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Excerpt – Nothing to See Here

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Excerpt – Nothing to See Here

“Despite the cloak-and-dagger routine regarding our living arrangement, sans parents, Sami, and I managed a relatively typical high school life. Nothing to see here. Just two teenage boys living alone whose parents are on a short trip to the City or a weeklong vacation somewhere; move along.

Sami and I had a somewhat rocky relationship with the new owner of the house. He was a CPA, and like all accountants, he liked to pinch pennies where he could. He and his secretary occupied my father’s former office on the first floor. When he left for the night, he would turn down the thermostat that controlled the temperature of the entire house to save money. After several weeks of arctic-like conditions and wearing heavy parkas around the house at night, and on weekends, we called our parents who contacted him and made clear that it was not to happen anymore. In a passive-aggressive sort of way and perhaps in revenge for the thermostat issue, he and his secretary would call up to the second floor and complain of the noise of running feet after school. To be fair, Sami and I did occasionally run one place or another. We were kids, after all. In the end, we settled into a relatively quiet truce with the downstairs occupiers.

The house was an old, nineteenth-century Victorian-style affair. It creaked, moaned, and complained, especially in the quiet of the night. I don’t mind saying that the house was a bit spooky, knowing the previous owner had died there and was a recluse. The attic contained hidden passages, little more than access crawlspaces entered via small triangular swinging panels built into the wall. These spaces included long runs of claustrophobic dusty tunnels lined with the old-style lath and mortar walls. The plaster exuded from between the wooden slats looking like congealed gray blood. The original designers built the passages to permit access to pipes and electrical chases. They doubled nicely as a place to hide my Playboy and Penthouse magazines, at least when our parents lived there. The third-floor attic space was our self-contained world, and our parents rarely came up there, but it sure got creepy at night, especially after our parents left us…”

Liberty, New York

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