Harmon drew the device’s teeth against the wood grain.
The sound of the chainsaw split the tranquility of the placid Sunday afternoon and sent the sparrows spinning from their thorny thrones.
The smell of the wood, the metal, the machine’s furious humming engulfing the grotesque chittering of the wide outer bright.
He stood over a small, felled tree before Andy’s old, creaking house, the species-name escaping his ken, and rolled it with his booted-heel and worked the grinding steel of the mechanical saw against the spindly branches which shivered like insectal limbs with the impact. He paused to behold a group of men walking along the street. Familiar faces all. They were those he had seen so many days before, waiting at the corner just beyond Sprawls’ house. The congregation wore brightly colored and expensive clothing and moved with a languid swaggered, as if the entirety of the sidewalk upon which they walked belonged to them.
A young and scantily-clad woman moved down the side walk, heading straight for Andy’s lot, ass pushed up and out in jeans one size too tight, hair cropped on both sides, long on top and combed wildly to one side, below which a thin, ribbed and sleeveless exercise top girded her wobbling breast, paler than her spray tanned skin. Harmon thought he’d seen her before but could not remember where. She paused and turned and yelled something at him, her round, lacquered face contorting in vexation. He stopped the chainsaw.
“I said why the fuck you gotta make so much fucking racket.”
The gangbangers laughed and muttered jokes concerning the scene.
Harmon furrowed his brow and methodically set the machine down beside the brush pile and dusted off his jeans and turned to the woman with a placid expression.
“Just clearing some brush.”
“Well, clear it somewhere else.”
“Ain’t no other brush to clear. Even if there was, think that would probably be trespassing.”
Her expression softened and she crossed and uncrossed her arms anxiously.
“Harmon nodded fractionally and jerked his thumbed above his shoulder, pointing towards the house.
“He’s inside. Bout to leave though. Better hurry.”
She did so and made he way to the door and and passed therein as Harmon bent to his lent chainsaw and returned to work as the toughs, having lost their source of amusement, ambled along down the street.
A hour passed. The woman hadn’t come out of the house. Bluebird hadn’t called. His anger had ebbed some but he refused to allow placidity to overtake him.
Lessons must be learned, so first, they must be taught.
He surveyed the flat, dying grass of Andy’s diminutive lot, restarted the chainsaw and imagined the tree was Serena’s throat.