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To Knock or Not to Knock?7 April 2005
I need help. Yes, I do, and only gamblers can help me in the dilemma I have. At the end of this article I am going to ask you a simple question, "Should I knock on the door?" The answers I get from my readers who are gamblers will determine whether I knock on the door or whether I merely continue to pass the place morning after morning, day after day, and night after night.
Six suburban blocks away he (or, maybe, she) lives in a ranch house that is maybe 60 years old. I have been living in my house for over a decade now and it took me several years to realize that a vampire inhabited the house on Maple Street.
I go for a walk every morning and I pass the house each day, seven days a week. When I drive somewhere in my little town in the afternoon, I pass the house. When my wife, the beautiful A.P. and I go to dinner in town at night, we pass the house.
I have seen the house at all times of the day and night.
I have never seen a person, inside or outside of the house. It's not strange that I don't see a person inside because the shades are always pulled down - the exact same way morning, noon and night. On rare occasions, I have seen a small window on the side of the house open. There is occasionally a garbage can that is filled and placed at the side of the house, not at the curb, as everyone else in the neighborhood must do. Two cars, under a now-fading, worn-away blue tarpaulin, sit in the driveway in the exact same positions they were in over ten years ago when I first saw them. They have never been moved as far as I can tell.
Someone or something is in that house, because one night, on a rare late evening walk, I saw a looming, human-like shadow against the shades of the living room. It seemed to be bending and then moving gracefully away from something it had looked at - perhaps on the couch or floor?
Someone lives in that house. Or is undead in that house.
The grounds are neatly kept - but not as neatly kept as all the other houses in the neighborhood. The grass is off. It isn't as green as the grass of all the other lawns. Not as grassy either. It looks as if it doesn't want to be there. The bushes are not as full or lush as the bushes in the front and back yards of the surrounding houses - nor as green - though they are trimmed, but not quite right, as if they were a head of hair groomed by a new barber who didn't quite have the hang of his craft yet. In the spring when the flowers bloom, the few that surround that house don't seem as bright as the same flowers on the other properties near it.
When it snows, no one walks on the sidewalk of that house; there are never any footprints - human or animal, though there are footprints, human and animal, in the snow on all the sidewalks of all the houses in the area. People walk in the street rather than on the sidewalk in front of that house. In fact, I have never seen anyone but me walk on the sidewalk in front of that house.
Across the street from the house lives an old man. Ten years ago, when he first moved to the neighborhood, he stood up straight and was clear eyed. Now he is stooped and feverish looking. Ten years ago, his property was neat, ordered, and uncluttered. Now it is a junkyard. About five years ago, the old man started to transform into his present shape; stooped and hollow-eyed. This old man now collects selected garbage from all the houses in my town as if these discarded chairs, pots, lamps, fans, knickknacks, pieces of wood, were antiques instead of junk, and all this stuff he brings home and sorts. He piles up every square inch of his property with the junk that he has collected. You cannot see into his garage because it is filled from floor to ceiling with the produce from his rummages.
In the early mornings, in the dark, I can see the old man busily going about his collection duties as I take my walk. He almost has no garbage to throw out, just a tiny bag every two or three days. But he carts in carloads of stuff on garbage days.
He is directly across the street from the vampire; directly across from where I saw the shadow, that once.
Last year, some workers were repairing the sidewalk outside of that house. Since we own our sidewalks, I figured I'd ask the workers just who had hired them. Was it the person who lived in the house? Had they seen him? When I did so, the workers said that no one knows who hired them but they received the money in an envelope and were told to fix the sidewalk in front of this particular house. The amount was more than sufficient to do the job, so they did the job.
This morning, as I walked with the beautiful A.P. (it took me about six years to convince her that something was very strange about that house!), I said, "I think some early evening I am going to just go up to the door and knock."
I then noticed the old man looking at me. His eyes have really become quite sunken in his skull. He wasn't collecting or working on his garbage, he was just looking at me.
"The collector's looking at me," I said to A.P.
"No, he isn't; he's looking at the house."
So I looked at the house. The cars were still in the driveway, covered in blue tarp; the bushes, the grass, the evergreens were still not quite as green as they should be; the shades on all the windows were drawn as they had been drawn every day for more than ten years.
It was dawn and a squirrel shot across the street in front of us. But it didn't run up that house's sidewalk as a squirrel normally would. Instead, it stopped dead at the curb of that house, ran along it, and hit the sidewalk by the next house.
The old man, who had been indeed staring at that house, walked around back to his yard, through mounds of someone else's discards.
"I'm going to knock on that door," I said. "Some night, I am going to knock on that door and find out who lives there."
"Do you think you should?" asked A.P.
I'll now ask that of you, dear gambling readers, "Should I knock on the door?"
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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