Monday, March 28, 2016

Their just desserts

Today, I settle all family business. I steel my expression as I lace up my boots, the pair I wear only for certain work. I draw a long breath and close my home’s door behind me. The sun has risen; I’d better hurry. One last thought runs through my head: to cancel my plans and go back to bed. But I shake my head. I’ve a job. It’s what any red-blooded American would do.

My little Toyota wouldn’t do for my plans today, so I’ve rented a van. I needed one with a brand-new suspension and special racks in the rear, so I couldn’t get it from the likes of U-Haul. You can’t shake this kind of ammunition around much, you see. And maybe I’m overdoing it, but I specified a temperature-controlled vehicle. One wrong turn, after all, and someone would have a lot of cleanup.

Part of why I need to start off at dawn is to encounter certain people before they set out for the day—yes, it’s justice for the cheaters. My first stop is a roofer, right in town, whom we’d almost hired to clean algae off our roof with a spray cleaner that, it turned out, we could buy at Home Depot ourselves. To demonstrate, he’d sprayed some on a shingle and said we’d see the difference by morning. We didn’t. I get him as he’s loading his truck for the day, and the look on his face says he remembers me. He won’t forget this day.

Two others come next. One is a tile man we needed for a relatively mundane regrout and caulk job in the bathroom. The other, a chimney guy we needed for a cleaning and a chimney cap. Both had looked at their respective jobs at hand and said the same thing: “Ohhhhhhh, boooooyyyyy”—contractor-speak for “My kid is in college.” But I time my stops well and take both unawares, five miles apart, before their crews show up. There’s no mistaking what I have for them today, and next time they’ll know better. If there is a next time.

My next stop, naturally is the office. None of the security guards would ever suspect why I’m here today, on what’s supposed to be my day off. One even holds the door for me; I’m carrying a lot of weight, after all. Out of their sight, I don the full-face ski mask. I’m in luck, for my targets are all together in their usual conference room. The element of surprise, a few well-aimed shots and I’m done. One almost reaches the phone but doesn't make it. The stains might never come out.

A half-hour later I’m in Manhattan, where the first of the few remaining Presidential candidates is speaking. I can’t possibly get close; besides the crowd, there are Secret Service agents everywhere. Which is why I brought along my, um, “absentee ballot,” one you can’t get just anywhere. It’s a modern form of a medieval catapult, spring-loaded the same way but with a variable scope—and an effective half-mile range. I position the weapon slowly, precisely, and hit home on the first shot; I’ve seen American Sniper, after all. The crowd goes wild.

Ah, you’ve guessed that I’m merely indulging in one of my little fantasies, and I appreciate your patience. Have no fear, my feet are firmly planted in reality. After all, how could I possibly make, carry and deliver so many cream pies?

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