Mysterious hints of criminal behavior are rippling through our little town of Lambertville. I thought sure we were safe here, far from the raging gangs of Trenton (too far to walk, anyway), but clearly I was wrong. First someone's bicycle disappeared, then a volunteer at the fire house was busted for embezzling seventeen thousand dollars (you can buy a house for that, in Trenton), and now the water company is expecting somebody to steal their water.
Cardboard rings have begun showing up on the newly painted hydrants. "UNAUTHORIZED USE IS THEFT." I've never seen such a thing before in all my days, in any of the places I've lived. They expect us to steal their @#$%ing water! I haven't felt so insulted since the cable company remodeled their office in town here with bulletproof glass and a measuring stick on the door frame so the clerk behind the bulletproof glass could see how tall the guy was who came in to stick him up. In Lambertville.
It made a little bit of sense when I saw that the cable employee inside did not appear to be a Lambertville man, but exhibited the hostile, furtive manner of somebody from Trenton, where druggists and others behind counters are mown down like ripe wheat. It's all a matter of what you're expecting, I suppose. It takes time to get relaxed and comfortable after you leave Trenton. Bulletproof glass helps.
So, anyway, the cardboard signs on the fire hydrants. I was about to take umbrage, and had begun to harangue the neighbors about this evidence of United Water's lack of respect and trust for the people of Lambertville, when a curious thing happened.
A strange noisy vehicle pulled up to our fire hydrant.
"Who's that?" I said to Harold. "They're fooling with the fire hydrant."
"Must be the water company."
"That doesn't look like Orville." And it wasn't. It was some fellow from the contractors who are paving Union Street. Were they allowed to use United Water's water? Who knows? A policeman was parked right down the street with his lights flashing, and he didn't seem to be bothered. Perhaps he was in cahoots.
© 2014 Kate Gallison