"God you're getting big!" JR (yes, really his name -- and he comes complete with a barbed wire tattoo around his beefy arm and thick gold chains around his neck) hollered at me. "Must be twins."
I laughed, gritting my teeth and yanking up a plant. "Better not be."
"You shouldn't be doing that," JR said, strutting across the road and up my driveway. "You're pregnant. What are you doing?"
"It's fine," I said, tugging up another one and thinking about how his pregnant daughter used to smoke cigarettes on their porch. "They're half-dead. We're putting in more ferns."
"What are you putting in there?" JR said, talking over me.
"OH, those are snake plants. They attract snakes. You don't want the babies to get hurt."
"We haven't seen any snakes yet in the ones over there. They'll be fine, but we'll keep an eye out."
"I'm just saying --- they attract snakes." JR continued for several minutes with a saga about killing a water moccasin and advice about my ferns. As if I'm going to take landscaping advice from a man who pulled out all his trees because the roots might hurt his sprinkler system.
I'll spare you the details, but in the course of a 20-minute conversation -- no, monologue on his part -- this man assured me snakes would kill my babies, armadillos would attack us, rabid raccoons would surely be attracted to our garbage, which we put out the night before trash day, either I or my husband would lose our jobs if we dared spend any money in this economy and the "losers" who live on the road behind us all have police records.
Oh, but I'll be glad to know the house next to his has been rented again and, JR whispered, the guy isn't black.
SIGH. Sometimes. Some people. There are no words.
At that point, I assured JR our dinner was burning and The Boy and I had to go.