Hello old Bob


I can’t clearly remember the details. She was my wife’s grand niece from a third cousin once removed… She was a frizzy freckled ginger haired mess of a thing with a permanent sinister smile. Her chin was disfigured slightly, like a wad of crushed pink bubble gum, but there was a swift solidness in her gait and she moved with purpose, despite a slight hunch, a crook in her neck that leaned to the right.

Her man Edwin was lean with big red hands covered on the tops with green tattoo ink formed into indecipherable symbols. His smile was a sneer and his skin was yellow, like his eyes.

“We are only here for three weeks,” Rita had told my wife before she added, “My name is Rita but everybody calls me Rizzy and we are here to help.”

After four weeks things started to go missing. I saw that half of my coin collection was gone so I locked the rest in the basement safe.

“They are stealing from us Mildred, they need to go.” Mildred nervously wrung her hands.

“My great Aunt Betty has pleaded with me and they’ve got nowhere to go but the shelter.”

I decided to take matters into my own hands. I went into the kitchen and put my hand on Edwin, who was eating one of our organic bananas. He smacked my hand away.

“Look you, don’t you steal from us, we are doing you a bloody favour.” He grimaced, then smiled. “Yeah right, sure, whatever. We got some money coming in quick so no worries old Bob.”

“Don’t call me old Bob.”

“Yeah right, whatever,” he sneered.

Soon we had people all around the house at all hours. They wore hoodies and bike helmets with spikes. They were always looking at their phones. Cars would show up and they would converge on them like pigeons being fed in a parking lot and then they would suddenly disperse. 

I watched the action constantly through the bedroom blinds.

“They are all involved in drugs, Mildred.” 

“They are kids with problems, they need our help.”

“We aren’t doing them any favours.”

That night there was even more activity than usual; strange little men all over the front lawn looking at their devices.

Rizzy was different. Her eyes were dark black holes. She pulled the screens off of all of our house windows.

“You don’t need these!” She railed.

“It’s our house, I’m calling the police!”

“No, you better not,” said Mildred. She looked terrified, shivering in her old blue nightie.

“Best not do that old Bob,” said Edwin, and he grabbed my wrists from behind and surprised me with his strength. As he pressed against me I could feel his lean body full of wiry muscle. He reminded me of a boa constrictor I’d once let crawl under my t-shirt when I was a teenager.

He dragged me out to the shed where I could see in the moonlight my old nemesis Jimmy Smits, rubbing two butcher knives together. Jimmy’s thin face was more skull like then ever and when he grinned it pulled the white cheek bones upward.

“Hello old Bob,” he said.