This story is inspired by my former writing prof Mark Jabbour and his astute observations on neighbors. We begin at the beginning.
The Garage- A Mystery Part 1
They were on round two of Sara’s lemon drop martinis, that everyone secretly hated, when Robert asked “So what’s the neighborhood like?”
“Well” said Sara turning her blue eyes to him, “This is most of us on the cul-de-sac. Tom and Laura live next door to us on the right. Peter lives next door to them at the top of the circle. I would tell you all the gossip on his new model girlfriend, but he’s here.” Sara winked at Peter.
“Sara you’re forgetting the Blake’s” said Peter.
“Ah yes the Blakes. They live next to Peter and across from us.” Sara pointed out the window. “They’ll be here later. And the Thomas’s who live on the left of us couldn’t come”
“What Sara is not telling you is that the Blake’s don’t use their garage” said Joel taking a shot of martini. “They have lived here three months and in that time no one has seen them use it. Meredith parks her gray SUV in the drive and Edgar parks his black jaguar in the circle the wrong way.”
“The wrong way, isn’t that against HOA?” asked Robert.
Sara turned to Tom. “You were off sick this week did you notice anything unusual?”
“Well if by unusual you mean parking your car in the garage, no nothing unusual. Although did you know that not only does Meredith not park her car in the garage she doesn’t even open it!” Tom said in a hushed tone.
“On Tuesday I saw Meredith take the groceries in through the front door even though the garage leads straight into the kitchen. She had to walk an extra thirty feet with the groceries!”
Joel furrowed his bushy eyebrows. “That makes no sense. Why would you do that, and in snow?”
“I’ve seen James do the same thing you know. Even when they moved in they didn’t open the garage for the movers. I have a theory though.” Peter leaned forward into the group.
“A theory on why our neighbors don’t use their garage? Don’t you think that’s a bit nosy?” injected Rachel, shifting in her chair.
“Well they spy on us too. James asked me the other day why I was home all week. Fair’s fair.” Tom took a swig of his martini to reinforce the point.
“My theory is” Peter continued in his deepest voice. “. . .bears” He looked slowly round the group. When nobody said anything he continued.
“You know when Barbara and Ellen owned that house they would go bear hunting in Alaska. Big hunters. I went over for dinner once and there was a display of skulls over the fireplace. And a bearskin rug from a bear that Ellen had killed when she was fifteen.”
“Now I know a lot of you weren’t here back then, but the garage door did work. They would park in there regularly, until one day after returning from Alaska they didn’t. That was a month or two before they moved out, suddenly.” Peter paused again.
“I think they brought back a real live bear and when they couldn’t handle it they locked it up in the garage and left.” He finished.
“But why would anyone buy a house with a bear in the garage? Especially a live bear?” Tom asked.
“Maybe they talked to the Blake’s about it at closing, let them know it wasn’t safe.” Peter theorized, swigging his martini.
Tune in tomorrow for Part 2! Until then what’s your theory?