Freedom’s Untidy

Fred and Ed are housemates. They’re hanging out one day and the guy from the funny orange house up the street walks in through the front door. Neither Fred nor Ed seem to notice him. The guy walks up to the second floor, then jumps down to the landing. He lands on the cat. Both cat and neighbor die instantly.

Fred jumps up off the couch and starts loading his car up with guns and explosives. Ed watches Fred load the car and helps him a little. While they’re loading the car, Fred is talking about how the neighbor was evil, and that the other people who live in the funny orange house are probably planning to come for the hamsters and the beagle, and that he’s determined to get them before they do. 

Ed doesn’t argue. In fact, he asks if he can help. He thinks Fred’s verve is a little weird. But he’s pretty pissed about the cat, too, so he’s with Fred no matter what. He helps load the car and asks if he can do anything else. Fred says no and backs out of the drive.

He drives up the street and parks in front of the orange house. He gets out of the car. He walks up to the house. He kicks the siding. Then he gets back in his car and drives around the block to the blue house down the street on the other side. 

He drives the car over the sidewalk, through the gate, up the walk, up the porch, through the front wall, and into the living room. He exits his car and starts shooting and setting off explosives. This goes on for about 20 minutes. When he’s done, Ned, who lives there, comes out and says, hey, thanks. I had ants.

Fred surveys the damage and says he’ll help fix it and in fact that when he’s done it’ll be a palace. He tells Ned that he really ought to move the sofa. From there on out, they spend three hours rearranging furniture. Finally, Ned begins to bristle. We’re just moving furniture, he says. We’re not actually accomplishing anything. And goddamit, he says. I still have ants.

Ed has been watching from across the street. He’s been trying to call Fred on the mobile but hasn’t been able to get through. He finally gets through and says to Fred, hey, Fred, what the hell was that all about?

And Fred says, “Hey, man. Back off.”

It’s not a perfect analogy, not by any stretch of the imagination. But it’s, you know. Somewhat. 

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