On the Backyard Bricks

From upstairs I heard yelling.

My grandmother was yelling about something. She’d been quiet all day long — she hadn’t shown any interest in watching whatever race was on FOX, instead she wanted to spend the day going through her box of cancelled checks from twenty years ago.

(Among those checks, by the way, is a hospital bill for my grandfather. From forty years ago. “I think you can safely toss this,” I said. That did not go over well when I broached the subject.)

I came downstairs, wanting to see what was the matter.

“They’re stealing my bricks,” she said. “They can’t do that.”

There’s a pile of bricks in the backyard. It’s been there since I was a child. It was probably there twenty years before that. The bricks are easily fifty years old.

“Who’s stealing the bricks?”

She pointed out the window. “Our neighbors. Just look. They’re stealing my bricks. They’re building a bonfire. They’re cooking things on my bricks. They can’t do that.”

I looked out the window. The pile of bricks was out there, in the backyard, precisely as it has been since, oh, I don’t know when.

I did’t say anything.

“They can’t do that!” my grandmother insisted.

I sighed. “If you feel that strongly about it, why don’t you go out there and tell them to leave your bricks alone?”

“As soon as I’ve calmed down, I’m going to do that.” She sneered. “They’re stealing my bricks. They can’t do that. They’re inside my property. They can’t do that.”

She sat back down at the dining room table, and picked up a cancelled check from years back. I shrugged, and went back upstairs.

As the day wore on, she’d occasionally yell about the neighbors stealing her bricks. She’d insist, because I clearly wasn’t paying her any attention, that there was smoke rising from her brick pile. Or she’d try to locate her neighbor’s phone number in the phonebook, so that she could call the neighbors and give them whatfor. I’m not sure she was even using the local phonebook.

This morning, she gave no indication that there was anything wrong with her brick pile. No signs of agitation. For all I know, though, later today she’ll decide there’s something wrong with the brick pile. And the agitation will begin again.

An Indiana bomb squad was called in, to deal with… a potentially explosive turnip.

I’m sure Baldrick wasn’t involved.

That’s our news of the weird today.

The Novelists Guild strike is having no effect on American society.

Good luck, striking novelists!

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