Just outside the school
deep roots of ancient wisdom
He came up to the till. His face, a ruddy red, was sweating from the unVancouver-like heat outside our air conditioned doors; his anger was palpable. It radiated from his eyes, his boxer-like stance and the faint curled lip. He brought up to the cash a bottle of Roundup.
After my greeting I said, Roundup is illegal to use in most communities. Check with your local government before using.
He stared at me, the curled lip broadening into a sneer, I live in North Vancouver.
It’s illegal, I replied.
The sneer almost grinned. He paid for his purchase and left.
* * *
He was a small man with roundish glasses and meek manner— my own Walter Mitty alive and well. In a chatty but quiet voice he asked for a refund: my soaker hose leaks in all the wrong places; its defective. I agreed to exchange it for a new one then casually said, I guess it’s a moot point right now with the drought, you can’t use it anyhow.
Oh, he said with light-hearted cheer, I cheat a little.
My colleague and I both stared at him. You can’t cheat, we said, don’t use it.
He looked up, flustered; amazed we would call him on this seemingly minor trespass. He quickly gathered his hose and walked away.
* * *
I drove to work the other day because I didn't want to bus and was too tired to walk. No one called me on it… only my conscience.
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