The paper bag of groceries Jacques was carrying fell to the grass with a dull thud. The bottle of wine within shattered. His hands balled up into fists.
They were back.
He had set the garden hose on them that last time and ran them off the property. They did not seem to like getting wet. Jacques wondered why they were back.
"Hé toi!" he screamed. "C'est quoi ce bordel?!"
One of them turned around and put its gloved hand to its mouth in mock shock. The others continued to pretend to spraypaint the siding of his house with what he could only imagine was grafitti. Jacques was not amused.
Just then, Amber, his neighbour pulled into her driveway in a very large SUV. It was emblazoned with the logo for her nail salon. She didn't do any actual work there, and mostly spent her day driving between her house, the coffeeshop, the yoga studio she attended, the drycleaners, and the over-priced organic grocery store. Her "ladies" (because she didn't actually care to remember their names), all recently from Vietnam and underpaid, did the actual work.
"What have you got there Jacques? They better not come over to my property. I just got the lawn reseeded!" she asked.
He glared over at her, trying to telegraph that it was none of her business.
"You better get that looked at, you know."
"I know, Amber, I know. I thought I got rid of them! Do I look like I invited them here, Amber?"
"Don't you take that tone with me Jacques. I support your kind." She angrily snapped her bejewelled sunglasses into their bejewelled case and hastly rolled up her window. Two of the damnable things turned away from their painting and recreated the tableux with Amber and Jacques. Mock Jacques started to cry, symbolised by the rolling of its fists by its eyes.
And that was enough. Jacques bounded across the lawn and they took off circling around the house. They were fast and lapped him, then he turned around but they evaded all his movements. He stopped, panting, and with hands on his thighs, hair completely askew. Unfortunately the garden hose was locked inside the garage and if he opened the garage with them around they get in and would nest in there and then he might never be rid of them.
Mark, a mousy neighbour from down at the end of the cul-de-sac was now stopped out front with his tiny shivering dog.
"Looks like an infestation," he said, tying a miniscule amount of dog poop into a bag. Have you called an exterminator?"
"No, not yet," said Jacques, somewhat defeated.
"I had bees in my eaves a couple of years ago. I could recommend the company. It only took them an hour or so to clean it out. Cost five hundred dollars though."
"Thank you, but these are not quite bees."
"It doesn't hurt to phone up and ask."
"I left my phone inside."
"Well go get it."
"Look, Mark, you are very nice. But you do not know much, I am sorry to tell you. If I open my door, they will scramble in and embed themselves in the furniture. I would then have to burn the house down to get them out. I do not want to burn my house down."
"Well Jacques, I'm sorry, I'm not French like you, I don't know these things."
"This is not a problem of the French! Mimes afflict all nations!"
"Well it clearly started in France! And since you've been rude with me, I'm not going to give you that number!"
"It did not start in France! Why does everyone think that?"
"Because mimes are French!"
"Well yes the original performers were, but this is a very different thing! These are not human! There is a difference Mark."
Mark stood and thought for a moment, his dog shivering even more violently. "I have to go home now. Good luck with those."
Jacques sighed deeply as the mimes mimicked Mark walking his dog.
"How do I get rid of you?" he asked them. "Comment puis-je me débarrasser de toi?" he repeated.
In unison, the mimes all shrugged with exageration.
"What a nightmare."
"Hey buddy?" It was the neighbour Kevin from across the street, a guy who thought he was a buff bodybuilder but wasn't quite. Racoons regularly got stuck inside the protein barrels he left out for recycling. Jacques thought he needed to learn to wash out the containers.
"I can help you man," he said, swinging out a machete.
"Where did you get that?" asked Jacques in horror.
"Oh I've got lots of weapons. You should see my bow collection. I don't have any guns though. I support the second amendment and all, but when I was in highschool there were three separate shootings and after the third I vowed never to own a gun again. 'Cause like, that was so super-tense, you know? So I have knives instead. Pretty cool right?"
It is not cool, Jacques screamed inside his head. "Don't come over here with that!"
"It's alright man, I've got good aim," and with that Kevin hurled the machete at one of the mimes, splitting it down the middle. "See, really good aim. That's some Robin Hood shit right there man."
Jaques let out a high-pitched scream. The mime halves twitched and shook before falling to the ground where they each splayed out into limpid masses.
"What have you done? Oh mon Dieu..."
"What man? I'll help you clean this up. I've always wanted to see what was inside them." He walked over to retrieve his machete but Jacques tackled him and tried to rip it from his grasp but he only opened up a large gash on his arm. "Dude! You've got to chill."
"You cannot go about cutting them."
"But you need to get rid of them."
"Yes, but not by cutting. Look here," he pointed to the blobs, now reforming into two separate and smaller mimes.
"Oh wow. That's...well that's something else. How did you know they would do that? Is it because you are from France?"
"Mimes are not from France, and I am not French Kevin. We went over this at your barbeque in the spring. I am Quebecois. Anyway this has been on the news ever since this strain emerged. Everyone knows you do not cut a mime!"
"Okay, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to insult your nation of Quebec."
"It's not a nation, not yet. And my nation is this country. I have lived here for a decade."
"Yeah, but you are not, like American-American, you know? Cause you weren't born here like the rest of us. But like, you're okay dude. You're one of the good ones."
Jaqcues pinched his fingers to his nose and closed his eyes tightly.
"It's alright buddy." Kevin wrapped his arm around Jacques and Jacques died a little more inside.
But just then a truck revved it's engine a few meters up the road. Jacques and Kevin looked up, and the mimes stopped and froze mid mimic, their faces fixed on the truck. It revved again, louder, and the mimes sprinted off towards it leaping into the truck bed and holding onto the sides. When they had all scrammbled in, the truck sped down to the end of the cul-de-sac, screeched to a halt, then turned around abruptly, knocking over Mark's wheely bins and sped off back down the road. As it passed the woman driving gave Jacques the finger and the mimes all stared at him with malice. Haunting.
"Wow. Who was that?"
"That is the loan shark I went to. I missed a payment."
"Why'd you go to a loan shark?"
"I had to mortgage my house after I broke my leg and couldn't work for six weeks. Broken limbs are not covered by the insurance my employer chose. And then I tried to sue my employer about it but the lawsuit was deemed frivolous and was thrown out of court. But I still had to pay the lawyers. And since I don't have a long credit history and the house was already maxed out I found a loan shark. She had a lower rate of interest then a payday loan place."
"That makes sense."
"So now I know who has been sending the mimes."
"You'd better pay up before she leaves them on your lawn for good."
"C'est tellement américain," sighed Jacques.