The Prayer Blanket
In the stillness of world

Subletting the illegal basement apartment

Housearrest

Lawrence Fischman, again, I tell you, SHE DID NOT MEAN IT! You gotta let it go, Dude.

Really. You think I did this to myself? Wait, don't tell me. Now you're going to blame one of the sister wives.

Lawrence Fischman. She wasn't even going that fast. And she did stop...

She did not stop.

OK, She took her foot off the gas.

Nope.

...

So you know I can't live out here like this, right?

I don't see why not.

LADY! I'm half squished. I'm scooching roadkill. I'm a beaten man-squirrel. Hey! Got any bourbon? 

Lawrence Fischman. She didn't even bump you. You hit airspeed and crossed half that road at about 62 inches. You made a crash landing on the sidewalk and rolled into the guardrail before we were even sure it was you. I mean, come on. You were four tenths of a mile from the backyard!

Lady. You're killing me. I don't DRIVE! No squirrel shall ever be bound by the flow of human traffic. I fly on the wings of my fluffy black tail and that's just about two tenths. I wasn't even at the border.

The border? You cross into Thornwood forty feet from my front door. 

Not THAT border.

OK. There's a border. 

Yeah. See the shiny gold bracelet on my back left ankle?

Oh, yeah, I do see it. I thought that was some kind of squirrel mating ritual. 

I could see how you'd get that. 

The border?

Yah. Right. So I can go as far as the sidewalk ends in any direction. 

That limits you to two sides of this block.

Crosswalk. 

You can use the cross walk?! Dude! You were crossing on the diagonal half a block from the only crosswalk between us and Marble Avenue, and also, there is no sidewalk on that side of the street. That's why we have that actual crosswalk down the hill...?

Fine. You're still liable.

Wait. You're not done, mister. What's up with this ankle cuff business and why is it gold?

Right. So last time you bothered to check in on me, and it wasn't an entirely altruistic check in, BY THE WAY, we discussed the sister wife harvest.

Holy crap. You harvested the sister wives? I thought you were vegan, man. 

Hey. I'll eat anything you leave out. I'm partial to eggplant parm and bourbon. The holidays are coming. 

And which would those be?

All of 'em. I'm an equal opportunity food and bourbon enthusiast. 

Good to know. OK, harvesting the sister wives.

I never laid a paw on 'em.

Teeth? Whiskers? You got some killer quills going on, my friend.

Not that either.

So?

Lady, sometimes I just can't deal with you.

So?

So the sister wives were stealing my food.

Oh! Yeah, I remember! You were digging those big ass holes in the backyard!

And it's just me doing the harvesting, now isn't it? So I carried as much as I could in my cheeks - LIKE A BLOODY HAMSTER - ran like my ass was on fire and my tail was catching, made a deposit and ran right back. It was exhausting. I got about 2% of the take from each hole. They told me the other 98% was squirrel wife alimony.

OK. Continue.

So I decided to steal the food back. 

Let me guess. You had a midnight run in with the Pekinese down the street.

Nope. I stole the food back. I stole all of the food back and BLAMED it on the Pekinese. And you know what?

What?

They bought it! They packed up and moved out the next afternoon.

That's a good thing, right?

Yes and no.

What's the no part?

I gotta tell you something and you gotta help me, OK?

What?

I can't marry Elizabeth. As a matter of fact, I'm gonna need a notarized copy of an actual annulment. 

You didn't have an actual marriage.

Yes I did.

By yourself?

That counts.

How?

Sister wives don't actually have to be present. You sorta make a rough approximation as to the direction of their leanings and you do it by proxy.

You didn't have a proxy.

Oh, I did.

...

I had an entire congregation of Starlings egging me on and the middle one on the branch right over my head said Elizabeth's vows for her.

You're shitting me. I cannot WAIT to relay this information.

I shit you not.

So who grants the annulment?

You do.

Oh. OK, I officially declare you two unwed. Officially as if you were never officially wed. How's that?

Notarized.

No. I'm done. It's cold out here and I'm going inside.

If you put shoes on...

No.

Um. Mrs. Jefferies?

DO NOT use that word with me?

FUCKNUTS! WHAT WORD?!

Missus. And don't even start. Hey, Lady has been working just fine.

OK. Hey, Lady. You're probably going to receive a summons sometime in the next day or two. That's what I came to talk to you about.

Lawrence Fischman, I believe I came to see you.

You were summoned?

What?

I summoned, oh, never mind. You're going to receive a summons. I think the court date is about a week before Christmas, food, bourbon, sweets of any sort.. 

Who will issue this summons?

Neighborhood law enforcement.

Dominic? Dom is, like, 93 or something.

Not Dom. He passed that responsibility on to is wife who died of early COVID and left the seat unfilled.

I don't think I'm going to like this.

You are not going to like this.

Cut to the chase, critter. I am barefoot and standing on wet moss covered concrete, which is not helpful. 

Ma'am. It's the big guy from your place in Weston.

What?! 

The squadron leader.

What?!

Lady. The big ass Raccoon who led the charge on the Hen and Rooster Commune? The one that didn't go so well?

Mr. Fischman?

Yuh.

That was a Honey Badger.

Oh shit.

Why.

He'll be serving you sometime next week. Still got that pellet gun?

Nope.

Then you'll maybe want to settle out of court.

...

You'll hardly notice I'm there. 

Where? Where, exactly will I hardly notice you're there?

Apartment 0.

There is no apartment 0. 

Yes there is. It was occupied by a photographer until your guys bought the house and kicked everybody out.

Oh! You mean the illegal apartment with the 69 inch ceilings.

Yup. My cousin, Martin Fischman, lived there this spring before the town issued the CO and you guys moved in. 

You want to live in my storage room? Is that what you're telling me?

Yes, please and thank you, your holiness.

Stop it.

And I won't chew a dog damned thing. I swear it on a stack of Honey Badgers.

You can't stack...

Please. Please. Please. See the ankle bracelet? It's a neighborhood arrest bracelet. I can't leave. I can't find another home and and, you do see what they've done to me?

And you're blaming that on Elizabeth?

No! The Prius! It was the Prius!

We're done here. You're ridiculous and I'm cold and oh, fuck. Here comes the Honey Badger. 

So, you can open the door right now. Right?

Come on in. 

I don't love Elizabeth anymore...

Not sure I believe you...

 

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