So really, it's not like I'm a person with vast untapped reservoirs of anxiety or anything. I'm not like those people who have panic attacks that last for days, preventing them from taking a deep breath, forcing them to lie in bed and read Oprah magazine while they wait for their heavy sedatives to work.I fall into a category of people my Granny pearl called "Nervous."
We've been looking for a house to buy for a few months. It's tedious, as anyone who has gone through the process will tell you. I've been disappointed at the lack of crime scenes in the empty houses, Ruby has been frustrated that more of the houses aren't pink.
We finally found a beautiful little four bedroom/two bath brick house in the neighborhood all of our friends live in for 30,000 dollars cheaper that we thought we were going to shell out. I loved this house.
Tell the realtor to draw up the papers, I said. I have a good feeling about this place, I said.
On the way home, we are happy. We have finally found it.
"Can you see yourself living there?" Jeff asks.
"Absolutely!" I answer."I can stain the concrete floor in Ruby's room purple. I know exactly where I'll plant the succulent garden."
While we are eating our celebratory pizza, I remember a website I used to log onto occasionally, just for kicks, called the Texas Sexual Predators Database. What the hell, I think, better make sure we don't have any rapists living next door.
I log on, type in our new address 1608 Sufolk, and the screen fills up with names. The first,of course, is listed at 1606. Our next door neighbor.
"Jeff!" I screech."We have a problem!"
He sits down at the computer screen and we scroll down. More and more names, many of them with the middle name of Wayne-that's not a joke, appear on the screen. All of them living at 1613 and 1614.
"What is this -Pedophile Melrose Place?" Jeff is shaking his head.
"Look at this guy! Aggravated assault of a nine year old!" The picture on the screen is straight out of my worst nightmare-piggy eyes, hostile stare, nasty leery jowly face. Hi neighbor! Can I borrow a cup of sugar? Hey-do you ever babysit on the side? Sure, give me a call.
There are seven of them, all nesting in two houses right next door to each other, like a compound, four houses down from the one we'd just decided to buy. Plus, don't forget about the one right next door. Their offenses range from garden variety rape of an adult woman to child molestation and assault. One guy just had some child porn. He seems a little out of his league at this party.
"What, are they starting some kind of rapey fraternity?" Jeff is sad, he liked that house.
"See? See? This is why it's good that I'm paranoid! What if I wasn't the kind of woman who looked up sex offenders all the time? We'd be going to their GARAGE SALE!We'd be going to block parties with them!"
"Apparently, they ARE the block. They outnumber us."
"If we lived on that street I'd probably end up going to jail for Molotov-cocktailing those motherfuckers. It's just too tempting, all of them burrowing in the same house like that."
A new health food store has opened up down the street, I can't remember the name of it but the sign claims to be "From the Vitamin Cottage". I love this name. Is it a dwelling fashioned out of vitamins? Is it a house where only vitamins live, perhaps on the cliffs by the Manganese Sea? " After Vitamin College, the wife and I purchased this Vitamin Cottage."
My mother has a freakishly sensitive sense of smell, and when I was in high school I thought it was really funny to torture her with it. One night after some really big fight with her, I snuck into her bedroom with an exacto knife and cut away a tiny flap in the carpeting under her bead. I inserted a giant B vitamin in the hole and closed it. Do you know that smell? Can you call it up right now? It drove her crazy. She wandered around like a zombie, getting up multiple times in the middle of the night to vacuum, groggily asking me," Do you smell that?" "No," I would shrug, barely holding in my glee. Children are horrible.
Sunny Haralson was born in a house of ill repute. After acing the first grade, she ran away to join the circus. At night, while the elephants slept, she learned how to spin and sew from the spiders. She made whimsical creations for the trapeze artists, who needed their outfits to be both beautiful and comfortable. Magpies brought her shiny objects to embellish the costumes with, if they sometimes accidentally brought an eyeball they'd plucked from some unfortunate, she forgave them and quietly popped it into her mouth. The circus, for all it glorious adventure, was often low on dietary protein.
When she tired of circus life she retired and set out alone to the desert in a stolen hot air balloon.
It's there, in a tiny FEMA trailer, that she writes her tell-all memoir. She steals ideas from the coyotes and writes them down with needles made from the giant cactus that guards her doorway. The UPS man never sees her face.