An Interloper in Paradise

Grackles swoop down chasing

each other along the road that

runs through the neighborhood.

They rise cawing all the way


over the housetops on their way

to another association along the

shores of the big lake. A red tail

hawk sits high up in one of the


old, old Oaks. Scores upon scores

of chipmunks burrow all around

people’s property. As the sun sets,

mosquitoes attack people sitting on


their balconies, decks and front porch-

es. The breeze off of the lake blows the

carriers of disease away for now. A man

watching the crackles fly away, rubs the back


of his neck and feels a deer tick moving

into his hairline, picks it off and crushes

it between the nails of his thumb and

index finger. Six deer in the local herd


move up the east side of his property,

cross the street and disappear into

a dune. The man retreats into the

sanctuary of his great room, washes


his hands in the kitchen sink and

anticipates the exterminator’s visit

the next day to flush out the rod-

ents, which crept between the walls


last winter, got stuck and died leav-

ing, in early spring, after the thaw, a

horrible stench downstairs in his

wife’s art studio. At least the


termites are gone, guaranteed for

ten years with an annual inspection

by the pest control company for

$150 per visit in the fall of each year.


The ants go marching down in the

ground to get out of the rain

and come back up in every household


hoorah, hoorah.


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