A Pencil Needs An Eraser

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

You cannot be too relaxed, or own too many webcams.

Most of you probably don’t realize how stressful being a writer can be.  While I am writing a story, I am never happy.  The story is never right.  It must constantly be re-written and edited.  When I am between stories, I worry that I’ll never find the creative juice again and I am finished.  People who work for a living have it so easy.

It was natural for me to build the treehouse.  Had a few of them when I was a kid, at the end of the street, in the woods between our subdivision and Fanning’s farm.  Now, my house sits on top of the hill, overlooking what used to be the farm.  It’s all houses and shopping centers.  And the golf course.  The condominiums across the street from the Carmike took up the last of what was once an expanse of snowy cotton each September.

The guy on that TV show sure builds fancy treehouses.  My idea was to build a simple platform up in the tulip poplar, a place for me to go and relax.  Erase the stress.  That is what I did.  Used up the pile of 2 by 4s and a box of old screws and nails.  The first time I laid back in the lounger up in the tree, I could feel the stress seeping away through every pore.

I should have never started watching people on the golf course.

But how could I resist, with a retired professional golfer displaying his wares practically at my feet.  You probably have never heard of Spike McElroy.  No relationship to current superstar Rory McIlroy.  Spike is a bona fide PGA champion, he won the 2002 AB Stephens Open.  It was the same week as the British Open, so he didn’t get much love from the media.  I hear about Spike every six months, his wife is my dentist.  Small world.

So there I am up in the tree, watching the hackers below go by on the 6th hole.  Man, I tell you what.  There are some shitty golfers out there.  When Spike’s group makes it to number 6, the contrast is ridiculous.  He hits it long AND straight.  From above, it is easy to track the flight of the ball against the Bermuda turf.  He puts on a show.  And no doubt takes cash from suckers.  The doctors and lawyers around here have money falling out of their pockets.

Of course I had to haul the binoculars up the tree to get a better view.  When I realized I didn’t want to carry them up and down every time, I built a roof.  And added a door, windows, and walls.  Then it got hot so I ran electrical and put in an air conditioner.  And heating, of course.  After that, the plumbing was easy.  The sofa, refrigerator, and washer/dryer combo went up with help from some rope and my tree guy.

I haven’t slept in the old house since I installed TV and internet in the new one.  By then it made sense to have audio and video feeds from the golf course.

I’d been climbing up to the tree house for a year.  Shimmying up the trees on the course and installing the webcams and microphones was just a good workout.  I documented every location in a spreadsheet.  I knew I’d have to replace batteries on a regular basis.  That would not be a problem, the course is deserted at night.  I wore a path down the side of the hill.

The inside of the treehouse looks like a CBS production truck.  I’ve got 3 monitors, each one displays nine camera views.  What happens on the golf course, stays on the golf course.  Except when I’m watching.

Everything was fine for two years.  No one noticed the cameras.  I’ve learned a lot about my neighbors.  Let’s just say the church needs to be full on Sunday and there ought to be a lot of folks asking forgiveness.  Everything was fine, until the day Doyle Anderson tried to outrun the sheriff in his 1979 Plymouth Roadrunner. 

No telling what kind of trouble he was in, but I knew it was Doyle before I saw the Roadrunner.  Everyone in town was familiar with the sound of that 429 Hemi.  I know a lot more than that about Doyle, he is my cousin.  The black sheep of the family.  And not the smartest of us.  I suppose it made sense to park at Aunt Emma’s.  The driveway goes all the way around the back of the house.  Emma lives on the other side of the 6th fairway.

No telling why Doyle took out across the golf course on foot.  But it gave me an idea. How to use the loudspeakers I’d mounted on top of the treehouse.  I set the pitch changer down two octaves to make my voice deep and mysterious, and cranked the volume up to 11.

“Doyle Anderson, this is your Creator.  You cannot hide from God on a golf course.”

Doyle had been in full stride running across the fairway.  When he heard my voice, he tripped and did a somersault.  He began rolling on the ground and swatting like there was a swarm of bees.  He must have thought the voice was coming from inside his head.

“Doyle, if you want salvation, run to the trees.  The trees, Doyle.  Run to the trees”

I’d already come up with a plan.  When I made the path down the hill, I avoided the blackberries and the wild roses, they are full of thorns.  And the remnants of Fanning’s barbed wire fence, and the poison ivy.  I figured if I could get Doyle to run up the hill in panic mode, he would experience some of each.

Emma must have seen Doyle and called the law.  Sheriff Anderson pulled up behind Emma’s house.  The last name is not a coincidence.  Sheriff Harvey Anderson and lowlife Doyle Anderson are brothers.  Thus the sheriff is also my cousin.  Small world.

Doyle was at the bottom of the hill by then.  I didn’t want Harvey to hear so I switched over to the speakers in the webcams.

“Doyle, there is a car, with keys in the ignition, at the top of the hill.  Get to the top of the hill, Doyle.”

When Doyle screamed I assumed he found the barbed wire.  That also alerted Harvey to Doyle’s location, and he began running.  Harvey was observant enough to find my path, and he arrived at the top of the hill at the same time as Doyle.  Both of them were directly under the treehouse. 

I realized my plan had finished executing, but there were two significant loose ends remaining.

Doyle was lying on the ground, panting, bleeding from his hands and a gash on his forehead.  He was missing a shoe.  His shirt was in tatters.  In contrast to Harvey, who hadn’t even broken a sweat.  Neither man had looked up toward the treehouse.  I was hoping Harvey would haul Doyle back down the hill and away from me.When he pulled out his cell phone and began dialing, I figured he was calling an ambulance.  Until my phone rang.

“Serge, I am 100% sure you are involved in this.  And if you don’t get your ass down out of that treehouse, I am 100% sure you will spend the night in jail.”

I decided to invoke my right to remain silent.  Instead of answering, I tied a rope around a beer, opened a window, and dangled the ice cold beverage above Harvey’s head.  It was 5:30 in the afternoon.  I knew he had been on the job since 6am and his official shift was over.  Then…

“Harvey, why don’t you and Doyle come up here and help me drink some beer?  You know you want to.  Whatever Doyle did can’t be that bad.  Plus, he is bleeding all over my Zoysia and I have a first aid kit up here.”

After we got Doyle patched up, Harvey cuffed his ankles, no way he was getting down from the treehouse unless he did it in one big step.  Doyle told us the beginning of the story.  He was showing off, laying rubber with the Roadrunner.  In front of the courthouse, trying to impress some teenagers.  He took off when Harvey heard the commotion and came out.  The rest of the story I knew about since I was a participant.  While Doyle was talking about hearing voices, Harvey was surveying my equipment.  And giving me the evil eye.  The gig was up.

I succeeded in getting all three of us too drunk to climb down from the treehouse.  When I woke up, late the next morning, Harvey and Doyle were gone.  There was a note on the table from Harvey indicating I better get my spy equipment off the golf course pronto or else.  Harvey was not the kind of man you’d want to show you what “or else” meant.

It took two nights to take down all the equipment.  That was a lot of climbing.  It’s not a total loss though.  I’m going to trade all that stuff in on a couple of nice drones.

Submitted: August 27, 2015

© Copyright 2021 Serge Wlodarski. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:


Karim Jessa

And the pencil...? Did you ever get yourself an eraser? The tree house, by the way,...what ABOUT the tree house? I'll have to read this all over again. I'll get back to you after I've fixed the faucet.

Fri, August 28th, 2015 5:48am


Just like me to start talking about pencils and end up getting drunk with Harvey and Doyle. I suppose beer is a metaphor for an eraser. You might as well unclog the toilet after you fix the faucet.

Fri, August 28th, 2015 1:50am

Criss Sole

That was one awesome tree house. Actually sounds better than the apartment I live in! Great story Serge.

Sat, July 1st, 2017 9:01am


Everyone should have a tree house. I knew a guy in college who lived in one but that is another story.

Sun, July 2nd, 2017 7:47am

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