Dear reader:  I am the kind of person, who for reasons unbeknownst to me, has the kind of face which draws people in and makes them feel as if they should tell me weird, embarrassing, and very personal things.  This means I have had a number of experiences which make for truly interesting stories which may appear made up but unfortunately did happen.  As such I introduce to you my fact or fiction line of short stories which I am dubbing Yarns, Anecdotes, and Other Memories.  Please let me know what you think, in particular if you think my stories to be tall tale or truth.  Enjoy!

When walking from your own front door to your car door I am sure many people enjoy a false sense of security.  As if the protection extends from one locked door to the next.  We think it is only a few steps away, or that as it is our driveway we should be safe upon it, but I know this is not the case.

In my haste to complete a few late afternoon errands before the Southern Sunday early closing times took effect I was less than vigilante as I shut my door behind me, locked, and made my way over to my driver side door.  It was in this vulnerable state that I was caught unawares by a woman walking on the other side of the street.  She seemed either confused or deep in thought as she called out to me, “Are you an expert on flees?”.

“Flees,” I replied perplexed thinking she must have seen me walking my dogs as there was no way she could have known that I once worked at a dog groomer’s.  “I don’t know about being an expert, but I know what they look like,” I say before I can stop myself; stupid word vomit I think as she crosses the road to better talk with me.  It is this moment that I later think about when trying to determine how I could have avoided the whole situation.

Her hands are shaking slightly as she looks me straight in the eyes to tell me of her dilemma. “I have flees they are every where in my house, little black specks, in my carpet, in my fridge, in my bed…every where.”

“Well,” as she has yet to add dogs or cats to the list of what flees might be on I still try to make the situation appear normal ” they can come into your house from the grass or your shoes, I guess.” I add a smile as I have been taught that it is the best way to diffuse a difficult situation, that and avoiding direct eye contact. Thinking that we have reached the end of our unusual discourse I turn slightly to move toward my car.

“My mother doesn’t think that I have flees.”

“Oh,” as the woman is now standing very near to me on my own driveway I find that I can think of nothing else to say.

“She says they’re demons.”

I am taken aback by the matter of fact statement. My eyebrows raise and my forehead scrunches giving me a questing though doubtful look. “OK.” Now for my response to make sense it must be understood that I live in the south where religion and republicans run rampant; to emphasize my point let me add that local shops do not open before noon on Sundays to insure that there is enough time for attending mass, but then I digress. I then jump to the conclusion that this woman’s mother is perhaps a little over religious.

The woman continues getting more agitated as she tells me the rest of her woes. “I went to a vet and showed them the bug, they said it was a flee. My mother said ‘OK so you have one flee’.” Here she stops waiting for my response.

“If you have one flee you have lots of flees,” I say doing my best to reassure her. At this moment my phone buzzes and chimes to announce the arrival of a text, perhaps it is because I am not originally from the south and therefore lack the proper manners or that I am just not that invested in the conversation because I take my phone from my pocket and check the message. This if I were keeping count would be my second mistake of the day.

Not missing a beat the woman points to my phone and begins insisting, “You have to tell my mother that, call my mom and say what you just told me.”

As my phone is out, the woman is now nearly pressed against my shoulder, and she is giving me the number; I dial.

As the other line rings I silently pray she is out, but of course with my luck what it is she picks up the phone. I introduce my self smiling like a fool and then repeat the line I just a moment ago told the strange woman who is watching my very closely. Then my heart sinks as tje strange woman’s mother starts talking.

“I don’t doubt that my daughter has flees, and I am sorry that she has bothered you. I am trying to get her to counseling tomorrow,” I can feel the smile slide off my face as my perceived bubble of normality pops. “Do you think that is a good idea?”

“I think you may be right.” I look up and keep my eyes focused on an open space trying not to make eye contact with the strange woman. I wish the woman’s mother a good day and hang up.

“What do you agree with her on…what is she right about!” As she finishes her question she hits the bill of my hat forcing it back so I have no choice but to look her in the eye.

“About the flees…she say you have them.”

“She never said that to me.”

“Well now the vet has told her and I have told her, she must be changing her mind.” Again I smile.

“She wants me to talk to someone because of the demons,” the lady says finally backing up a step.

“I don’t know anything about that,” I say trying to keep my face and voice neutral.

Unexpectedly the woman moves as if to hug me, and stops only inches away. “Guess I better not, because of the flees,” she gestures to the powdery spots on her jacket.

“Yeah probably not.” As I wish her a pleasant afternoon I walk decidedly toward my car, she hesitates but only for a moment before walking back across the street. I get in my car, lock my door, and wait till I can no longer feel the throbbing of my heart behind my eyes; before I text You will NEVER guess what just happened