Some People in My Town Died in Some Tragic Way and Some Trees Were Planted
Some people in my town died in some tragic way and some memorial trees were planted. These trees ruined my view of an office building and a Taco John’s parking lot where people sometimes had car sex so I chopped them all down. People in my town were outraged about the tree cutting and after I wiped my chainsaw clean and threw it into the river I pretended to be outraged too, talking about my anger at the grocery store and the post office and the sexy Taco John’s.
Soon the city planted new memorial trees and I poisoned them with bleach. My fellow citizens were crushed when the trees wilted and so they planted more to make their sadness go away, this time stationing a policeman at the park to protect them. This was November and my view from my window did not matter much to me because I snowbirded in Lake Tahoe with my daughter, Laney, whose condo had a wonderful view of a Burger King parking lot where drug deals sometimes went wrong.
By the time I got back into town it was spring and the funding for the tree policeman had dried up and so I chopped them down with an ax on a warm night when the moon was gilded and full. Now the town didn’t have enough money in their coffers to buy new trees so some townspeople tried to raise money through pancake breakfasts and spaghetti feeds but those fundraisers only made enough money to buy memorial seedlings, which, sure, would not block my view right now but would definitely block my view in a few short years. After the seedlings were planted I let my pet deer, Curt, out of his kennel and instructed him to chew those seedlings down to the nub. Curt has been well trained and he chewed up those baby trees in short order and for the next week his breath smelled pleasantly of maple and pine.
I started teaching Curt some other tricks after I announced my candidacy for city council. One trick was to rear up and kick any person I didn’t like. The other trick was to wrap his front legs around me in a big hug. I would either say “destroy” or “hug,” depending on which one I wanted him to do.
I would either say “destroy” or “hug,” depending on which one I wanted him to do.
Soon my opponent in the city council race started talking shit about me, calling my platform of better memorial tree oversight and legal deer ownership within city limits “mean and weird and dangerous,” so I gave Curt a “hug” and sent him over to my opponent’s house to “destroy.” In my mind a rogue and unaffiliated deer attack is a thing all voters associate with weakness and dishonesty so I knew this would probably swing the election in my favor.
Unfortunately, Curt wasn’t as great of a henchman as he was a friend—he was tragically shot and killed while trying to break into my opponent’s house and I lost the election a few days later. I was despondent for a couple weeks but then I remembered all the positive life lessons I’d learned from Curt and how he was largely a force for good so I honored his memory by purchasing a new chainsaw and driving around to neighboring towns and cutting down their memorial trees too.
John Jodzio's work has been featured in a variety of places including This American Life, McSweeney's, and One Story. He's the author of the short story collections, Knockout, Get In If You Want To Live and If You Lived Here You’d Already Be Home. He lives in Minneapolis.
Illustration by Leigh Luna.