Day 016: Raymond Goes Outside

At first, it’s startling. He’s temporarily blinded by the Sunday morning…err…sun. Panic races through his mind. They can see him. Everyone can see him. He briefly turns back to the door, pivots back and then notices Roald jogging by. He’s gotta play it cool. He pauses yet again, maybe to pantomime that he forgot his glasses inside. But no, they’re on his face, anyone can see that. Or, perhaps, they can’t see that. The sun reflects off his glasses something fierce. Anybody who tries to spot his glasses will surely be temporarily blinded. Just the way he likes them.

Still standing in front of his door, Raymond does some breathing exercises to get his bearings straight. He breathes in the good thoughts, holds them in and dispels the bad. He can physically feel the terror melt away. He focuses on the crisp autumn breeze blowing through his fur. Hmm…crisp. His favorite word. If the day is crisp, then obviously the day must be made for Raymond! Suddenly, he feels at ease again. But what to do, what to do.

He paces around his yard and crosses into Pietro’s. The contrast is jarring. There’s a sharp cutoff where his neatly designed stone ends and Pietro’s obnoxious purple and white checkerboard begins. Crossing that line, suddenly Raymond is inside his own worst nightmare. Clashing colors everywhere, a spinning wheel that he doesn’t even want to know what it’s used for and a jukebox blasting circus music. He can imagine Pietro peeking at him through the window. Gazing at him with his creepy clown eyes. Just waiting for the right moment to jump out of the door and ruin his day. Slowly and deliberately, Raymond sneaks back over to his side of the yard. Out of eyesight, out of mind.

His prospects of spending the day alone are quickly thwarted when Coze comes around. He waves hello and takes a seat at the patio table. He’s a true invader of privacy. He thinks that just because he bought the patio that he can sit in it whenever he wants. Actually, that seems kind of fair. But Coze doesn’t say anything, he just gawks at Raymond. Studying him. Observing, as if he’s writing down his every move. Raymond plays it cool. He procures a book from his pocket and pretends to observe the weeds that have grown. Raymond hopes that Coze doesn’t realize that the book is not about weeds. It’s actually Lolita, which he has already read 36 times. Even if Coze notices, he wouldn’t call his bluff. He’s just a nice guy like that.

Raymond goes back and forth between sitting next to his zen pond and observing the weeds. He hopes the repetitiveness will bore Coze into leaving. Eventually, he gets up from the patio and walks towards Raymond. His pupils dilate and his paws get sweaty. But instead, he walks past Raymond and towards the cliff. He pulls a ladder out of his pocket and uses it to climb to the top. There’s a present floating in the sky, attached to a balloon. You know, the one that comes every 3 minutes. And Coze, in his infinite simplicity, can’t resist popping a good balloon.

Finally alone and unseen, Raymond takes his rightful seat at the patio. Overhead, he can hear Coze yell in agony. The present probably fell in the water again. Fool. He pulls a soda out of his pocket and it opens with a gentle hiss. It’s a little warm, but the bubbles still make it feel crisp. Ah yes, crisp. The way life should be.

– TeeCoZee