The New Criminal Element
962 words long
There goes the neighborhood...
Notes from the author:
So we get deer in our neighborhood. All summer long, deer have been wandering onto the cul-de-sac, nibbling at the shrubbery, and napping on the grass. They particularly enjoy the shady spot under the linden tree just in front of my door. One of my neighbors took a selfie with the one reclining there. A board member noted ruefully that this was killing that patch of lawn, but she didn’t propose doing anything about it.
The community sees the deer as mascots, almost pets. I imagine that might change if they started spray-painting garage doors and pranking the homeowners. Not every animal affected by Spreading Sentience Syndrome can be expected to be friendly.
The deer had been on the property again. It was easy to tell. They’d left a trail of graffiti in their wake.
“Down with mountain lions,” said a remarkably elegant string of purple letters. “PLANT MOAR LILAC” said a second message, its scrawl imitating the style of a certain fast food slogan seen on billboards throughout town. A third outburst of spray-paint was simply a stick-figure doodle of a human hunter putting his rifle to obscene use.
“Something must be done,” said the President at the Homeowners’ Association Board Meeting that evening. “I’m getting angry emails left and right. Demands for reduced dues to match the perceived property devaluation, worries about children encountering this criminal element when they go out to play—we’ve got to put a stop to this.”
The Treasurer consulted her notes. “We’re already using the beautification funds for graffiti removal, and some of the money earmarked for next year’s renovations has been spent to try to reduce the deer’s access to the property. Not entirely without success, mind you. Since we increased the height of the north fence from six to ten feet last month, there’s only the driveway now. If we can just monitor that twenty-four and seven—”
“Or,” interrupted the Vice-President, “we could just convert the whole campus to a gated model, like I’ve been saying all along—”
“And as I’ve been saying,” the Secretary returned, “such a radical reimagining of our community will require support from everyone in it—”
The President rapped on the table. “The proposal of gating the campus has already been discussed and is slated for initial ratification at the homeowners’ annual meeting. Please let’s restrict ourselves to this week’s agenda....”
This has been an excerpt from the Friday Fictionette for September 25, 2015. Subscribers can download the full-length fictionette (962 words) from Patreon in PDF or MP3 format depending on their pledge tier.
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