The first night of our vacation we stayed in Tucson, where two aunts and a cousin of mine live. I love Tucson. It’s pretty and has a lot of character, and the music is good there too. Benny’s kids seemed to think we were in Mexico and kept asking us if the water was safe to drink.
My Aunt Mo arranged with my Aunt Ellie to let us stay in this really beautiful Spanish Revival-style house of Ellie’s friend Marlene that nobody was living in because… well, it’s sort of complicated. I guess you could imagine an early short story by Truman Capote, but set in the Southwest, and that’s what the deal was with the house. I had called my mother to let her know that we were staying at this house and she told me not to worry if we heard a loud thump in the kitchen in the middle of the night, because it was just Salvatore. Well, then.
We received many more warnings about Salvatore, the kids especially. Salvatore might climb up on the kids in the middle of the night, but if he did that, they shouldn’t touch him. Under no circumstances were any of us supposed to touch Salvatore, in fact, no matter what. The kids didn’t get a very good sleep that night, but Salvatore never appeared.
The next morning, Mo and Ellie and Marlene came by. We thanked Marlene for the use of the house, and she said it was absolutely no problem as long as Salvatore was still alive. This gave me pause, as I had clearly seen a legal pad on the kitchen counter with daily journal-type entries that read, “8/3/12 – No sign of Salvatore today…. 8/6/12 – Did not see Salvatore…”. I am a little afraid that Salvatore is dead and we are going to be held accountable somehow.
Anyway. Mo and Ellie and my cousin Caitlin’s family went to breakfast with us. We briefly discussed the fact that kids still hit mailboxes with baseball bats; this has been happening a lot to Mo lately. Also, Mo and Ellie and Caitlin told us not to miss, or maybe definitely miss, the ridiculous garish Paul Bunyan statue in town – a Paul Bunyan statue with a Mr. Sardonicus grin that was kept behind a fence for safe-keeping. Between Crazed Paul Bunyan and the mailbox marauders and Salvatore, Tucson was seeming much more dangerous than I had remembered it from previous visits. We finished our breakfasts and said our goodbyes.
Thankfully, Crazed Paul Bunyan was only a modified Muffler Man with an axe in his hand instead of a muffler. I’m still not sure what Paul Bunyan has to do with Arizona, but there is a similarly modified Bunyan/Muffler Man in Phoenix. This guy was strange, but nothing to be scared of. We continued through town toward the freeway, and somehow wound up back in my Aunt Mo’s neighborhood. And in the yard of one of the houses in this neighborhood, there were monsters everywhere.
I know that last one looks pretty scary, but overall these seemed like really nice monsters. One even tried to give us a mailbox.