Perhaps, offhandedly, I let it slip that Hick always seems to be around wherever I am. In my pocket. Up my butt. In my face. Attached at my hip. Unless, of course, I sleep late (no mean feat with him around), and he disappears for several hours.
When I'm here, however, you'll find Hick within arm's reach, a stone's throw away. Like Sunday, when I left for town. The same day Hick unofficially forbade the wearing of my sock cap in front of the roofer. He knew I was leaving. He knew where I was going. He could surmise how long I'd be gone, barring a long line at the gas station chicken store, or a spigot with a note taped to it proclaiming Diet Coke Out.
I backed T-Hoe out of the garage and started up the driveway, and there was Hick on the Gator, driving along the driveway in the grass (he's not fooling ME, I know he's itching to tear up the gravel). He stopped. Turned it off. That's a signal for me to stop. Believe me, I've been in trouble for daring to drive past the field when he was on it, and not tell him where I was going.
"I'm on my way to town for a soda and some chicken. Do you want anything?"
"No. I'm good."
"Okay. I'm going."
"Okay. I'm cleaning up Jack's sticks."
Like that little dog jumps up and rips the limbs from the trees! He could just as well say he was picking up the branches that blew off in the last big wind.
When I came back a half hour later, I saw Hick sitting on the Gator over in the BARn field, watching a fire in his burn pile. I figured my dogs would come running. They love to run along with the Gator, but when it's parked, they love getting a handful of cat kibble more. I parked in the garage and looked in my mirror before pushing the door closer.
THERE WAS HICK, SITTING ON THE GATOR!
That's just creepy. He was in the field. Then he was on the concrete directly behind the garage. I got out. He was just sitting there looking at me. Horror movies are less creepy.
"Pardon my French, but do you always have to be up my butt?" It doesn't pay to actually swear in front of Hick. Hick don't cotton to the potty mouth. Unless it's HIS mouth.
"There you go again. I just drove over when I saw you come home."
"Okay. I feel like you're spying on me."
"No. I just drove over."
Let the record show that Hick made no move to get off the Gator and carry in the chicken or my purse. Not that I needed his help. I do this a couple times a week, you know. And don't even suggest that I let him carry my 44 oz Diet Coke! I made that mistake ONE TIME, before Sonic closed, and he dropped my Route 44 Cherry Diet Coke just outside the kitchen door! Oh, the caffeinity! I swear tears dripped from my face like that magical elixir dripped through the cracks between the porch boards.
Anyhoo...I went in the house and Hick went back to wherever he planned to lie in wait for me again. I dipped out a towering ramekin of slaw and warmed my chicken in the oven while I filled two bubba cups with ice cubes. One for adding water downstairs in the NASCAR bathroom, the other to be added to my 44 oz Diet Coke throughout the afternoon. I paper-plated my chicken and put it on a tray with the slaw and my special slaw-eating spoon. Put my two ice cups and my soda in a Walmart bag to drape over my arm so I could hold the tray and have an arm free for hanging on to stair rail spindles for dear life as I descended the 13 steps with no handrails to my dark basement lair.
I was on step #10 when I heard the kitchen door open. And walking. Wait a minute! Did Hick grow a couple of extra feet? And TALKING!
"What are you doing?"
"We're just coming in to air up a basketball." And Hick proceeded, along with HOS's elementary-school-age son, down those steps behind me, to the workshop, one thin wall away from my office.
I can't go anywhere without Hick turning up! And this time, he'd brought company. I had no idea HOS's boy was even coming over. Good thing they didn't pop in while I was in the NASCAR bathroom...um...indisposed...Because I don't usually close the door when I think I'm the only one in the house.
Wait! We're not done here. Hick had told me the roofers would be there around noon. I left for town at 11:45, and got home around 12:20, and didn't see any roofers. Just Hick on his Gator. Hick knows I go out for my walk between 4:00 and 4:30. He specifically knew I was going out at 3:45 Sunday, so I'd have time to walk before preparing his Super Bowl snacks in time for kickoff.
Hick had the ladder all set up for the roofers before I even left. I took a picture, because I figured some kind of story would develop. (Look out for that bell!) During the last icing, Hick found a small leak spot in the kitchen. He'd already been up in the attic checking for the severity of the breach in the new metal roof. He said it wasn't bad. He knew what they needed to do. He even bought some product that they would be spraying on it.
Well. I started out the kitchen door, per my usual routine, and saw a pair of legs on top of that ladder. They belonged to Hick. Which I soon realized, after turning around and going out the front door (that won't close right) and hearing the two roofers up on the garage roof. I hope they got a good eyeful as I stood on the garage sidewalk, stretching and talking to Sweet, Sweet Juno and Puppy Jack. I especially hope they enjoyed watching my progress as I walked five driveways.
Hick couldn't see me (at least I HOPE he doesn't have eyes in his kneecaps), but he was talking to me while I was stretching with the dogs.
Surveillance cameras are the least of my worries. Now, every time I go to town, and see people working along the road, I'll think they are Hick's spies. Like the ones Mother Abigail's people sent to Vegas in The Stand. M-O-O-N. That spells, "Hick needs to give me some space."