Dear HOA,

There appears to be a misunderstanding circulating in the neighborhood that I’d like to have cleared up at once. I don’t like rumors or beating around the bush, so let me state it clearly here in writing: I am not, nor have I ever been, a “Swamp Thing.”

Now, do I enjoy spending some personal time in the nearby swamps on occasion? Yes. Absolutely. Last I checked, spending time in the local swamps was not a violation of the HOA bylaws. Relaxing in swamps after hours likewise does not make me a “Swamp Thing” or “Swamp Creature,” despite what some residents with too much time on their hands have suggested.

As for the other complaints included in the list that was crudely nailed to my door (I do have an email, you know), I am willing to consider some lifestyle changes if it makes my easily excitable fellow residents less jittery. I will address these “demands” in the order they were listed:

  1. I will agree to stop peering into windows late at night while covered in slime. Although I acknowledge some residents found this upsetting, I maintain this habit was perfectly innocent. I work all day and I don’t get to check in with my neighbors very often. This was simply a way of ensuring my community was safe without having to bother them with a knock on the door. The only reason it was “late at night” (which apparently is only 9:30 PM these days?) is because that is around the time I am on my way back from the swamps, which is also why I am coated with slime when I do it.
  2. Yes, I will freely admit that I ate Maisy’s cat. I do not need to see the security footage that you’re all so proud of. You could have simply asked me. I apologize if people were offended that I ate Maisy’s cat. However, I think we all know HOA bylaws prohibit pets from roaming the property. Therefore, I don’t believe I can be held solely responsible for little Garfield’s grim fate. I’ve warned Maisy many times that something like this might happen when I’m out swamping.
  3. I will stop sending Maisy warnings about the times that I am out swamping. Forgive me for trying to be transparent, I suppose. I did not mean to “freak” Maisy “out.” You see, my head is swimming when I swamp. That is part of why I swamp—for clarity. I am therefore in no mood for conversation during these times. And yet, as we all know, our friend Maisy likes to gab. So, when I wrote notes like, “STAY INDOORS FOR YOUR OWN GOOD AT NIGHT WHEN I AM SWAMPING,” I simply meant to convey that she’d be unable to find a suitable conversation partner in me during those times. That the notes were written in blood is incidental—I keep losing my pens in the swamp.
  4. I will make sure not to leave my “sheddings,” as you call them, on residents’ lawns. Although leaving my molted skin around the neighborhood was accidental, I will point out that the material is biodegradable and excellent fertilizer. I was certainly doing some of these lawns a favor. I will also point out that while I am being scolded for a few harmless husks, it appears Bill Houk can continue to park his golf cart anywhere he pleases without so much as a whisper of disapproval? Curious.

There, I have addressed all your complaints in a civilized and perfectly reasonable manner. Was that so difficult? I’d now invite you to call off the mob. Where did all those pitchforks even come from? Please don’t tell me you purchased them on my account. How embarrassing. No mystery where the tiki torches originated, of course—I’ve been to Diane’s campy BBQs.

If you have any other “issues,” please send whoever the new HOA president is to come speak to me in person at the swamps. President Nyquist and I had many productive conversations there before his mysterious disappearance. Feel free to stop by in the evenings—say around 9:30. I’ll look forward to your visit and to avoiding misunderstandings like this unfortunate “swamp thing” business in the future.


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