Your Leaf Blowers

With no warning, you launch your gas-powered lawn artillery. Before I can seek shelter, a barrage of leaf blower whine hits like a high-speed drill to the cranium. Disoriented, I stagger to the window to glare in mute, helpless fury. A swirling cloud of greenhouse gases and dried worm poop engulfs my home. With clenched fists jammed into my ears, I mutter my vow of retribution.

I grab my laptop and flee to the basement to crouch under the stairs with a set of noise-cancelling headphones, alone with my fury. As your assault continues above ground, I plot an escalating sequence of havoc and devastation:

—posting pointed comments to the neighborhood listserv;

—parking in your favorite spot in front of your house;

—releasing dandelion seeds onto your precious lawn;

—announcing an estate sale at your address;

—setting off my car alarm an hour after you turn in for the night;

—installing solar panels angled to reflect glare into your dining room;

—placing my bottom-shelf wine bottles in your recycling bin for all to see;

—luring you to an all-day poetry slam;

—ordering a powerful set of wind chimes.

Extreme? Cruel? Unneighborly? I make no apology for the nature of these plans. You should never have pushed me to the limit and over.

By the time I finish compiling my righteous storm of payback, your fiendish yard crew has moved on to conquer other lands. In the ensuing stillness, I proofread my barbaric list. As I tidy up the punctuation, a shameful realization gradually overcomes me, like a gut filling with bile. I wasn’t cut out to be a hero. I don’t have the killer instinct; I don’t have what it takes.

Still squatting under the basement stairs, I delete my draft message for the listserv, and slump against the wall. There I await the day when your needless acceleration of global warming brings forth widespread famine, epidemics, civilizational collapse, and the flooding of your beach house.

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