20180607

Indefinite Length, Part 8


7. Jun. 2018




A certain percentage of any population will always value privacy over convenience, even when not engaged in questionable pursuits. These citizens may be viewed with suspicion by those who haven't, as yet, any reason to hide the goings-on of their own lives from the wide electric eye of the world.

Charlee is having a difficult time locating the persons on the list. The search for Bobby Stillwell proves fruitful first.

Mr. Stillwell had lived in a one-story, three bedroom home with beige shingle siding and black shutters, identical to 14% of the other homes in Charlee's old neighborhood. What made it unique, and an object of much discussion amongst the resident children, were the two tall juniper trees on either side of his front door. The top third of each tree was dead and brown, so that from a distance they looked like two giant, half-peeled ears of corn.

They quite obstructed the view of the door. The rumor was that Mr. Stillwell was always there, watching the neighborhood kids from inside, and if he saw you were alone he would come out to talk to you, so everyone tried to find other places to play.

He was thin, with a thick head of dark brown hair, a nose and mouth that seemed too big for his face, and he smelt of socks and sugar cookies. There was no Mrs. Stillwell, and no relatives or pets or anyone else ever at his house. Charlee had seen inside, once.

You remember you'd been collecting gumballs, those spiky seed-pods that fell from the trees and made very good ammunition, with your neighbor Samuel, who was much younger than you, but there hadn't been anyone else around to play with. You'd lost sight of him and he didn't answer when you called his name, so you got on your bike and started looking. Turning a corner, your heart fell into your stomach when you saw Samuel's big wheel parked on the lawn of Mr. Stillwell's house. The gumballs he'd been collecting were in a pile on the front walk. Moving slowly, quietly, you approached the front door, expecting someone or something to jump out at you from behind the massive junipers. The heavy wooden door beyond the screened storm door was open, and you could hear giggling inside. Moving up to the screen, you put your hands around your face to peer inside.

There, on a red velvet couch marred with cigarette burns, sat Mr. Stillwell, and Samuel was across his knees, getting a playful spanking. The two were laughing, and Mr. Stillwell began to alternate between spanking and tickling, or spanking and...grabbing.

You gasped, and they looked up at you. Mr. Stillwell smiled and invited you in to join the game. Samuel was still giggling.

You got on your bike and rode as fast as you could to Samuel's house to tell his mom what you'd seen.

Mr. Stillwell moved out of the neighborhood soon after, but here he is now, on your computer screen. In his profile picture he is much, much older, with generations of grandkids standing around his wheelchair. There's a birthday cake on a table in front of him, with lit candles in the shape of the numbers "8" and "0" casting a sharp lens flare across the bottom third of the shot.

Name: Robert Stillwell. About: Retired. Lives in: ...the next town over.

You arrange to take a day off.







IN WHICH: Moving slowly, quietly, you approached the front door, expecting someone or something to jump out at you from behind the massive junipers.

© KIM BREEDING-MERCER / OgFOMK ArTS -- 2018 All Rights Reserved. - "Indefinite Length, Part 8"

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