The wind tears at my breath as I step outdoors, and I have to concentrate to breath. Exhaling's no problem, but inhaling, stealing a breath back, is a challenge. But as miserable as it feels, the noisy, fretful, wicked wind that drowns out all but the loudest noises and can cause untold and unexpected property damage is why I've chosen this night for what I'm thinking of as "The Task."
I raise my head and see it directly in front of me. My fist tightens around the steak knife I'm clutching like a dagger. I step forward out of the shelter of the porch and look up the street, scanning first one side and then the other. It's after 2 am; only tree limbs are moving. There are no lights in bedrooms or bathrooms. A car glides by on the cross street a block up, but I can't hear its engine over the wind. Good.
Then I'm running, and I can't hear the wind anymore, only my breath and my feet thudding across the street, up to the house opposite, and I raise my fist and drop the knife, slashing through the nylon fabric that tears, shredding more easily than I had hoped. And then I turn and run back, and am safe inside my own house before the inflatable Homer Simpson dressed as Santa has fully collapsed, never to curse our street again with his tacky, doofy grin.
I just hope next year they don't put up something worse.