Silas Irgbottom sipped his lemonade and enjoyed the buzzing of the summer cicada from his porch. His prize roses were in full bloom, except for the mangled Alba Maxima. He tried not to look in her direction. He had done what he could, pruning the broken stems, but so many buds had been lost. Alba was a temperamental plant. This would wreck her for the summer.
Which was horribly disappointing. At seventy-seven, Silas often wondered how many summers he had left. Who was to say if this was his last chance to see Alba in all her glory? Sure, he tried to eat right and stay healthy, but the gut from years of sitting on his duff as a sales manager, and the high blood pressure that went along with it, wasn't going away any time soon.
There was a groan from the lawn. The thirteen year old hooligan slowly sat up. He had long black hair and wore a t-shirt for some band that Silas assumed he would hate. The boy reached for his butt and grimaced when he touched the left cheek.
Suddenly, the boy became aware of Silas.
"You shot me!" he yelled.
Silas held up the tranquilizer gun. "What did I tell you kids about trespassing in my yard? You have a lot of nerve, coming after the baseball that shattered Alba." Silas gestured at the evidence he had found resting on Alba's roots earlier that afternoon.
"My parents are going to sue you!" the boy shouted.
"Because I shot you in the butt? In that case, they'll be really upset by your new earring."
The boy reached up and touched the blue tag that Silas had attached to his ear.
"That there is homing beacon, kind of like what scientists use to track bears in the wilderness. Only this one lets me keep tabs on you. You tell your little delinquent friends they can expect the same if I catch any of them on my property. As for you, I'll know the next time you trespass and trust me, I next time I won't be aiming for your rear end. Now get out of here."
The boy didn't have to be prodded twice. Weeping, he darted over Silas's fence and disappeared. Silas went back to his lemonade. Looking at the laptop next to him, he could track the boy's departure on an online map. Silas smiled. That one wouldn't be back again.
He drifted off to sleep in the summer sun.
The loud buzzing of his computer as well as the ringing of his doorbell snapped Silas out of his nap. He couldn't believe it, the boy had returned.
"Must be a slow learner," Silas muttered as he reloaded his dart gun and headed for the front door.
He yanked the door open, half expecting a bag of fiery dog poop to be on his front step.
Instead it was the boy, his mother, and a girl Silas assumed was his younger sister. The mother's fawn colored hair was bobbed and she wore a blue summer dress with white flows on it.
"Are you the man that put that, thing, in my son's ear?"
Silas drew himself up to his full height, which at five foot five put him eye to eye with the boy's mother. "Yes I did. He and his troublemaker friends have repeatedly trespassed through my yard. This afternoon his baseball destroyed my favorite rose."
"Oh, I'm very sorry about that. I can pay for the roses," the mother replied.
Silas was taken aback. "Um, well, that isn't necessary. Alba will grow back."
"Is it true, that the tag will track my sons whereabouts?"
"Yes..." Silas responded slowly, uncertain as to the direction of the conversation. "I can use a computer to track his movements."
"Can I buy that program?"
"Oh, and how much would it cost to put a tag in my daughter's ear?"
"Moooooom!" whined the daughter.
"Hush," the mother hissed. To Silas she said, "This would be such a boon to me. I'm always worrying where they are. Being able to check a website while I'm at work, or in the evening, it's every parent's dream. In fact, when I told my friends about it, they would like their children tagged as well, as long as it wasn't too expensive. It isn't, is it?"
Silas didn't have to be hit over the head with a baseball bat. "Oh no, not expensive at all," he quickly threw out a price. "It's a subscription, so that's monthly," he added.
"Oh, that's very reasonable. Can we do it today?"
Silas nodded, "Yes we can. There's also, one more, small item."
"Yes, what is that?"
"They have to stay out of my yard."
THE END copyright 2013 John Lance