an entirely inappropriate smirk

It was the type of morning that would inspire the dreariest Emily Dickinson poem. The moon hung in the sky, shining through a slurry of fog. He mumbled veiled curses while defrosting the car lock on his pickup with a hairdryer.

The family across the street burst from their house like a clown car at the carnival. He counted them. Brat Junior. Bratette. Baby Brat. Mom followed them out heading for the minivan.

“Good morning, Harold!”, she chirped in the morning air like a Disney Princess.

He waved wordlessly while wrapping the cord around the hairdryer. Throwing his bag in the passenger seat, he turned the ignition. As the truck started down the driveway, he heard her call out. In his side mirror, he could see his neighbor frantically running towards his car, waving her arms.

His mind raced to the worst case scenario. Had he backed over their dog? Perhaps one of the brats? That last thought bringing an entirely inappropriate smirk.

She knocked on his window. “Good morning, oh I already said that. Well, you were the only neighbor that didn’t respond to the invite for the neighborhood association meeting. And there is a lot of important stuff to discuss.”

“I’ll be there”, Harold lied to her, “Work has been super busy, you know how that can be.”