Bushes were growing out of control in front of his old house. They covered windows. Grew over sidewalks. Neighbors called them, The Green Monster. Bright green bushes intertwined wth each other making one. A solid wall. The old man couldn’t see outside and people couldn’t see in. He was hidden from the world. Folks wondered what he was doing in there. They said he had a mail ordered bride from Vietnam, or, Sri Lanka. Maybe he was keeping her hostage, they thought. Then again, neighbors never saw anyone go inside. These were just rumors.
Grass was growing long in the front yard. Backyard was a jungle. Weeds had taken over. Long green weeds that turned brown in the winter time. Some wild flowers were mixed in. Flowers planted there years ago. Way before he owned the place. They took in rain water to survive. Never did the flowers rely on him. They grew each year despite the old man. He was not one with Mother Nature. Or, maybe he was. The whole cycle of life and death. Let things go naturally. Don’t trim nor prune. Just let the whole thing go. That was his philosophy.
Neighbors grew tired of the old man’s ways. His yard was an eye sore. The house not much better. Shingles falling off. Paint chipped away. Rust on the front door handle, light fixture hanging above a porch that was caving in hung by a screw, and upstairs windows with cracks in them. It was beyond repair some thought. neighbors thought of renting a bulldozer and knocking the should -be condemned house down in the middle of the night. They thought about it.
A meeting was held at the Goldsteins house one night to discuss the matter with others in the neighborhood. Kind of a file your complaints party.
I want to sell my house and he’s preventing me from getting top dollar for it, said Mr. Klein. It’s a real danger to the community, he finished. The whole group nodded their heads in agreement and said yes and Amen.
My kids can’t walk near the place without crying, said Mrs. Yablamowitz. The whole structure is falling down. Kids are scared to go the park across the street from it. What good is a swingset if you can’t use it ? Everyone said, She’s right. And a chant began, Knock it down. Knock it down, they yelled. Pots and pans were taken from the kitchen and a march started out the door and down the street to the old man’s house where where they banged on their cookware and shouted, Knock it down. Knock it down. Knock it down.
The old man paid no attention to the mob outside. He sat at his kitchen table drinking coffee and listening to Mozart. The louder the crowd got, the louder he turned up the record player. But soon the crowd would over take the music and he turned it off and just listened to the chant. Knock it down. Knock it down. Knock it down. He began to sing along with them. The beat had invaded his head. He became one with the crowd.
The old man danced around his house singing, Knock it down. He grabbed a ruler and opened the front door to see the crowd that had assembled. He conducted their chant like a symphony. Building higher and higher until it came to a stop. The crowd noticed the old man. They had never seen him before. He was old with a long beard and a balding gray head. His finger nails were long and he didn’t wear shoes. The mob just looked at him. A woman asked out loud, Why?
He looked at her and smiled. Shrugged his shoulders. And said, Why not?
The old man died a year later from that night of the chant. He had no will nor next of kin. And, in the name of property values, the home was demolished. Dreams really do come true.