Category Archives: The House Next Door

In my neighborhood in LA, there’s a house which isn’t really a house. At least no one wants to live there, which is why it’s a business. Just what they’re up to, however, is anybody’s guess.

The House Next Door #6

We waited for the first day of shooting. Or maybe it would be night. Well, whenever it happened, we were sure we’d know when the new naughty neighbors started shooting their porn. Living right next door, as I did, I rehearsed my call to the cops:

“Hi, I’d like to report a nuisance?”

“What kind of nuisance, m’am?”

“Well, Officer,” I’d say. “There are about 20 people having unprotected sex in the the back yard next door while filming each other doing it and it’s disturbing the wildlife.”

Actually life getting a little wild in the neighborhood might not be all bad. However, it’s supposed to be a crime now, in LA, to have unprotected sex while shooting a porn film. How they enforce this is anybody’s guess. According to our local paper in the San Fernando Valley, The Daily News, officials have been quoted as saying, “We’d like to say we’re keeping an eye on things but that might give people the wrong idea.” The porn producers are filing a law suit against the city saying the condom law constitutes “prior restraint”—a legal term which basically says the new ordinance is keeping them from doing something in violation of their civil rights. But I would argue, if given the chance, that if a male porn actor puts his condom on after reaching arousal, there’s no restraint at all.

I planned to get up on the roof of my house where I could videotape the outdoor portion of the proceedings. Though I might not get enough footage to make my own porn film, I knew I could eventually cut the footage into a larger work, the plot of which I hadn’t yet worked out. Perhaps it would be about a mild mannered stay at home mom helping to rid her neighborhood of porn—well, first things first.

While I looked forward to the day/night of sexual turmoil that would have Al kicking up his crematory dust, other things were happening at the house next door. Bespectacled 20-somethings started arriving, many of them in succession but usually one at a time—midday in the middle of the week; not exactly high time for sexual hi- jinx. These unlikely porn stars got out of their cars—normal cars, not fancy, or even clean—and went into the house. Then they’d come out an hour or so later, get back in their cars and drive away. Unexplainable behavior indeed. After a couple of weeks, nosy neighbor, Buddy, asked one of them what was going on inside and, over the recycle bins one day, Buddy told us. He glanced at the house then whispered: They were interviewing for jobs.

Ah-ha, we were right! Of course! The brothers must need all kinds of people to work behind the scenes on their video porn—and they did look like a film crew. I mean, if you put them all together. Certainly none of them had the obvious physical characteristics of James Deen, the porn hottie whose parents are both engineers at the Jet Propulsion Lab. I realized I hadn’t seen any women job applicants. Could this mean they were preparing to stream gay geek porn from the house next door?

Porn Makers Protest Condom Law
Porn Makers Protest Condom Law

The House Next Door #5

At first, we couldn’t tell who had bought the house next door. The realtor, stopping by to pick up his sign, told me, “He’s a nice guy. You’ll like him.” When questioned about whether the nice guy had a family, no additional information was forthcoming—only a few vague comments: “I think so,” “I didn’t see the family but he seems like the type…” This wasn’t all that helpful. Besides, some family guys turn out to be real creeps.

One neighbor told me it wasn’t just one guy, but that a set of brothers had bought it—two-three-four of them, he couldn’t say. Nor could he pinpoint who had told him this. A few of us surmised that we’d traded in one set of brothers for another. But just what band of brothers were we getting? Would this new set of bad bro’s also be in the porn business? Perhaps Al’s intent for his palazzo of penetration would live on after all.

Soon we watched the first SUV arrive. A chair was taken out and carried inside. Then we watched the second SUV arrive. The guy who got out looked like the first guy. Ipso facto—brothers. This one took out a table and carried it inside.

And so it went. We never saw a moving van, just random bits of furniture being unloaded at different times. No one had a camera positioned so as to capture the entire operation, but we’d meet in the street while walking our dogs or rolling the bins off and on the curb. We’d try not to stare at the house in undisguised dread while we pooled our information. No one had ever seen a moving van but one neighbor had seen a truck from an office supply store in the driveway with two guys unloading a couch that was clearly made in one of those countries that condoned child labor.

About a week after the first SUV arrived, a few of us watched as a high-speed cable installer arrived. One particularly vigilant neighbor—let’s call him Buddy—reported, during one of our klatches over the recycle bins, that he’d had a conversation with the installer who informed him that the cable system being installed was not designed for residential use, but instead was meant for businesses. According to Buddy, when questioned further, the installer could neither confirm nor deny the specific nature of the business or businesses that might require this new cable system, which only left us to speculate further about what the brothers were up to.

In short order, we decided that the new owner-brothers whose names no one had bothered to find out, both of whom drove nice, new luxury-brand SUVs, were planning to live-stream porn from our quiet neighborhood with their brand new big bad bandwidth.

The House Next Door #4

It was immediately clear that the brothers intended to sell Al’s masterpiece as soon as possible so it was no surprise when they put it on the market. But who was going to buy such a behemoth of a house? It had taken years to sell the first time around, after the Indian builder and his unappreciative newlywed wife moved out—and that was before the housing bubble burst, before all of Al’s “beautification” projects, which had only succeeded in reducing its value to an ordinary family. Indeed, the house was completely unsuitable for normal people. There should have been six bedrooms in a structure with the square footage of the monstrosity—estimated at over 8000 square feet. Instead, there were only three. Two of these bedrooms were quite small as contrasted with the master bedroom, which took up half the second floor. And half of that master suite was made up of the oddest collection of closets I have ever seen. I opened a door to what I thought would be an ordinary closet, only to find an empty space with a door at the far side, which opened to another closet space and, once inside that second closet, there was another door to a third. What type of sex act was supposed to go on there, I wondered? It couldn’t be good but something had been planned; the possibilities for laying more endless camera track remained. No, the house was simply not what most people wanted.

I thought that perhaps the exception would be a wealthy one-child couple with a closet fetish. The couple would have no end of fun in the closets while their son had all his friends over to play Lazer tag in the converted garage.

Needless to say, the neighbors were concerned. The desirability of the monstrous house next door was in question. And with an asking price of $4 million in an area where most homes were in the $500,000 range, you’d need to be nuts to plunk down the kind of money required to make it your own. No, the only person or persons we could think might buy the place would be—just like the house’s dead owner had been prior to his death in flagrante—from the porn industry. Between the dramatic possibilities of capturing carnal engagement in every room, and the house’s proximity to Chatsworth—the adult film industry mecca—it seemed ideal.

So it was with great curiosity we watched the new neighbors move in.

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 in my corner of the city of LA.

The House Next Door #3

I found out Al was dead when his brothers arrived to assess the MacMansion and all of Al’s cars still stored in the garage. The only thing the brothers would tell me about Al’s death was that he’d had a heart attack and that it had been quick. I stood back and considered Al’s girlfriends with the long legs that could easily squeeze a man to death and immediately thought of Nelson Rockefeller. Not only Nelson, that bespectacled politico, but all the many other fine gentlemen who’d expired in the saddle, as it were. I wondered…had Al been happy in his final seconds? It turns out—and we’d all suspected this already, of course—that what Al was doing over at that studio near Pasadena was making porno films. Al’s particular specialty was porn for the Armenian market. I can’t tell you how Armenian porn differs from other kinds of porn but I’m sure sex is completely different there.

With Al’s brothers walking around, pondering how they were going to pay taxes and make the mortgage on the monstrosity until the thing sold, I was finally able to get inside the beasty house and look around. As I did so, the whole sequence of events made perfect sense. Al had been creating the ideal film set on which to shoot porn. Put it this way: A director could lay camera track from the front door, through the “sex-for-twenty” sized kitchen, into the “family” room with the thirty foot bar, out onto the patio, and wind around the Las Vegas resort styled hot tub and pool to settle on a couple engaged in sexual congress on a kidney shaped lounger under the gaze of an Aphrodite knock off. Or maybe it was just a piece of cement.

The House Next Door #2

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.

The House Next Door #1

I don’t live in a particularly glamorous area of Los Angeles. In fact it’s not glamorous at all. It’s the kind of neighborhood with both a shut-up elementary school surrounded by chain-link fence that attracts graffiti artists, as well as a shopping mall that features stores like Ferragamo and Burberry. I’m pretty sure my neighbors aren’t buying the out-sourced products sold there and I know I’m not. At any rate, in this same middle-of-the-demographic neighborhood, exists a house. It’s a monstrosity of a place–huge and ugly and out of keeping with the one story ranch houses around it; most particularly MY house directly next door, a brown stucco number built in the 1960s with vintage electrical wiring and plumbing from the same era.

My arrival in the ‘hood occurred at the nadir of the housing crisis. If not for the decline in market values, I would never have been able to buy in this or any other neighborhood for that matter…. but that’s another story.

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.