I don’t think I’ve mentioned yet that we have a new neighbor here in AZ. Sadly, our Canadian friends who owned the house next door as long as we have owned this house chose to sell. We miss them very much. But we looked forward to meeting our new neighbor. The truth is, for a variety of reasons, we have not really met him. We know a few things about him: 1) His name is Jason. We know this about him because we received a piece of his mail that was misdelivered to us. 2) He is a youngish man, in the neighborhood of 35 or so. We know this because Bill walked over to him one time when Jason was putting trash in his can out front and Bill introduced himself. 3) He mostly sits in the dark. Jen keeps track of this because when she takes Winston out for his final chores at night, there are no lights on. Ever. Finally, when he drives home, he pulls his car into the garage and shuts the garage door before he gets out of the car.

Because we haven’t had the opportunity to meet him, we are each writing our own story about Jason’s life. I will feature a new story for the next few days. Names are completely fictitious. Except for Jason’s.

The last time was a close call. Too close for Jason’s comfort. Up until then, he had been able to kidnap a total of three different women from three different parts of the west side of the Phoenix area, kill them, and dispose of their bodies without even a wave from a police officer. This time, however, he forgot to put on his mask before going into the Arizona Department of Transportation where he had stopped to renew his driver’s license before driving his latest kidnapped victim home. Bad choice, Buddy, he told himself. You should have waited until the weekend, even if the lines were longer. Because as he sat quietly looking at his number (48) and the number they were on (2), a tiny woman wearing a Bernie Sanders for President shirt, came up to him and began screaming that he SHOULD BE WEARING A MASK. He didn’t want to give up his place in line, because now they were on (7), but he didn’t want to call attention to himself. He got up to leave, but to his surprise, the little tree-hugger was as relentless as she was small. She followed him to his car just as the woman in the trunk began pounding her feet against the roof.

He quickly got into his car and drove to his house. She had his license plate, however, and he knew he didn’t have much time. He opened his trunk a touch and threw in a bottle of lotion. “You might want to start spreading lotion on yourself,” he told her. “I don’t know why, but I saw it in a movie once.”

He called his friend who was a realtor, and found out there was a house for rent, fully furnished. The only problem was that it was in west Mesa, very far from where he currently lived. “Hmmm,” thought Jason. “Far away is good. Very good.”

“I’ll take it if I can move in this afternoon!” he said.

Since the house was currently vacant, the realtor agreed. He gave Jason the code for the lockbox and told him where the garage door opener was kept.

Jason drove the two-and-a-half hours it took to get to the other side of town. (There was an accident on the 10 that held him up for 45 minutes.) “Shut up,” he yelled to the girl who was once again kicking her legs. “Keep lotioning up.”

When he arrived at the new house, the first thing he noticed was the neighbor’s garage door was open, and there was a man’s butt sticking out of a bright red Ferrari. He filed that away for future cogitation. That might be trouble.

He got into the house, and found the garage opener. He opened the garage, got back into the car, and drove in. He shut the garage door and got out of the car. Unfortunately, he very quickly realized that the garage was so small that you couldn’t get a bag of groceries out of the trunk when the garage door is closed, much less a wiggling and very soft-skinned woman. He had to go into his back seat and approach the trunk from rear.

He finally got her into the house, but in the struggle, he was injured and had gotten blood all over his shirt. He removed the shirt and took it out to the garbage can which was in the street. He was walking quickly back to the house when the man-with-the-Ferrari came over and introduced himself.

“Hi,” he said. “Bill McLain. We live next door. Welcome to the neighborhood. We’ll invite you over for cocktails soon.”

Jason went inside in a hurry, and began digging a basement.


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