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Thread: Unnoticeable

  1. #1
    Phil Captain Pike's Avatar
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    Unnoticeable

    Unnoticeable

    The house was the closest thing to an opium den that could exist in a town like this in a time like this. It was one of those places that you didn't notice – it wasn't a dump really and it certainly wasn't anything nice to look at. The only thing that caught my eye was that usually there was a car in the driveway for a few days, and then it would be gone, replaced by another car.

    Since I passed by this place every other day or so I had this certain opportunity, allowing me to notice these things. The cars were of a certain type; older, small, inexpensive cars – cars owned by middle-class young people – "millennials". Once in a while there might be two cars of this sort but usually one at a time and often none at all. I never saw a person coming or going save the guys working on the roof, or the siding.

    And that was another thing, though the house was, somewhat rundown and dingy, there was often a contractor's truck in the yard. Once it was window replacement people and another time, as I mentioned before, the roof was replaced by an outfit called, "Strictly Roofing", a name that caught my eye.

    I began to look at this house. One particular detail had evaded me. I hadn't noticed it before, but there was a two-car garage set way back on the property with a "mother-in-law", apartment up above. The garage was old, no, "weathered" would be a better description and, compared to the house, maybe even in better shape – I think I had made the mistake of imagining this garage was part of a different property. But as I began to investigate I could see there was a connection – literally, a cable was strung from the upstairs of the house to the, "mother-in-law apartment". Looking in at night once while riding by I noticed the lights were on, brightly, in the mother in law apartment, whereas, more subdued lighting was used in the main building.

    All these considerations were done, "in the background" of my consciousness – I never really thought about the dingy old building either way. It was perfectly unnoticeable. This is what made it safe and un–undetected for years. The thing that gave it away to me was a detail that could never have happened under normal circumstances. This didn't result in any legal activity but did allow me to perform my own kind of detection.

    There was a girl, a pretty young girl that began showing up at an AA meeting I went to. She was a little, how shall I say, "overconfident". She was quite good-looking, tapering wide through the hips, but slim with ample breasts and a pretty face. She stood upright and walked proudly, surveying her admirers as she passed through the room – and there were many, I suppose I was one of them. Amy came daily from time to time – I noticed her little burgundy Toyota Tercel (or something like that). She would be sitting in her car after the meeting, trying to go, and a couple of guys – good-looking young men, always, flirting with her, laughing and smoking cigarettes. Sometimes she would sidle her look over toward me and just perceptibly nod hello, closing her eyes in a slow motion blink while doing so. Being, essentially an old creepy dude (OCD) I endeavored to stay clear of her. But I did notice the car – the same kind of car I might see at "the house".

    I still hadn't put it together, until she walked down the hill from the house – her car still in the driveway. We "walked" together for a short part of the way to the meeting. I made some excuse, allowing her to "move along smartly" without me. But this got me to thinking, what was Amy doing at that house? And why did she leave her vehicle? It wouldn't have been strange to see a handsome young man working on her vehicle. Or for her to get in and drive away quickly. I probably wouldn't have put it together, if she hadn't, "shared" in the meeting while I was present just exactly why she didn't drive her car.

    Like I said, I had a certain "improbable knowledge", which made the whole thing all fit together. Often times, the owner of a vehicle, in a situation where she really needs some money quickly, can "sign over" the title of her car and leave it at the pawnshop, receiving a small amount of cash in exchange for the title to the vehicle. Almost always, the person, later coming to her senses, will buy back the title from the pawnshop. This is much easier than actually selling one's car for a shot of dope. At any particular time, the pawnbroker in our town has a handful of signed over titles. This is a kind of thing one would never know under normal circumstances. Yet, in the underworld, it is a very common practice. A kind of denial lets people believe comfortably that this sort of thing doesn't go on in their town. Instead, they think, this is a necessary evil reserved for bigger cities.

    But of course, it does go on, and fervently, at least here in this town. you are, it's an anonymous program, but certain proprieties are assumed. This is often the basis of a warm friendship – that's another line from a movie, sorry. This time, I'm quoting Jimmy Stewart again, only the play is Harvey. That reminds me of a little failing of mine. I missed an opportunity to see, "Harvey", done by a local community troupe, up near our state's capital. I really wanted to see it. That's the play with the big white rabbit called Harvey, which, in the play, doesn't actually exist. Elwood P. Dodd, the main character, refers to Harvey personally, opening doors for him, introducing him to other people – most of the people realize, "Elwood is not quite right". The funny thing is though, Elwood is right on, he's humble and loving but not scraping or servile. (That phrase came out of the big book). If I write that, I think that it gets me off the hook, because I haven't secured any rights to reprint that here.
    But why was I talking about Harvey to begin with? I guess I use that phrase, "these things are often the basis of a warm friendship", which I believe really meant when people sleep together in an impromptu sort of way, Elwood P Dodd figures that they remain friendly after the fact. I'm not sure whether Mary Chase meant to imply that, but my second wife, when hearing the verbiage insisted that that's what was meant. And it does make a certain amount of sense although they usually didn't talk about things like that in movies made in the 50s.

    But people hook up in "the program", even though there is an unwritten rule that they shouldn't. The thinking is that a newly sober person won't have the, won't have his wits about him or her wits about her to recognize that a certain behavior might not lead to a positive outcome. But these things are often the basis of very a warm friendship.
    Amy has disappeared. I'm so lonesome I could cry. That might be Hank Williams that wrote and sang that, in his, voice breaking country twang. No, I wasn't in love with her, nothing that dramatic. I just can't stop imagining what could've happened to her. And to think of her, brokenhearted, her spirit broken, lying in some filthy bed amid the squalor of addiction – right there, in some dimly lit room of that dingy house, while granite countertops are being installed in the owners, secluded apartment. Some guy, profiteering (and who knows what all else) off a poor girl's weakness. But for the grace of God, there go I.

    © 2018 Phil Oliver

    Ничего нет лучше для исправления, как прежнее с раскаянием вспомнить.

  2. #2
    TheFairyDogMother kiz_paws's Avatar
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    Excellent writing.
    And so glad to see you posting here again, Phil!
    Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty
    ~Albert Einstein

  3. #3
    Phil Captain Pike's Avatar
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    Aww…Kiz, you're always so sweet.
    But the story sucks – actually, the story is workable. I was trying something new. But the flow is all wrong, kind of inside-out, and telegraphed, bouncing around with tenses etc.

    Ничего нет лучше для исправления, как прежнее с раскаянием вспомнить.

  4. #4
    Registered User Steven Hunley's Avatar
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    I don't agree. It's a good story. It's real. And it's one of those NON-Days of Wine and Roses stories that doesn't get told enough. Fantasy is easy to deal with.

    Realism is a monster.

  5. #5
    Phil Captain Pike's Avatar
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    Ha ha Ha, yeah. The bad old days!

    I've got a million vignettes in me, all busting to get through, to get out! If I could just whisk them with the right colors, hmm…

    Ничего нет лучше для исправления, как прежнее с раскаянием вспомнить.

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