In a neighborhood of aluminum siding, it can be difficult to differentiate one house from another. Compact that atop camouflaged numbers that truly can be inscribed anywhere, inside the mailbox, beneath one of the shingles, upon the insert of the homeowner’s wallet, it can lead to a disastrous route for any visitor. This was not the case for Zack Blueman. Despite his roving eyeballs, the man was born with a knack for accurately guessing house numbers.
When a loud shriek emitted from somewhere inside the house he had intended to visit, Zack feared this was a bad time. Seems to be his life story. Always arriving when unwanted. Jumping out of his mother’s womb in the midst of a formal gala. Ruined her thousand-dollar dress. Little six-year-old Zack awoke to a urine-soaked bed. He sauntered through the dark hallway into the living room where his naked parents and another couple, also naked, groped one another.
Had it not been for someone screaming his name after the loud shriek, Zack would have left. He stumbled down the blue stone pathway. He stopped and peered through the broken window where on the other end, a man and woman, both in their early fifties, sat on the floor, playing with glass.
“I’m Zack Blueman.”
Richard, taken out of a reverie, replied with a shrug. “So? I’m Richard Jenkins.”
Zack climbed through the broken window, hand extended, “Perfect, you’re just the man I’m looking for.”
Dahlia coughed, “Uh…my hand.” Zack had stepped on the woman’s hand.
“So sorry,” Zack lifted Dahlia’s hand. Kissed it several times. Richard cleared his throat but was muted by a storm evolving upstairs.
“That’s our daughter.” Dahlia wiped the glass off her lap and stood up. “I’ll go check on her while you two…” What did this Zack character have in mind with her husband? Kill him? Eat his limbs? Dahlia feared she’d been overtaken by madness, left the two men, her sentence still incomplete.
“Forgive my wife. She’s a bit awkward with new people.”
Zack’s attention was fixed on a plastic rocking horse that both Amanda and Jim used as toddlers. He squatted and in that crouched position walked over to the plastic rocking horse. “How cute,” Zack pet its mane. “What’s his name? His?”
“Yeah,” Richard shrugged. “Don’t think it was named. Probably “horsey”. What can I do for you?”
The volume of the storm upstairs intensified. Zack extricated himself from the horse and leaned into Richard. “Can we go somewhere private? This is a little…”Zack pointed at the broken window.
“Right, right. Come with me.” Richard led Zack into a large walk-in closet directly beneath the staircase. A clip-on light illuminated blue. “This private enough?”
Zack closed the accordion door and nodded. The man moved his lips but not a sound emitted.
“What? Why are you here,” Richard grew impatient.
“May I call you Dick?”
“No. Nobody calls me Dick. Not even my own mother.”
“That’s fine, that’s fine. Listen, I know what you do and well, I think we can cut a deal.”
“A deal? What kind of deal? Quit speaking nonsense,” Richard grabbed the handle to the accordion door.
“Wait,” Zack placed his hand atop Richard’s. “Construction’s your trade, isn’t it?”
Richard, unmoved by Zack’s enthusiasm, “Yeah, why?”
“I fix motors!” Above them, thunder rolled down the stairs.
“No! Don’t you see? We can cut a deal!”
Has the boy before him gone totally insane? What kind of deal could possibly be cut between a construction foreman and a lunatic who fixes motors? His eyes darting around, capturing fractals of blue light. Fearing a seizure might take over, Richard blurted, “We’re done.”
“Get out of my house?”
The accordion door, without warning, swung open, the two men flying forward into Amanda, wearing blue spandex pants and a white t-shirt a bit too tight on her, “Fuck you, Dad! Zack’s not to leave evah! Evah! Now, how can my foddah help you, Zack?” Her voice squealed when saying his name.