Dale Calhoun sees it on Tuesday morning. He thinks he should have worn a jacket. The air looks wet, it’s darkish out. He notices everything is pretty much dry though.
The neighbor’s house is olive green with off-white trim, a sort of craftsman, but with two bright white columns at the entryway. Did someone build a craftsman ninety years ago, then these folks bought it and added columns? Dale likes columns, although these seem misplaced.
The house is on its own odd little hill. Way above grade, like fifteen feet at least. Under pretense of being single-story, thanks to this hill, it’s surely multi-story. There is a masonry-framed garage dug into this mini hillside below the house, painted the same olive green, it’s off-white wooden door flush with the street.
The two large, single-pane, street-facing windows appear in good shape. Dale sees inside, the living room lit in soft gold from the black floor lamp, with its round black inverted shade, the cheap kind found in most college dorm rooms, fraternities, or first apartments. A few wispy plants, and a black bookcase showcasing well-read volumes covering a lot of genres based on the covers’ color variations. They look heavy with dog ears.
Dale prepares to look away quickly if the inhabitants appear in one of the windows.
He remembers the mom offers up an intact, refrigerator-sized cardboard box for Benjamin to enjoy. It looks old, so they certainly hadn’t just purchased a new refrigerator. Their kids are well beyond cardboard box play. As in, one in college, the other in high school. Did she somehow inherit this box recently? Did they just happen to keep a refrigerator box for six years, assuming their youngest is a freshman at Roosevelt and the age of eight is the final age a child is interested in building a fort with a box, or a robot, or just sitting in it, thinking about things adults don’t.
Dale let’s her know he’ll come by if Benjamin is interested. Dale sees the dad once in awhile, the mom never.
The Rooster is at an odd angle on their front porch. Odd, because it appears to purposefully stand sentinel to the southeast. And the pure height of the hill provides a commanding view of approaching intruders.
He sees design-heavy roosters all the time, and knows they symbolize something for some culture somewhere, and Americans start keeping roosters for this fact, or the fact they like roosters.
The Rooster is colored in a different pattern to the cultured roosters he’s familiar with, which he notices. Piñata colors it looks like, pink, blue, yellow, black, orange, teal. It’s at least three feet tall. Is it four?
The yard art store on 85th is now a flower shop. They sell flowers, not repurposed steel twisted into rooster shapes and painted. The Rooster is certainly not of repurposed quality anyway – it looks heavy, ceramic, and expensive. Maybe it is metal.
Someone decides they like roosters and makes the purchase and places it prominently on their porch? Someone gives them The Rooster, an exchange student as a parting gift, and they love the student or The Rooster or both so they make it the face of their dwelling. Their kids get it for them or want it and they’re forced to pretend to care so they place it at the forefront, or they place it at the forefront because they love their kids. The mom makes it and places it there and they all make fun of her and that’s okay because she has a great sense of humor, or the kids like it but the dad hates it and is kind of a jerk about it, or a big jerk and yells at her about it when he’s really worked up about something else.
Why buy a disproportionally sized rooster and place it right in the front of your house?
Dale walks back to his front door to go to work. He’s glad it’s not wet out.