Fight Fire with Fire

“Where do you think you’re going at this time of night?” Out of the corner of her eye she saw him stop. Shoulders hunched, one hand on his jacket. With a sudden burst of authority he stood up straight and turned to look her in the eye.

“It’s none of your business, Maggie, go back to your crossword” He really should have known better

“Charles Harris Rutherford! I have slept in your bed and washed your clothes for 40 years…don’t you tell me it’s not my business.”  She looked ever so carefully over her reading glasses at him. It sounded like a rehearsed play, something they did often.

With resignation he dropped his arms.

“It’s the damn faggots again!”

“CHUCK” This time her warning glare meant business.

“Alright- those damn HOMO-sexuals” Enunciating every syllable for full effect. “Every year and I’m not putting up with it- I just planted those red Azaleas last Spring”

“What are you gonna do?” This time she almost smiled in spite of herself, she knew he didn’t have a mean bone in his body.

“You just never mind- I’ll be back before you finish that crossword” His words clipped off as the door shut behind him. It wasn’t exactly running away, he’d said his peace, still there would be Hell to pay when he got back inside. He could still hear her grumbling.

He stood only a moment and silently surveyed his darkened yard. Every garden tool hanging where it belonged on the side of the garage. The lawn gnomes looking slightly fierce, giving him courage. The rumbling of noise just outside his fence broke the silence and made him grimace.

With the solemn purpose of a veteran soldier he buttoned his green plaid Spring jacket and gathered supplies. Moving just along the wall of his garage he slipped inside and propped the door. Only a foot or two, just enough to see out.

Sitting in the shadows he sat staring at his fence. Nerves rattled his stomach only once and a discreet belch promptly quieted him. Just as his ankle was starting to stiffen he heard them.

Stumbling shadows meandering back and forth, looming large under his fence posts. An occasional bark of laughter floated over the fence. Louder and closer they came, murmering indistinctly through drunken lips. Suddenly a loud thud as one of them tripped and hit the wooden fence. The shadows stopped abruptly.

Charles tensed his body- heart fluttering wildly and cleared away a few drops of upper lip sweat. Soon.

He waited just a moment until he was sure. The telltale sound of piss hitting his beautiful (soon to be prize winning) Azaleas let him know the moment was NOW!

With a steady hand and squinting one eye to be sure of his aim he sang out an inner triumphant yell and raised his arms to strike. He let fly a sharp stream of cold water from his precision garden hose. No one has felt a greater sense of vindication than he felt that day as he heard the offenders shout and scatter in a wild frenzy of zipping and running.


Inspired by:

“This is a picture I did not take of a man crouching low inside the dark of his garage, holding a garden hose, looking like a soldier staring down an invisible enemy, his finger on the hose’s trigger, crouching to stealthily peek through the side door of his garage, through which he aimed the hose, occasionally arcing a powerful stream of water thirty feet in the air, to surprise and discourage the steady stream of men relieving themselves on his bushes and fence, which happened to adjoin a darkened parking lot just off the main strip where revelers celebrated their weekend of Gay Pride in San Francisco, 2006.” – Michael David Murphy


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