It was the type of nice afternoon where a man could sit out back with a cold drink and rue the day. Sort through the various manifestations of quiet desperation surrounding the events of his life and then march back inside and get another cold one.
A cold one like his wife.
And the children who burrowed out of her months after the mechanical act of reproduction was completed.
Nobody’s fault really. He could blame himself or he could blame them or circumstance or the weather but in the end it doesn’t make much difference. He might as well enjoy the weather.
Once he began ruing, he found he had a talent for it. He could put past decisions together as if he was assembling the pieces of a puzzle explaining cause and effect. Nobody appreciated a good puzzle like he did. Well … maybe most people he knew did.
The lawn chair he sat in was frayed and falling apart but he couldn’t bring himself to make the short journey down to the store to pick a new one up. It couldn’t have been equal parts laziness and attachment to the chair so he sunk lower into it and tried to figure out which was more responsible for stopping him. Sure, there was some of each involved in the equation but it was unlikely to be a perfect fifty-fifty split.
Once he had his rue on, everything became fair game.
He always disliked parades.
The giant inflated cartoon spokesanimals that spent their animated lives selling breakfast cereals and high-risk behavior to children. The giant inflated egos of those on the floats.
There is a word for a grown man that dresses in white face and a red nose, and that word isn’t clown. The word is buffoon. The plural of buffoon is menace. Menace from the Greek “too many god damned clowns.”
Too many clowns and too many buffoons clogging up the works and most of them without even the decency to wear white face and red noses.
His ruing was in full effect now. The dance of the cold ones had taken its toll; one of his sandals lay by the door. He wasn’t sure if it had been lost on a trip to empty his bladder or a visit to obtain another one of the beverages that led to the need for bladder emptying in the first place. Either way, it sat in the long grass with only a buckle visible from where he slumped. He weighed the option of trying to remember where exactly he had lost it but in the end it was like splitting hares. Over the course of the afternoon he had seen a few hopping around and it seemed like they didn’t care if his footwear split or not so why should he?
His foot was turning red in the sun and he rued global warming in such a nonchalant way that anyone but a seasoned observer would swear he must have practiced it at least a dozen times in front of a mirror.
Sticking his foot in the kiddy pool sounded refreshing but he remembered that he had punctured the pool with a steak knife awhile back after forgetting to move it for a few weeks and seeing that it had killed all the grass and left a circle on the lawn, he was convinced that identified him as white trash to the drones that fly overhead taking note of such things.
He rued the Chinese because they made the pool and even if he hadn’t been responsible for popping it he was sure it would have deflated due to poor craftsmanship by now anyway.
Why shouldn’t any God-fearing American rue the Chinese? If any nation on earth deserved to be rued it was theirs. Don’t get him started on Chinese parades.
It was a beautiful day though.
The birds chirped and took a break from shitting on his Japanese car. A dog barked somewhere in the distance so that meant it wasn’t taking a shit on his property. There wasn’t a flood-his-god-damned-basement cloud in the sky.
He heard a child laugh and remembered his own children before they grew up and out of laughter. He wondered where his wife was. He wondered how long she’d stay there.
He looked down at his foot and suddenly had a craving for roast beef.