It's a lovely place really.
Good neighborhood. Secured building. Spacious, bright, quiet. View of the city. The subtle melody of seals barking in the night air. Really quite lovely.
But as with all new dwellings, there are those little quirks, "personality traits" if you will, one must discover, digest, and attempt to internally reconcile.
My new shiver-inducing, midnight-lurking neighbor across the street, is one such quirk.
Prosecution Exhibit A:
I'm on the third floor.
I have a deck.
From said deck is the aforementioned view of the beautiful metropolis that is Seattle, WA. Also, visible from this deck is the street. And the houses across that street. And the van that parks in front of the houses across that street.
This is not just "a van". I've seen vans before. Some (few) are not creepy. Some (few) are used for the purposes of toting children to and fro, delivering cakes or flowers, transporting lazy asshats that promise to come fix your cable between the hours of noon and next Tuesday. I've seen these vans. This is not one of those vans.
This is one of the vans that is acquired solely for the purposes of abduction, torture, brutal homicide, and body disposal.
How do I know? Well, first, it's yellow. Not canary yellow, or "beige that looks yellow in a certain light", or obnoxious Nissan Xterra yellow. It's rattle can, lane line yellow. With not-so-subtle hints of rust and erosion speckled about. And you might think that yellow would be a less than ideal color selection for a torture wagon. You'd be wrong. Yellow is so obvious, it's discreet. It's hiding in plain sight. Who suspects a yellow van?!?!? Me. That's who.
Second, the windows that it does have, of which there are three, are tinted. And not "the sun's so bright in Seattle" tinted, but "try to guess what I'm hiding in here" tinted. And I don't want to guess. I already know.
So, of course, I'm already a smidge uneasy. But I keep telling myself, "It's just a van, Jill, it's just a van."
Prosecution Exhibit B:
It was late. 10 or 11 at night. Or perhaps it was 4:30. Who the fuck knows? Night falls at noon here in the winter. Regardless, it was dark. Extremely dark. And raining (weird). Not drizzling. Raining. Hard. Sheets of rain. And it was windy... I think... I might have made that part up... but I'm pretty sure. And there were zombies milling about, and you could hear the cackle of witches in the distance (okay, that last part is bullshit). Whatever, it was a creepy night. I was sitting on my deck, enjoying a mug of warm tea, listening to the rain, reveling in the solace, when I spotted him. "Chester" (for the purposes of this blog) standing in the middle of the road. Lurking. No coat. Pelted by raindrops. Perfectly still. Intently staring up at my deck.
I retreated inside immediately, locked the slider, closed the blinds, and buried myself in the comfort and safety of under-my-blankets, resting easy in the knowledge that no one could get me there.
The next day I discovered that "Chester" has a couple of dogs, one called Creepy (not kidding), his master's namesake no doubt, and was most likely just letting them out to piss all over my building, but still...
Listen, I hate to be "that neighbor". I really do. I don't want the local police to recognize my voice when I call to report more suspicious activity. I don't want to be running to the drug store every other day to buy more spiral notebooks in which I jot down license plate numbers and physical descriptions. I don't want to purchase binoculars.
But also, I don't want my life to play out like some low budget independent film entitled I Really, Still, Really, Really, Know What You Did Last Summer. I'm not a good screamer. It wouldn't translate on screen.
So, if it should come to it, let this post be my voice beyond the grave. Chester, The Neighbor Molester did it! Please to secure Keith Morrison to tell my story.
(Side bar: When I typed "Yellow Van" in to Google Image Search a picture of Jaycee Dugard popped up... told ya so)