Soooo … less than a week after I think I’ve cleverly gotten rid of Mr. Freeloader … knock, knock.
It’s Mr. Freeloader’s oldest son (about 10).
“Can I borrow $5?”
Last time, Dad definitely sent the kids over to “borrow” money. This time, it’s not at all clear whether Dad did the sending or the kid has just learned Dad’s lessons and decided on his own that neighbors might be bottomless pits of favors.
All I know is it’s damned hard to look an adorable urchin in the face and say, “No, you can never borrow anything from me again because the things you and your family borrowed before haven’t been returned.” I tried to be nice about it, but there’s really no way that’s going to sound anything other than mean to a disappointed kid who has never been given Clue One about values.
I’m furious that Mr. and Mrs. Freeloader have put me in this position. It’s not my job to teach responsibility to their moppets; it’s theirs. (And they’ll do it when Charles Schumer spots a TV camera and doesn’t deck six old ladies to get himself in front of it.)
I’m furious because this all started with a couple simple acts of kindness that the Freeloader family has managed to turn sour for everyone, including themselves.
After the kid leaves, I think it’s time to follow the advice that MamaLiberty, Jim Bovard, and a few others have given: “For heaven’s sake, Claire — OPEN CARRY.”
To be clear, Mr. Freeloader has never threatened me in any way. But he’s a big guy — 250 or more pounds and strong as a bull elephant. And he’s very clearly not a good guy. Above all, I don’t understand the mindset of somebody who’d assume a near stranger would become his chauffeur, banker, and supply warehouse — even after she’s said a very clear NO.
I can’t second-guess this guy. The only thing I can be sure of is that I haven’t seen the last of him and and his worthless family.
After the crestfallen tot slunk away, I could picture Daddy storming over here to tell me not to treat his precious firstborn that way.
Didn’t happen. So far, anyhow. Still, the guy needs to see that I’m not a pushover, since words alone are worthless with him.
So I did go find the open-carry gear that used to be my daily companion out in the desert. Wide webbed belt ($2 at a thrift store; but nearly cost me my life when Joel recognized it as a fancy piece of gun gear). Molded “tactical” holster for the Glock on the right. Flashlight and three-bladed hunting-gutting-cutting-my-fingers-off knife on the left.
And now, of course, Terry Bressi’s tiny, amazing, action-oriented Muvi camera (which I must still review here on the blog) clipped over my navel.
I strap all this stuff on and I feel like a land-locked battleship. True, I don’t really need the flashlight. Or for that matter the knife. But I know the instant I start removing gear from the belt said gear will develop a life of its own and scurry into crannies like fleeing mice, never to be spotted again. Besides, I could remove it all and just the darned Glock and the darned (but uber-cool and good-for-quick-draw) holster all by themselves would make me feel like Keanu Reeves in that scene from the Matrix; you know the one I mean. With the metal detector.
I try to work with all that strapped around me — clank, bonk, clank, bonk, bonk. I eventually give up and leave it on a kitchen counter.
Daddy Freeloader told me last week that he’d come by “Tuesday” to return the earlier borrowings. I’m not counting on it. But if he does, I will be wearing my gear — strictly for message-sending purposes, understand. The neighbor may be a freeloader, but he’s neither done me harm nor threatened any. I just want to tell him, since words don’t do it, that I’m not the soft-hearted fool he took me for and I’m not going to be vulnerable to him.
If he doesn’t show up tomorrow, though, I’ll probably just edit my “NO Solicitors” sign to read “NO Borrowers and NO Beggars, either.”
And start shopping for lighter, more compact carry gear.