#15 – The Three Kalindas

Unknown“I found a way into the house,” I said to Stephanie who was out walking her stuffed womb the next afternoon. Her pace was that of a turtle and she looked ready to pop.


Claudia, sans Tom, walked up and joined us. “The monster house? How?”

“Get this—I just applied for a job,” I whispered, even though no one could have heard us unless Buddy was bugging the street in addition to setting up cameras and telescopes. “They say they’re doing marketing and I’m a writer. I should be able to write marketing copy…I think.”

“Didn’t they recognize you?” Claudia asked.

“That’s what’s insane. It didn’t seem to worry them because I said I knew all about the business and didn’t mind the cars.”

“So make us the complaining whiners?” said Stephanie.

“What’s the greater good here?” I said. “One of us needs to get inside and get evidence. You heard what the City said. Stuff online that can’t be verified some other way are considered useless for proving anything.”

“You went over there?” Claudia was incredulous.

“I just thought the neighborly thing to do would be to simply ask them, neighbor to neighbor, to leave, or at least to have the employees park down the street. Though if the city officials already came out to the house and business is still being conducted, they obviously don’t care what we think.”

“They won’t hire you,” said Claudia. “That’s not going to happen.”

I shrugged. “You might be right but now I have a text relationship going on with Jack—he’s the owner or manager or somebody. He’s the guy who opened the door when I went over there. I can ask him things…”

Claudia wasn’t buyin’ it.

“Meanwhile,” chirped Stephanie with a twinkle above her belly. “Troy discovered that the owners are three brothers and get this—they live in Kansas.”

“So that’s what the realtor meant when he told me the house had been sold to some brothers,” I said. “The brothers, however, had never moved in!”

“Scandalous,” said Claudia.

“Not really scandalous,” smiled Stephanie. “But now Troy’s digging into who those brothers are and what other kinds of businesses they might be into.”

“Can Tom and I help with that? I want to nail these suckers SO bad,” said Claudia. The attitude was way out of proportion with her diminutive put-together appearance.

“The more the merrier, right Steph?” I said.

“Sure. Troy is my very own Kalinda and I’m happy to share. He’s really good at finding stuff out; he just can’t tell me when this baby is going to appear. But all this has been a great distraction while we wait for him or her to show up.”

“We’re all kind of like Kalinda,” I said. “Though without her wardrobe and somebody writing our script. She knows what’s going to happen so we actually have to work harder.”

“Where’s Buddy?” asked Claudia. “You’d think he’d want to know all this.”

We all glanced over to Buddy’s house where I thought I could see the lens of his telescope through the drapes.

I sighed. “He has his methods and we have ours.”

#14 – A Knock at the Door

imagesThe car situation only seemed to get worse, if that was possible. Our little residential neighborhood, once the kind of place you could shoot a canon through and not hit anybody, was now overrun with bad driving, laptop carrying, dreary looking, droopy drawered youths and their vehicles. And no one who cared seemed to be doing anything to stop it.

The day after Buddy and I talked about the recent proof I’d found online, I marched up the big ugly cement steps with the imposing statuary of the monster house and knocked on the equally ugly front door. There was no fear involved; I just figured I’d go to the source. Whatever they were doing in there, I was reasonably certain it did not involve meth or the shipment of arms to rebel groups. Perhaps I could address the problem head on by simply asking the manager to have his or her employees park somewhere else or to carpool…. we didn’t care how they got to the house so long as we didn’t have to deal with the cars.

“Hi,” I said once the door opened. “I live next door.

“Hi,” said the attractive young man who had answered it, holding a can of Monster. He offered his hand. “I’m Jack.”

Of course; his drink matches his house.

“Hi, Jack. I’m here because I was wondering if anybody in the neighborhood has told you what’s been going on around here.”

“No,” said Jack, taking a slug of Monster.

It had seemed like a good idea when I’d decided to walk up and knock. Now, however, I felt like a fool. Of course he had to know we wanted him gone. I changed the subject in my mind, since I hadn’t yet mentioned it out loud.

“What all are you guys and gals doing in here?”

“Marketing,” said Jack.

Marketing?… That was one thing no one had thought of. I realized that marketing involved writing and writing is one thing I knew how to do. Here was an opportunity to get some paid work and do some espionage. I just had to get inside.

“Are you all still hiring? Because I’d like to apply,” I said.

He looked at me curiously. “The other reason I’m here is to tell you that there are some people in the neighborhood who are a bit upset…”

“You mean the big guy across the street?” said Jack taking another slug.

“Buddy, yes. I guess he is one of them.”

“I see him over there, staring and looking pissed off. I think he has a telescope pointed at us.”

“Anyway,” I continued. ” They’re really freaked out about all the cars in the street every day and some think your employees look like gang members. But there’s another group that’s less freaked. Like me. We think having you here makes the neighborhood safer.  And as far as I’m concerned, you’re quiet. And that’s more important.”

“Have you done Internet marketing before?” asked Jack.

“A little,” I lied. “But good marketing involves writing that grabs people. I’ve done that.” I told the truth.

He put his hand on the door, ready to close it. “Bring your resume by. Or email it.”

“At the Red Rhino email address?” I asked, inserting myself into the closing distance between door and jam.

His eyes narrowed. Probably shouldn’t have told him I knew. “I hear that’s the name of the company,” I said.

“Sure,” said Jack. Then the door closed, sending me home to compose a resume that would get me on the other side of it.