Johnny America


The Tree-Touch­er, the Mum­bler and the Naked Lady


There was a guy who touched every tree that lined the street in front of my house. He made sure not to miss any trees. He didn’t feel them or ca­ress them, he just touched them. Mrs. Canville, our neigh­bor, called the po­lice. They told her he had a prob­lem. He couldn’t help it. He had to touch the trees. The trees didn’t die or any­thing, so what was the harm? One day Mrs. Canville ran out of her house with a broom wait­ing for the guy who al­ways touched the trees. He saw her. He crossed the street and be­gan touch­ing the trees on that side of the street. Mrs. Canville called him a nut job. He didn’t re­sponse he kept walk­ing up the street touch­ing the trees.

There was an­oth­er guy who walked up and down the street who mum­bled so bad that no one could un­der­stand him. Every­one avoid­ed him like he was con­ta­gious or some­thing. His mum­bling seemed mad, as if he were an­gry about some­thing. My fa­ther tried to be nice and replied ‘re­al­ly, re­al­ly’ when the guy mum­bled to him. Dad said that we should steer clear of him be­cause the guy had a hard life. And he was in a bad train wreck. I guess he was a nut job, too.

There was a woman who lived down the street. She had a big yard with well-trimmed hedges. On sun­ny days she would lay out­side bare-naked. I nev­er saw it but my dad did. He said it was sad. I guess it was sad be­cause she was old and not very good look­ing. I don’t know how my dad ever saw her naked. Un­less he peeked through the hedges but dad wouldn’t do that. Any­way, the po­lice had to talk to her. They re­mind­ed her about all the kids in the neigh­bor­hood. And they re­mind­ed her that the guy who al­ways touched the trees walked by her house, and so did the guy who mumbled.

Filed under Fiction on August 16th, 2008

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