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They’ve done it again. Those damn kids have trampled my azaleas, just like they trampled my lavender yesterday and my peonies the day before that.

I know how they get into my garden. The fence is high, but there’s a notch on one of the panels that they use as a foothold. I’ve seen them from my kitchen, watched them as they swing their skinny legs over the top of the fence and drop down into the far corner, right behind my marigolds. They stomp their way through my flowers to their missing ball, destroying the delicate little things without a second thought. They even scuff up the sides of my shed as they scramble their way out again.

I hate who they’ve made me become; some crotchety old man, standing on his porch waving his cane. Hey you kids, get off my lawn! The thing is, if they asked me, I would get their ball for them. I don’t have a problem with them playing their games. Hell, when I was a kid I went through more than my fair share of lost balls and frisbees and even the odd bat or two. I know what it’s like to be their age, and I know that they can’t help it when they lose their ball. But I also know that trespassing is wrong. My garden is my space, my property, and they have no right to be there.

If they would just listen to me, this wouldn’t be an issue. But no. Every time they kick their ball a little too hard and it goes sailing over my fence, they’re chasing straight after it before I can stop them. None of them pay me any attention when I tell them no, goddammit, don’t go into my garden!

Since the kids wouldn’t listen to me, I went to talk to their mothers. I was calm, collected, explained that I didn’t want the kids to go romping through my yard any time they felt like it. I was reasonable, but every single mother told me the same thing: boys will be boys.

Well, if their parents aren’t prepared to do anything about it, then I will. The next time one of those kids comes climbing over my fence, there’ll be something waiting for them. I set up the bear trap this morning, its sharp steel jaws nestled right behind my marigolds. Those kids are going to learn a lesson about respecting other people’s property.

I can hear them playing on the street outside now. From their shouts, it sounds like baseball. Good. Not too long to wait.
  

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