The kitchen window is open and the sun is bright on the plants outside. I peer through the fence posts as a figure moves oafishly around the back yard, dragging what looks like a lawn mower with it. I don't see it's full form. I can't tell if it's male or female. I can't even tell if it's human. My mind starts to wander.
I glance over as my wife putters on the computer in the living room. I stand and stare out the window with my coffee cup in hand.
The scene through the slats reminds me of one of those early moving picture machines. A Zoopraxiscope, I find out later. The images through the fence seem like stills flipping forward to present me with a moving picture. I squint and try to make out the figure’s form as I sip my tepid coffee. I think to myself that I’m just wasting time. That I'm creating something fanciful just to prolong the inevitable work flood waiting for me this sunny Sunday. But, looking again, the figure looks huge and almost ape-like as it moves around in the yard next door. An ape in some sort of...bonnet or conical hat that they wear in Vietnam.
I grin to myself and think, "Rue Morgue meets Hanoi Hilton."
I place the coffee cup on the table and press up on tip toe to try to get a better look. The fence is too high, however and all I see more of is that hat. I confirm that it is in fact made of straw and I sink back to my heels. For a moment, I think about standing on a chair, but the visual in my head of what this neighbor would see if they spotted me standing on a chair glaring at them from my kitchen prevents me from following through.
The brawny, lumbering figure drags it’s burden back beyond the area I can see behind a shed and I blink away the growing fantasy that this is actually some sort of creature. Some mythic slave to yard work who usually slips out under cover of darkness to tend to the weeds and grass, but has somehow slipped free into the light of day today. Out in the open to work without fear of being seen or discovered for some reason.
A wave of sadness - no, melancholy, really - washes over me as I remember my work and the fact that I’m the one who will be hidden away. Toiling away from the eyes of those out in the sun today. Sulking with slumped shoulders in front of the computer while the sun shines on whoever...or whatever...is on the other side of that fence.