Whose Villa Is This Anyway?

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

George was pleased with his new retirement villa—until he discovered that he was not the sole occupant.

George considered himself lucky. The villa that he had secured at the Happy Daze Retirement Village a month ago was bigger and better situated than most. It even had two bedrooms, although he needed only one. It had been different when his wife was alive. Her snores could rattle dishes as far away as the kitchen. At such times, George would abandon the matrimonial bed in favour of a bunk in the spare bedroom. But now, his bed no longer qualified as ‘matrimonial’. The only snores to be heard at night were his own.

It had taken George all month to arrange his furniture to make the place his own. His wife had been much better at that sort of thing. She had chosen most of their decorations. This had been fine with him—except all those cushions and doilies. He was glad to get rid of them.

It didn’t take George long to settle into village life. He liked the village happy hour best. Everyone was so friendly—and the beer was free. He returned home from one such occasion in a good mood. Perhaps a couple of beers had something to do with that. He used his key to open his front door, stepped over the threshold, and stared in amazement. His good mood evaporated. Somebody had stolen all of his stuff! Worse than that, the burglars had replaced it with someone else’s stuff.

Wrong villa, he thought when his common sense resumed control. But his key had operated the lock. How could that happen? Had the village people given him a master key by mistake? But that didn’t seem likely. He went out to check the number on his letter box. Yes, it was his villa alright. The familiar number 244 with a missing chip confirmed this.

What George thought he had seen when he opened his door must have been a hallucination. Was that a symptom of his advancing years? He wasn’t sure, but it didn’t last. Back inside, he found everything as it should be. Confused, but not worried, he went to bed and slept soundly.

Next morning, he rolled out of bed and stretched his aching limbs. He peeled off the boxers and tee shirt that served as his sleepwear and tossed them onto the bed. The air was chilly. He wandered naked into the living room to turn on the heat pump.

The first thing he noticed was that his furniture and things had been replaced by the same decor that had greeted him the night before. The second thing he noticed was the scream that came from the kitchen area. The third thing he noticed was the source of the scream: a pleasantly mature lady in her nightie and dressing gown. She had been buttering a piece of toast when he disturbed her. Now she was brandishing the buttering knife in a most threatening manner.

George ran back to the bedroom in confusion. His immediate need was to get some clothes on. He pulled open his underwear drawer. The lacy garments therein were not his! He stumbled to the wardrobe and slid open the door. Nothing but skirts, shirts, blouses and trousers—but none of them his.

He grabbed his boxers from the bed. Thankfully, they had not disappeared. He managed to get one leg into his boxers before the irate lady came charging into the room. She had abandoned the buttering knife in favour of a tea towel. This she flicked repeatedly at George’s bare skin with painful accuracy, thus driving him into a corner. ‘Get out of my house, you disgusting pervert! Get out! Get out!’

Trapped as he was in a corner farthest from the door, George could see no way of complying with the lady’s request. Unable to flee, he had no option but to fight back, or at least to defend himself. He grabbed the tea towel just as the lady delivered another vicious flick and yanked it from her hand. In response, she said something incredibly rude and went off to find another weapon.

George knew that violence wouldn’t solve anything in this crazy situation. He and the lady needed to talk. Together, they might be able to figure out what was going on. George finished pulling on his boxers and followed her into the living room. Meanwhile, she had found a letter opener. George didn’t think she was about to start opening her mail.

‘Madam, please put that down,’ he said. ‘I am as confused as you—perhaps more so, but I assure you that, while I may at times be deemed disgusting, I am no pervert.’

‘Then why were you running around naked in my villa?’

‘It’s not your villa, it’s mine. At least it was until a few minutes ago.’

‘You’re lying. I’ve occupied this villa for the past three years.’

‘Look, there is something strange going on here. Last night, I went to bed in my villa. This morning, I woke up to find everything changed, and you say that the villa is yours.’

‘You weren’t here last night. I would have seen you.’

‘That’s what makes it so strange. My name is George, by the way.’

‘Mine’s Mildred. My friends call me Millie.’

‘Well then, Millie—‘

‘You are not my friend!’

‘Okay, Mildred. First, shall we try to establish who’s villa this is? I suggest we begin by going outside and checking the number on the letterbox.’

‘I’m not going outside with you in your underpants!’

‘I have no choice. All my clothes have gone.’

‘Wait.’ Mildred disappeared into the bedroom and emerged with a dressing gown. ‘You can wear this.’

‘That’s a lady’s dressing gown.’

‘Of course. That’s because it’s mine, and I happen to be a lady.’

‘Yes, I can see that you are female, but I have yet to be convinced that you are a lady.’ George shrugged himself into the dressing gown. He frowned. ‘I think I’d be less conspicuous in my underpants.’

‘Don’t be such a fusspot,’ said Mildred. ‘Let’s go and look at that letterbox.’

The air outside was cold. George was glad of the dressing gown despite feeling somewhat ridiculous. They examined the letterbox. ‘There,’ said George. ‘Number 244, with a chip out of it. That’s my villa number.’

‘No, that’s my villa number,’ declared Mildred. ‘I knocked the chip out of it when I tried to clean it.

‘That figures. Who but a woman would think of cleaning the number on her letterbox?’

Mildred ignored him. ‘I should get that fixed,’ she said.

‘No, it’s my place so I’ll do it.’

‘It’s not your place!’

‘Let’s go back inside and talk. I have an idea what might have happened.’

When they were settled back in the living room, Mildred asked, ‘What’s this idea of yours?’

‘Has it occurred to you that you might be dead?’

‘What? Don’t be absurd!’

‘Look at it this way. We both occupy the same villa, yet each of us believe that we are the sole occupant. One of us has to be a ghost, and I think it must be you.’

‘Look around you,’ said Mildred. ‘Does this look like your furniture?’

‘No, but it did last night. I moved here with it a month ago.’

‘Only a month ago? I’ve been here for three years. I got here first.’

‘Yes, I can believe that you were the previous occupant. But I was told that the previous occupant died. You may find this hard to accept, but I believe you really are a ghost.’

‘Don’t be ridiculous. Do I look like a ghost?’

‘As a matter of fact ... you do.’

As George watched, Mildred began to fade. She became transparent. Within seconds, she was gone. At the same time, all of her furniture and belongings morphed back into his, and he was no longer wearing Mildred’s dressing gown.

He sat alone in his boxers trying to convince himself that all this had been a dream.

He awoke next morning with some trepidation. But everything was as it should be. All of his furniture and belongings were in the right place, as were all of his clothes. Even so, he wasn’t convinced that his weird experience had been a dream.

He made enquiries that day and found that his villa had, in fact, been occupied by a widow named Mildred. Apparently she went to sleep one night and never woke up. Her death certificate said only that she died of natural causes. George surmised that she arose next morning unaware that she was no longer alive, so her ghost carried out her daily routine as usual. She didn’t know she was dead!

Mildred’s ghost did not appear next day, or on any of the following days. Perhaps, now that she knew she was dead, she had moved on to a better place. George hoped so. She had given him quite a turn, but he had come through it more or less unscathed. He couldn’t blame her for being angry. He must have given her a dreadful fright. But it was over now. He wouldn’t be seeing the ghosts of Mildred and her household goods ever again.

Except one week later, he did.

He woke up in Mildred’s bed, but she wasn’t there. He could hear her pottering in the kitchen. He rolled out of bed and stretched the stiffness out of his limbs. His clothes were gone, of course, but he was still wearing his boxers. He padded over to the wardrobe. Mildred had several dressing gowns. George chose the least feminine one and put it on. She might be just a ghost, but George had no wish to offend her once again by confronting her in his underpants.

He found Mildred in the kitchen making her breakfast. This time, she was dressed for the day in a floral housecoat. Age had been kind to her. George found her disturbingly attractive. Such a pity she’s just a ghost.

‘Good morning, George,’ said Mildred, smiling at him. ‘You’re back I see.’

‘I never left,’ said George. ‘I haven’t seen you for a few days. I thought that, since you know you’re dead now, you might’ve moved on to the afterlife.’

‘And where is that, do you think?’

‘Dunno.’ George hadn’t given it much thought. ‘Depends on whether you have been naughty or nice.’

‘I think you might be confusing the Almighty with Santa Clause.’

‘Have you met him yet?’

‘Once when I was a little girl. But it was just Dad in a Santa suit.’

‘You know who I mean.’

Mildred smiled. ‘Of course, but no, I haven’t met God. I’m still earthbound, you see. The angels seem to have forgotten that I’m here. I have no idea how to get to Heaven without them.’

Just then, the villa began to shake. A sound like rushing wind assailed their ears. A girl picked herself up off the living room carpet, having apparently landed there with some force. Her skin was pale—almost white—as was her hair. Her gossamer gown floated about her like mist.

‘Sorry I’m late,’ she said. ‘I’m Angela.’

‘And I guess you must be the long awaited angel,’ said George.

‘Good guess. I’ve come to collect you, Mildred. Sorry I’m late but my celestial sat-nav threw a wobbly and I ended up in China. It’s taken me ages to find this place. I should have had you in Heaven a month ago. C’mon. Let’s go.’

And they went at once in a blinding flash. George blinked. He opened his eyes and saw that his villa was back to normal. Not a cushion or doily in sight.

‘Nobody is going to believe what happened here,’ he said to the stuffed bear that used to belong to his wife, ‘so I think I’ll keep it to myself. I’m going to miss that crazy lady, but she’ll be happy now.’

George smiled. He loved happy endings.

The End


Submitted: April 24, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Vance Currie. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:

Comments

niah

Very good story I enjoyed it.

Fri, April 24th, 2020 11:44pm

Author
Reply

Thank you for that comment, Niah. Writing is fun, but it's always good to know that someone has enjoyed reading it.

Fri, April 24th, 2020 4:50pm

tom mcmullen

A haunting tale, and a funny one too Joe!

Sat, April 25th, 2020 12:54am

Author
Reply

Thanks for that, Tom. Glad to know that you enjoyed it.

Fri, April 24th, 2020 6:12pm

hullabaloo22

Oh, what an awkward moment, and quite a dilemma too, until George worked out the mystery. As always, perfectly penned, Joe, and very enjoyable to read.

Sat, April 25th, 2020 6:33pm

Author
Reply

Thank you, Hully. I live in a retirement village, but I assure you that I didn't write it from personal experience. I did, however, give my stuffed bear a small part to play at the end--and the letterbox with the chipped number is mine.

Sat, April 25th, 2020 3:02pm

moa rider

Very good Joe! I like the George and Mildred association... between you and me, my wife's sister is married to a Mr. Roper, so of course I call her Mildred - after fifty years she's getting used to it. Usianguke

Sun, April 26th, 2020 3:06am

Author
Reply

Thanks Moa. I named my protagonist George and then Mildred popped into my head for the ghost. I used to enjoy that show.

Sun, April 26th, 2020 1:00am

C.A.A.

I almost wished it wasn't so short - it would have been fun to see how the two of them worked out their living conditions.

Fri, May 1st, 2020 3:55pm

Author
Reply

Thanks ,CAA. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I wrote this story for a contest and had to limit it to 2,000 words. I don't think I will do that again. It's too restrictive. A word limit is good practice for eliminating verbiage, but I felt that the ending might have been too abrupt..

Fri, May 1st, 2020 2:11pm

B Douglas Slack

Very entertaining, Joe. Reminded me of Blythe Spirit.

Bill

Sun, May 3rd, 2020 6:13pm

Author
Reply

Thanks, Bill. I never thought of Blythe Spirit. I saw a movie in which the tenant of an apartment found that it was still occupied by the spirit of a previous tenant. I think that's what gave me the idea, but there the similarity ended.

Sun, May 3rd, 2020 2:21pm

Cyn S. Rose

Thank you for such a wonderful story.

Sun, May 24th, 2020 11:19pm

Author
Reply

I'm glad you think so, Cyn. Thank you for reading my story and taking time to comment.

Sun, May 24th, 2020 4:27pm

Sharief Hendricks

Although much shorter, this story has your signature all over it Joe.

A absolutely loved the dilemma George found himself in, butt naked fighting for his life against a tea towel wielding housebreaker...hahaha...the image of Mildred "flicking" the tea towel at George's "bare skin" had me in stitches because he only had one leg in his underpants and she apparently flicked rather accurately, so in my mind there was only "one body part" that she targeted...hahaha

The back and forth banter between the living and the dead was hilarious...and the fact that George found her attractive was rather believable to me as many romances start out with "dislike"

The "cross-dressing" dressing gown was funny as you always manage to somehow get a man/boy into females clothes...hahahaha

There was a sombre moment in the story that resonated with me, when you described how she died...that made perfect sense why she hadn't realised what was going on around her...

The end was a satisfying one for both tenants...and who knows maybe George will bump into Mildred in the afterlife one day, after he gets his visit from Angela...

Loved it !

Wed, October 21st, 2020 8:27am

Author
Reply

Thank you for another excellent review, Sharief. This story is the only one that I have ever written as an entry to a contest. I had to limit it to 2,000 words. The story is, in fact, exactly 2,000 words long (not that I expect you to count them).
Although my stories are mostly weird fantasy, I do try to make my characters talk and react as I imagine they would in real life. None of that is pre-planned. It just happens naturally as the story progresses. I’m glad you found it credible.
Yes, I sometimes wonder if I overdo the ‘guy in a dress’ theme but, again, I don’t plan it that way. It just seems to happen as a natural progression of the story I’m telling, and it leads to many humorous situations. Just part of my weird sense of humour I guess.
For whatever reason, I’m glad you are still enjoying my stories.

Wed, October 21st, 2020 2:14pm

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