So the big breaking news here in LA is that the Grim Sleeper serial killer has finally been caught after twenty-five years and thirteen known murders. So named because it took the police so long to track him down and there were huge gaps between the crimes, Lonnie David Franklin Jr. was, according to all the newscasters, a perfectly normal guy who liked to watch comedies and had his grandkids over all the time, or so the neighbors said on the news all night.
I’m pretty sure my neighbors aren’t serial killers, but it makes me wonder. What exactly would I say if one day I saw them being carted away and then I was swamped with news crews? What would they say if the same thing happened to me?
So I spent the bulk of my day in a state of hyper paranoia, mostly imagined and used for the sake of wasting time, trying to calculate if I would be the neighbor who had spent the last twenty-five years having coffee with a serial killer, or if I would be the one, the badass from the crime movies who saw through his friendly veneer all that time ago and all by myself cracked the case and ended up in a high-speed car chase….or running for my life through craggly sewer tunnels…..yes, those images are a mixed bag of every Law and Order episode I’ve ever seen.
Here’s what I came up with: Just for the sake of the visual – keep in mind my neighbors are a 65-70 year oldish Scottish couple:
1. They Tried To Kill Me With Their Car:
It’s true. A few months ago I was driving west and getting ready to turn right onto our street. They had been driving east and were stopped in the middle of the road trying to turn left onto the same street. Instead of letting me go first, as I my god given right of traffic….they just barreled across the intersection and nearly sideswiped me.
Not knowing what was happening initially, I yelled….I have no horn in my car so whenever I need one I let out an ineffectual little yelp.
So I yelled to myself, the neighbors threw up their hands and we all proceeded to our respective driveways. Uncomfortableness ensued. Neighbor got out of his car and looked at me like I had tried to run him off the freeway, then he said:
“Didn’t you see it was us?”
Okay neighbors….are the traffic laws different if I recognize the driver of the car? Really people?
2. They Pay Way Too Much Attention to My Garage:
One night, around 9pm, we heard a knock on the door; it was the female half of the neighbor couple.
“I can see a faint light in the garage, do you think you left a light on in there?”
Not thinking anything strange, I shrug; open the garage door, and no light. I thank her for her concern, and she goes back to her house.
The next night is the same thing. I explain that there’s no light on in our garage, it’s okay, don’t worry about it. She reluctantly leaves.
Finally, The Husband hung curtains in the garage to block out the prying eyes – not like there’s much in there, but we thought it might keep them off garage light watch duty.
It didn’t work. The next night, she asked us if we had meant to hang curtains over the garage window.
Yes, yes we did.
3. They Think I’m a Lousy Gardener:
I’ve come home from work four times now to find male half of the neighbor couple weeding and pruning my front lawn….just puttering around, working away.
I should be grateful, after all, I have had absolutely no luck getting flowers to grow, and the few, small green plants I have been able to sustain just stare out from our garden sadly wishing that someone would steal them and transplant them to a place where their owner knew what to do with them.
But still….it doesn’t look that bad. Maybe neighbor is just retired and bored; maybe he’s concerned about his property value wilting along with my bluebells.
As for what they would say about us? I better hope I’m never falsely accused of anything, I have a sick feeling that they would be the first ones in that witness box telling the jury about my shameful waste of light bulb energy in the garage and my rampant abuse of flowers. I don’t even want to get into what the can and bottle guy hauls out of our recycling bin every week…..
My point is this, I hope no one out there ends up on the nine o’clock news talking about how they played chess with a serial killer for the last ten years. I’m not sure how I’d ever trust my judgment again. I’m grateful for my neighbors, I’m pretty sure that they’d be the first ones to call the fire department if I ever so much as let a whiff of smoke escape from my kitchen, and even though they did try to kill me….I’m about 89% sure they haven’t buried anyone under their porch….the other 11% is skeptical….