Why is There a Toothbrush in the Bushes?
It’s funny, how I reminisce more about seemingly unimportant things than epic life events. I don’t often think about my college years or my first deployment.
Instead, I find myself wondering about long gone lollipop sticks.
A few years ago, I was working at the police department and took smoke breaks all the time. One day, I sat out on a bench and noticed a lollipop stick on the ground. Slightly bent, the little white twig had only a small pink crumble of actual lolli left on it. Why would someone just throw it on the ground I wondered, there was a trash can near by.
Oh well, I went back inside, but the next day, it was sitting on the bench the next time I went out on break, instead of on the ground. Now who the shit would pick it up off the ground and put it on the bench. Maybe a squirrel did it, I thought. I would take drags on my cigarette and stare at the stick on the bench. I wanted to know, who was eating a lollipop outside a police station, maybe a detective trying to quit smoking. The tightly rolled white paper stem got blacker each day with dirt, as it continued to sit there for a good month straight. Sometimes I would be in a slightly different place upon the bench. I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away.
One day, I went out to smoke and the lollipop stick was gone. I remember feeling quite sad. Now what would I look at while I killed myself just a little, one break at a time.
Things get pretty crazy on my walks with Dozer and Junior, my dogs. Obviously, they can’t talk to me, they’re dogs. It’s a quiet time that can bring a lot of internal chaos, or silence, depending on the day. I’ve found that if I just pay attention to my surroundings, I can keep the monsters at bay. My favorite thing to keep me occupied while they sniff and lollygag, is to look at things people have thrown into the road. People, you are disgusting by the way, stop it.
I know every piece of trash left on the ground to decay has a story and it kills me sometimes that I don’t know what that story is, so I try to make things up. I revel in they unwinding of life’s little mysteries.
There was an entire tin of lasagna once, just right in the middle of the sidewalk; it was probably from a lovers’ spat, a block from my house. Vito probably spent the night playing the accordion to some other Bella, and he thought he’d be slick by bringing home a pan of lasagna, you know, so Vikki didn’t have to cook that night. Well, Vikki probably wasn’t having any of that so she slapped the pan out of Vito’s hand, but he hugged her anyways and they played hide the cannoli to make it all better that night. Mmm, cannoli.
The whole chicken leg in an alley was probably leftovers that ninja raccoons found in the trash, but their bloody battle ended with both of them being mortally wounded, so I had to shove my hand down Dozer’s throat as he tried to swallow it in one go.
There’s always the same stuff most of the time, clear shooter bottles of alcohol that someone was too ashamed to drink in front of anyone else, used condoms that I don’t even want to imagine where they came from. Empty Dorito bags that couldn’t have possibly filled anyone up. The piles of boxes and mattresses sitting in front of dark houses make me feel the worst. There’s usually kids’ toys and clothes in the mix and I wonder where they moved to, that they couldn’t take the stuff with them.
One day, I saw something in my neighbor’s hedge bushes that I just couldn’t come up with a credible and absolute story for.
The walk was almost over; as I would just have to pass the bushes, make my way to the alley on the left, into the garage, through to the backyard and into my house. I stopped in the bushes because I saw something white, caught in the branches. It was a toothbrush, an adult’s toothbrush. There were various other wrappers and trash on the ground around the bright green and waxy looking bush, but the toothbrush just sat there, right on top. There was a window right next to the bush.
Ok, so maybe the bushes were the neighbor’s trash can. They just chucked things out of the window. But, I mean, their bathroom is probably upstairs like mine is, so they’d have to carry the toothbrush all the way downstairs to throw it out of the window. Don’t these people have bathroom trash bins. Nope. Maybe one of the kids there, I never did see an adult from those neighbors, was like, “fuck nah, ain’t going to be no teeth brushing today,” and got rid of the awful toothbrush of torture so their ghost mom wouldn’t find it.
I left it at that, irritated that there was a toothbrush in the bushes, and went inside.
The next day on a walk, I was almost home again with the dogs when I stopped at the street right before my house. There was a bearded guy on an old timey bicycle turning onto my road, so I waited for him to pass.
He was the epitome of hipster, with his man satchel and tousled brown man bun, sitting all cute on top of his head. Probably had a scarf on and his name was most likely Holden. We locked eyes as he turned the corner in front of me. Get this shit, as he looked at me, he brought a coffee mug up to his lips and took a sip, of what I’m assuming was coffee. This wasn’t a gas station-I’m-on-the-move-got-things-to-do type of coffee Styrofoam cup. It was a legit coffee cup. He merrily pedaled down the street and I continued to stand on the corner curb, brow furrowed as he flew out of sight.
I stomped my foot, who the hell drinks hot coffee while riding their bike? I saw the steam.
I was jealous of his coolness. I can’t effectively carry my coffee cup from the kitchen to the dining room without sloshing some of it out. Mostly, the instant I lift the mug from the counter, I instantaneously forget I have liquid in a cup in my hand. Since I forget the key component to beverage transporting without a lid, I wildly swing my arm around, while looking forward, dribbling along the hallway. I might as well do jumping jacks while holding it, for the mess I make.
Who did this asshole think he was, sipping on what was most likely a slow drip coffee concoction aged in a cheese barrel, with a splash of vegan breast milk and dash of saffron and patchouli oil…ON A BIKE!!!
“AhhhhhHAAA,” I screamed and pointed in his direction, still holding on to the dogs’ leashes. “You put the toothbrush in bushes didn’t you, you, you, Jonas stepbrother twice removed you,” I yelled after him.
I went home and promptly used the kitchen sink hose to fill up the coffee pot, and put on some Folgers to brew.