The battle with the Evil Contractor, Lord and Master of Pigs and Roosters, escalated. When it was bad, it was horrible, but more often than you might expect, the residents of Spooky Hill made a giant batch of lemonade from whatever offal E.C. left in his wicked wake. The following is one such tale.
Once Upon a Time on Spooky Hill my in-laws came to babysit. Dear Hubby and I were attending a conference in Vegas, Baby. It was autumn and they took the kids apple picking. Returning from the orchard, FIL, while maneuvering his vehicle up the steep and secret entrance to our house, came to a sudden stop and stared at the lot across from the house. “Kids?” he inquired, “Was that boat there when we left?”On the acreage across the street from my house, now rested a tugboat. (I am talking ocean tugboat folks, I am talking ancient, rusted, proportions of a good-sized house, tugboat.)The kids assured Grandpa that it indeed had not been there earlier in the day.
Many of my rocking neighbors were aware of the fact that it had taken Evil Contractor an entire day, heavy equipment and a crew of E.C. minions to haul that old tugboat from the field it had been rusting in for decades, to its new residence. They assumed rightly that it was a sign that the powers-that-be had ruled in our favor in the battle against E.C. This was his Modus Operandi and not new or unusual. It was a punishment, and my most excellent neighbors hatched a plan to turn the mammoth eyesore into lemonade.
The flight in from Vegas was late, and it was almost midnight when D.H. and I hit the secret entrance to Spooky Hill. My carry-on was stuffed with awesome loot from my week at Treasure Island. I knew the kids would be thrilled with the pirate paraphernalia, the usual, eye-patches, head scarves, plastic hooks and such. “What’s that?” The first thing I noticed was an enormous sign Evil Contractor had erected. I’d tell you what it said, but I try to keep this blog PG. The writer in me noted right off though, the dude couldn’t spell.
Reaching the top of the hill that night, what really caught our attention was the floodlights. I live in the country, there aren’t floodlights. They were moving, very Vegas Strip style, over an enormous old tugboat. My neighbors were out, at midnight on a weeknight, giant floodlights in hand, giving us our own personal welcome-home party, Treasure Island style.
We celebrated with another costume party, this time, of course, it was pirate themed. Arrrr. That rusted old tugboat was there for years. The best part was, when I had to give someone directions to my house. Living in the country, it went something like this:“…and just keep heading north, you’ll think there is nothing out this far and that you went the wrong way – you didn’t. You’ll see a sign that says “Lost Goat” make a left. Go 1/16th of a mile and turn right. You’ll think this can’t be it because it looks like the woods, just turn anyway - have faith. The hill is steep, you will need to floor it and the car will go about 2 mph. You’ll see a handmade billboard with a lot of misspellings, ignore what it says and just keep driving. Then you’ll spot a huge old tugboat on your right, no really, yes, a tugboat. No there is no water, it’s beached; my house is directly across the street from it.”I got far more company than you might expect. Do you think there was ever really any choice that I’d have to become a writer?I mean life just gives you this material, what else are you gonna do with it?