Note: This is not a plot in one of my novels. At least not yet. This is the true story of the house next door to mine in one corner of the city of LA.
The house next door has never really been lived in. It was built, I’m told by the neighbors who pre-date the monstrosity, by an East Indian for his new wife. It was to be her wedding present—their palace in the Americas. According to these same neighbors, the couple moved in, sometime in 2006 or 2007, and then moved out a week later. Why they left so quickly is unclear but I believe the young bride’s aesthetic sensibility was so challenged by the ghastly manse, that she was unable to cope. No one saw them again.
After their departure, the house changed owners a couple of times but was still empty when I moved in next door in the summer of 2009. During the contract phase of my purchase, I was told the house was owned, but not yet occupied by a mystery man named Al, reported to have been the owner of a film studio somewhere near Pasadena. It turns out Al was an actual person but all I ever saw of him were the two or three, possibly four times he showed up in various expensive, mostly vintage, sports cars to swap them out with other very expensive sports cars which he kept in the behemoth’s 12 car garage (Don’t get any ideas–the garage is hideous too). Al seemed nice enough. Each time he came, he was accompanied by a different gorgeous woman who was five inches taller than he—eight if they were wearing heels. He usually had a crew working on the house and he told me once, while on one of his infrequent visits, that he’d be moving in as soon as the work was completed. He put in a pool out back and statuary (as in something, anything made of cement) in any open spot. To my eye, he was just making the place more grotesque but once I was settled into my own house, despite the proximity to this gargantuan wanna-be Getty Villa, I didn’t really concern myself with the pink cement steps leading to the front door or the sculptures of the twenty-foot tall naked women around the pool, which I’d need my ladder to really appreciate. I went about my little life, writing, trying to get work and taking care of my son. Then all of a sudden, Al died.