My Guy and I have been blessed to not be That House on our street of immaculate homes. While our little repo house with the dead shrubs isn’t the gem of the hood, it isn’t the one that drives everybody’s property values down. No, that dump-ass house is directly across the street from us.
When we moved in, we met our neighbors. David was an elderly gent who lived across the street with his grown son, Chuck. David was proud to announce that he was 89, and he’d lived in his house since 1972. He was nice enough, and we figured that home maintenance wasn’t a priority for an 89-year-old. However, his son? Was creepy as hell.
Creepy Chuck didn’t have a job, and would sit in his conversion van in the driveway of the house. Sometimes, he moved the van out of the driveway and parked it in the street directly in front of our house. You could feel our home losing value and starting to feel really bad about itself. It was sad.
We’ve painted and landscaped and our little repro house is looking pretty OK. But the house across the street is getting more overgrown and more craptastic. David died. Creepy Chuck now spends most of his time sitting in a lawn chair in the driveway, staring at our house. He put up Christmas lights last week. We do our best to avoid Creepy Chuck, because he’s always talking about prowlers. He is paranoid, and it heebs me out.
Because we are horrible people, My Guy and I have to laugh when we see our neighbor kids react to Creepy Chuck. They have obviously been coached to avoid him at all costs. So, when they are outside playing and see him, they literally drop what they are doing and run like hell. It’s like he’s Sasquatch or a tsunami.
I came home from work the other day, got out of my car and walked out of the garage to get the mail. And I jumped, because Creepy Chuck was standing in my driveway. Ack! He looked so excited.
“I just wanted to let you know that the FBI was snooping around your house today,” he said.
Oh, brother. “Oh, yeah?” I asked.
“Yeah,” he continued, with no small amount of pride. “The guy knocked on your front door, and then he started snooping around the back yard. I didn’t hear your dogs bark, but I came over to check it out. He wouldn’t talk to me, but he just showed me his badge and kept moving.”
At this point, Creepy Chuck pantomimed said badge flashing by lifting his never-washed Bob Jones University t-shirt to flash his pale, jiggly midriff and the waistband of his red underwear. The scent was overwhelming, and my eyes were momentarily blinded. I can never unsee the horror.
I managed to regroup. “Well, you know, I bet he was just trying to serve papers to the guy who used to live here. We still get some of that,” I said.
This set Creepy Chuck off on a tirade about how the former owner of our house was his good friend and has emailed him once since he moved. OK, fine. Then, Chuck puffed out his chest and said, “You know, that Secret Service agent was probably scared to give me his name because he knows I’ll know several of his friends.”
Creepy Chuck got a job as a mall cop. He is obviously deeply ensconced in the federal law-enforcement community.
A few days later, the doorbell rang. An older guy with a badge and a gun on his belt stood at the door. I visited with him, and he was friendly. He was a process server, looking for the former homeowner. Oooh – guess who called it? Who’s the law-enforcement expert now, Creepy Chuck?
I had to ask the process server if he’d been to our home a few days earlier. “Yeah, I was here on the 12th,” he said. “I tried the front door, then I walked around to see if anybody was in the backyard.”
I laughed. “Yeah, my creepy neighbor told us that the Secret Service or FBI was casing our house.”
The process server laughed out loud. “Well, I’m retired DEA – does that count?”
About this time, I realized that Creepy Chuck was standing in the middle of the street, zeroing in on my front porch with a mixture of glee and adrenaline. The process server noticed it, too.
“You should tell him I’m in the neighborhood looking for Russian spies. Have fun with it!” And then he left.
It was obvious that Chuck was on the verge of running over to our house to rehash the entire affair. Oh, Lord, please, no. My Guy realized that we needed to take immediate action. “Let’s go for a walk!”
So, when we saw Creepy Chuck had another neighbor cornered, we knew we had time to make our dream a reality. We literally ran throughout our house, changing clothes and grabbing shoes. Then, I panicked. “How will we get out? We’re surrounded! We need to take the car! Go, go, go!”
So, we jumped in the car and sped down the driveway. As we drove past Chuck and the trapped neighbor, I looked at My Guy intently. “We’re having a super-intense conversation!” I said.
“And I am a MAN, focused on driving,” My Guy replied.
Once we had safely passed Creepy Chuck and had escaped more talk of the FBI, we checked out the scene in the mirrors. Chuck stood in the middle of the street, staring longingly at our car as we sped away from him, running away from home.
And this, my friends? Is not at all what I thought adulthood and home ownership would be like.