And now for a little bit of audience participation. I need your help, dear readers, in providing me with a key component of a story I’m trying to unfold. A mystery, an intrigue. A true story (up until this point), and when finished, a potentially entirely true story but likely only partially true story, depending upon the accuracy with which you are able to use the clues I’m going to give you to provide me with the missing piece of this tale. Are you ready?
Meet my neighbors across the street (or at least take a look at their house):
The House Across the Street, aka the House of Mysteries!
Let me set the stage: we live on a normal street, in a normal neighborhood. Our houses are all ranch-style, built in the 1950s (when people evidently didn’t need any closets or counter space). Our houses are fairly nice – kept up, yards managed, pleasant. Except for the house across the street. Note the following:
- Blinds drawn on all windows all of the time
- Front porch light left on all of the time
- Front yard consists of gravel, which also serves as a driveway to a gravel parking lot in the back (where the back yard should be)
- Crumbling paint job and general shoddy appearance
- Yellow sign and stickers in all windows advertising the security company that protects this gem of a home from potential robberies
Who remembers Gladys Kravitz from Bewitched?
I’ve lived across the street from this house for over three years now, and about a year ago came to the conclusion that this house is some sort of business. Two or three cars arrive every morning at about the time I leave for work; I usually see one normal-looking, middle-aged woman (the same woman, daily) park on the street and enter the home in the back entrance. Occasionally, an unmarked white van (it looks like a utility type van, not a passenger van) will park in the driveway or go around back. For the past year, I’ve been trying to figure out what type of business this could possibly be. Are they making or packaging meth? Is this some sort of prostitution ring? Are they breeding small monkeys for circuses and fairs and shuttling them in and out of the house with the vans? I don’t see a lot of strange men visiting, nor do I detect any odd fumes wafting through our neighborhood, so I think that rules out the first two possibilities. But the third??? Hmmm…
Last week, as I was backing out of my driveway and the woman I usually see was locking up her car at the start of our day, I seized my golden opportunity to get more information. I rolled down my window. “Excuse me…hello?” The woman looked up at me and smiled. “Hi! Just curious, but what type of business is this?” She paused, and said, “oh, it’s a tax business.” I wrinkled my nose, puzzled and disappointed. “Oh, ok…thanks.” I drove away.
Wait a minute, LIES, all LIES!!! When I got to work, the first thing I did was search for “tax business” in the vicinity of my address. It took a little digging around, but a business did pop up – Jackson Hewitt. But since when does a Jackson Hewitt tax service look like THIS??? I’m thinking it’s got to be a front. I, for one, would not be surprised at all if there were indeed small primates being bred in that house!
Here’s where YOU come in. Tell me, WHAT KIND OF OPERATION IS GOING ON IN THIS HOUSE??? Leave your ideas and thoughts in a comment, and I will try to incorporate the winning idea (or ideas, or maybe even all of them) in a short story or poem or diorama or some other medium of my choosing. What do you think is happening here? Should I be scared? Are they missing some key permits? Are they underground because they can’t meet some sort of compliance or regulation? Are they building something? Are they harboring space aliens? Are they under quarantine for an infectious disease and the women who visit daily are there to feed the infected??? What do you think? LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS BELOW, PLEASE, and I’ll choose the winner(s) at the end of June! Good luck – I can’t wait to find out what my neighbors are up to!
**UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE** This morning, I saw the other woman (who, incidentally, always arrives in a newer model black Mustang, so I assume there’s money actually involved in this business) enter the house with a small bouquet of flowers. Who are the flowers for? Is it the birthday of the lady that I talked to? Or maybe they are for one of the lepers that they must have impounded in their basement? And YES, THEY HAVE A BASEMENT.