Our new neighbor just stopped over. I had just gotten home from work, just sent Junior's babysitter, Holly, on her way.
"I'm Peggy," the neighbor said, her crackly brown hair glinting in the sun.
Of course I was hesitant.
We've had some interesting neighbors in the two-family house next to us. First there was Lee, who took the bus from Mulletville to New Haven, where he went to college. He had a car but was trying to do his environmentally friendly part, which I applaud. But when he told us he was also heating his apartment with kerosene canisters, ala the ones you use for camping, Charles and I were a little nervous.
Lee was also an insomniac who had an affinity for pleasuring himself in the wee hours of the morning on his living room floor. He didn't like curtains and he loved candles. That really sucked because our kitchen looked right into his living room.
Trust me, when it's 3:30 a.m. and you're trying to heat up a bottle for a screaming infant, the last thing you want to see is some skinny, greasy granola guy tugging on his junk by candlelight.
Luckily Lee had a disagreement with the landlord and moved out on Halloween. Unluckily he was so angry with the landlord that he told all the sweet little Trick 'o Treaters just what he thought of her as he was moving his furniture from the house to his car.
Trust me, when it's your kid's first Halloween and he's crying because you dressed him up as a penguin and it's 75 degrees out, the last thing you want to see is some skinny, greasy granola guy yelling at kids who just want candy.
Anyhoo, Peggy told me that the neighborhood seemed nice.
“It is,” I said. “But be careful. We were just robbed.”
She shook her head and smiled.
“In the middle of the day. Someone broke in.”
“They took our stuff. We…are…very…scared...now.”
“I’d make sure you lock your doors.”
It struck me: the woman’s brain was caterpillars and marshmallow. Maybe some poppy seeds.
“Nice to meet you,” I said. Then I backed slowly away.
When Charles gets home I am going to tell him about Peggy and he’s going to say he misses Lee. At least Lee had some character. And then I am going to suggest—again—that we put the house on the market.
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