It was in such great shape and a steal for $20,000! Skepticism did lay a blackened edge around my thoughts, but reasoning couldn’t shake out any problem which had a monetary solution. How could I not sign on the dotted line? The American Craftsman was all I could ever ask for in shelter. The flat screen here, office over there, my bed off in the corner… it fit like a jigsaw puzzle.
Facing east, I’d welcome the sun each morning. There was no need for setting an alarm; golden light produced enough power to wake the heaviest of sleepers. I took the new regimen as an opportunity to enjoy my new surroundings. My occupation was executed through remote access anyway. As long as I sent my material in by midnight, I could work on it at my own pace.
Many mornings, I’d sit out on the porch peering through the privacy hedges to observe the activity on the street. People walked quite a bit for being off the main drag. Maybe it was lip service to the health conscience? Possibly friends of the Earth? Dogs seemed a little more obvious reason. Huddling up in a ball, I’d peek out through the privacy hedges upon the unsuspecting world. It made me bold. Only a few pedestrians would stop or look around as if they sensed anything. My house was my castle, which only seemed to last a brief moment.
At first I thought it nothing more than the condition of the structure, a settling of stone and mortar to which a building that age was accustomed. Slight pings and knocks could be heard at the most unpredictable of times. Possessions soon found different ways to present themselves throughout the place. A bucket in the garage one day would be in the kitchen the next. My rope would skip town only to return exhausted on my banister. Then there were even times I felt like I was being watched.
My Monday morning exercise routine was interrupted by a sound as if a window slammed shut. A rudimentary glance about my home revealed no culprits. All portals were open. Angry, I took my Louisville Slugger with me to search the basement. If some animal was wrecking my home, it would take a miracle to save it. This needed to end, and I was willing to consider everything the fault of the unfortunate beast that showed its face below.
An unusual mugginess brought forth a foul, musty smell from the sump basin. This needed to be quick. My eyes spotted an egress window off to the south. Streaks of copper lined the clasp, rubbing away the paint that was put there before I arrived. My heart knotted at the sight and I rubbed my face. Gripping the bat tighter, I surveyed the unfinished mess. Covers were everywhere. A snap sounded off in the corner and I dove at the tarp. As high as a berserker I laid a blow that smashed the lumber underneath. Bits of timber landed on my right foot which resulted in me screaming my head off. With what sense I had left, I limped toward my first aid kit upstairs embarrassed.
Little happened after that day, until I came home from the grocery store Thursday evening. Jets of water were pouring in my shower at full blast. Certainly there was no way I had left it on, as I bathe before I go to bed. Removing the panel to the back of the stall revealed no obvious signs of tampering. Annoyed, I resolved to call the plumber if it were to happen again. As the grocery bag hit the floor I repeated “what now” several times making my way to the kitchen.
Several canned goods fanned out on the linoleum. My disgusted sighs became the new response as I plucked each and every tin up and socked them all in the cupboard. For a moment, I stared at the stocked food. Didn’t I buy baked beans? Yes, there it is on the receipt. Did they forget to pack it? Don’t tell me they forgot to pack it! This day needed to be over. The traipse of my shoes followed me to my coat.
When I pulled the closet door into its pocket a ridiculously-unkempt man imitated a peanut brittle snake in the nude, knocking me to the ground. I climbed to my feet with my face as red as a beet and sized up my attacker. Dripping from head to toe, he stood up with a can of baked beans clutched in his left hand. He breathed like a jaded animal and his face contorted in ways that left his eyes wide and jaws taught.
Without much time, the tramp fumbled at my knife block and pointed a chef’s knife at me. “This is my house,” he pouted, “they took it from me and gave it to you. It wasn’t theirs to take. I own this. I OWN IT!” He struggled with the first few steps but lunged with all of his strength straight for my chest. I loved that place, but certainly didn’t want to die for it!
© 2014 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved