Johnny America


Just Add Water


The neigh­bor­hood is chang­ing, that’s for sure. In fact, I don’t even know if it could be called a neigh­bor­hood nowa­days. It’s been quite some time since any new fam­i­lies have moved in and the avail­able hous­ing is con­tin­u­al­ly dis­ap­pear­ing. I don’t know how much longer my fam­i­ly and I will be liv­ing here.

I re­mem­ber when the last fam­i­ly moved in. The Web­sters — John, Sarah, and their sev­en­teen kids — were dropped from their pack­et about a week ago. The neigh­bor­hood was al­ready sat­u­rat­ed but we wel­comed the Web­sters nonethe­less. That was the height of this com­mu­ni­ty and since then every­one I know has passed on or been re­lo­cat­ed. Yep, the mov­ing net has been through here sev­er­al times and fam­i­lies, hous­es, and en­tire lots have been scooped up and tak­en away. The Schafers, the Williams, the Kr­beks, the Mey­ers — they’re all gone now.

It’s be­come a ghost town. The on­ly sounds now are the con­tin­u­al hum of the tank aerator.

If the loss of neigh­bors was the on­ly prob­lem that we faced here, I would­n’t be so con­cerned. Con­trary to the com­ic book back page ad­ver­tise­ments, not all of us are re­al­ly so­cial. Just be­cause we’re pack­aged to­geth­er does­n’t nec­es­sar­i­ly mean that we de­sire each oth­er’s com­pa­ny. I would be per­fect­ly con­tent if it was just me and the mis­sus and our 45 kids, grand­kids, and great-grand­kids. That’s more than enough folks to main­tain our lev­el of mon­key business.

Nope, my biggest con­cern is how the area’s go­ing to hell. I re­mem­ber sit­ting on Pur­ple Rock with noth­ing but inch­es and inch­es of blue-green ex­panse in front of me. Now that blue-green is murky brown and Pur­ple Rock is cov­ered with the same green­ish slime that’s slow­ly coat­ing everything.

I know I sound like I’m whin­ing about how every­thing was bet­ter back in the old days — last Tues­day, to be spe­cif­ic. I prob­a­bly am — at ten days I am pret­ty long in the tooth so maybe I do look back too fond­ly at what once was. I just want my off­spring to en­joy their lives at much as pos­si­ble. I want them to have the same chance to shock and amaze your friends.

Filed under Fiction on February 17th, 2004

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Reader Comments

Jay Holley wrote:

I like this a lot.

Mark Brown wrote:

Me too.

Amber wrote:

Jumpin’ on the bandwagon.
Band-wa-gon, one word or two? band wag­on band­wag­on. Any­way, I’m in. Loved it.

Anonymous wrote:

bet i loved it more than any of u lot, all the way to the once pur­ple cov­ered rock and back to lil’ old england.


I re­al­ly liked this piece-very good!

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