At least that’s what the neighbors have taken to calling it…

The woman who lives across the street is a quiet, friendly mother of two and all in all, a very good neighbor. She watches out for the other kids, plans the occasional birthday party, keeps a nice home and generally has a very good heart. The neighborhood lived in peace for many years with her being that way and even though she had some assorted quirks, (don’t we all?), we learned to live with them.

All of that began to change recently when a dog began leaving his turds on her front lawn and in front of her house. The first couple of times, she chalked it off as a mistake but then, it began to become a daily occurrence. Naturally this sparked the ire of the quiet friendly neighbor and she began to take action. She called upon her fellow neighbors to come take a look at the turds that were being left and based on the size of the evidence a determination was made that this was no little dog. In fact, most of the people called to witness the droppings came to the conclusion that it may be a really big dog that has decided to stake his claim to her humble surroundings. We were asked to please keep an eye out for any suspicious people walking their dogs, especially if they weren’t carrying an arsenal that consisted of a plastic bag and some paper towels to remove the fecal matter. We said we would…

Days go by and I sit on my front porch and sip my beer and keep a watchful eye out for the culprit or culprits but my surveillance goes for naught. Everyone I see walking their dogs appears to be law-abiding citizens who clean up their mess after the business is done. The other neighbors wary eyes yield the same results, yet, the event keeps happening.

The woman I mentioned now follows the dog walkers up and down the block. They glance backwards over their shoulders, wondering who this lady might be, completely unaware that they have been caught in her sights. The lights at her house seem to come on at strange hours and the curtains in her house part and her eyes shine through the night in search of her quarry. Still, nothing.

Signs now start to adorn the tree’s and telephone poles up and down the block. They carry a message, friendly at first, asking that the owner of the dog please remove anything that is left behind. She places a small sign on her lawn asking the same and even goes so far as to leave behind a small cache of discarded plastic grocery bags and paper towels to be used as weapons in the conflict. Alas, they go unused and the conflict rages on.

The signs, friendly at first, now turn threatening. They advise the enemy that they are breaking the law of the land and the sense of peace that once ruled the neighborhood. Her kids, she says, are being held hostage. They are afraid that they might step in one of the landmines left behind. The signs threaten to call in reinforcements in the form of the local police if the attacks continue. And yet, they do, seemingly unabated.

“The enemy seems to be cunning, yet bold”, the neighbor whispers to herself. She knocks on other neighbors doors and asks if their lawns have too been soiled. The answer is returned with a shake of the head and sigh of sympathy towards her plight.

She enlists other people in her cause. She begins to ask the neighborhood dog walkers if they’ve seen any suspicious behavior as they trek throughout the neighborhood. Sadly, the answer, up to now, has always been no.

She begins to lose weight, bags form under her eyes as a result of her sleepless nights. She acts stranger and stranger towards her neighbors. She begs and pleads of them to please keep her informed if they experience any of the torment she is going through. Her kids become quiet, almost withdrawn and she totes them around with her and asks her series of never ending questions. And yet, the deluge of turds continue to rain down on her home.

The other neighbors, at first concerned about the turds are now more concerned about her. She seems to have been driven over the edge and has taken the task of defeating her sworn enemy as a personal vendetta. People now cross to the other side of the street when they see her coming. I think they’re afraid of being further drawn into the conflict. They have no more to offer her.

She sits on her porch night after night maintaining her silent, lonely vigil. A soldier, unwilling to abandon to her post, ever watchful, ever diligent. She knows nothing else, the enemy has consumed her and is relentless, failure is not an option.

I guess the old saying is true, war, in whatever form it takes, is hell

Note: For the most part, this is a true story. I’ve taken some license about what might be going on inside her head though.

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