#AtoZChallenge April 21, 2018. Snowbirds
26 posts. 26 days. And 26 letters of the alphabet, one post beginning with each letter, in April.
Follow me as we visit the not-quite-normal retirement village of Twilight, Arizona, where reality clashes with the unexplained.
Janice Delaney hated Tina Sparrow. Not hate-hate, like she wanted to stab her in the heart with a steak knife, but more like get-out-of-my-face-I-never-want-to-see-you-again.
The animosity between the neighbors stemmed from the cockroach incident. Tina’s condo had them. Janice’s, separated by a common wall, did not. The “bug man” sprayed on the first Friday of every month; the cost included in their HOA fees, but once the little buggers packed their bags and headed inside, the problem became the owner’s.
Tina took exception to the condo rules.
“It’s your building,” she screeched from Janice’s front porch. “You should control what goes in and out.”
I wish I could. You never would have moved in. But, as the HOA administrator, Janice had limited power and couldn’t wish her away.
“Perhaps the rules of condo ownership need to be more clear.” She strove to keep her voice even. “The roof and outside walls are held in common. Anything from the studs inward is your responsibility. Including roaches.”
Tina blew a last puff of cigarette smoke from her lungs and ground out the butt with her jeweled sandals. “I’m not paying for extra treatment.”
Jan wrinkled her nose at the smell. “Then I guess you’ll live with an infestation. I suggest you block where they’re getting in.”
Her neighbor huffed. “You’re trying to take advantage of me because I don’t live here year round.”
As if that’s all I have to do. “Pull out the condo rules and regulations, Tina. Twilight Palms is not paying for individual pest control.” She backed up and shut the door.
Events deteriorated after that. Tina objected to cutting down three palms that had grown too tall and thin to safely trim each summer. She cried about the traffic in the alley behind her unit and had once placed sawhorses across the entrance. Only the diplomatic intervention of one of the other owners, Ed Robinson, prevented Jan from filing a complaint with the Twilight’s Residents Board.
“She’s a pest,” her neighbor on the other side said after Tina’s last tantrum.
“Damn snowbirds,” Jan said. She couldn’t wait for the snowbirds to leave town. They clogged up the stores and buzzed around in their golf cars as if they weren’t legal vehicles but bumper cars instead. More than once she’d almost hit someone.
Hazel shaded her eyes and looked to the end unit, the sun setting behind it. “Why doesn’t she stay in Colorado where she belongs? It’s not as if she spends anytime outside in the warm weather. If not for her grumbling, you wouldn’t know she’s here.”
“Snowbirds are a breed apart.” They trickled in to the district starting in October, peaked after spending the holidays with their families, and left in March and April. By May, traffic had cleared and life settled back to normal.
Hazel shook her head and pulled on the water hose that serviced the flowerbed between their units. “I don’t understand anyone who owns two places, but only lives here six weeks of the year. She barely comes out.”
“Maybe she’s counting roaches.” Jan caught her neighbor’s eye, and they dissolved into laughter.
The safety screen door slammed, and Tina stepped from her unit, a cigarette dangling from one hand.
“What’s so funny?”
Jan couldn’t help herself, she started laughing again.
“Nothing,” she gasped after she forced herself to stop.
“There’s too much noise around here.” Tina winced as the 3:45 train passed through the intersection two blocks away. “It’s not this noisy in Colorado.”
“Bet you miss it, huh?” Hazel asked.
Afraid she’d giggle again, Jan couldn’t look at her.
“I’m going back tomorrow.” Tina flicked ashes on the ground. “It’s not worth flying down.”
Jan wanted to ask why she did it year after year, but held her tongue. “The place won’t be the same without you.”
Behind her, Hazel guffawed.
Tina’s eyes narrowed. “See you next Easter.”
“Not if I see you first,” Jan muttered, watching the other woman turn and cocoon herself inside her unit again.
Hazel moved to her side. “I’m sure there are good, decent snowbirds somewhere.”
“Tell me if you see any.”
Jan waved goodbye to her and entered her unit.
The next morning, she looked out her living room window as Tina Sparrow, her wings stroking hard, flew home for the rest of the year.
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Twilight, Arizona, all the stories now available on Amazon
“Fly” over to Amazon and buy the complete Twilight volume.
Don’t want to wait until April 30th to read all twenty-six Twilight stories. For a limited time, they are available on Amazon for 99¢. From Arizona Heat to One-Zero-Zero, read and enjoy twenty-six stories set in the strange retirement community of Twilight, Arizona.
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Monday’s #AtoZChallenge April 23, 2018 Trains, Planes, and Wishes
Twilight resident Terri Little learns the hard way to be careful what you wish for.
Until then, blessings,
p.p.s. Hazel and Janice both appear in Hand Over the Baby.by