Last night I was out in the garage pulling a paper mache skull from its form. You really have to work it sometimes with a screwdriver to pop the paper off, and I had been at it for a while.
At 8 o’clock it was getting a little chilly, and the sun was already painting the hills pink and orange.
Since Sunday’s Wind Event, big piles of limbs and even whole trees lined both sides of the road in front of the house. Chainsaws buzzed in the distance and a large tractor “chuffed” up the road. The aroma of fresh-cut wood, campfires, and drying leaves filled the air.
“Open Mind with Bill Jenkins“, a KABC show from the 80s, was playing loudly on the CD player on the workbench. UFOs, Bigfoot, astral projection, talking bananas, all sorts of crazy stuff. It’s like listening to Coast to Coast AM, but without the annoying political commentary. Great listening for an early Fall night.
I didn’t notice the car in the driveway until a door slammed. I stepped out of the garage to see who it was. Almost dark now, and with headlights shining in my eyes, I couldn’t make out the faces of the three people standing and staring at me.
“Can I help you?” I called out.
There was a lengthy silence, then a woman’s voice said, “W-we heard your water was out, so … we brought you some. We’re from the LDS church.” She gestured toward her two companions who were struggling with a heavy package. They were young girls, probably 11, and their eyes never left me. They looked like they could bolt at any second. That’s when it struck me.
There I stood, bathed in the cold harsh light of the car headlights, leaves skittering in circles around my feet, holding a skull in one hand and a long screwdriver in the other. I’m sure it was the very last thing these good Samaritans expected to see on a Tuesday evening.
Laughing, I put my project away and took the case of water from the girls, thanking them and blessing their little hearts the whole time. It was really very nice of them to drive through the neighborhood and give out cases of water.
As they pulled down the driveway and disappeared behind a pile of brush, I stood waving and smiling. Smiling because of the warm gesture and because of the story they’ll have to tell their friends about the crazy man with the skull.