I try to avoid three things: vampires, werewolves and the lady across the street. Most days, when she’s perched on her porch yelling at passers-by, I pretend I can’t hear her. Today, she’s getting out of her car and I’m walking home from work and, damn, we’re on a collision course. I could pretend I can’t see her, which I can’t—I’m blind, you see, and not seeing her wouldn’t take any pretending. Now we’re so close I hear her wheezing and I know it’s either talk to her or pretend I can’t hear her and plow right into her.
“Hi, Steve,” she says. She’s called me Steve for ten years and I told her for eight years my name is Jeff but the past two years I haven’t bothered. Being pseudo-Steve provides a buffer from her intrusion.
Oh, Steve, how’s Randy?”
“He’s fine, thanks.” I grip Randy’s harness so she can’t get her hands on my dog.
“See, I’m good with names,” she says. Then, to Randy, “Whatsa doin you big bootiful doggie?” This last is said, I imagine, with a totally stupid, baby talk face.
“Say,” she says, “I been hearing this radio spot wanting people to donate their cars to some blind group. How come they want cars? Blind people can’t drive.”
“It’s along the lines of 1 8 7 7 Kars 4 Kids,” I say. “The cars aren’t for the kids to drive. The cars are turned into cash to help the kids. It’s a fund-raising thing”
“Oh, I thought maybe they’d turn the cars into the kind that drive themselves. That would make sense. Well, I gotta go, Steve. Bye-bye, Randy.”
She makes a move for Randy but I sidestep her and call, “Farewell” over my shoulder, glad to be done with the lady across the street, fortified for any chance encounters with vampires or werewolves.