On occasion, I enjoy a good saunter around my block at night. I see a good many things, a good many of them strange. But none were as awfully abnormal as my most current of spying.
On occasion I have witnessed a 49 ice-cream truck pile-up that left myriad colors and flavors swirling out from under the wreckage; a pulsating, amorphous, glob of yellow snow that asked passers-by for tuna; a hunchback dragging a large potato sack laden with drunken orangutans; and a badger on its hind legs in a business suit gripping an attache case and checking his watch while waiting at a bus stop. Mere commonplace compared to what I have most recently experienced.
I was on a stint around my block last night when I glimpsed a high-panted, pygmy man roaming the dark places of the neighborhood. He would skitter in and out of the shadows as I would round a corner. That would be standard operating procedure if he belonged to the decrepit gang of transient ex-presidents in the area. I saw them skitter to and fro nearly every night. The neighborhood tolerated them since they frequently fertilized flower beds and lawns. Some residents preferred theirs over the store bought kind. Since I lived on the second floor, my need for decaying ex-presidential fertilizer was not high. In fact, I could seriously live with out it. These destitute despots rattled me from sleep every morning at 3:43 AM, what with their raucous dumpster diving for the perfect, half-eaten, microwaveable, chicken-cordon bleu entree. I’d more often than not stagger out onto my balcony and scatter them by arching a stream of toilet bowl water from my Mega Moistener 9000 pump action squirt gun.
This night, no one would be getting wet.
The pygmy man was straggling behind the gang ahead of me, so I thought him to be an ex-prez bringing up the rear. An independent, I figured.
It didn’t dawn on me what he was actually up to until I saw him on the second to last corner before the end of my journey. I squinted into the shadowy distance and saw the innocent pygmy man lugging a rusty cart behind him. As he squirted some utter balm into the cart’s wheel bearings, a street light reflected off of something jutting from his pants’ pockets. It looked as if he had hand tools of some kind jammed in there. That was when I decided he might be foreign to the former presidents. He wasn’t following them anymore, and sure as heck wasn’t fertilizing lawns. It was evident he was ghosting them for cover and was using his pockets of hand tools to dismantle unknown objects in order to fill up his now quiet cart.
Unfortunately, as I crept closer in the dark, my peg leg got stuck in a sewer grate and the noise I made trying to get it could have awoken the dead. Startled, he ran stiff legged and flip-flopped into his cart, which proceeded to roll down into traffic and out of sight. Before he vanished, however, I could have sworn I saw a mini-fist shaking spitefully at me.
After what seemed like an eternity, I freed my prosthetic and rushed over to where I had last seen the pygmy man. Glancing around, even after 417 times, I noticed there was nothing there. There was, however, a strange rectangular cement base where something a few feet wide once stood next to the sidewalk. To my surprise there were no remnants of what that something was. Despite my years at the underwater welding academy, I could not deduce what had been dismantled and fed piece meal into the cart by the high-panted, apparently crafty, pygmy man. My efforts were in vain. My thoughts – wasted. There was nothing left but to finish my nightly saunter. As I did, I sunk further and further into despair.
Two steps from the last corner, I nearly soiled myself. My cell phone rang and shattered the still night air. It jolted me out of my funk. My phone had rung. My phone! Was that it? It had to be! But I had to make sure of it, that little devil.
As I slid to a stop back where I had seen the little bugger, I knelt down and inspected it more closely. After much deliberation with my brain and untold amounts of memory sifting, it hit me like a rotten halibut being slapped across my brow. I knew what had been here and worst of all, I knew that there were more than one of these in not just my neighborhood, but the whole city. I hoped that the others had not met the same fate. The only way to find out was to personally inspect every block and street corner in town.
To do that, I needed transportation. I simply jacked the nearest motorized shopping cart and proceeded to scout the city. After finishing my sweep, I slumped back into the cart and wept for a day in half, for the pygmy man had done exactly as I had feared. He had effectively dismantled and stolen every phone booth in town.