It's not about the house.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Won't You Be Mine? Take 2

Dang, that'll teach me to just hit "Publish" when the phone rings. Here's an edited version. Sorry for all y'all who suffered through already...

When I got home from work just now, there was this big black pickup truck parked out in front of our house with a big burly bearded guy hopping out of it. He was headed across the street but turned when I pulled up in front of him and shouted "Is that in your way?"

"No," I hollered from the driver's seat. "You're all set!" But by the time I was out of the car he was on his way back over.


See, we don't have the best relationship with our neighbors. Not all of them, but several. We've been told by other locals that their dislike of us has to do mostly with the facts that #1. they've all lived here forever and we haven't; #2. they wanted the AssVac and we bought it; #3. they wanted us to give them money when we moved in and we didn't. Ta da! The Montagues and Capulets it ain't, but there you have it.

We especially don't like the people that live across the street. They're -- well, how can I put this? I wouldn't be terribly surprised to have TV crews show up on our block because one of these goony goo-goos was caught in the act of setting cats on fire. (I believe that is the technical term for it, is it not? "Goony goo-goo"? Ref. Eddie Murphy, Raw?).


So this guy -- this big burly guy with a big burly beard on his big burly head who had gotten out of his big burly truck and headed for the goony goo-goo house -- was now heading straight for me and saying something about painting. I couldn't understand what, precisely, because there were too many cars going by behind me, so all I caught was:

traffic noises traffic noises "... paint your house?"

Oh come on. We'll get to it, all right? Go burn a cat or something, will you?

I turned to look at the AssVac over my shoulder (and I'm looking at this version of her, remember...

... not the nice, still-in-one-piece version from the old picture above). I cupped my hands around my ears to indicate I hadn't heard, and said the only thing that sprang to mind.

"My husband's a painter."

Very good, sweetheart! And you are a writer and Mommie Dearest is your mother and Khurston is your sister! Here, have a spearmint leaf...

I don't know where I was going with that comment. Might have been a "we'll do it ourselves, thanks" deliberate deflection. Could have been a "Cobbler's children have no shoes" sort of apologetic shrug. Just possibly it had a hint of "I have a husband and he's huge and eats burly thugs like you for breakfast so please leave me alone" mixed in there (and don't you like that I at least said "please" in my imaginary not-quite threat?).

Whatever I meant by it, though, this is what the thug said in reply:

"My name is Jimbo, and I own the house across the street. The tenants that were in there for the last few years are moving out -- thank god, they made a disaster of the place, the scumbags -- "

(hey, he said it, I didn't)

"I haven't got anyone moving in until September, and I'd really like to find someone to look after the house for me till then. Most of the folks around here are old and dying [sad, but true], except for the scumbags [also true: they're frightening young and virile-looking] -- and this Polish lady over here is just a lulu!"

[Also true. "The Polish lady" (although I thought Lithuanian) would be the kitty-corner neighbor who pounded on our door one night wanting to sell us meat. Long story. Actually, no -- that's pretty much most of it right there...]

"Anyway, if you wouldn't mind just, you know, keeping an eye out, I've got a mess of pipe scaffolding I'd be happy to lend you -- you know, in exchange -- whenever you plan on painting."

"Yeah!" I gasped. "Of course we'd be happy to keep an eye on things. Even without -- you know. But I'll tell Johnny about the scaffolding. I don't know if he --" I have (finally) learned not to speak for Johnny about anything regarding his profession, so I cut myself off.

"My name's Erin, by the way -- Johnny's my husband."

"Yeah, I see him around sometimes. I see you, too. You guys are always working on that house!"

Ah, go on...

"So -- Erin, is it? Jimbo," he said again, and stuck out his Hagrid of a hand, which I shook.

"Nice to meet you!" I enthused, perhaps embarrassingly.

"Likewise," says Jimbo.

And we went our separate ways.

Well, what do you know? A real, actual, honest-to-god neighbor. A big, burly, you-scratch-my-back-I'll-scratch-yours neighbor right here outside my house. I shook his hand and everything!

Too bad he doesn't actually live here, but still.

Jimbo. Huh.

It might not have been a bad idea to get a last name. Or a phone number.

Ah well. Here's hoping nothing too terrible happens to his house. At least not while I'm in charge...

1 comment:

Georgetown House said...

Ohhhhhhhh free use of real scaffolding. And getting rid of goony goo-goo scumbag asshat neighbors. It doesn't get much better than that.