Sometimes my mother exaggerates. But when it comes to the goofy little man who came to cut down the tree, I think she may have understated the facts.
She said he looked scary, old, and smelled bad. Or, as she had put it, "like he hadn't had a bath in five or six years."
Luckily, I was spared the ulfactory portion of his presence this morning. But I couldn't help but notice how this man of 57 looked at least 80. And he had a horrifying resemblance to the Tall Man in the movie Phantasm. (Except this guy was really short. So picture Angus Scrimm smashed down to about 5'3 and you've got it.) But I digress.
Toby screamed most of the night and the few times he shut up and I slept, the mother was padding around the kitchen (just opposite my wall). I finally gave up and got up at 6 a.m. and started working on things for work. This went on until almost 9:30. Then I went outside.
The tree crew was supposed to be here at 10. Uh-huh. Around 10:30-ish, I see a red truck hauling a trailer on the next street over. It turned the other way and then disappeared. I went back to my gravel. Suddenly, the red truck came tearing through the alley in a cloud of dust. Two guys emerged. I have no idea what their names were but I was calling them Bubba and Roy. Bubba was about 6'5 at least. He was very young and awkward and looked something like a cartoon character. Roy was older, short, and very dark. He had this look about him that just put me off, like that of a used car salesman. (Maybe it was the comb-back do, with every hair in place ala Wayne Newton.)
They were pleasant enough to be sure but seemed a few sandwiches shy of a picnic. They began picking up the mess from yesterday as a bigger, industrial truck appeared in the alley. The driver reminded me of the lead singer of an Australian '80s band called Midnight Oil. His passenger: the mini-Angus.
I greeted them all and we exchanged morning niceties. Then I stood back and surveyed the collective crew. Oh. My. God. There's a Redneck Convention. And it's happening in my backyard.
They even left me a souvenir: mini-Angus's camper top. Mr. Midnight Oil told me that mini-Angus's transmission had gone out. They'd be back later to pick up the camper shell. In the meantime, it's been moved to the rocks where the old sidewalk had hung out.
It's still there now. So the Redneck Convention is alive and well and still in my backyard.