Every neighborhood’s got that one spooky house. The house kids cross the street to avoid. The house trick-or-treaters skip every year. The house whose owner all the children in the neighborhood know and fear.
When I was a boy, that house was Old Mr. Wilson’s place.
The kids in my neighborhood knew, you had to be careful when you played near Old Mr. Wilson’s place. For example, if you happened to be playing with a flaming bag of shit, and it landed on his porch, he would be so furious he would throw open his front door and stomp on it. I can’t even count how many flaming bags of shit I lost to Old Mr. Wilson. Some people even said he kept all those old burnt-up bags of shit in his basement, like some kind of sick museum.
And if some of your toilet paper got in his yard? Forget about it. He would come out in the morning, and pull it out of the trees and bushes and stuff it into a garbage bag. No one knew what he did with all that toilet paper. Many speculated it had something to do with all those old bags of shit.
If you and a friend were playing catch with a rock, and it crossed over into Old Mr. Wilson’s yard and through his bay window, well, you’d better hope you didn’t like that rock too much. Because you’d never see it again. I lost my first eight favorite rocks that way.
Eventually, Old Mr. Wilson moved away. Some people said he moved somewhere with less sunlight. Others said he moved back to Transylvania, where his family supposedly lived. The fire marshal said his house burnt down because of a flaming bag of shit left on his front porch.
Now, 20 years later, I can’t help but think of Old Mr. Wilson every time a rock crashes through my window, and I toss it back out and say, “Here’s your rock.” Or every time I roll up and repackage some poor sap’s eight rolls of toilet paper that blew all over my yard. And each and every time I’m in the hospital receiving treatment for the burns on my hands from carrying all those flaming bags of shit off my porch, I think of him and wonder, if I saw him today, would I be as scared?