Jeanne and I did do some research on our new home once we settled in, and, intriguingly, we discovered that the house was originally occupied by a Hollywood actor, later turned director, by the name of A. Edward Sutherland - Eddie Sutherland. And as the story goes, he was fairly famous: he began his career as a Keystone Cop, later worked with Charlie Chaplin in the mid-twenties and, with Chaplin's help, became a director. He went on to direct fifty films over a thirty-one year career. Eddie lived here well into the thirties - 1937 in fact - when he sold it to some chap by the name of J.D. Stephens from Rochester, New York. Stephens had been transferred to the West Coast to become the new distributor for commercial cameras and film for the Kodak company. He and his wife lived here for over forty-three years. No family. The estate was ultimately sold off to a real estate agent whose intention was to flip it but he ran into a recession. He lived here for awhile, then rented it out and eventually abandoned it. Pretty much that's the story; it was empty when we bought it. Like I said, that was over eleven years ago.
Friday evening Molly staggered in - somewhat red-eyed and lethargic - and we spent the night together, still able to pound out over 2000 words before I finally clicked the 'shut down' button. She had fallen asleep on my shoulder, using my neck as a pillow. I yawned, found the remains of a tepid Corona, finished it, and then moseyed to the kitchen, where I found a fresh one and continued out to the front window to see what was playing tonight. Maybe another rerun of The Car that Stalked Beverly Hills. I checked my watch. Three o'clock. I looked out the window.
Inside, the overhead light glowed, providing some detail of the interior. The driver, sitting on the left, was mostly silhouette. He wore a chauffeur's cap and was staring straight ahead. In the back seat, I saw gloved hands and part of a white hat or a hood. My stalker appeared to be a woman. She leaned toward the passenger window that was closest to the house and there, framed in the glass of that rear door, was a face for the ages: maybe twenty, large dark eyes, and a cascade of black bangs that touched the top of her eyebrows. She forced a smile, and despite the forty feet between us, it was clear she was someone extraordinary. She began to speak- seemingly trying to tell me something, her face now a coil of concern. Then, turning away, she spoke to the driver and sat back in her seat. The massive, gleaming vehicle quietly rolled away, black into black, disappearing into the night once again.
I stood there. What the hell had just happened?