Colin has a neighbor who lost his home to foreclosure. This neighbor was a bit of a nightmare in the “instead of date night each week, let’s have ‘domestic abuse night’ and have the police stop by” sort of way, so no great loss. No one wants to live next to an episode of Cops. But Colin didn’t see it coming when the neighbor let him in on his exit strategy.
“Hey, our house has been foreclosed on,” said the neighbor.
“Yeah, that sucks dude. Sorry to hear that,” said Colin, though inside he was doing a Yippee Dance.
“Hey, just so you know, I’m going to take the fence.”
Now, it’s common practice for people who lose a home to strip it of anything of value. Light sockets, cabinets, appliances, door knobs; everything’s fair game. Carting away fences cemented into the ground was a bit more unusual.
“No, you’re not,” said Colin.
While the fence was technically the neighbor’s, it also made up one third of Colin’s fence. If the neighbor took down his fence, Colin’s dogs would just wander off through the gaping hole left behind.
“Yeah I am,” said the neighbor, and then he wandered off much the way Colin’s dogs would if the bastard took the fence.
Colin stormed inside fuming. He tried to come up with a few choice words for the fence-stealing neighbor. Finally, he decided to ignore the probably empty threat and assume the guy wouldn’t be dumb enough to cut down the fence.
A couple of days later Colin was outside when the neighbor walked out of his garage, revving a chainsaw. Neighbor stood staring at Colin, poised to start hacking down the fence.
Waving his arms, Colin demanded the man turn off the chainsaw.
“You’re not taking the fence,” said Colin
“Yeah, I am,” said the neighbor. “Unless…”
“If you give me $200 I won’t take the fence.
“Screw you!” said Colin, and stormed back inside.
The neighbor went back into his garage, and Colin felt sure he had called the man’s bluff. Until the next day, when he once again heard the chainsaw. Again the neighbor stared him down, DeWalt poised to eat the fence.
Colin went inside, got $200, and paid the man.
Now the man is gone, and Colin’s fence remains intact. But with blackmail skills like that, I don’t know how that dude lost his home in the first place.
In “Mending Fences,” Robert Frost forgot to mention one of the guys had a chainsaw.
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