something akin to the Manson family. And it all somehow comes back to someone like Patti who swears it’s the Gospel truth. And it all started with her, but it’s changed so much she doesn’t recognize it. I’m pretty sure the truth got lost somewhere on that trail, so I don’t pay a whole heap of attention to it.
“They’re just kids and you know what they’re like” Patti said conspiratorially.
“Yep,” I tried to suppress that sarcastic tone in my voice, “I was one once.”
“Well, you’re retired now. I just wonder where they would get the money to rent a place like that. I’ll just bet they’re going to move in a passel of their friends… and that doesn’t comply with HOA rules!” Patti is big on HOA rules, as long as they aren’t the ones she is breaking.
“You’re kind of jumping the gun there, aren’t you Patti?”
“I dunno… I’ve heard things…”
“Oh, geez, Patti. Give it a rest and give the kids a chance. They probably are just a young couple starting out. Don’t you remember when you were young?”
“That’s different!” Patti said petulantly. “We were raised differently.”
“How on earth do you know how these kids were raised? I have two boys and they turned out just fine.”
“Well, you’re different than most parents these days.”
Patti obviously got miffed that I wasn’t going to play her game and she trotted off to share her revelations with Twyla Twaddle, the second biggest gossip in the neighborhood. Twyla just recently reported a “roving band of teenagers that looked suspicious!” Well, nuts, school just let out and, like all kids without a driver’s license, they were walking somewhere. Kids today pack up... it’s what they do. Doesn’t mean they’re looking for trouble. First folks complain the kids don’t get out into the fresh air, then they whine when they do. Give me a break... better yet, give the kids a break.
A little later, the young couple showed up with a friend, at least I assume it was a friend. Who else would help a young couple move? Anyway the friend’s pickup came in handy for moving furniture. It was kind of odd, though, that all they had in the pickup was a big overstuffed sofa. I think I would have found a way to put a little more in, but then I’m stingy with my go-juice. I don’t like to make a lot of trips if I can help it.
Now normally I don’t like to watch my neighbors, even new ones, but I was outside working on my lawn, so I couldn’t help but see them as they struggled with that big old couch. I was tempted to say something to them about a better way to get the job done, but I knew how I might have reacted at that age, so I kept my mouth shut and paid attention to resetting the stones around my center garden. I couldn’t help hearing the kawhump that was followed immediately by a “Damn!” You see, you can’t hold onto only one side of the thing and not have it tip on you when it comes off the truck… especially when the other guy lets go. I guess I can understand how that happened.
Frank Furter’s vivacious young, blonde daughter flounced past me with her big, sad-eyed Basset Hound in tow. It was pleasantly warm out, so she was attired in shorts and a tee. She tossed a wave at me as she went by and didn’t seem to notice the fellow across the street staring open-mouthed at her. That garnered him the look from the young brunette in the moving party. Uh-oh. It didn’t seem to phase him. I don’t think he took his eyes off Ms. Furter until she disappeared around the corner. Ah to be young and single! I wonder if he noticed the dog. Probably not.
I’m expecting to get a call from Frank later this afternoon asking me about the new neighbors since they are just across the street. Frank is a little overprotective of his little girl. And if he’s talked to Patti, who knows what’s going through his mind? Freddie Krueger might have moved in.