Everybody Doesn’t Run on Duncan

11 Sep

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Have you ever wanted to star in a psycho thriller set in Kennesaw, Georgia? If you like stalkers, insomnia and visits from Charles Manson’s offspring then you’ll really like this chapter.

One evening I was outside watering the flowers that my Dad helped me plant at my new house. We (and by “we” I mean…well, I think you know the answer to this) spent hundreds of dollars on these flowers so I needed to take extra special care of them. I was a new homeowner so naturally my yard looked like something out of L.A. Story, unlike the home next to me which looked more like The Money Pit.

At dusk, out of nowhere, a tall, thin, razor bald man with a long, full beard walked out of the neighbor’s overgrown yard. His silhouette was as eerie as Norman Bates’ house on the hill. He realized I was watching him and tried to blend in with the house. It was like that scene from When A Stranger Calls.

I continued to look in his direction, then smiled to break the more than awkward stare.

“Hi, are you the new neighbor?” I asked.

He glared at me through the darkness and swirling fog.

“I am called Duncan.”

This was getting weirder, but I tried to be optimistic.

“Well it’s nice to meet you, man called ‘Duncan.’”

He dissolved through the fence and into his backyard. I couldn’t tell if he physically opened the gate or just floated through.

“Hey pretty lady, do you want to come over?” he beckoned from his side.

I remembered at least some of my parents’ advice, so I didn’t just prance over there like an idiot. I pretended I didn’t hear him.

“Hey, I said come here!” he demanded.

I was so nervous at this point I dropped the hose and jetted toward my garage. He yelled over the fence, “Hey! Do you know what crystal meth looks like?”

I continued to ignore him as he continued to get creepier.

“Did I alarm you?” he whispered.

The only vision in my head was the cover of Silence of the Lambs. The instant that he called me “Clarice” I was going to throw my shovel at his stupid face. I looked for a white van with no windows. Instead, a black cat trotted across the road.

Duncan said in a demented sing-song voice, “I just want to show you something. Will you come inside my basement and let me show you my artwork?”

I continued to ignore him, still trying to get to my garage. My next plan was to get in my car and drive away. I was well aware that the hose was running full blast, but decided to forego walking back to turn it off & would deal with the water bill if and when I survived this episode. I was too overwhelmed by the thought of my body being found in the sewer drain the next day.

He threw a note over the fence at me. Based on tv shows I had seen, I knew that I needed evidence. I grabbed the note off the ground, ran to my car, and drove away. I called Andy, who has a safe full of guns-most of which look illegal. I was sobbing so hard that he couldn’t understand me. I told him to come over and meet me at the neighborhood pool before Duncan raped and killed me.

“What? Who is Duncan?”

He and my other friend Josh were there in five minutes. I imagined them gearing up like Rambo, headbands tied on with Survivor playing in the background. They were always looking for opportunities to bear arms, and better yet, stab or shoot someone. Maybe both–only time would tell.

Next, I called my roommate Kelly and told her not to come home. We rendezvoused at the CVS down the street, got in Andy’s truck and headed back to our house.

I began reading the note to them which was on some hand drawn stationery. It had a sketch of a scary, narrow face with a long beard and bald head. The man called ‘Duncan’s’ self-portrait. There was a dialogue bubble that read, “I’m the One.” It could have been a case study from a criminal psychology textbook. “This is what a serial killer’s stationary looks like” is what the chapter title would read. The note included, but was not limited to:

-Dialogue between various personalities and God
-Poems about the depths of his despair and murderous thoughts
-Notes to the government about how the banks own everything and working citizens get nothing
-A song to the homeowner that told him he should burn the house down

My hands were trembling as I read this. The handwriting and tone were changing, and I was waiting to hear the theme song from Unsolved Mysteries. We got back and Duncan was nowhere to be found. In my mind, since I had left the door unlocked in my frenzy to get out, I envisioned him laying in my bed amongst razor blades and rose petals, waiting.

Andy and Josh did a full search of my house, yard and attic with guns drawn. This was the best chance they ever had to shoot someone, and they were savoring it.

“We’re gonna go search the neighbor’s yard,” Andy said.

I looked at him and got nervous.

“You can’t go over there and shoot him.”

“Yes, we can.”

“No, you can’t.”

Fifteen minutes later, still toting their 9mm’s, they rushed back over.

“We found him!” Andy gasped. “He was sitting in the corner of the flower bed, staring over here.”

Josh said, “So, do you guys know how long he’s been sitting over there watching you sleep?”

After my third wave of nausea passed, I replied, “I’ve never seen him until today.”

“Well, I bet he’s been over there for weeks waiting for you to get home so he can watch you without you knowing. I wonder if he can see into your shower? What about if he watches you shower and-”

“Please stop,” I said through a squint of disgust.

Josh called the police and explained most of the story. Andy tried to lighten the mood by asking us if we’d ever seen a silhouette next to our beds in a flash of lightning while waking up from a dream. It didn’t work.

Two police cars arrived in my very friendly, family oriented neighborhood. I can only imagine what the dinner conversations were as the neighbors saw the law pull up to our house. The officers told us that they would go over there and “check it out.”

Twenty minutes and 3 bottles of wine later, Paul Blart and Barney Fife came back over and told us that we “had a real Marilyn Manson case on our hands.”

I looked at them, “Do you mean Charles Manson?”

They looked confused. I rolled my eyes. Barney Fife pulled his pants up higher and said, “Yeah, the perp wasn’t really making any sense. He was in and out of thoughts…sort of hazy.”

“He was laying in his sleeping bag, surrounded by artwork or something. He had newspaper clippings taped all over the wall. The letters were cut out, and it spelled something,” Blart added.

“What did it spell?” I asked.

“We’re not sure.”

They looked more confused. I rolled my eyes again.

Andy and Josh stayed at the house with us, and I don’t think I slept more than six minutes. All I could imagine was Duncan bursting through our back door and Andy unloading an AK-47 into his chest. We developed a schedule over the next few days:

-Leave for work, all at the same time
-Fall asleep at work because we didn’t sleep the previous night
-Get off of work, call someone to drive us home to get clothes
-Find a creepy ass note on the front door from Duncan
-Spend another night in fear, contemplating suicide
-Repeat tomorrow

As for the daily love notes, they’d say things like, “Hey Pretty Neighbor, sorry about the confusion last night! How about those cops? Those lights scared me…I hope they didn’t scare you.” Another one said, “Hey, I’m sorry—you’re so pretty. Please come over and let me show you my paintings. Pretty please.”

One day my friend Shannon was over. We were sitting in my living room making our plans for the night. I saw a shadow across my front window, dropped my coffee on the ground and turned white as a ghost. All of the sudden I heard Duncan yelling my name, (how did he know my name? oh dear Lord, he went through my mail…) and banging on the giant front window.
Shannon got her phone out, had 911 keyed in and was ready to hit send. I grabbed a Louisville Slugger, swung open my front door and stood there wondering if the prison wardens would let me wear a different jumpsuit. Orange doesn’t look good on redheads. He came to the door and I held the bat in front of me.

“What do you want?” I whisper-yelled.

He calmly replied, “Hi. Can I have my letters back?”

Thanks to network television, I had learned to make copies of the evidence with my employers’ copy machine. I grabbed his “originals” and threw them in his face.

“Here are your stupid letters. And if you ever come over here again I will bash your brains out with this bat. And I’m not joking!”

He took his letters and smiled at me.

“Thank you, Pretty Lady,” he whispered, “I’m so sorry about all of this.”

He slowly turned and walked away after blowing me a kiss.

I called the police again. They finally started investigating the matter and had made some interesting discoveries. It turns out the home next door was vacant, and the owner of the property had planned on renting it out. Duncan had been hired as a contractor to prepare the home for rent. The landlord had no idea that Duncan was spending the night there, or using the property as his home base for weird. The owner of the property let Duncan go immediately and had the policemen escort him off of the property. For about 2 days we had total peace.

One day I came home from work, checked my mailbox and what did I find? A note on the stationary from the fiery pits of hell. It read:

“Hi Pretty Neighbor. Sorry that no one understands us. I need to leave my supplies in your yard since I have been kicked off the property next door to you. I like doing work for pretty young girls like you, so I didn’t think you’d mind. I need your phone number since they won’t let us stay in touch here. I’ll be back to get the tools this weekend. Looking forward to seeing you again. I bought some new cologne. Hope you like it.”

I was so nauseous I could barely stand up. I walked slowly, inches at a time, to my backyard. I saw a pile of tools laying there. I swear I heard The Omen soundtrack playing. I fell to my knees and cried. Then I threw the tools into the neighbor’s yard and called the landlord.

“I thought Duncan was fired?” I demanded.

“He was. What happened?”

“Duncan threw his tools in my yard and left me a note saying that he’d been kicked off your property!”

“Did you call the cops?”

“Yes, I call the cops every five minutes but that does not seem to stop this psycho asshole from ruining my life!” I yelled.

The next night a few of my friends came over to have a “relaxing” evening and try to calm everyone down. One friend brought a box of Dunkin Donuts to be funny and marked through “Dunkin” and wrote “Duncan.” Another friend used dry erase markers to draw a picture of his psycho stationary on my bathroom mirror. When I walked into the bathroom I screamed, and then could not stop laughing. I don’t think I have slept a full night since then.

About two months later I walked into Kinko’s, and as I turned the corner, I saw Duncan running off his gross stationary. I stopped dead in my tracks. He saw me. I ran to the bathroom and called Andy.

“Andy, I don’t know what to do.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I’m at Kinkos, and Duncan is here. We made eye contact and I ran into the bathroom. I can’t walk out or he’ll see me.”

“How long are you planning on staying in there?”

“I guess until you get here.”

He sighed. “I’ll be right there.”

“You can use your guns this time.”

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