by Angie Mansfield
I've decided to forgo resolutions this year in favor of something far more useful:
apologies. Some of these are for transgressions already committed, while others are more like advance warnings. You be the judge. Names have been changed to protect the probably-not-innocent:
1. Dear Mr. Parker: I'm sorry I blew up your brand new smoker grill. In my defense, as I'm sure you remember me telling you at the time, it bore a disturbing resemblance to a Dalek -- you know, from Doctor Who? You really should watch more television, so you'll be better prepared to protect yourself against these things. Anyway, your smoker had a very Dalek-y shape, and at three in the morning when you've had a few too many mudslides (you know what I'm talking about, don't you, Mrs. Parker? wink, wink) things tend to take on a life of their own. In this case, I could swear I heard your smoker mutter, "Exterminate," as I crossed your backyard on the way home, and so of course it had to go. But I really do regret that the fire took out your carport. My bad.
2. Dear Mrs. Jones: I'm sorry that I told everyone at the neighborhood picnic about your wig. I'm sure this revelation was very embarrassing for you, especially since you worked so hard to get Mr. Everett from two blocks over to finally come to the party this year. My only excuse is that I had no idea it was a secret; I thought everyone knew that seventy-year-old ladies with thinning blue-grey hair can't grow a luxurious red mane overnight, no matter what sort of "cream" they put on it. My apologies, anyway, and please do tell Mr. Everett that, should he agree to accompany you to next year's block party, I promise not to elbow him in the ribs and say, "I guess gentlemen don't prefer blondes, eh? Eh?"
3. Dear Paperboy's Mother: I'm sorry about the nightmares your son's been having. I'm sure they'll pass eventually; I mean, how long can a ten-year-old be traumatized by a woman in a Frankenstein mask leaping out of the bushes at five in the morning and screaming "Boo!"? Honestly, he seems to be awfully jumpy, and you might consider having him talk to a counselor or something about his nerves. Oh, and do you think we could start getting our paper again? It's getting tiresome, having to steal the neighbor's every morning, and I think Mr. Parker's onto me, anyway.
4. Dear Mr. Rogers: I feel compelled to apologize, though I really don't know why you get so worked up. I mean, with a name like that, you should be used to people humming "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" every time you walk by. Clever of you to choose another route to work, though; it took me two whole days to figure out your new routine. But it was all worth it to see the tears of joy on your face when I sang the first few bars at you from behind that Dumpster. You really should look both ways, though, before jumping into the street; then you might not have been hit by that car and given me nightmares for a week.
It's all right, though. I forgive you
Angie Mansfield lives in an undisclosed location. It used to be disclosed, but she’s now in hiding from her neighbors. You know how it is.