What is this about?

Good Fences

A tentative voice floated up to him. A woman’s voice, old, tough and raspy, from too many years of tobacco.

“Who’s out here?”

Kelly held his breath. In the silence, he heard the neighbor tromping around her back yard, and then there was the click of a flashlight that she shined around the perimeter until she came upon the scene of the crime. He heard her sigh heavily and whisper a sharp “Sons a’ bitches!” as she poked the flashlight out into the darkness beyond the fence.

The beam of light cut into Kelly’s eyes from the spaces between the wooden slats and he turned his head away, blinded. He wondered if she’d seen him. He held his breath and felt his pulse strongly in his throat.

“If you punks are still here when the police come, I’ll be very happy to see you thrown in jail!” She yelled into the night air.

He exhaled slowly and smiled, both in relief at not being seen and at hearing an old woman say “punks.” After another minute, the woman sighed again and Kelly heard her stepping through the grass gingerly to avoid any of the broken glass, muttering under her breath as she went back inside and slammed the door. Prone there on the damp grass he laid for another couple of minutes, not wanting to fall for her potential trickery of her closing the door but staying outside silently. He figured any old woman that said “punks” would have a whole bag of tricks at her disposal.

Finally, Kelly began to move backward slowly, until he was at the fence’s edge, then after a few moments, he stood up and peered over, afraid of not only being seen, but of what he might see.

But she was gone. He stood there a few more moments before trying to move, and the minute he did, dizziness set in and the world started to spin around. He staggered backwards, falling butt-first back into the grass. He waited with eyelids shut tight until the spinning stopped, and then he wondered if the old lady had really called the police. He doubted it.