Neighborhood Watch


Me deciding to air out my swampy junk isn’t really any of my neighborhood’s business, but everybody’s got an opinion these days, so 9-1-1 is called and a police car arrives and I’m hauled off in the raw — which halts video production in my garage studio. Because the amateurs I’ve hired don’t know what to ram where without their beloved star/director barking orders at them

They just stand around with their metaphorical thumbs stuck up their metaphorical butts as I’m handcuffed and carted away.

If that was some candid sub-genre with revenue potential, I wouldn’t be so frustrated. But it isn’t, so I am. They’re too dumb to complete this shoot without me. They’re so dumb, they do porn for the art.

Puritans up and down my block venture out from behind their pried window blinds to see me off. They’re too busy looking down their noses to notice all the naked artist-types that suddenly populate my front lawn like so many pink plastic flamingos.

The cops don’t notice them, either. Or at least they don’t let on they do behind their mirrored shades.

What I fail to notice is Carl out in my yard with his digital video camera still going.

Dummy cameraman Carl is actually some kind of pornographic savant. Once the police cruiser I’m in is down the street and around the corner and out of his range, he wanders off to look for something else interesting to document before his battery charge light blinks off.

He meanders around my neighborhood, catching my tattletale neighbors gloating about my arrest before going back about their own business within the privacy of their own homes.

That’s when things turn depraved. A born natural at window peeping, Carl records everybody’s celebratory bedroom action: your typical in-and-out that devolves, in no time, from humdrum missionary position to scary freak stuff straight out of animal nightmares.

My snob, snitch neighbors are the monsters, even with their kids watching TV in the next room.By the time I post bail and get back to my place, wearing paper jail pajamas, my cast and crew have split for the bar, except Carl. He’s busy editing his covert neighborhood footage into clips suitable for sale to Internet sites.

What I’m able to sit through seriously out-weirds my oeuvre of on-camera intercourse.

I watch meat slap other meat and juices of unknown origin ooze and squirt in every direction. Even through closed windows and without much of a microphone I hear grunts that would terrify nature’s fiercest beasts back into a zoo. Chubby mouth-breathers I’ve never seen move faster than a sidewalk slug in public twist themselves into fat pretzels of lust as if they’re indexing Karma Sutra poses from memory.

My stomach turns at first. Then a lightbulb goes off over my head.

“Think there’s folks willing to pay to watch this filth?” Carl grunts. I’ve never heard him string together so many words at one time.

“Oh, there’s an audience,” I reply. “And they’ll be more than happy with my price.”

The indignity of my naked Saturday afternoon in police custody is negligible compared to the embarrassment I’ve caused certain people in the weeks since. Yanking them tight by the very body parts that I was trying to rejuvenate poolside that afternoon is a perverted irony that’s been lost on nobody.

I should’ve insured my productions this way all along.

Now I can shoot orgy scenes in the middle of the street if I want — and nobody mutters a word. They just lock the cute little fruits of their clandestine kink indoors until we’re done cleaning up our mess.

One adventuresome neighbor couple without offspring actually joined my roster of fetish talent. I wish these freaks had auditioned for me years ago. By now I would’ve been a wealthy, wealthy man.

~ fin ~

Brian Beatty is the author of the poetry collections Borrowed Trouble; Dust and Stars: Miniatures; Brazil, Indiana: A Folk Poem; and Coyotes I Couldn’t SeeHobo Radio, a spoken-word album of Beatty’s poetry featuring original music by Charlie Parr, was released by Corrector Records in January 2021. Beatty’s stories have appeared in Cowboy Jamboree, Floyd County Moonshine, Hoosier Noir, Monkeybicycle, The Quarterly and Seventeen