Ms. Williams had some preconceived ideas about reality that no amount of sensitivity training can cure, While Mr. Lewis has a proclivity for naked girls on horseback. Things aren’t always as they seem.
Ms. Williams to the rescue
The white Kia Niro EV glided almost silently through the streets of suburban Los Angeles and slowed, as Ms. DeeNeece Williams cruised a street of identical two-story stucco houses, carefully looking for the numbers. Pulling up beside the digits painted black on a white background along the curb, she checked her phone to review the names and details of the individuals she was to call on today. Making assumptions about relationships between people who live in the same house is frowned on in her profession.
Heavy handed police and their gestapo tactics aren’t always needed just because someone dials 911. Usually a trained crisis prevention professional can calm things down before they get out of hand. There was nothing in the notes about Mr. Lewis to indicate any danger. This was his first encounter with the system. A neighbor had called to complain of him “doing nasty things in the back yard.” There wasn’t much else to go on but the whole thing seemed rather harmless, Ms. Williams mistakenly thought. The worst she expected to deal with was putting Mr. Christopher Lewis in an embarrassing position in front of a potential “Mrs. Lewis.” Being one of those old fashioned women who still preferred she/her pronouns, DeeNeece was preparing how to phrase things delicately.
The person who eventually answered the door appeared traditional female and dressed as such, late-middle-aged, overweight and had a phone in her hand. “Can I help you? We don’t like sales people and don’t need no religion.”
“Mrs. Lewis?” DeeNeece ventured and didn’t get any objection. “I’m here because one of your neighbors made a minor complaint against a man who lives at this address. My notes have him listed as Christopher Lewis.” The expression on the woman’s face darkened as the corners of her mouth turned down. “Yeah, he lives here. He’s out back.”
Invited by the woman into a typically decorated living room, Ms. Williams was lulled by the familiar scene of modern domestic life. The TV was on and tuned to the Jerry Springer show. An assortment of fast food and delivery service packaging cluttered nearly every free surface. The only clear spot was on the sofa and seemed custom made for Mrs. Lewis’ bottom, as indeed it soon proved when the homeowner plopped down into it, hardly glancing up from the screen on her phone. “If you want to talk to Chris, go ahead, he’s back there,” she pointed to a kitchen door leading to the back of the fenced lot. “He’s always out there these days,” she griped. “All he does is stare at the grass. At least he mows it now and then. I could have had a new microwave but he had to go and blow all that money. ‘Special view‘ he calls it. Staring at the damn grass doesn’t heat the burgers back up.” Ms. Williams made mental note of the info. “Does he ever get violent, Mrs Lewis?” DeeNeece was happy to get a negative answer, “no, he don’t get violent. He just stares at the grass.” Speaking of grass… “Does your husband use drugs?” A laugh, “no more than nobody else does, I guess. He don’t have money for drugs cause he spends it all on porn. He has a thing for cowgirls. At least he keeps his thing away from me but I still need a microwave.”
Watch your step
Ms. Williams saw that as her cue to go meet her real appointment and gracefully eased out the indicated door to a patio. An unassuming man with short gray hair was crouched on the lawn, about mid-way between the edge of the concrete slab patio and the block privacy wall which surrounded three sides of the property. At least, his pants were up and his hands didn’t seem to be moving. He made no notice of her presence until she was nearly on top of him, looking up at her but not speaking. He continued to glance at the same spot of the lawn, looking exactly like every other spot of the lawn. “I’m Mrs. Williams with the Social Services intervention unit. We’ve had some reports that you have been doing some unusual things and just wanted to see if there was anything I might be able to help you with.” Standing up he turned to face her. “What I do on my own damn property is my business. I’m pretty sure I know which one finked on me too. That dyke bitch is jealous that she can’t see my ‘special view‘ Let her buy her own subscription!” That was a twist in things DeeNeece mused. It certainly wasn’t what she was expecting. Mr. Lewis certainly has some misogyny issues and was never near a sensitivity training class in his life.
“Mr. Lewis, your wife seems to think you spend too much time in the yard, lately, and doesn’t see where you’re doing anything productive.” That produced a reaction. “Productive? Where does she get off complaining about that? I’m the only productive one around here. All she does is stare at that damn phone all day and all night.” Williams took the opportunity to address the issue directly. “She says you stare at the grass all day, and a neighbor complained about some other activity, which I assure you, isn’t ‘illegal’ but you may want to consider that others are offended.” “Look lady,” Lewis countered, “it’s my yard and what I do in it is protected privacy. I pay damn good money to stare at my yard and I’ll keep doing it. Let her get her own damn microwave. This ‘special view‘ I pay for is worth every damn penny.”
It was starting to look to Ms. Williams like she may need to get him placed on a 72 hour hold to check his sanity. Maybe a brain tumor, she mused. “I’m just interested in your welfare, Mr. Lewis.” He was back to staring at the lawn and she was losing his attention. As she began circling around in front of him, “STOP!” He yelled. “You’ll fall off the cliff!” Cliff? It was slightly shaggy rye grass lawn like all the rest in suburban LA. “Mr. Lewis, I don’t see any cliff.” He wasn’t phased. “That’s because you don’t have a subscription. That’s a naked dude ranch down there and I happen to have ‘unlimited voyeur privileges.’ It costs a bundle too. They ride by right about now. Right down there below this cliff and I get to see it all in living, jiggling color.” Well then, at least she knew what he thought he was staring at. Maybe if she showed him the truth he would see the need to run down to county for a quick CAT scan to check for tumors or something.
“Mr. Lewis,” she began, “nobody can walk in mid-air, correct?” He took a pull on a Marlboro and casually agreed, “sure.” She continued, “So, if I were to walk out above your dirty dude ranch, you’d have to admit there is no cliff.” He looked at her calmly and again agreed. When she started to walk, he jumped up and grabbed her arm. “You can’t do it. It’s too high up, you’ll get killed.” Mr. Lewis, “I am not going to kill myself. I am merely going to walk in that direction,” Williams declared. And that’s just what she did. Her face had a strange look of realization and started screaming as it disappeared beneath the grass. Her screams could be heard for a moment before she landed on the rocks below. “Crazy woman,” Lewis snapped. He tried to warn her.