before my mother-in-law served him with eviction papers and changedthe locks. He’d also moved in his bed. We all assumed his tools and thetwo dozen rusted vehicles parked out front would cover the thousandshe owed her in back rent, but days later, he broke in and took everythingvaluable, leaving behind only a stack of rotten tires, a dozen drums ofoil, and a toilet brimming with a mound of shit hardened to cement. Sonow my father rents and watches over both buildings—a deal he workedout years ago with my mother-in-law—paying less than he would for astorage shed, just enough to cover the property taxes.
When he pulls up alongside the trailer, I see the woman’s head in thewindow. Then she disappears.
“I’m going to take care of this right now.” I dial the police department’s nonemergency number and tell the dispatcher that I need thewoman trespassed. The dispatcher says she’ll relay the message to thesergeant, and he’ll get back to me.
“There,” I announce to my father. “Done.”
We work on my table while we wait. My father punches holes along
the edges of two fifteen-inch-wide boards with a biscuit joiner, I fill
the holes with wood glue and football-shaped wooden biscuits, and we
clamp the boards together. I don’t need a table but want one that bet-
ter fits my small dining room than the vintage one in there now. I still
haven’t worked out what I am going to do with the old table. My garage
is already packed with furniture, mostly antiques I’ve collected at estate
sales and thrift stores over the years, enough to furnish a second home.
Fifteen minutes go by. A slight man in a brown Carhartt coat, a baseball cap, and jeans emerges from the trailer with a smoking chunk ofdriftwood, one of the logs my father has collected along the SalmonRiver to use as a base for the end tables he makes and sells at regionalcraft shows. The man pretends not to see us. He drops the wood alongside the trailer.
“Hey!” I say, walking out of the shop toward the man. “You need to
leave.” My voice wavers. I take a deep breath and swallow hard. “This is
our property. You don’t have permission to be here.”
“Okay,” the man says, raising both hands, palms up. “Can I at least go
get my truck to haul away my stuff?” He looks in his early forties, about
my age. His submissiveness surprises me. How many times has he been
told to put his hands in the air?
My father walks over to the man and me. “You know, I have thousands of dollars of equipment in here.” He is calm, as if he’s talking to