JIM LUTZ: Good morning, neighbors, and thank you to all … let’s see … eight of you for gathering here today in this undeveloped, appallingly overgrown cul-de-sac! For those of you who don’t know me—and even for those of you who do [laughs]—my name is Jim Lutz, and I am the president of the Pleasant Meadows Estates’ Homeowners Association, or PME HOA for short.
FELICIA THE VEGAN: We don’t have a homeowners association.
JIM: [laughs] Well, not officially, no. But I’d ask you to please save all your questions until the end.
FELICIA: That wasn’t a …
JIM: We won’t take up too much of your Saturday. I can tell, for instance, that Scotty’s dad is really itching to get back to hosing down his driveway for reasons that remain a mystery to all of us. So I’ll just come right out with it: We, your PME HOA, are pleased to announce unilateral sanctions against any and all ice cream trucks—effective immediately and indefinitely. And now, since there aren’t any questions, we wish you …
FELICIA: Seriously, what is happening right now?
JIM: What, are you writing a story for the … fake news? [laughs] The PME HOA is simply making our community stronger by taking proactive measures to protect our children from overpriced and frankly dangerous summer treat options.
TONY WHO HAD THE AFFAIR: How much is this going to cost me?
JIM: Absolutely nothing! Unless you and/or your children violate the terms of the sanctions and purchase something from an ice cream truck within the jurisdiction of the PME HOA. Then, of course, we reserve the right to ban you from the Fourth of July Family Fun Fling AND passive-aggressively point out the many flaws in your careless, ill-informed parenting.
LULULEMON LISA: What is a Family Fun Fling?
JIM: I’m so glad you asked! This year, we will be screening the family classic, Ed, starring Matt LeBlanc and, if I may be permitted to say so, one HECK of a funny chimpanzee. Kona Ice will also be available for purchase.
SAM TIMMONS: Sam Timmons, 2215 Valley View Drive. Matt LeBlanc the realtor, or Matt LeBlanc from Friends?
JIM: The Friends one.
SAM: I always liked Chandler. Could it be The Whole Nine Yards instead?
JIM: Regrettably, we are unable to accept suggestions at this time.
FELICIA: Aren’t Kona Ice and an ice cream truck basically the same thing?
JIM: That is indeed a common misconception, Felicia, but no. You see, Rocket Pops, ice cream sandwiches, Screwballs, and anything else you’ll find on those mobile kidnapping units may or may not give you the very real “fructose cancer.” Kona Ice, on the other hand, is delicious SHAVED ice, which means it’s a refreshing splash in the ocean—right in your mouth! That’s why Jeannie and I wisely converted our retirement and Julia’s college savings into a down payment on our very own truck!
LISA: Is this the same truck that will be at the Family Fun Fling? And that I saw driving through the neighborhood yesterday?
LISA: What was that?
JIM: Speaking of The Fling, does anyone want to host it in your yard? Currently the plan is to have it right here in the cul-de-sac that your PME HOA fought successfully to save from further development so that it might be used as a community common space. However, as you can see, it hasn’t been mowed in three years, and there have been reports of a large, possibly amphibious reptile lurking in the grass.
LEZA WITH A “Z”: Are you saying there’s an alligator living here?
JIM: We don’t want to speculate.
LEZA: But this is Wisconsin.
JIM: Again, we’d prefer not to speculate until we have all the facts.
MADISON’S DAD: Madison just told me your daughter is the one who runs the lemonade stand at the corner of Whispering Woods Trail and Barren Wasteland Court.
JIM: I’m sorry, do you have a question?
MADISON’S DAD: Do the sanctions apply to her, too?
JIM: Of course not. She’s just a child. And a member of the PME HOA board. Speaking of, in light of the decision regarding the ice cream trucks, Julia requested—and I seconded—that she be allowed to make a modest adjustment to her per-cup pricing to take full advantage of the sudden increase in your children’s spending flexibility.
LEZA: Wait, back up. Your 10-year-old is on the board of our made-up HOA?
JIM: We prefer the term “grassroots.” And yes. So is Jeannie. It’s a real family affair! [laughs]
LEZA: So the whole HOA is just your family?
JIM: Well, some might say cats aren’t family, but we love Mr. Fancy like a son. So yes, I guess technically speaking, you could say the entire PME HOA is hashtag Team Lutz!
SAM: Sam Timmons, 2215 Valley View Drive again. How does the cat vote?
JIM: Oh no, he’s a nonvoting member. It’s a good thing, too. Mr. Fancy can be a real turd in the litter box. [pause] Any more questions? No? Well, as a show of goodwill, we’d like to offer everyone a cup of Julia’s delicious, homemade-from-powder lemonade.
FELICIA: [laughs] Not a chance.
MADISON’S DAD: Yeah, we’re good.
TONY: I’ll take one.
JULIA LUTZ: That’ll be $6.50.
Illustration by Michael Tonn