After working all day at Breck's department store supervising the
security section John Carnes liked nothing more than to come home
and watch his favorite shows.The balding forty-five year old man
dropped his six foot slightly over weight frame into the recliner
flipped the leg rest up and grabbed the remote off of the table.
The picture was a little grainy and wavy at times.It looked like
a picture that a 1970 cable company would have produced.An image
of a man looking into a large canvas bag appeared on the
fifty-seven inch wall mounted television screen.The man on the
screen pulled one bundle after another of wrapped drugs out of
the bag.When the drug dealer had emptied the bag John watched him
as he opened a ledger and wrote down the number of bundles,
thirty-five.The man with the drugs was Josh Bell and he was
putting the bundles back into the bag now.When he was done Josh
zipped the bag shut, closed the ledger and carried both into the
John pressed "B" on his remote and the large screen flickered as
the scene changed.
Josh was still carrying the large canvas bag and the ledger but
now he was in the living room standing by a leather couch.He
placed the ledger on the glass coffee table and then walked over
to the decorative wooden chest that was sitting under the
window.He placed the bag on the floor in front of the chest and
reached for the blue curtain that was covering the window.
Josh ran his fingers along the hem.When he finally found what he
was looking for Josh worked it out to the open seam.A key
appeared at the edge of the opened hem and Josh pulled it out.
John watched as Josh worked the key into the chest's lock and
unlocked the chest.There was a bag already in the chest exactly
like the one that was sitting on the floor next to the chest.Josh
unzipped the bag in the chest revealing not drugs but bundles and
bundles of cash.He knelt beside the bag on the floor and unzipped
the four outside pockets on the canvas bag containing the drugs.
Out of each pocket Josh pulled five bundles of cash.When he
counted through one of the bundles John was able to see that it
consisted of twenty-five one hundred dollar bills.Josh then
placed each stack of bills in the bag that was already in the
chest then closed the bag.Josh zipped closed the pockets on the
drug bag and placed it in the chest also.
Before he closed and locked the chest Josh removed a handgun from
a holster that was attached to the inside of the lid.John knew
that the black handgun was a nine millimeter Gloc that Josh had
brought into the apartment two months ago when he started
bringing drugs in.After he pulled the slide part of the way back
to insure that there was a round in the chamber Josh carefully
let the slide go back into place and then returned the gun to the
holster and closed the chest.
John picked up the red and silver remote and pressed four
buttons, 802C.The wall mounted television flickered again and
then there was a living room scene on it.
The television that was sitting in the entertainment center was
on and a local news anchor was reporting the evening news.The
lamps on the tables by the sofa and recliner were on.By the lamp
that was sitting by the recliner was a cup of coffee that was
still steaming, but there was no one in the room.
John pushed the D button and a kitchen appeared.A middle age man
with neat brown hair and a neatly trimmed beard was making
himself a sandwich.
The camera scanned the room and when John didn't see anyone else
he pressed the N button. The scene changed to a teenage boy's
room.The boy was laying across the foot of his bed as he played a
video game on the television that was sitting on the desk.John
watched as the boy moved his men through a mine field, shot a
sniper and maneuvered into a church.
John then pressed the J button and the boy's room was replaced
with a girl's room.The eighteen year old girl was leaning against
her bed as she sat on the floor.She was busily typing on the
laptop that was perched on her legs.The camera closed in on the
computer's screen and John could see that the girl was chatting
with three of her friends.Once John figured the chat was about
boys in their class he pressed the L button.
The forty year old mom, like her daughter, was also in a chat
room on her laptop.She adjusted the towel that was wrapped around
her wet hair then started typing again.After she finished her
response the woman got out of the chair, tightened the belt to
her fuzzy gray robe, and walked over to the side of the large
king size bed and stuck her feet under it.When she pulled them
out she was wearing her blue slippers.
Betsy Hark quickly admired herself in the dresser mirror then
returned to the computer.Her husband Ralph was in the kitchen or
living room eating his supper and the kids, Kelly and Ken, were
in their rooms so she knew nobody would disturbed her for an hour
a more.The camera zoomed in on the screen as Betsy started typing
On the side: "Tomorrow, here."
Backyard Bum: "Sounds good.What time?"
On the side: "4:30, House is empty until 6:30."
Backyard Bum: "Be there with a smile."
The laptop was closed and Betsy walked into the bathroom.John
pushed the R button and saw Betsy as she removed the towel that
was covering her short brunette hair.After brushing through her
hair and all of the tangles were out she went into the roomy walk
John pushed the "I" button and Betsy appeared standing in the
closet.She pulled a couple of hanger off of the rod and looked at
the night gowns that were on them then hung them back up.As she
turned to the chest of drawers the camera turned with her.Betsy
slipped the robe off and hung it on a hook.John thought Betsy had
a good body for being a mother of two teenagers.He admired it as
the camera slowly panned down.When she stepped out of view the
camera zoomed out and Betsy was found over at the far set of
drawers and was pulling a set of sweats out of the center one.
John watched as she got dressed.When she walked out of the closet
he flipped through the channels checking on the rest of the
He liked watching the Harks.Ralph managed the Broken Egg, the
best diner in town, and was a workaholic who was hardly ever
home.Betsy was the loan manager at the Noasis Community bank. The
children were typical teenagers.Ken was interested in video
games, cars, and girls.Kelly was interested in clothes, boys and
going away to college this fall.This family always had something
interesting going on.The kids were always doing things behind
their parent's backs, Betsy was flinging with the neighbor behind
her families backs, and Ralph was always on his backside.
John pointed the remote towards the television again and pressed
803C.A different home appeared.The living room was scanned then
the kitchen, and then the den.When a bedroom appeared the camera
zoomed in on the computer screen. John immediately recognized the
screen as the same one that Betsy Hark had been on.
When nobody was found in the bedroom the scene moved to the
connecting bathroom.It was steamy but the image of a young man
could be seen lathering up in the shower.John watched the man as
This was Abroham Lines.He worked at the same bank as Betsy
Hark.But that wasn't the only thing they shared.The two had been
having an on going affair for the last two years.Once a week they
were able to have a rendezvous.Living next door to each other
presented many opportunities to be together.When Betsy's family
was around the two seemed almost distant but when they were alone
the two acted like teenagers in the back seat of a car.
John watched as Abroham washed the shaving cream off.He was very
athletic, John knew that the single banker was playing some kind
of sport at least twice a week and it showed.When the room became
too foggy John switched to channel 123L#5.
Two year old red headed Brieghton raced across the screen.He
grabbed hold of the corner of the large coffee table and slid
over the wooden floor with practiced ease.As he stood at the end
of the table Brieghton laughed.When Jill, his mom, entered the
scene he laughed even harder.The long curly black hair fell into
the thirty two year old face of the woman as she started walking
between the couch and the table but her young son moved to the
other side of the table and gave his mom a loud mischievous laugh
which caused her to laugh also.
A quick faint one way and quickly racing the other way surprised
the boy.He laughed even harder as his mom scooped him up and
carried him down the hallway.
As soon as the two disappeared from view the television flipped
to "J".The new scene showed Brieghton being placed in his bed and
tucked in.Jill sat on the edge of the bed and removed a book from
As Jill read to her sleepy son John watched.It took ten minutes
for the youngster to fall asleep.The book was placed back on the
nightstand and the light was turned out.
John switched the channel and found Jill in the bathroom picking
up toys and towels.When she was done John followed her into the
kitchen where she put a tea kettle on the stove.Jill then went
through out the apartment picking up Brieghton's other toys and
putting things where they belonged.John continued to watch as she
finished and went back into the kitchen to prepare her tea.After
the tea was ready Jill went to the computer desk where she worked
at paying her bills.John watched the young single factory working
They had met one day at Beck's department store.Jill's son had
pulled a necklace off of a display without his mom noticing.When
John confronted the two has they were leaving the store he could
tell by Jill's embracement that it had been an honest accident.She
was very easy to talk to during the interview.Soon the conversation
turned from the incident to personal.He found out that she was
recently divorced and that her son and she were living with her
father until she could find an apartment.John also discovered that
Jill had just started working at the Dilford Component plant.The
two talked longer, even exchanging phone numbers.
When the encounter was over John escorted Jill and Brieghton to
their car.As they pulled out of the parking lot he waved to the
two.John returned to his office and called Phil Serton
Phil was the manager of the two apartment complexes that were in
John's neighborhood.When John asked if there were any vacancies
Phil had told him that there weren't any units, which John knew was
not true. When John told Phil that he was aware of the illegal
aliens in his apartment complexes and that he also knew what he was
having them do John could hear the breath come out of him.After
that Phil was very pleasant and quickly offered John one of the
biggest units at half the price.John informed him who was going to
rent the apartment and that he wasn't to tell her anything about
the conversation or their arrangement.That evening John called Jill
for the first time, there have been almost weekly calls since then
though, and told her about an opening in the apartment complex just
down the road from his house.Within two weeks Brieghton and Jill
had moved in and had been there since.
John watched Jill as she curled up on the couch to finish her
tea.He watched her sitting there for a while longer then picked
up the telephone and quickly punched in her phone number.
Jill looked off to left then got up off of the couch.John worked
the remote with his free hand and followed her as she walked
across the room and picked up the phone.
"Hello." Jill said as she headed back to the couch.
"Hi Jill.How have you and Brieghton been?" John asked as he
"Hi John, we're fine.How are you?"
"Doing well.I'm calling to see if you are still interested in
buying a house?" John asked and zoomed in closer.
Jill sat back down on the couch as John watched her.She twirled
her long black hair while she hesitated to answer him.
"I'm not sure if I can afford one.Money is tight and there isn't
much overtime at the plant." Jill said.
John watched her and he saw the sad expression appear on her
face, "Jill I hear you saying that you can't afford it but I get
the impression that you still would like to own your own home.I
think I found one for you."
The disappointment grew on her face as she continued to talk to
him, "John there is no way I can afford a house.I barely have
enough to make ends meet now."
"I know you have barely enough, maybe only thirty-five dollars at
the end of the month."
John watched as Jill was surprised when he mentioned the exact
amount that she had left over last month.He continued as her
expression turned from disappointment to quizzical.
"The house I have in mind is three times as big as your
apartment.It comes with a fenced in yard that already has a swing
set in it, a two car garage that will have more enough room for
your old jeep, three bedrooms so that you will be able to have
that study you always talked about, and a kitchen that comes
equipped for a gourmet chef."
He watched the smile appear on her face and as she shifted on the
couch, stretching her legs out.She was a very beautiful woman and
even though her life hadn't been easy she always held a positive
"John it sounds lovely but I can't afford a house like that." She
told him as he watched her adjust her jeans.
"That's the best part.The owner is in a position that he can get
rid of the property at below his cost.I have figured out your
payments and they would be half of what your rent is." John told
her.What he didn't tell her was that he was going to pay two
thirds of the price that his neighbor Larry Barnsells had asked
for if he would take Jill's offer.
He waited as the news sunk in immediately.Jill sat up straight
and swung her legs off of the couch almost smashing her shins
into the coffee table.
"Are you serious?Half of the rent?How can anyone do that?" Jill
"Money is not important to this person.And when I told him that a
gorgeous single mom and her young son were looking for a house he
offered it before he even placed it with a realtor." John said
baiting her even more.
"Who is it John?You have to tell me." Jill pleaded.
"I can't, I promised I wouldn't let anyone know." John told her.
"John I will do anything if you tell me." She teased him with.
"Anything?" John asked playing along.
"Anything at all." She told him.
John could see that Jill had her fingers crossed and she was
smiling like a little school girl.Seeing her like that caused him
to smile also as he continued to watch her and play their game.
"Well in that case then let's have dinner.How about Carvers? And
when you get the house we can go to Pluto's Creamery for ice
cream to celebrate?"
"If that is all you want then I can do that." She told him.
"I didn't say that was all I wanted, it's just a start." John
"Well the offer may be off of the table by then.I think you
better tell me now or at least tell me where the house is." Jill
tried to coax out of John.
"No, all of that will be discussed over dinner and wine, pop for
Brieghton." John told her.
"You do know how to treat a lady." Jill responded with.
"That I do." John laughingly said.
"Well then I guess we will see you at Carvers."
"Goodnight and remember you did say anything." John said and
quickly hung up.
He watched as Jill said something.When she realized that he
wasn't on the line any longer she laid the phone down and
Dinner was in a few days which didn't leave John more than a few
days to complete the plan he had in mind.If it worked out the
neighborhood would be rid of a drug dealer, he would be rich, and
Jill would be his new neighbor.
Tomorrow night he would put his plan in motion. For now though he
kept watching Jill.She put the phone back in the cradle and then
walked down to check on her son.After she made sure he was still
breathing she went back to the couch.John could still see the
smile on her face as she watched television.