The doorbell rang at 9:15 Saturday morning. The man opened it to find his next door neighbor. She wore rubber garden boots stained with mud and matching mud stained gloves. Leaves clung to the sleeves of her red, flannel shirt.
“Looks like you used some confetti the other night,” she said.
The “other night” had been New Year’s Eve, and had culminated in a drunken round of karaoke followed by nearly one-hundred dollars worth of various confetti poppers. Since that night, colored strips of paper had blown around the street, lodging themselves amongst the rocks and fallen leaves. Tiny plastic bottle shaped poppers lay in the grass and gutters; the wind carrying much of it into the neighboring yards.
“Oh,” the man said, vaguely recalling the midnight festivities, as scraps of colored paper blew across his front lawn and got caught up in a tangle of Morning Glory, “I guess we did.”
“Yes, well I’ve been attempting to vacuum it up all morning.” On her shoulder she wore a leaf blower converted into a type of garden vacuum. It had a big white bag and a long, black tube with a large round opening for sucking up leaves, and apparently confetti.
“I see,” said the man. Five minutes earlier he’d been in bed contemplating trying to wake his sleeping wife with a gentle nudge from his stiff morning solider. All thoughts of pleasure vanished in the face of his neighbor’s scowl.
“Well how about if I send my son out to help you? How would that be?”
“I’d appreciate that,” the woman answered. “The wind has carried quite a bit of it into our yard, and you know with Fred’s back he’s not able to take care of it.” Not waiting for a response she turned and readjusted her vacuum as she walked down the drive-way.
The man closed the front door and sighed. He walked into the kitchen and opened the pantry door. He selected a filter from the stack sitting a wire basket that hung from a nail and set about making himself a pot of coffee. He rinsed out the pot and filled it with cold water from the refrigerator. Once the coffee was brewing he went into the family room where his 14-year old son was absorbed in an episode of Sponge Bob.