Thursday, October 08, 2009


I'm sitting at the kitchen counter, compulsively refreshing my hotmail, twitter, and doing some light surfing while I wait for the washing machine to finish. So the clothes will be actually taken out and I can avoid yet another episode of 'how to remove mold from polo shirts' (if they're dark enough, no one will notice).

There's a knock on the door.

This is surprising, since I haven't received a call from either of the gates. Who could it be? I briefly consider running upstairs and doing my 'suspicious foreigner' routine and peeking through the hall curtains. But, well, that would mean I would have to run upstairs. And I just don't see that happening.

I unlock the door.

Two men in blue shirts with the emblem of the estate (yes, we're that kind of estate) greet me in Afrikaans and one of them launches into a longer speech.

"I don't speak Afrikaans," I counter as my midwestern alter ego, Betty, puts a little extra twang to the statement.

"Ma'am, do you have children?" the man whom I vaguely remember having a safety discussion with back when we first moved onto the estate, asks me.

"Err... No?" Betty is a little thrown by the opening line. She doesn't speak Afrikaans either.

"Do any of your neighbors have children?" he continues, while the other man circles down to our garden gate.

"Err... I'm not sure? What? They have some. I think." I point to a random direction, mostly towards the driveway. And Betty points to the people who used to shoot at our house with arrows. Betty knows something's up.

"Do you mind if we go into your garden?" the other man asks me.

I'm momentarily unable to remember where we keep the garden-gate keys (in the junk drawer with the vitamins, random trash such as used tissues and receipts, pieces of paper with what looks like code on them but might just be drunken ideas for a novel or a blog post, gum, and a curiously large amount of identical menus to Cape Town Fish Market. Duh!), and am forced to lead the men through the house into the back yard.

However, they stop at the side doors and babble on in Afrikaans to each other.  

"What exactly is going on?" Betty prods. Loudly.

"We got a call from this lady over here, on this side, and she said 'they're shooting at us again'."

Shooting? Did I just hear correctly? Am I finally coming face to face with what so many maintain is an everyday South African reality? Someone is shooting on our estate? With bullets?

"With an air riffle. Can you see they broke her bathroom window." The man points up to the upstairs window on the other side of the garden wall.

I gaze up at the miniscule nick on the frosted glass, that very well could have been caused by anything flying into the window. A confused bird (their bathroom does have bright green walls which might seem inviting to a rat of the sky a pigeon), a ball, something aimed at their forever barking dachshund... Who knows?

"Ah, maybe someone was annoyed by their dog," I blurt out before Betty can do anything to silence my out-loud thoughts.

Both men turn to look at me.

Betty smiles and points to the doors leading onto the patio.

The men finally follow me out into the back yard, and make attempts at seeing over the garden wall as if they're on pogo sticks.

Betty suppresses my desire to snort by plastering that smile she is so famous for on her face.

"That neighbor has children. All girls." Betty volunteers and points to the house whose inhabitants insist on bad Britney Spears imitations in the bathroom, practicing what sounds like some impressive toyi-toying complete with furious stomping and clapping of hands and an occasional Shakira 'these hips don't lie' interjection, and keep their door open. A lot.

"Ah, all girls," the man dismisses Betty's comment as if it would be unimaginable for a girl to even own a BB gun.

"Could have come from any of these windows," the other man points up to the windows of the neighboring house, but is looking directly up at our upstairs hall-bathroom and the guest-room windows.

I blink.

Do they really think that I'm harboring a mischievous boy upstairs? That I lied about not having children? Or that I did some shooting? With a BB gun? Really, with a measly BB gun?

But I'm a girl. By their standards that makes me not guilty, right?

Perhaps they think my swollen ear-alien did it? To be fair, there could be several BB guns and plenty of ammo stashed in there, and I would never be the wiser. I'm not going near that thing with anything besides antibiotics and plenty of rubbing alcohol. Too scary.

Do they think I'm guilty?  

Was it one of these guys? Look at them, all shifty-eyed and avoiding my stare. I bet they were just egging each other on too.

What do you think? Who's the culprit? The noisy girls from the bathroom window with a cousin's BB gun, the compound-bow owning crazy guy from his balcony with a son's air riffle, a confused pigeon trying to find a tree to perch on, the wild neighbor children from their trampoline with a slingshot, or the weird lady with multiple personalities and no other outlet for her rage over a yappy dog from the guest-room window with pure power of thought?

Let's play some CSI. Dazzle me with your scenario. I don't have a clue.



Obviously it was Colonel Mustard in the library with the cnadlestick....Either that, or it was Extanjara in the guest room with her attack parrots! (the bird on the far left looks veerrry shifty!)

Esmerelda said...

I bet it was one of those girls re-enacting a Britney meltdown, perhaps the one with the umbrella. But they didn't have an umbrella, only a BB gun (Daddy's?). The gun bounced off the hip and hit neighbor's window.


ellen abbott said...

I'm going with the power of thought.

Tay said...

I blame the Communists! They poisoned the water, causing the Britney doppelgangers to gyrate too ferociously which unleashed a tornado, which offset the crazy guy with the air rifle (who was previously aiming for JFK) to shoot a wayward pigeon who went careening into the window. The nick was actually caused by his little Prince Albert piercing (which does not resemble a half-masticated alien pustule).

It's elementary.

Cindy said...

I bet it was that other personality of yours that hasn't introduced herself to you yet. LOL.

omchelsea said...

It was totally you with a potato gun. Don't lie.

Vision in Blue said...

CIA is probably behind it. They usually are. Some regime/dictator is being propped up by whoever shot at your neighbors window. CIA....they're everywhere!

Sandy K. said...

Having been away on another case, I'm sure there are details here I'm unaware of. For instance, is there an army instalation nearby, practicing their sniper skills? Another possibility, you were doing your yoga meditation in an upstairs room, facing the rising sun (which happens to be behind your neighbor's house). As you released that rather complicated pretzel pose, your foot caught the corner of the table, which tipped, causing the wine bottle from last night to roll toward the edge, where you tried to catch it, but the cork was already loose and caught on the edge of that mosaic statue, pulling it from the bottle, where it bounced on the window sill and out the window. Of course, it wouldn't have traveled across the area between houses and broken that window if it hadn't slid down the awning, bounced off the mini-trampoline the little old lady used for morning exercise, and hit the window "just right." (It was old glass, already cracked). I'm sure you have it on security tape. Good luck getting that red wine out of your oriental rug!

Optimistic Pessimist said...

What about drunk Extranjera? Do you think she could have done it? She does often forget things, you know from the wine and all.

What id drunk Extranjera ran out of wine a decided to pop a bottle of champagne when something went horrible wrong and the cork went through the neighbor's window.

Shouldn't rule that out as a possibility.