When I was in my mid-to-late 20's I moved a lot. My two cats, Bear and Tupfen moved with me once or twice a year. I tried living alone, too expensive. I tried roommates but they either hit on me or got married or hid their drug habits until I was in. I had to find a place in a hurry because the beautiful little cottage I had behind a mansion in Los Gatos wasn't safe anymore. The guy who rented the whole estate was an addict jeweler who bragged to me that he made jewelery for the Hells Angels and that they'd been up to party with him in thanks. Did I want a line or two? "No thanks," I told him, "Did I mention I need to move?"

My old cat Bear was ill with giardia he caught in Los Gatos and had some really stinky disgusting symptoms, so I decided I'd live alone until he left me. Within a week I moved into a wreck of cottage behind a cottage and hung what drapes I had over the windows. This was only a block from my sister and BIL's house, so it felt safer than that place in Los Gatos. The bathroom had one window next to a tall fence with a bramble of blackberry vines next to it. Since I like the light through the lace curtains my sister had made for my previous residence's sun room, I hung them there. My cats kept hearing things outside the windows. I thought it was rats (this place had lots) until I saw a broken gate had been moved to the brambles outside my bathroom window. Then I checked the other windows from the outside at night. All my curtains were see-through. I pinned tissue paper liners in them to make them opaque.

The noises continued. I called the cops who said only 10% of peeping toms actually do more than peep so unless I knew for sure who the person was, there was nothing they could do. I suspected the guy who lived in the cottage in front of mine, but I didn't know for sure. He seemed harmless, but he was just strange enough to worry me. One night, Bear suddenly stared at the window next to my bed. I was angry because of the constant assault on my privacy. My baseball bat was next to the bed where I was reading. I quietly got up and grabbed the bat. As I slowly lifted it over my shoulders to give the window a good whack, I was thinking about how I'd patch the window and wondering how much it would cost me with the landlord. The window was paned and it was so old it was falling apart anyway. What I didn't think about was the position of the single light bulb that lit the studio cottage. The bat went between the bulb and the window. The peeper saw the shadow of the bat go across the window I was about to bash. I heard pounding footsteps run away and a door slam... so I knew then who it was. He never bothered me again, in fact, he avoided contact with me until the day Bear was dying of congestive heart failure. Then there was no mention of the incident, just sympathy from him about Bear.

I moved out one month later.



July 2015

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