#24 - Adam's Lament

      The neighbour's got this new thing with the stegosaurus and Adam's trying not to be a dick about it. The problem he's having is that it breathes so goddamn heavy and loud it keeps him awake all night.

      He tries telling himself he's just making a mountain out of it. That the neighbour on the other side has a dog that barks like a mother fucker and he doesn't let that bother him. So surely he can let this slide. You know, keep the peace and all that.

      The problem is that this morning heís heading to work and he goes outside to get in his car, and his car had been completely crushed. Itís as flat as piss on a plate, and has these enormous foot-print-sized holes in the top of it.

      He just stands there with his brown leather briefcase and his brown leather shoes and stares at his completely destroyed Jumanji car.

      He opens his briefcase and takes out some paper and a pen. He writes the following note:

      "Your stegosaurus destroyed my car. Call me immediately, we need to talk. 555-3466. Adam."

      He tapes the note to the neighbour's side of the fence and goes inside to wait by the phone.

      He waits by the phone all day. He checks his watch and looks at the clock on the wall and listens to the stegosaurus walk around and breathe and be enormous. Every once in a while the dinosaur walks along the fence and he can see, just over the edge, the double row of satellite dish sized spikes, taunting him.

      Adam seethes with anger.

      The phone doesnít ring all day.

      Night settles in and Adam lies in bed staring at the ceiling. His red bedroom curtains reach out into the night then hurry back into the warmth of the indoors. Out and back in. Out and in. All in time with the Stego's heavy breathing.

      * * *

      Morning brings new light, but not new cars, and so Adam is standing on his neighbourís front step holding his fist up to the door but not actually knocking. He wants to knock and is thinking about knocking and is even working out some practice knocks, but he can't seem to pull the trigger. If a photograph were taken of him right now and reviewed at a later time the reviewer would definitely say that Adam was knocking on the door, but they would be wrong.

      Adam lowers his fist and stares at the door, sighing heavily. He looks at the fence. The note is still there. They hadn't seen the note. They'd come and gone and just hadn't gotten the message that's all. Adam decides that, in light of this, he will give it one more day. He turns, gives the dinosaur the finger, and goes back inside to wait by the phone.

      * * *

      Three days later Adam is knocking for real. He's got the screen door open and his fist is hitting the frame of the door beside the window. He figures this is an appropriate place to knock. He is thus far pleased with the result because his fist on the wood is making a satisfyingly thud, while additionally, the window is rattling just a bit. Not enough to be inappropriate, but just enough to get his point across.

      When the door opens a young woman is standing in a tank top and pyjama shorts. She has tattoos all down her arms. Adam's mouth is hanging open because he was going to talk but is instead looking at the woman's arms. There are birds and poetry and a train and some musical symbols. They cover her arms from her exposed shoulders all the way down to her wrists.

      "Hey, can I help you?"

      Adam stops looking at a bluebird with a clef note in its beak, and looks up, at the woman's face. She's wearing glasses. She's looking back at him.

      Adam didn't have much luck with the ladies. He was looking forward to his neighbour being a 38 year old man with a lisp and a dirty Yankees t-shirt.

      "uh, uhm, yes. Yes you can actually. My name's Adam, I live just next door there," Adam pauses but the woman is silent. "See the problem I'm having is just with your uh, with your Stegosaurus. See I don't mind pets, I actually like them, I used to have a dog growing up, he barked a lot, and we called him Barkly until we had to put him down, he was old you see."

      So far so good. The woman looks at Adam, right at his face, his eyes. She waits, listening patiently.

      "So, right, so see the problem isn't you having a pet dinosaur at all really, it's just that, see I park my car out there in the alley way, just on the other side of the fence there, and well I guess maybe your dino must've gotten out one day and well he definitely destroyed my car. I mean if it was a scratch or just you know, something small maybe I'd be ok, right, I mean it's an old car, but well... itís pretty flat now, you know, much flatter than a car ought to be.

      The woman with the bird and poetry and music tattoos looks up at Adam and waits for him to finish. When he's done she squints her eyes and cracks her lips into a smile.

      "Is this some kind of joke? Did somebody put you up to this?"

      Adam tries not to look too confused,

      "Uh, n.. no, no joke. I don't mean to make a huge fuss really, I mean I know it can't be easy to keep a Stegosaurus under control, b..."

      "Wait, what do you mean, a Stegosaurus? Like, a DINOSAUR?"

      "Uh well, yes, from the late Jurassic period to be exa..."

      "Hey mister, Adam, was it? Yeah Adam, look I'm sorry if something happened to your car. I don't know who it was, or what it was, but it wasn't me, and it also wasn't a dinosaur. Dinosaurs are extinct. Have a nice day."

      The door slams with a crash and the window rattles the way it did when Adam knocked.

      Adam looks behind him in the yard. An empty, quiet yard. The grass needs a mowing and the fence is in general disrepair, but there is no dinosaur.

      Adam a little frustrated, defeated and confused, starts walking back to his house when he almost runs into his car. The 2003 Honda Accord rests directly in front of him in pristine condition. It isn't a flashy car, more of a responsible decision really. Reliable, and cost effective, a budget friendly car. The car is a lot of things, but it isn't flat or destroyed at all, in fact itís even cleaner than he remembers it.

      Adam stares at his car for a very long time. He touches the roof and the door handle. He looks at Garfield clinging desperately to the rear window.

      He turns and goes into his house. There are 17 messages on his answering machine. They are all from his employer. They are all messages asking him where he is. They get progressively more impatient every time he hits the next button like flipping the pages of a sketch pad and watching a smiling cloud get angrier and angrier until finally...

      "Adam it has become very clear that you've decided to make your job not only less of a priority but simply not one at all. We believe that your time and ours would be better served if you didn't come into the office anymore."

      Adam looks at the now silent answering machine, then out the window to his responsible, extremely not flattened car. He slumps in his kitchen chair and stares at the ceiling. Out of the corner of his eye he can see the double row of spikes floating just above the edge of the fence.

©2009 Broken Chair