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Welcome to the Neighborhood

Below, find five excerpts from five different perspectives

(the animal, the homeowner, the police officer, the neighbors, me)

about a recent crime found in a Connecticut backyard.

What of this pressure cinching on my legs, tied to my arms, bound to my belly? Tighter and tighter it digs, through my fur, lost in my skin, found in my bone. “We’re going to show her,” it says, as though I had signed up, trained the message, made a pact to the plan. What could I show? The rounded grid taking residence in my spine, the clicking of scissors loud in my ear. “A rat for a rat,” it sneered, my tail twisting for temperature, the wind, sussing out alive. To be a gift? A trade? A friend? And what of my heart, disconnected and bloodied, the dribble of the trail, the garbage can, the floor. The beating in my throat, the persistence in my veins. “ A rat for a fucking rat,” it persisted, tearing out my tongue, disconnecting my throat. Was I guilty? To be charged, a crime of being me? “What a fucking rat.” it confirmed. Is it bad to be me?

Hi...Umm...I’m calling because I found something in my backyard that I think someone needs to come and check out...Mmmhmm...Yes, I’m the homeowner. I just saw this today. Right now... Ok, well: There’s a rat; well, I think it’s a rat. And it’s tied with fishing wire to the outside of a cage...Yah. To the outside of a, like a, rounded metal cage. The cage is nailed into the ground and there are three stakes….I don’t know; I haven’t moved it. They’re big...Uhhuh...Yes...Yes... I have no clue. It’s missing its eyes; and it has something hanging out of its mouth. But there are no flies. Or guts. It’s weird...No, I don’t know. I have no idea who could have done this. I just bought the house...No, I’m not living in it right now. It wasn’t here over the weekend; I just found it now...Saturday...No, it wasn’t here on Saturday. I have no idea what this means. I don’t know what this is trying to say. I think someone should come and check it out...Yah, I’ll be here...Ok...Thanks.

This is something I like about the job: every call is different. You never know what you will find. I have one rule for myself in my profession: do not get on the news; under any circumstance, keep my name out of the paper. I want to make it through this profession without having a reason to be in the media. Just don’t take a picture of my face. Or my badge. This is another level of...I don’t even know. We’re going to have to document this.

They said he was sloshed by ten, on Tuesdays. And Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and come to think of it, most every day of the week. He’d stumble around on the deck. She wasn’t eighty pounds, wet. They hadn’t redecorated since her mother died, which was too long ago to remember. The house had been in the family...forever. But he had a suspended license, for life. One too many DUIs on the road. Though he kept driving; he went everywhere. He was going to prison, they said; and she: who knows. This rat is probably for him, they suspected. He was probably in trouble with someone. He wasn’t rolling with the right people, you know. They wanted to send him a message. But even with the sold sign out front? Even with the house empty and under renovation? This just happened Saturday, weeks after their move. Well, maybe the person didn’t know, they suspected. Maybe they think he’s still there. How is one to know? We don’t know. But we’ll keep an eye out for you.

Now you lay me down to sleep

I pray the Lord my soul to keep

and in the morning when I wake,

show me the path in which to take.

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