By JENNY BARDWELL
Mr. Wilson looked at the chasm in the ground where his neighbor’s house had once been. He scratched his head, wondering if his neighbor managed to get inside the pathetic metal safe room before the explosion had occurred. He supposed it did not matter whether his neighbor were alive or not. He would find out soon enough anyway; there would be no use in clambering into the chemical storm and searching through the wreckage to find out himself. Mr. Wilson felt a small tinge of regret as he surveyed the wasteland his neighbor’s land had become. There was so much smoke.
Mr. Wilson had not wanted to blow up his neighbor’s house, but their relationship had reached an impasse. He had seen no other solution. Mr. Wilson loved the white picket fence surrounding his property. It was the one symbol of the classic American dream he had always valued the most. To keep his property’s appearance aesthetically pleasing, Mr. Wilson devoted several hours every few months to recoating his beautiful fence with a fresh layer of white paint. Mr. Wilson made it very clear to his neighbor that he liked his fence immaculate and asked that he please not get paint on his side. Therefore it is not surprising that he felt enraged when he found obnoxious splotches of chartreuse or mauve paint on his side of the fence. It is no wonder that Mr. Wilson was livid when he drove home from work to find for the fifth time in the past year that his neighbor had decided to paint his side of the fence some outrageous color such as citrine or sepia. In the process he had gotten streaks of the vile substance on Mr. Wilson’s pristine white side.
Then there were the plants. Mr. Wilson valued order and enjoyed maintaining the thick layer of neatly trimmed green grass which blanketed his front lawn. He had informed his neighbor several times that he wished to keep his lawn in an impeccable condition, just as he wanted for his fence. He did not appreciate exotic plants weaving their way into his garden from his neighbor’s side of the fence. But yet again his neighbor had refused to comply with his wishes. Now, Mr. Wilson’s lawn was partially littered with tiny foreign flowers which ruined its appearance. It was not difficult to see why Mr. Wilson’s temper had gotten the best of him.
He had not wanted to blow up his neighbor’s house, but he could not see any means of reaching peace. So, he did not hesitate as he turned on his personal missile system, and retreated into his metal room as a precaution. His neighbor had violated their property contract, and Mr. Wilson had every right to defend himself against his hostile actions. He had tried to be reasonable, tried to warn his neighbor. Now it was time to take a more serious course of action. If this accident had occurred a few decades ago, Mr. Wilson might have had to eliminate his neighbor with just his tank. He was fortunate that the second amendment now covered a more respectable range of weapons. Mr. Wilson was a respectable citizen. His clean record and clear state of mind had allowed him to procure the proper licenses for his complex defense system, and he had every right to use it as he wished. He could not be held responsible if his neighbor refused to properly protect himself. Mr. Wilson had not felt guilt when he heard the explosion obliterating his neighbor’s house or the loud noise of his radiation vents kicking into gear, for he truly believed he had made the best decision for them both. They obviously were not compatible; it was best that they parted ways, and, in all honesty, the fool had it coming.
But as Mr. Wilson stood there, on the verge of the dark black pool he had created, he did feel a small pang of remorse. The whole reason for this destruction, he realized, had revolved around the pride he took in maintaining his picket fence. He now saw that the devastating blast had reduced his precious fence to mere ashes. He felt a momentary sting of tears creep into his eyes as he surveyed his fence’s mangled body, wishing he had thought to protect it before firing. ‘Oh well,’ Mr. Wilson thought, as he walked back into his house to order the wood and white paint he would need from the store. Some things simply had to be rebuilt.