I remember the neighborhood, a quiet little roundabout city. I remember the man in the red house. Tall, handsome, friendly. Blonde wife, two kids, Golden Retriever. 9 to 5. Blue Subaru. I always liked running into him as we got into our cars in the morning: he'd flash this smile and his face would stay with me all day.
I remember getting back to the house late one night and seeing the man sitting on the stoop in his garage. It was summer and I was feeling invincible. He wore a pink nightgown, black stilettos, and was smoking a cigarette from a long plastic holder (a quellazaire, my friend told me to call it, quellazaire.) The look on his face: defeated, solemn, melancholic. But he shot me that smile again and waved with his smoking hand before crossing his legs and looking down at the floor.
It's bullshit, my friend told me. He's just trying to mix up an otherwise monotonous existence.
But I gave up the search for ingenuity a long time ago. You never can tell, not really. Everyone has a story.