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Friday, March 23, 2007

More haunting than Poe's heart

When I first moved to the UK I was still on good terms with my ex-boyfriend at the time, his new girlfriend, Liz was house hunting at a ferocious level , as being a teacher she took advantage of the summer vacation to try and see as many properties as possible so she could move in before term started again. She was a warm homely girl and I got on very well with her. Many a time she and I would go off looking at various properties for the potential des res that fit the criteria. Eventually we found this quite 1920s house with a huge back yard that fitted her price range. Granted there was a lot of work that needed doing, the d├ęcor was in a time warp of the 50s , laminated chip wood all over the house, nylon orange flame carpets throughout and all rewiring and plastering would have to be essentially carried out. The couple who showed us the house explained to us that it was the lady’s late fathers house. He had entered a retirement home in the early 1980s with dementia and stayed there some 15 years before he died and it being the family home would never rent it or lease it out because it seemed wrong to make any decision until the inevitable had happened with her father. When showing us around she related a lot about her childhood and the united parents she had. They where a funny couple to listen to, she would say something and she would get her husband to repeat it. For example she would say ‘I told him, I said I’m not selling for less than the asking price, what did I say Peter?’ and he would jump straight it and say ‘she’s not selling it for less than the asking price’. This went on for the entire tour of the house and gardens. Anyway Liz loved the property and put in an offer which they took and asked if they could visit after so they could see what she had done with the place. I suppose in a way for the woman it was like giving away a pet you couldn’t care for any longer but you just want to make sure that its okay and you’ve made the right decision in letting it go. All of us mucked in with the work, the gardens where thick with the neglect of 15 years and many an evening I would return home scratched , sweaty and scarred of nettle stings. With the gardens tackled it was inside with the painting and sanding of walls, skirting and floorboards.

Upstairs there were 3 bedrooms and a bathroom . After the walls and ceilings were painted we began with the sanding of the floors, the wood looked nice enough for them to scrub up beautifully and coat of varnish would positively dance on them. There were five of us helping , two in each of the larger rooms and one in the small bedroom , the latter I set to work on. One of the floorboards in the corner was loose when I took the sanding block to it, the knot in the wood actually fell out of the panel and into the dark abyss that lay below it. The hole in which the knot fell out of was large enough to put your finger through, then it just suddenly dawned on me that the floorboard was loose for a reason and I put my theory to the test. Sure enough when I put my finger in the knotless hole the floorboard lifted with ease and there underneath lay a small blue leather holdall. I looked at it, the curiosity and fear of the unknown battled within me, I wouldn’t open it, because items hidden under the floorboards can either mean two things - money or something unsavoury and foul. There was a smell emanating from there , subtle but there was a noted change it the fragrance of mustiness .So the following sentence sang from my lips ’Liz, everyone, you better take a look at what the fuck I just discovered’. The skipped with curiosity into the room.

‘What the fuck is that’ Ray asked
‘I don’t know but I’m not going to do the honours of opening it’ I said
Liz went into teacher mode and with an air of ridiculousness said ’give it here’ she sat the bag on the bed , unzipped it and held the bag by the bottom corner and tipped out its contents. A blue wad of material fell out. Again using her hand like a pincer she unravelled to see what secrets the blue nylon/chiffon bundle held. In that split second I think everyone was prayed for the sight of money, counted and banded like it was stolen in a heist. I don’t think anyone of us prepared ourselves for what we where about to see. A small plastic battery box with half a yard of cable attached to a small wooden connector of sorts. A blonde wig, lipstick , bra, couple of pairs of nylon panties, 1950s porn magazine and a few perished rubber attachments for the ’wooden connector’( It was a vibrator of sorts I since learned this when touring Prague‘s sex museum ), and last but not least a jar of Vaseline. A chorus of ’Ewwwwuh’s ’ resonated around the room. It was quite clear the previous owner had a penchant for transvestism and this was his dirty secret we had uncovered. Now the shock was just hilarious for all of us and over lunch we where still talking about it when a knock to the door came. Liz answered the door and the familiar voice filtered through to the kitchen. It was the chatty vendor and her parrot of a husband in tow. What were the chances??? I quickly told the others who they were before they where shown through and we sat there bug eyed trying to take in the events of the last couple of hours and who was about to come through the door. Thankfully Liz had binned everything and she shot straight through the kitchen and beckoned the couple outside to see the cleared jungle. Again, what were the chances of them calling to see the property on the heels of that revelation? Liz gave them a tour to show them all the changes and renovations that were made and they eventually made their way back to the kitchen where we sat steadfast listening to how much Liz was holding it together .

‘I was telling peter what a marvellous job Liz and yourselves have done to the place wasn’t I peter ? what did I say peter’ ‘ She did a top job’ he said like a nodding dog.
‘Oh Liz I nearly forgot’ she reached into her bag ‘Remember I was telling you how my father planted that rambling rose that grows over the shed, well here’s a picture of dad and I when I was five years old beside it , Look how small it is’ I knew what Liz was looking at ; she was picturing the dude in his blue nylon and chiffon negligee ,complete with blonde wig and shocking pink lipstick. Her eyes started to glaze and she struggled to smother her swelling laughter. Thankfully Liz’s cat Guinness decided to make an appearance which drove the couple out of the place like bats out of hell as they where both extremely allergic. But Liz made sure she trust the photo into everyones face making sure we got a good mental image of ‘the woman under the floorboards‘.


Hammer said...

Hahaha! What a great story, I would have handed off the bag to
the chatty lady for sure!

Judith said...

I think that would have shut her and her husband truly up but she held her father in such high esteem it would have been beyond cruel LOL

Pickled Olives said...

heee heeeeee! and ew. See, in my world the daughter would have somehow been in earshot of me saying something seriously inappropriate about her dad. BTW, if ONLY I had friends as good as you to help with the many renovations going on here!!!

General Catz said...

Terrific story! Priceless. I think everyone wants to discover something mysterious in the house they buy, but that's a bit beyond the realm of imagination.

BTW, regarding "She was a warm homely girl...." In american, homely means ugly!

shoes said...

on a similar note...the house i grew up in was sold a number of times but the owner who has it now contacted me. my mother died in that house when i was young and this woman wanted to know what room she died in. turns out that room is the room she currently uses as a bedroom. it was my bedroom for a number of years and so being familiar with the goings on in that room she was directed to me. seems that she has had a number of strnge things happen in the house but the one that pushed her over the edge was when her boyfreind stayed over one night. seems that after an evening of love practise she left the room to use the bathroom. while laying in her bed in a post coital stupor he was pleased that she had climbed back in bed to spoon with him. when he rolled over nobody was there but there was an indentation of a person on the covers. he explained everything to her as he ran screaming from the house never to return.

Gina said...

I couldn't help but smile when I read this....can you just imagine all the secret stuff stashed behind the insulation in attics and under floorboards and small dark places in houses.....photos, letters, kinky toys...all the things we wanted access to but didn't want to expose others to....

Hmmmm...this reminds me...there's something in the attic I need to attend to....LOL>>>>


Stucco said...

Note to self- hide freak fetish gear better...

Glamourpuss said...

What a fabulous story.

Ah, we Brits and our sexual repression...


Judith said...

Im the type of sicko that loves to get stuck into DIY and gardening jobs I believe Im a dying species
*Giggles* I know but she wasnt ugly, not enough to stop a dog fight anyway LOL
Is there a place in your house that you could stash that much gear? LOL
Wow. Where you compelled to visit again when you heard that?
If only we could choose the house with the stash of cash
It was a terrible british find I have to say even the porn was terrible british with its english rose's and their tantalising flesh

shoes said...

i would love to spend the night there once more

Crankster said...

Fantastic story! And a disturbingly indelible image...

slaghammer said...

I was expecting a weed stash; porn was second in line but not lipstick etc. A close friend of mine found a pair of nylon stockings under his roommate’s bed. They had been stuffed with clothes and a hole was cut at the crotch with unraveled yarn glued for effect. I would have been happier to have never been told of it.

Judith said...

Weed would have been a prize find though Im not sure of its potency being so old? Is it like wine with age? As for your friends room mate interesting he went to the detail for public hair with the yarn . How does that idea for the whole pantyhose sex toy come about? a poor mans blow up doll I suppose
google wilfred bramble and you will get an idea of what this dude looked like sans knickers and lipstick