the rush of water into the bathtub, a gentle roar, provides a nice soundtrack to the end of the day. my fingers work the buttons on my shirt, letting it fall to join the tie, and slacks, once pressed, now wrinkled and soiled, in a pike on the floor. pausing at the mirror, i run a hand down my face, pulling the skin, to stretch my eyes. what a day.
water seers, my legs bursting with sensation, spreading as i lower myself so all that is below my neck is massaged by its warm wet fingers. scratches on my arms and legs, sting at its touch and the day slowly leaks out of my pores, allowing me to breath once more.
hugging the curb, we sit as comfortably as possible, seats reclined in my car, just enough that we can keep an eye on the house. my partner chews the end of one of the thin cigars he likes to smoke when we are on break, but he won't light it, giving away our presence.
earlier we spoke to neighbors, casually, gaining information about the family we were looking for. you would be surprised the information a smile and a helping hand with the groceries will get you. Mrs. Kelly, two doors down from their house, would have given us their genealogy, as well as their schedule, if we would have let her.
in the rear view mirror, a black SUV rolls the corner, the heat off the asphalt smearing the license plate, until they get closer. my partner groans, shifting his cramped legs, returning circulation, in case we need to move quick.
as the vehicle passes, they are smiling, talking, perhaps returning from the grocery, or a kid's soccer game. we watch them pull into the driveway, unbuckling kids so they can chase each other into the house. the husband takes his wife's hand and they disappear through the door.
we are moving, shoes scuffing the sidewalk, closing in on the door before a neighbor can call, telling them two suits were asking about them. climbing the three steps to the stoop, my partner stretches out his lanky arm to knock on the door when it swings open.
a little boy, maybe seven, stands there looking us over, measuring us. trailing from his fingers is a red leash, attached to a black and brown Rottweiler that must weigh as much as me, outweighing him, four to one.
my partner turns on the the syrup in his voice, "hey buddy! is your mom or dad home?"
his eyes travel our length, the breathing of the dog deafening, and the boy smiles and says, in a cool even voice, "sic 'em."
the dog launches from his prone position, a buzz saw of teeth and fur. i flip over the railing backward into the bushes, sharp prickly limbs scratching furrows in my shins and arms as i eat dirt, ears ringing with growls and snarls. finding my knees, i see my partner on top of the car, the dog's nails peeling ringlets on paint and it scrambles for purchase on the hood trying to get at him.
really i am little better than a thief, scoping out houses, talking to neighbors, finding people who would otherwise want to be left alone. if you want to play, you got to pay though, or they send me to take it away. the looks on their faces when they realise i am there to repossess their things, you can tell i rank a little bit above the crap they scraped off their shoes after walking their dog.
some days, that is how i feel, especially when they tell me how hard they are working, all the troubles they are having, as i watch the baby dangling from a mothers arm, while dad tweaks his thousand dollar stereo, working up enough steam to tell me off. it's my job though, and some days it sucks, when the answers seem obvious, but they don't want to listen.
the dad calls 'sampson' from the door. sticking his tail between his legs, he heads toward his master, checking over his shoulder at the tall man in a suit cowering on the now concave roof of my car. we get the keys, after the obligatory shame and blame and i follow the black SUV, driven by my partner, out of the neighborhood, eyes only on his tail lights.
the water is cold, all warmth stolen by my mental confessions. i try not to think of the little boy, the babies...but this baptism rarely works as well as i hope. rising i work a coarse terry cloth towel across my body, then wrap it around my waist and go in search of something to eat. tomorrow is a new day, and i will need my energy, if nothing else to keep looking forward, and not look back.
This is a Magpie Tale. It was also inspired by Betsy, who wrote about her experiences repossessing people's stuff, which brought back memories of the days I spent doing the same.