Gwen is as close to an eccentric as I’ve ever come. For one thing, her house looks like a ship on a cresting wave. All the windows are portholes. What makes it particularly strange is the growth of ivy that has taken over the aft of the…uh, house, strung itself through the squat steering wheel and twined itself up the mizzenmast to hang in ragged-looking streamers off of the yard arm like the remains of some green sail.
Then, of course, there’s the iguana living in her back yard. His name is Kleinschtadt and he lives in a state of the art environment complete with sun lamps, rocks and sand. It’s the most peculiar thing I’ve ever seen. I mean, I’ve heard about owning strange pets. I read a news story once about people who kept a mountain lion for a pet. Apparently the city he lives in is trying to pass a law that requires him to get rid of it. In any case, I’m willing to bet that the owner of that cougar didn’t keep it in an environment so sophisticated as Kleinschtadt’s, which is good enough to be in a zoo. Of course, the rest of Gwen’s yard is landscaped to resemble a garden straight out of Japan, complete with a little koi pond and a tiny rivulet that continuously runs to it.
Walking to Gwen’s house the other day, as usual I looked for anything new. This time, I was surprised to see the muzzle of a cannon peeking out from the deck of the… uh, house. Last time, it was a load of skeletal pirates positioned realistically from stem to stern all over the ship. Halloween. What kids that had the courage to even visit Gwen to ask for treats probably had nightmares when they got home.
I was there for the oddest of art lessons imaginable. What else would you expect from someone like Gwen. Last time, it was wire sculpture. This time, it was xerography. Believe it or not, Gwen had promised to teach me how to create art using a photocopier. Can you imagine that? The closest I’d ever come to that was the time my buddy Mike mailed me a photocopy of his rear end. Honestly, that guy needs help. Who cares that he has a birthmark on his rump that looks like the Easter bunny.
Anyway, about Gwen. Recently, I heard she’d gotten engaged to someone, but the “famous twosome” as the local gossip column calls them, are keeping the whole thing a secret. For Gwen, that’s gotta be hard. After all, she’s got no fence. Then again, there’s that cannon sitting right above the front door. I hoped that she wouldn’t mistake me for a reporter. Personally, I doubt they’re that famous. After all, none of the supermarket rags seem to know that they even exist. Of course, the same seems to be true for “Weird” Al Yankovik, but he’s so far past eccentric that it’s not even funny.
I walked up to the front door and knocked. Nothing. I knocked again. Still nothing. Honestly, Gwen told me that she expected to be home today. I tried the doorknob and found it unlocked. That was a surprise. Still, most of the house is actually underground. Maybe she didn’t hear me knocking. I slipped into the foyer and shut the door behind me. The second the door clicked shut there was this shriek as an alarm went off. Talk about loud. The decibel level on that thing must have been pretty near 125, which, I’m told, is the threshold of pain. I clapped my hands over my ears and tried to wait for it to stop. Of course, it just kept right on shrieking. Just as I was about to turn and run screaming from that house in abject terror, however, there was a soft beep as the noise ceased.
“Jerry?” said Gwen’s familiar voice, “What are you doing here? I wasn’t expecting you until tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow?” I gasped, wiggling a finger in my still-ringing right ear. “But you said…”
“Didn’t you get my e-mail?” Gwen laughed. “My photocopier is in the shop.” She looked at me and appeared to reconsider. “Aw, poor Jerry,” she crooned then, taking my hand. “Come on into the kitchen and let me fix you some cocoa.”
Word Count: 779 darn it. However, check the word-list. I think you’ll find that the words are all used in order.