Things I've Tagged ‘Short Story’

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That Over There is the Line

Well. Hello again old friend. I see you’ve been very busy lately Sam, you crazy uncle you. My cousins are telling me a lot about what you’ve been up to and let me tell you it sounds pretty wild. The ol’ Uncle Sam residence is really taking a turn for the worse.

I heard you’ve lost a bunch of money on some ponzi investment schemes involving cages for your kid’s pets (I’m still blown away by this one). Turns out those once lucrative domiciles were actually pretty worthless when you found out the pets had no way to pay for them. The whole thing was all twisted up and I’m still having trouble wrapping my mind around the mess that situation created. Really, though, what were you thinking? Pets can’t pay for their residences Sam. At all.

Then, what’s this about spilling money into your kid’s bank accounts (where did that money come from by the way, who exactly is giving you money to lend) to try to prop up those cages? You didn’t learn from your poor decision making the first time around did you? Look, if your kids are ever going to learn anything they need to lose all of their money and start from scratch with a better idea of what to spend their money on. Now you’re just encouraging them to invest poorly.

Also, I heard Grant Michael, little old G.M., makes pinewood derby cars for his buddies in the scouts, but people stopped buying his for some better models made by another kid. That’s too bad, these things happen. No, Sam, don’t go buying up his operation–look he needs to figure out what his buddies want to buy, you can’t just tell him to make something you think is good for your house. It won’t work out well for him or you.

Haven’t you wasted enough money yet? Haven’t you figured out that blowing money is the worst way to get out of money troubles?

Come on Sam, get it together man. You can’t control your house this way. The money’s going to stop coming in when everyone loses their incentive to earn and you keep giving them a bunch of money that you don’t even have yourself.

It’s simple, go back to your first principles, and give your family the space it needs to lead successful lives.

Otherwise, chief, you’re just the dictator of the house.

My Uncle Sam’s Back Yard

Note: Originally published Friday October 27, 2006 on an old defunct project.

This is the story of a border, 2,100 miles in length; a story that is rich in historical significance; a story that is rich in cultural implications; or rather, a story that is about as ridiculous as my opening.

The Yard

Look, Uncle Sam, I love you—no, no, don’t say that, I really do. I didn’t want to be the one to have to tell you the obvious, but you see, you have a problem. Yeah, it turns out your neighbors have kind of been walking into your yard and using your pool and grill, and I guess they’ve been walking in your house and actually cooking your food on that grill, too.

I know, you know, but, uh, they’re kind of trespassing, which I think is illegal in this county. Punishable by deportation to the next county; yeah, it’s pretty serious stuff.

Oh, you have a plan to remedy the situation? Well, that’s great. Oh, and you’ve run it by the missus and she’s ok with it? Even better! So what is it?

Ah, you’re putting up a fence, you sly devil. What kind of fence, like a really tall one, with barbed wire, or…? Oh, I see, you’re putting up a chain‐link fence, and its only covering how much of your yard space? One third?

Look, Sam—can I call you Sam— I’m not sure that a short chain‐link fence covering a third of your yard is really going to stop your neighbors from getting in. Oh, we’re only talking about one third of the back line of your yard…look buddy that might be worse. You’re probably only going to slow your neighbors down a little, because all they have to do is walk twenty feet to their east and they’re right back in your yard doing the same thing as before. And it looks like, uh, your wife isn’t going to allocate any extra money to the project, so how are you paying for it?

Oh, you want your friends to think you’re tough on these illegal trespassers; yeah, I guess you look that way. But, don’t you think that you’re offending your closest neighbor in the back by only putting up a fence on the side that he touches?

Yeah, I understand you’ve also got to be tough on those neighborhood terrors, the darn kids; always plotting ways to get into your yard so they can vandalize your house. I remember when they took down your tall oak with a chainsaw—unbelievable, especially how they did it from the top down. Kids are inventive, aren’t they? But they haven’t really bugged you since then. Since you bought the house of, well, what you thought was one of the ring leaders. I guess he really wasn’t though, was he? But you wanted that 1.2 acre plot of rich land anyway, so it all worked out.

But, really, if you want to keep things under control at home, a longer fence might help, or a couple more dogs; something to patrol the yard a little. It might scare people off a bit.

And really, you’ve got to stop leaving the garage doors open, and your house doors unlocked, it really sends the wrong message.