They seem to be on the “culting edge” of all neighbourhood activities that are frequently eluding my poor husband and I. It’s downright creepy how they seem to anticipate every holiday garbage pickup, and every food and clothing drive. They arrive as if out of nowhere at our door with their plastic pod smiles asking for clothes for the poor. As I stammer and scramble to cover, pretending I just left my donation bag upstairs, I find myself suddenly supplying the poor with a Marc Jacobs studded sailor top ... tags still on.
A week before Victoria Day this year, there they were, this time enlisting their wee devil children who stood at our doorstep sporting their perfect spawn smiles, hands outstretched waiting for our twenty-dollar street fireworks contribution.
“Thanks, Mrs. Mochrie, would you also like to bake something for the sweet table?” says Pod Junior with a grin that told me he knew damn well I don’t bake. What kind of evil game is he playing at??
“Yes, Connor, I would be happy to bake something.”
I had to be careful not to let my mind wander to which bakery I would be buying said baking at, knowing all too well that Connor could use my moment of weakness to steal my everlasting soul.
Well, this year I am going to turn the table on these vacant mindless Moonie wannabes. I am not going to bake, by God! I am not even going to fake-bake. Because that’s what they want. They want me to become one of them. They want me to know stuff. They want my husband to stand at the end of the driveway and chat with the other males about tools. And that just ain’t gonna fly. And you know why? He knows NOTHING about tools. Ha ha ha ha ha ha haaaaaaaaaaa. We’re going to beat them at their own evil game. Because I know that they exist only to see us putting out our recycling on the right day or fake-baking for the fireworks, and we are stronger than that, damn their eyes!
So this year we decided to screw with their brainwashed matter. We purchased several packets of extra-long-lasting sparklers. You know, the ones that are safe for the tots because of their long burning feature, keeping tiny hands well away from the flame?
I went down the street to the home of street fireworks organizers, Betty and Bill Zeebub, and thrust my extra long sparklers at them, “Thought we would contribute a little extra this year, guys ... you know ... for the kids.”
This will have their forked tails in a knot, I thought. And it did. They were not programed for this out-of-format, off the grid gesture. But they quickly gained composure saying, “Oh thanks, but now we’ll have too many. You see we did our shopping for this event WEEKS ago.”
“Oh keep them,” I said, “you never know!”
With our sparkler test launched, I laid in wait. If they possess a shred of their former humanity, they will use them!!! They will have to. Who among us in human form would not be thrilled to use the gifted long-burning sparklers?
The day after the event as I was scrambling down the driveway in my housecoat, frantically shoving papers in the bin, the screeching brakes of the city truck rounding the corner ... I saw them. The burned and mangled remains of our extra-long sparklers in our neighbour’s recycle bin.
Maybe there is hope for them yet.
Maybe after this they will slip up again and again, parking on the wrong side of the street, or making too much noise after midnight, slowly but steadily exposing their vulnerable human selves.
As I walked back into the house I felt proud for being even a small part of their human restoration.
As I walked in the house, I heard the city truck screech past our house and I turned to see it drive right by our fully stocked recycle bin.
SHIT! IT’S GARBAGE DAY.
As my bin error dawned on me, I am sure I saw a curtain flutter in the Zeebub’s living room and the trace of a satisfied smirk on Betty’s vacant puss.
Okay, Pod Pepes. You won this one. But the battle isn’t over.
Barbara: …The Zeebub’s!! Oh my god!!! Okay, okay, I think their kith and kin (if such things have kin) live in my ‘hood!! It’s crazy—they truly know every rule and law, and I live in TERROR of their bloodless smiles and perfect grasp of neighbourhood etiquette: “Noooo, the bins are supposed to go here not there, and by the way, it’s really much safer if you back in when you park … you know … for the kids.”