People Like Us

Life With Mickey D.

“The sight of Mickey D. pursuing them, red-faced, angry and with his blue flannel shirt flapping over the pistol in his belt was enough to instill fear in the teenagers …”


Mickey D. wasn’t normally a man prone to vengeful acts. Perhaps it was the recent stress brought on by the “thugs” who had just moved into the neighborhood– those young punks whose thumping speakers boomed so loudly throughout the neighborhood they shook the family pictures on Mickey D.’s living room wall. The loud bass music truly angered Mickey D. He had even been seen running down the street after the lemon yellow jeep on a lifted frame, yelling “you better turn that crap down!” and punching in the number to the police department on his flip phone. The sight of Mickey D. pursuing them, red-faced, angry and with his blue flannel shirt flapping over the pistol in his belt was enough to instill fear in the teenagers in the yellow jeep; they had not been back by his house since then.

Or, maybe it was the stress of the recent city ordinances that sent Mickey D. to the other side. Too many big-city outsiders had come into town and taken over the leadership positions, strictly so that they could attempt to change this small, Texas farming community into a cold, rigid city with too many rules. Mickey D.’s voice was always raised when he discussed “the city” or “the gov’ment,” and he would almost always shake his finger emphatically at the person lucky enough to get his take on the issues at hand.

In a roundabout way, it was a city ordinance that led to Mickey D.’s act of revenge. He had been standing in his yard, discussing with his elderly neighbor from down the street the unbelievable amount of stray cats that had taken over the small town.

“I can hardly feed my cats anymore,” Mickey D. was explaining. “No sooner do I go inside than the suckers are out there whoopin’ up on my cats. I bought a live trap the other day. It’s time for them to become familiar with country life.” Mickey D. spit his tobacco emphatically, the brown stream splattering his wife’s roses.

“It’s a problem all over town,” Mr. Nugent agreed, shaking his head. “My brother Duce has a huge problem over at his place on the East side. He whines all the time about it.” Mr. Nugent chewed his tobacco, a scowl lining his face. Everyone knew Mr. Nugent’s brother Duce. He was a persnickety man who had spent his life as a bachelor traveling all over the world. Now in his fifties, Duce had returned to town, but not without joining forces with the city council. Even his brother had no patience for his meddling ways.

So, it was no wonder that Mickey D. came up with a plan following the confrontation with The City. He had been outside assessing his newly acquired 1965 Corvette, one that needed engine and body work, when the City Code Agent stopped by.

Mickey D.’s large 3-stall garage was one of the most important things in his life. He had scrimped and saved to build the large, beige, metal building that sat in the middle of his one-acre plot of land. Mickey D. kept things neat outside, and was careful to mow and edge the grassy lawn that bordered the building. Inside the building were the aged frames of several hotrods Mickey D. had begun to build, along with metal pieces that most people would never be able to identify as car body parts. Mickey D. knew every piece of metal, every car part and treasured them as if they were his own children.

The City Code Agent pulled up in his new city-issued Buick. Mickey D. stared at the round, stubby agent while he walked up the paved driveway to where Mickey D was standing. Mickey D. broke the awkward silence by sending a stream of tobacco juice onto the pavement with a loud “splat”.

“Can I help you?” Mickey D. asked. He crossed his lean, browned arms and leaned back on the Corvette, his ice blue eyes narrowed in suspicion. The City Code Agent removed a piece of paper from his bag and handed it to Mickey D.

“I’m afraid you are going to have to move this vehicle off of the property, or house it in a different way,” the agent said with a matter-of-fact clipped tone, as Mickey D. began to read the document. The agent breathed heavily, as if the walk up the drive had winded him.  He took out handkerchief and wiped his brow. “City code says vehicles not up to state inspection are not allowed on property within the city limits. You must remove it, or store it out of sight, inside four walls.”

Mickey D. began to laugh incredulously, and an angry red flush spread up his neck beneath his denim shirt. He waved the piece of paper out in front of him. “You have GOT to be kidding me. You people just sit around looking for ways to stick it to hard-working people.  Out of all the junkers in this town, how is it you have singled me out? What about the yard down the street, the one with three or four of them?”

The City Code Agent had already begun to back away from Mickey D., and turned to leave. “When people complain, we have to check it out. I’m sorry sir, that’s the law. You have 30 days to take care of it.” He walked in a quick waddle toward his car, arms swinging at his side.

Mickey followed the agent down the driveway. “Okay so I want to know who complained. That’s the law too, right? I have a right to know.” The agent pulled his pudgy legs into the white Buick and slammed the door, and quickly rolled down his window. Sweat rolled down his bald head as he glanced down at his clipboard. “It looks like you have Mr. Duce Nugent to thank for this complaint.” The agent  drove away, leaving Mickey D. in the driveway shaking his head.

“I’ll get that sucker,” Mickey said ominously.

Over the next few days, Mickey worked to “comply” with the city ordinance. He pulled out 4 picket fence panels from behind his garage and managed to stand them up around the corvette. Now anyone who passed by would see a wooden box around the Corvette.

“Now then,” Mickey D. said with a smile. He held his large, scruffy white cat and stroked him gently as he admired his work. “They asked for four walls, they got it, didn’t they Sam?” He rubbed the cat behind the ears and watched as he closed his crossed eyes. He chuckled to himself and walked back to his house. “Now for Duce’s due.”

It was after dark that evening when Mickey D.’s wife Eula heard his laughter on the back patio.

“Whoo I got that sorry sucker,” Mickey D. shouted gleefully. “I got the one that was beating up on my poor old Sam.”

Eula opened the back door and stared at the large, wild, tough-looking, black cat struggling to get out of the live trap. She noted the food that had lured the black cat into the cage and shook her head. “What are you up to now?”

“You’ll see,” said Mickey D. He loaded the cat into the back of his truck and backed out of the driveway, his lights shining on the garage door. Eula watched him leave, curious about his mission.

For the next few weeks, Mickey D. happily loaded up the wild, stray cats he had trapped in his cage into his large pickup truck and pulled out of the driveway. He always arrived back home within about twenty minutes and with empty cages. Eula finally confronted Mickey D. about the cats.

“Okay, what are you doing with all those stray cats?” Eula asked as she placed dinner on the table. She tucked a long blonde hair behind her ear and watched her husband suspiciously. “Well?”

Mickey D.’s eyes lit up mischievously. He took a long drink of sweet tea from his Mason jar glass and sat down at the table.

“Well,” he began. “You know how all those cats have been coming over here beating up old Sam? Well, they now have a new home.” He laughed and looked at Eula. “Let’s just say Duce now has a lot to complain about. Yep, I’d say he probably thinks he is the victim of a Biblical plague. “

Eula looked at Mickey D., not comprehending. “Wait–you took all those cats over to Duce’s house?”

Mickey nodded. “Yep. I figured he needed something to do besides get into everyone else’s business. All those cats are looking pretty comfortable over there. Oh—and I have heard that he is thinking of moving because of the problem his neighborhood now has with stray cats. It seems the city keeps getting complaints about the number of cats Duce now has at his house, they are threatening to fine him.”  Mickey D. sat back in the dining room chair with satisfaction and spouted one of his cherished phrases. “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.” Mickey D. chuckled to himself and cut into his steak, temporarily satisfied with the justice served.


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