Welcome to the Neighborhood, by Django Gold

By

Howdy!

And welcome! As president of the Welcome Wagon, I’d like to be the first to extend my greetings to the newest addition to the Sycamore Hollow community. We are thrilled to welcome you to the neighborhood, and we are just positive that you and your family will find a perfect and lasting home here in Sycamore Hollow, the best, friendliest, and most vibrant suburban housing complex in the Columbus metropolitan area!

Before we go on, I’d like to get it out of the way and confirm that, yes, as the notices put up by the district attorney’s office so charitably mention: Sycamore Hollow is in fact home to the largest per-capita population of registered sex offenders in the nation. We aren’t particularly proud of this fact, but we’re not going to hide from it either. As you may have learned from either 60 Minutes, 20/20, Real Crime Stories, several episodes of COPS: Sycamore Hollow, and the To Catch a Predator podcast, approximately 12 percent of the residents of our tightly-knit community have been convicted of crimes ranging from public indecency to forcible sodomy to other, far more monstrous acts. But if you’re willing to look past what the statistics, news coverage, and those ugly signs and billboards will tell you, I think you’ll find that the pros of living in Sycamore Hollow far outweigh the cons. Now then…

Trash pickup is on Wednesday, Thursday on holiday weeks. We also run a year-round canned food and used clothing drive to help those less fortunate members of the community. Due to a regrettable — and, frankly, preventable — incident last year, we are no longer accepting children’s clothing and toys for the drive. Anyone soliciting such items will be reported to Sycamore Hollow’s on-site security detail (which, by the way, is currently pretty understaffed if you know anyone looking for a part-time job). All other donations can be dropped off at Marge Berkman’s place over at 228 White Birch Circle.

Speaking of addresses, along with the artisanal snacks and coupons for local merchants included in your complimentary Welcome Basket, we’ve also included a map that highlights certain “problem residences” in our neighborhood. Please take this mostly up-to-date diagram into account when planning any late-night, early-morning, or mid-day walks within the compound. Generally speaking, you’ll want to stay out of the “red zone” north of Cherry Blossom Way, but it’s a free country.

Please note that Sycamore Hollow is an exclusive living community, and we do have certain expectations as to the conduct of our residents and their guests. No loud outdoor gatherings past 9 p.m. on weekdays and 11 p.m. on weekends. Absolutely no sexual assault on weekdays or weekends. Lawns must be maintained to a height of 2 1/2 inches.

On a lighter note, you’ll be happy to know that you’ve arrived just in time for the annual Sycamore Hollow-Days Fall Festival, which kicks off this Sunday at noon. With a potluck, live music, and large, unmanageable crowds, the Hollow-Days Fall ‘Fest is the place to be for the majority of our community! Rest assured that the 50-yard observation line will be strictly enforced this year, with sawhorses set up at the Shady Meadow perimeter. Note that the three-legged race and Lil’ Miss Sycamore competitions have been suspended indefinitely. We will no longer be renting a Bounce House. For optimal safety, please be sure to keep a watchful eye on all members of your family and do not attend the Sycamore Hollow-Days Fall Festival.

In closing, I’d like to congratulate you on making the decision to join our happy little family here at Sycamore Hollow. In spite of a few hundred bad apples, Sycamore Hollow truly is a special place, and I’m certain that you will live and love here for years to come. Feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns, and please defer all media inquiries to Julie over at the press office. Hollow back, y’all!

Your neighbor,

Ken Palmer

President, Sycamore Hollow Welcome Wagon

“Fear No Evil”

Django Gold is a New York-based writer whose work has appeared in The Onion and some other places. He is the head curator at The Springfield Historical Society.

The Humor Section features a piece of original humor writing each week. To submit to it, send an email to Becca O’Neal.