It’s Another One of Those Fake Ones

From a distance, it looks
magisterial way up on the
rock, above all other houses.
It faces south with windows
built on a curve to catch the
sun from dawn to dusk. Majestic
people must live there looking
over the landscape, cityscape,
McDowell Mountains to the east
to the South Mountains to the
White Tanks to the west. The
magistrates watch the rest of
Valley residents as they make
their way through the city day-
to-day and on the highway. The
couple and their chocolate lab
hike up the hill to see how close
they can get before being turned
away — broken gate, long, pot-
holed driveway, abandoned house,
broken windows, rotten floors,
tattered carpet, beer bottles in
the fireplace, a dirty mattress
on the floor, used condoms, beige
appliances with frayed electrical
cords, a deep swimming pool with
dirt rings and a broken diving
board on the bottom. “I’m not go-
ing in for fear of falling through
the floor and I’m getting the
dog away from this broken glass.
I’ll probably have nightmares,”
his wife says. On the way back
down, the man stares down on
the top of the chimney of one
of the homes. “Look, dear. An
owl…. Oh, no. I’m sorry. It’s
another one of those fake ones
to keep birds and other critters
from getting on top of the chimney
and maybe down into the house.”

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