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By Cindy Wiggins Tapia

During our courtship, Nabo rented a pitiful little pink thing on Lawson St. behind West Buford Baptist church. The front yard was a napkin. The back sprawled to a chain-link fence hidden inside an overgrown hedge. He loved that house and told it so in my presence long before he ever proclaimed his love for me.

I got pregnant and moved in. I’d get up and drink my coffee while gazing at the misty morning through the back windows. One morning, I saw a black bear on the other side of that hedge.

When I told Nabo that afternoon, he goes,  “Tha’s one bull, you. Jajajaja!”

That spring we planted a garden along the hedge. Nabo dug ditches twelve hours every day on a Benton-Georgia construction site and tended the plants when he got home. The water hose was too short, and we were so in luuuuv our brains were AWOL, I reckon, because neither of us thought to buy one that would reach. So, he would fill a five-gallon paint bucket with water, lug it down, tote it back up, repeat, repeat in weather hot enough to liquefy asphalt, while I watched from the patio, drinking iced tea.

Come harvest time, I walked down with a basket and discovered a section of pole beans had turned yellow.

That afternoon, I looked out the bathroom window and there was that bull on my patio. I went digging it outside just as Nabo turned his bicycle into the driveway. Nabo’s bellowed. The Bull vamoosed. Hasta la vista, baby!

“Want me to call the law?”

“Noooo!” he spat in affronted machismo and took off after the bull. He caught it. Unfortunately, for his machismo, it nuzzled his shoulder and kissed him, while I cackled.

“Call la policía, you!” He shouted.

Using my Telecommunications Device for the Deaf, I called Animal Control.

“How may I help you?”

“There’s a bull in my backyard.”

Pause. “We don’t do bulls.” Click.

So, I called the law.

“Gwinnett County Police Department. How may I assist you?”

“There’s a bull in my backyard.”

Pause. “A cattle? In the city limits?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Have you called Animal Control?”

“Yes, ma’am, but they don’t do bulls.”

Around twilight, a patrol car pulled up. The officer climbed out. He looked around. No bull. He put his fingers on his gun anyway in case it popped out of nowhere.

It did.

It hopped onto the patio and licked that cop’s face. The cop forgot his gun and jumped two feet off the concrete. The bull took off for its life. The cop and Nabo sprinted after it. Somehow they got the bull herded back through the broken fence, which the bull’s keeper promised to repair soonest. Ha.

The cop left. We went inside to eat dinner. And that was that.

But it wasn’t.

The next day, we saw the bull eating kudzu behind the house next door. We looked at each other. We headed to the garden. Sure enough, it had eaten all of our summer squash, tomatoes, and bell peppers. The cucumbers and jalapeños were untouched, but in apparent distaste, it had hosed down the pole beans.

Sheesh. I didn’t like Nabo’s jalapeño peppers but I didn’t pee on them.

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