In Case of Huggers
“Who goes-a-calling before noon?” Maggie grumbled as she shuffled across the living room.
The grungy terrier tagging along at her heels let out a short yip as if in answer.
“You’re right, Mr. Dickens,” she said, acknowledging the dog. “It’s downright rude.” She stopped at the window beside the front door and pinched a corner of the curtain. She moved it a half an inch—just enough to see the offensive soul who thought it proper to knock so early. “Uck,” Maggie said, making a face. She let the curtain fall closed. “It’s a Hugger.”
Mr. Dickens growled, showing his black gums and what was left of his pocked, yellow teeth.
Maggie’s growl matched her dog’s. She hated the Huggers. Poor Mr. McNearson. Surely, he’d rolled over in his grave the day they moved into his former house, blasting their hippy music about sunshine and rainbows and waving at everyone who dared walk past. Surely, he’d sat up and waved a fist the day they had a group of muscle-bound workmen paint the abode a ghastly sunshiny yellow. To add insult to injury, the Huggers had Mr. McNearson’s practical concrete yard jackhammered out and a manicured lawn laid down as if it were carpet. Maggie hadn’t even known people could do that.
Maggie peeked out the window again. Standing on her unwelcome mat was the worst Hugger of all—the one who always smiled—the one who always waved—the one who always had to wrap her creepy, spindly arms around everyone she met—and she was holding a tin of cookies and a clipboard. Maggie had heard about this. The Huggers were pushing a petition for a Crypt Street beautification project—as if Crypt Street needed improvement.
“This won’t do,” Maggie said to Mr. Dickens who was gnawing at the bald spot on his tail. Maggie’s gaze drifted from the dog to the shadowy space beneath the sofa. A smile crept across her face as an idea took root in her brain. She bent down and pulled an aluminum baseball bat from under the sofa. The bat had always been a practical means to rid her doorstep of pests. The bothersome Huggers deserved no different.
Maggie placed a hand upon the doorknob and balanced the bat against a shoulder. “Forgive me if I’m wrong, Mr. Dickens,” she said as she plastered a smile on her face, ready to greet the Hugger in the other side of the door, “but, I do believe the only good Hugger, is a dead Hugger.”