Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Man Next Door. Chapter 18.

Daughter: You must have seen the dark skinned, homeless- looking man, with long hair dangling in front of his face, who sits huddled on the footpath, talking to himself.

Yesterday he was sitting out the front of our house, talking to Alpha's bike.

And there was someone else I saw yesterday. Remember Joe,...who sold Alpha a stolen bike.

Mother: Yes, but I only got a brief glimpse of him, when I looked down the stairs one evening.

First I noticed  that the front door was open, and outside I could see Joe pacing back and forth.

He was apparently trying to sell the bike to Alpha. It was a surprise to find out later that the bike had been stolen.

Daughter: Yes, I was shocked when I opened the front door a day or so later and saw three policemen standing outside.

They were looking at Alpha's bike, and told me that one like that had been reported stolen.

The worst thing was the way passers- by and neighbours were out in the street watching, fascinated.

Mother: I'm so glad I wasn't here.

Daughter: I could see the expressions on the faces of the people out watching.

The young Chinese couple across the road looked curious, as they peeped around their garden fence.

Some neighbours looked stunned. Others had excited looks on their faces, and some even looked very satisfied.

Passers by took notice, and no doubt when they pass our house again they wonder what happened.

Even the extremely fat moon-faced man a few doors up was outside, leaning on his fence and facing up the street, watching proceedings.

Mother: Whenever he can get someone to listen to him he enjoys talking about anything interesting that's happened lately.

It would be interesting to hear his version of the incident.

Daughter: The worst thing was when a policeman told Alpha....

"You are under arrest!"

Mother: It's just as well Alpha knew Joe's name, and where he lived, so he could take the police around there.

Daughter: Yes. Otherwise Alpha would have been charged with possession.

It was bad enough the way they took him away in the police car, first to Joe's place, to identify Joe, then to the Police Station to make a statement.

Mother: The house next door looks particularly forlorn these days, with the man next door away most of the time.

While he must make slight progress on the house with the work he does during his brief visits, in other ways the house must be continuing to deteriorate. 

It worries me when it rains heavily, the way water from the high roof rushes down onto the lower roof, on the back section of the house, then straight over the guttering, cascading on down the wall in the corner, where green moss has started to grow. On its way down, the rainwater must splash inside through the two glassless windows adjacent to the corner, now that the sisalation covering them has fallen down.

Daughter: These days I haven't seen much through the kitchen window, apart from a jumble of rubber gloves and a can of baked beans.

Mother: And on the front verandah, where I've noticed that the wall is probably still coated in its original paint, which has now faded to a mottled non-descript green, with areas of the original grey cement render showing underneath, the only change I've noticed recently, amongst all the junk, is the absence of the old Triumph motorbike that seemed to have been standing there, unused, for years.

No comments:

Post a Comment