While I had a distaste for Chicago fortunately my aunt and uncle who I stayed with lived in a magical place that disguised itself as Suburbia. My cousin showed me around the neighborhood of Lake Villa that true to its name had a lake. I walked out to the dock and sat on a wooden swing tied to a tree branch. The lake was murky and looked unclean to swim, but the calm waters made for a soothing vista. On the path back to the neighborhood I found blackberry bushes with enough fruit to take back. As I walked back a giant dog ran out after me. I thought I was going to be attacked, but he just wanted me to pet him. I felt like Kevin Costner when he was asked if his cornfield was heaven.
The next day my brother and I took a circular bike path around a protected marsh land. It was a meadow overgrown with wildflowers of every hue. Railroad tracks stopped at one point right at the trail, but there were no locomotives in sight. A deer hopped over the trail with its strong legs and a frog the size of a big toenail ribbited along the path. The night was filled with flashes of heat lightening and the electric glow of fireflies.
But the only thing more American than a basketball hoop on a slanted driveway is having a crazy neighbor. I noticed a police car was in the neighbor’s driveway. “I guess he keeps the neighborhood secure?”
“Except for from him and his son.” Seems the cop has a penchant for waving confederate flags from his lawn. He has a twentysomething year old son who lives at home. And who my cousin once saw drawing on the sidewalk with chalk. Hours later she went to check out the artwork and saw a strange figure drawing with the words, “No Homo.” marked under it. But the danger isn’t just expressive. One time they heard a gun go off. The bullet ricocheted against the neighbor’s fence and shattered all over the lawn including into one of their basement walls. The cop claimed it was an accident but my cousin was convinced it was the man child she dubbed, “No Homo.”
I grew fascinated by this No Homo and kept asking questions about him and hoped I would catch a glimpse of him. My cousin claimed he had no friends save two twelve year old girls who live across the street. I flew back to LA without seeing him in action, but then my cousin sent me this text, “No Homo is walking around outside with a huge pirate flag.”