This is a short story in a series im writing about this character Ted that is kind of based on me..., there is a little revealed about Ted through other peoples eyes in each story, this one only reveals a little. Some of it is kind of inside jokes from the other stories, in other stories the focus is more from his view of things and we get to actually see Ted for who he really is. i also have a few stories that break chronological order, sometimes Ted is 18, sometimes 30, and childhood is a theme im looking into exploring, every short has a title like this one, Ted Gets A Talk Show, Ted's Organic Worm Poop Juice, Ted Quits His Job, this is just the first draft of this part, it will go through 5-10 rewrites before its done, but i wanted to post something in here..., it seems like a dead area of the forum..., anyway, hope you like it.
Ted Screws Around
To find him doing nothing wasn’t why Mr. Crest was shocked when he saw Ted last Sunday; it was that he was doing nothing in the woods between their houses, and he did nothing for a while. He was doing nothing and he was doing it close enough for it to be observed, unashamedly open…, and so close. He had been working in his tool shed when he heard a loud “#$@#!” and looked to see Ted in the woods between their yards, he had a hat on that had earflaps, sort of like a Russian fur hat, and he was standing in the woods looking around at something that had hurt his leg seconds ago. After two hours of watching Ted do damn near nothing, oh sure he poked around stomping on the occasional dead branch… but he never showed any sign of having a mission or purpose, and after two hours, Ted just went inside. Mr. Crest thought about this all day. Who was his neighbor Ted?
He had no job as far as he knew; he was around 30 and had a wife who worked part time in the pharmacy down the street. Maybe he did some sort of work on the internet, people did that these days. They were not rich, or even well of from what he could tell, but they didn’t seem to do without, they had nice enough stuff and they were seen lugging in bags from shopping regularly. They had three kids and a few dogs that barked every dang blasted time that a fire truck or police car wailed down the main street in town that was just a couple blocks away, the cops had been called, but Ted had told them his dogs were just being dogs and the police seemed to agree. Ted was always awake and appearing to do nothing…, just piddling around, always busy doing nothing, he wore pajamas at hours no normal human would be waking up or going to sleep at, the lights were on all night in his home, he could see Ted smoking cigarettes out the window and sitting at his computer every time he got up to pee, he was always there at night, all night, but in the morning he could be seen playing with the kids in the yard or going off to where ever people like him went off to. Mr. Crest secretly hated Ted, in all his 68 years he had not been so repulsed by another human being. When Ted moved in he was only 14, it was him and his step dad, mother and little brother. The step dad died about seven years ago and Ted moved back in with his mother, the little brother killed himself around six year ago, the mother ended up moving away, and Ted just stayed, he got married and had kids and he appeared to be going nowhere.
His driveway had two vans, one appeared to not run, the other was running but never used, there was a car that didn’t run, and then a car that was their daily driver, in his backyard was the truck Ted had blown up as a teenager. His yard was an abomination, it only got mowed twice a month, and he had dug up a garden in the front yard that he only was able to grow stuff in for a couple months a year, the rest of the time it was filled with kid’s toys, Tonka trucks and spoons mostly. Then there was the playhouse he had made from scrap lumber, it looked like a Nigger Shack painted yellow and had no place in a his neighborhood, let alone in his next door neighbors yard where it gleamed at him like a dead tooth.
His yard, was a sculpted masterpiece, there wasn’t a blade of the $5.99 a square foot genetically pest repellent Kentucky Blue Grass taller than the next, every tree was picked to go with the others and had a perfect circle of mulch at the base, and a perfect circle of flowers around the mulch, and then a circle of six inch white fencing. Some mulch islands were scattered about as well, and had flowers in pots on stands, or maybe a bench that a small child could sit in… there was a cute little stone painted donkey pulling a cart of flowers, that grew from the soil in the cart, there were numerous birdbaths and everything had a light buried in the ground facing it, illuminating it at night. The yard was a masterpiece.
Ted had planted three small trees, one each time he had a kid, under the root ball of each was the placenta of the child just born, and the health department said it was ok to do this even if Mr. Crest thought it was of concern. The trees were small, but were of an oak variety and started to grow to close together quickly, when approached about it, Ted said it would be easier to put tree-houses in, if they grew together tightly. Then to top it off there was The Stump, a few years ago a tree had been blown down in a huge storm that came through, it was a hundred feet tall and once cut up left an eight foot stump with a big root ball sitting sideways at the end of Ted’s driveway behind his mail box, it looked like a Penis and Scrotum. The debris from the tree was cut up and rolled into the woods to rot, but the stump was left, to big to move it, to expensive to pay someone to move it. The following Christmas Ted had wrapped it with Christmas lights, twenty rolls at least, from the base to the tip it glowed all the Christmas colors and it made Mr. Crest cringe when he saw it come on every evening. When March came and the lights were still there, it was only right that he wrote a letter to the county, when he didn’t hear back he called the zoning board and when they couldn’t help he took to finding Ted’s mothers address on the internet. Anonymously he wrote… he said that it was an eyesore, and that the property was still in her name, so even if her son had plans to live there forever and was the new owner in her eyes, that she was responsible, and that she needed to get the lights removed… there was no response, and the lights eventually were not turned on again, it was sometime in August, though he never took them off the stump and they were plugged in and ready to shine the following Thanksgiving.
And now Ted was getting closer than usual, he was in the woods between their houses, sure they were his woods, and he could do what he wanted to in them, but they were the buffer needed to keep a proper comfortable distance, and now the buffer was being used, and it would likely mean that slowly he would eat holes in the buffer, and eventually the buffer would be there, but its purpose would no longer be effective, it would be like replacing a concrete wall with one made of mist, one that you couldn’t see through, like the first, but one that could be walked through with ease…, this made Mr. Crest nauseous. Maybe I should move he thought, or maybe I should just try to make him move.
When he fell asleep that night, he dreamed that he heard helicopters like the ones he heard in Vietnam, only these ones had a higher pitch whirling sound, in the dream he heard the ‘copters and hoped he didn’t have to get in one, he feared heights. In the morning his dream was not even the slightest memory.
Outside in the woods Ted stood in the spot he was seen in earlier in the day, from this point the woods were not thick enough for the spray painted black, radio controlled, helicopter he’d bought on eBay to have much of a problem maneuvering around, short runs from here to Mr. Crest’s yard and back were easy. The helicopter flew just like it said it would on the website, albeit a bit wobbly from the 2 liter soda bottle with fork holes burned in it, attached to the bottom and full of salt.