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Nicole L. V. Mullis

Those Who Trespass It was after nine in the morning when Carol entered her old neighborhood. She drove slowly, counting empty driveways and chewing her bottom lip. Everyone appeared to be at school or work. Her eyes darted back and forth searching for garbage men, service people, meter readers, or kids playing hooky. Yesterday, the bank’s lawn service had showed up just as she was unloading her tools. Thank God she had parked on the street. Carol remembered how her hands shook when the man—a big, blond stranger —bid her a cheerful hello before mindlessly mangling the lawn. He didn’t know she used to possess the repossessed yard. He didn’t know she was there to tend the repossessed garden. She should be safe today. The bank only mowed once a month. The meter people weren’t due for another week. Still, she parked in the street, closer to the neighbor’s house than her own. She hefted her bucket, rake and shears, and headed for the backyard. Despite the “No Trespassing” stickers glinting in the windows, and the lousy lawn job, Carol couldn’t help feeling a sense of pride. Her former home was a beauty. Carol hadn’t always thought so. When she had first seen it ten years ago, she thought it was ugly. The boxy ranch had sat on the bare lot like a lone tooth in an old crone’s mouth. Her husband, on the other hand, had thought it was perfect. “Look, Babe, no trees!” he exclaimed. “No trees mean no raking. And that garage looks big enough for a fishing boat.” Carol hadn’t understood his enthusiasm. They had a rake. What they didn’t have was a fishing boat. Still, the schools were good, and she was three months pregnant. The house was out of their financial league but their loan officer, a soon-to-be-ex-friend of her soon-to-be-ex-husband, had worked some magic. He had arranged it so they didn’t need a down payment and the seller picked up the closing costs. Five years later, he had refinanced their house so her husband could buy the fishing boat. Last summer the loan officer had pleaded guilty to fraud, her husband had run off with a cocktail waitress, and their house had appraised for $20,000 less than what they owed on it. Some magic. They had filed divorce papers in December and fought over everything. The court had ordered the house be on the market for the duration of the proceedings. The market, however, had bottomed out before her marriage, so the house just sat there, overpriced and under-visited. The divorce was final six messy months later, leaving the bank with their house, her ex-husband with their boat, and Carol with their

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MOUNT HOPE

Profile for Mount Hope Magazine

Mount Hope Issue 2: Fall 2012  

Mount Hope is a literary magazine produced at Roger Williams University, Bristol, RI

Mount Hope Issue 2: Fall 2012  

Mount Hope is a literary magazine produced at Roger Williams University, Bristol, RI

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