Winter 2018 - Fiction

 

 FICTION 

Danielle LaVaque-Manty


The Spruce Street Neighborhood Safety Coalition Needs Your Help

  

The Spruce Street Neighborhood Safety Coalition
Petition to Establish Citywide Drone Management Policies and Regulations

Given the increasingly frequent sightings of local delinquent Jeffrey Nicholson’s drone near the corner of Spruce Street and Rosemary Road as well as other locations that used to be free from such newfangled irritants, we the undersigned demand that the city council pass the following ordinances to protect the health and well-being of all members of our community:

1. Drones shall not be permitted to fly over city parks colliding with children’s kites and making dogs bark.

2. Drones shall not be permitted to fly over city streets distracting drivers and causing traffic jams and fender benders.

3. Drones shall not be permitted to fly over city sidewalks “buzzing” the mail carrier.

4. Drones shall not be permitted to fly over city high schools dropping “special” brownies during the lunch hour.

5. Drones shall not be permitted to fly over coffee shops recording people’s highly personal conversations about bladder concerns.

6. Drones shall not be permitted to fly over people’s back yards taking photos of people’s granddaughters reclining by swimming pools in their bikinis.

7 Drones shall not be permitted to fly after 7:00 p.m. or before 7:00 a.m., when the whir of their propellers in the dark triggers people’s husbands’ PTSD.

8. Henceforth, drones shall only be permitted to fly in Jeffrey Nicholson’s own yard under the supervision of Jeffrey’s aunt Martha, the only member of the Nicholson family who understands social decorum and has the moral strength to take this wayward youth in hand.

9. Henceforth, if drones fly where they are not permitted, people who own legal firearms will be within their rights to blast those little suckers out of the sky and deposit their hot, stinking, greasy remains on Jeffrey Nicholson’s front stoop where people’s journalist nephews will take photographs that people’s editor sons will blow up extra large and run on the front page of the weekly community paper. Above the fold.

 

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The Spruce Street Neighborhood Safety Coalition’s
Ten Recommended Steps to Save the World This Year

 

1. Donate a toaster or other useful household appliance to Africa.

2. Stop eating lobster. They boil those poor creatures alive.

3. Read a book about homelessness.

4. Use only one square of toilet paper per sitting. Fold it in half as many times as it takes.

5. Encourage the Vanderbroek boy to say no to drugs. He turned seventeen last month. It’s time he learned about these things. Also discourage him from fraternizing with that delinquent Jeffrey Nicholson. The world does not need another young man eating “special” brownies and terrorizing the neighborhood with drones.

6. Sign the Spruce Street Safety Coalition’s anti-drone petition.

7. Participate in the Spruce Street Safety Coalition’s anti-drone march on city hall each Saturday.

8. Put a “Stop Drones” sign in your yard. If you don’t already have one, you can get one from Edna Mae Harrington-Smith (President and Chair, Spruce Street Neighborhood Safety Coalition) at 1414 Spruce Street. Just knock on the back door. They are handmade but snazzy.

9. Collect box tops for the elementary school. The school gets ten cents per top. Once she gets enough tops, Mrs. Byers, the physical education teacher, will be able to buy a drone capture net gun and teach the children how to use it. She also needs a new Wiffle Ball set.

10. Learn Esperanto. If everyone spoke Esperanto, we would all understand one another. World peace would be within our grasp. (Komenci hodiaŭ – start today!)

 


 

The Spruce Street Neighborhood Safety Coalition
January Meeting Minutes

Attendees: Edna Mae Harrington-Smith (Secretary and Convener), and Carla Eisner (who just stopped by to drop off some box tops but said she might try to attend the next meeting if it can be scheduled on a Tuesday).

Agenda Items:

1. Count box tops and assign someone to take them to Mrs. Byers. (Done. Carla’s eight + Edna Mae’s sixty-five brings the total to seventy-three. Edna Mae Harrington-Smith volunteered to take the tops to Mrs. Byers.)

2. Make more “Stop Drones” signs so there will be enough to go around when the neighbors start asking for them, which they will do any day now, as soon they realize how that delinquent Jeffrey Nicholson is ruining all of our lives. Last week, for example, he crashed that drone into people’s cars, dinging the glass in their windshields. He told Officer Baxter he wasn’t even flying his drone that day, but where else would the dang ding have come from? (Done. Two more signs were made, bringing the total available to thirty.)

3. Distribute “Top Ten Steps” flyers. (Done. Carla took one!)

4. Recruit new members. (Done. Carla was recruited!)

5. Make “special” brownies for use in strategic operations. (Incomplete. Lacked a key ingredient.)

6. Learn three new words in Esperanto. (Done. Pursue: forpeladi; capture: preno; punish: puni.)

 


 

The Spruce Street Neighborhood Safety Coalition Invites You to a


P O T L U C K


This Saturday, 2 PM (after the anti-drone march at City Hall)
at 1414 Spruce Street

You don’t have to be a member to attend, but you may want to join and help make your neighborhood safer once you hear about the important work the Coalition does. Application forms will be available.

Please arrive at the potluck promptly at 2 p.m.

1. Bring a chair.

2. Bring a fork.        

3. Bring a dish to pass.

4. Don’t bring potato salad. People have that covered.

5. Don’t bring a Jello mold. Those look pretty but the texture gives people the willies.

6. Do bring a pencil and a notebook. Edna Mae Harrington-Smith will provide a brief but enlightening presentation on the Coalition’s history and current activities.

7. No children or adolescents. Sensitive topics such as juvenile delinquents and “special” brownies will be discussed.

8. No drones.

9. RSVP to Edna Mae Harrington-Smith (Event Planner and Entertainment Coordinator, Spruce Street Neighborhood Safety Coalition) at 432-9081 by noon on Friday. People need to know how much potato salad to make.

 


 

Spruce Street’s Safe and Healthy Potato Salad
A Recipe by Edna Mae Harrington-Smith

 

6 potatoes, peeled and diced

3 celery stalks, chopped

1 c. green grapes, halved

½ c. pickle relish

Black pepper to taste

1. Place potatoes in a large pot of water and bring the water to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for 45 minutes, until potatoes are slightly mushy. They will soak up the flavor of the pickle relish better this way.

2. Put the potatoes in a large bowl. Add pickle relish, celery, and grapes. Stir.

3. Sprinkle in a good dose of pepper. (Helps keep people awake.)

This is the best potato salad. It is low in sodium, low in fat (no eggs, no mayo), and won’t spoil no matter how long you leave it out in the sun. The grapes give it a hint of sweetness. It’s a little green looking, but you can use purple grapes if that bothers you.

 


 

The Spruce Street Neighborhood Safety Coalition
Donation Request List 

We here at the Safety Coalition find ourselves in need of the following new or gently used items for use in an upcoming project to increase our neighborhood’s safety. Please contribute whatever you can.

1. Acoustic drone detector

2. Drone capture net gun

3. Night vision goggles

4. Bazooka

5. Hazmat suit (ladies’ size 8)

6. Chainsaw

7. Industrial-size freezer

8. Quicklime (50 pounds)

9. Rat poison

10. “Special” brownies

Deliver donations to Edna Mae Harrington-Smith (Head Tactician, Spruce Street Neighborhood Safety Coalition), at 1414 Spruce Street. Leave them in the carport.

 


 

Spruce Street Neighborhood Safety Coalition
Missing Child Alert

It has come to our attention, by way of his aunt Martha, that local delinquent Jeffrey Nicholson has been missing for three days. While this may seem like a blessing to those of us who were sick and tired of Jeffrey and his drone, his parents and his little sister (and Martha) have been turning the neighborhood topsy-turvy, hollering Jeffrey’s name and peering into people’s garages and sheds with their flashlights. Such messing with people’s sheds is not safe. Therefore, we at the Spruce Street Neighborhood Safety Coalition feel we must pitch in and guide the search in more salutary directions.

Things you can do:

1. Call his friends, if you think he has any besides Eric Vanderbroek. Martha says Eric hasn’t seen him since school let out on Tuesday. Perhaps this is true, or perhaps young Mr. Vanderbroek is covering something up at Jeffrey’s request. Either way, he’s no help.

2. Follow Eric Vanderbroek if you can do so unobserved. Criminal types like Jeffrey usually keep secret lairs. Eric might know where Jeffrey’s lair is and lead you there.

3. Keep your ears open and your eyes on the sky. Martha says Jeffrey’s drone is at home, on a shelf in the garage, but he may have a backup in his secret lair.

4. Try leaving a few “special” brownies in a strategic location, such as near a swimming pool or an electronics store. Then watch and wait.

5. Make copies of this flyer and distribute them to everyone you know.

6. If you make a sighting, call Edna Mae Harrington-Smith (Chief Safety Officer, Spruce Street Neighborhood Safety Coalition), at 432-9081. After that, you should probably also call the police. And Jeffrey’s aunt Martha. And maybe his parents. Who would have guessed his family would miss that irksome boy so much?

 

 


Danielle LaVaque-Manty is a freelance editor living in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Her work has appeared in Glimmer Train, Sou’wester, The Pinch, Baltimore Review, Monkeybicycle, and New Delta Review, among other journals.

 

 

  © Ninth Letter, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.