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Monday, July 05, 2010


by David Feela

I arrived long before the crowd of July 4th
enthusiasts could spread itself out over the
prime viewing real estate.  After three trips
to the truck, I unloaded my folding chair, blanket,
picnic basket, shade umbrella, cooler full of
iced beverages, and the spool of electric
fence wire, insulators, battery, and stakes
necessary to enclose my spot.  Instead of
a single strand along the top of the stakes,
which is sufficient for horses and cattle, I
decided on three separate bands -- top, middle,
and low, the lowest strand at shin level in case
any crawling infants or small dogs invaded.
The sound of insects or butterflies catching a
few volts is almost imperceptible, but
humans tend to yelp, more out of surprise than pain.
Stretched out on my blanket with my eyes closed, I could
hear people say “Look at that!” or “I dare you” or
“Weirdo” -- that kind of running commentary, but
I felt secure, not threatened by the masses.
Then what I thought might be birdsong turned out to be
a voice I recognized.  “Bob?” it chirped.  I opened
my eyes.  “Well Marjorie, yes, it’s me.”  I sat up,
took off my sunglasses out of courtesy and
for a better look at this gorgeous woman who
often sunbathed in the backyard adjacent to
mine.  She approached the wire to give me her
usual hug.  “Watch out” I shouted, “you’ll be shocked.”
Marjorie froze, puzzled by my alarm.  I turned
off the power, then stood to reach across the top
wire.  We superficially embraced, she
standing on her tiptoes, still avoiding the wire
I’d turned off.  “What is this, some kind of prison camp?”
she asked.  “No,” I laughed.  “It’s more like a panic room.
Want to come in?”  I could see her bikini
under the gauzy shirt she wore, a large towel
draped over one arm.  “Nah” she replied,  “That makes me
a little nervous, and besides, I want that big
open piece of sky right over there.”  She turned and
pointed.  “But if you want to grab your stuff and join
me, well, that would be real nice.”  She walked off,
waving, looking real nice.  I watched her go,
sat back down, reconnected the battery, and
reached out to touch a wire with my bare finger.
“Ouch” I said aloud, then touched it again
and again, “Ooh...ahh...yipes...” and it was still hours
before the fireworks were scheduled to begin.  

David Feela's work has appeared in regional and national publications. He is a contributing editor and columnist for Inside/Outside Southwest and for The Four Corners Free Press. His first full length poetry book, The Home Atlas, is now available.