An Awkward Moment with the Neighbors

Across the alley from my house is a rental property, currently inhabited by a Spanish-speaking family – probably from Mexico. In their backyard, they have a pile of 3 bicycles that I want – probably just to use for parts, but I want them nonetheless. None of them are in working order, and I’m fairly certain they haven’t moved an inch for several years. They are on the verge of being considered “abandoned” – which means I just get to claim them as my own, most likely in the middle of the night when the chances of getting caught are reduced. But seeing as how they are my neighbors and it might be a little incriminating should they ever happen to look in my garage and see their bicycles, claiming them doesn’t seem like a good option in this particular case. So I want to find a slightly more legal method of acquiring them.

Last fall, I noticed the family was outside in their backyard preparing a large amount of meat for an upcoming BBQ (or so I thought). They had a small table set up in the back yard, and they were busily chopping it up into pieces. I couldn’t see exactly what they were doing because their minivan was parked directly between us. I thought it seemed like a good opportunity to introduce myself, perhaps make some friends, and most importantly, let them know that I want their bicycles. So I venture across the alley to say hello. As I’m rounding the front end of their minivan, I let out something similar to, “Hey guys, what are you up to?” It’s about this time that I realize exactly what they were doing. Spread out across this small table is an entire pig – a very large pig – guts and all, and the family is busily chopping it into pieces. There was a surprisingly small amount of blood, but plenty of guts – and a severed pig head that seemed to be staring directly at me. I wasn’t prepared for this much guts or a menacing glare from a severed head – and I froze. I just stood there – motionless – for what seemed like an eternity – waiting for them to respond…. They never did. They stared at me, similar to how I was staring at the pig, and we all stood there silently.

I don’t know why they didn’t return my salutations, or why the situation was so awkward. Maybe they didn’t speak English. Maybe they were as shocked as I was. Maybe they thought I was going to try to take some of their pig – or call them on the many health codes they were probably violating. Maybe they knew I wanted their bicycles. But they didn’t respond… and I was too busy being stared down by a severed pig head to think quickly. So I backed away silently, vowing to return again for the bicycles. I want them and I will have them.

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