Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Plucky Private Eye and the House of Doom

There is a house in our fair city, Gentle Reader,  that is known as The House of Doom because of the accursed fate that met the inhabitants one moonless night.

Well, in truth, just one inhabitant (and also a neighbour) who mysteriously ended up dead and under the floorboards. Okay, not so mysteriously either, the husband of the first victim was arrested and charged on both counts but that has nothing to do with this tale. No, this story is about how a Plucky Private Eye (that would be me) felt the cold hand of death pass him by.
Well, maybe just the clammy hand of disgust as he made his way into what was probably the filthiest, disease-ridden, rat-infested house he has ever had the misfortune of entering. And it just so happened to be the other part of a duplex where later a couple of bodies would be found but has no bearing on this story.

Again, a repossession (did I mention how much I hate doing them?) and I was directed to effect entry onto a particular property and make a judgment on whether there were any assets to uplift as per the security agreement.

I have never felt as disgusted and repulsed as when I entered this house. From the outside, it appeared to be derelict with windows smashed and boarded. It wouldn't appear out of place in a line of Manhattan crack houses. A couple of teenagers were playing in the yard instead of being at school. They directed me to their grandfather who was inside looking after a newborn baby. I explained the reason why I was there and although he was not pleased to see me, I explained that it was an offence to obstruct me undertaking a lawful repossession, as it is.

I have to say that as I walked throughout the house I had to hold my breath and tried my best to avoid touching any surfaces. Everything seemed to be coated with a thin layer of grease and then dust or grime. Now, some misinformed people might call me a bit of a slob, but this takes mess to a whole new level.

The back yard was even worse. Rather than taking rubbish bags to the street for collection, it seemed that it was a better idea to just throw everything into the yard. Years of accumulated debris and detritus spilling out of torn plastic rubbish bags was the central theme for the garden. 

The smell... well, I'll leave it to your imagination. If you transplanted this house into the heart of downtown Mogadishu, even the poorest of Somali beggars probably would look at it in disgust and refuse to enter.

I had to inform the creditor that not only was there nothing in the house worth any sum of money, even if there was I doubted it would be hygienic enough to be sold on. And another thing that I couldn't understand is that both the wife and husband were employed, had an income, and still lived in such abject squalor.

Now, it came as some amusement that several months later when the bodies were discovered next door, the inhabitant who I had come to see - let's call him Mr Corridor - was rather vocal in the news as to how he couldn't stand living next to where there had been several murders, and had demanded that he and his family were relocated by the council and temporarily put up into a hotel.

I have to say that while the neighbour might have been a double murderer (and possibly also a necrophile) at least he kept a tidy house.

Alas, the house stands no more. Several attempts were made to burn it down, the last finally succeeding.


  1. This is spooky....on account of the squalor and not the unfortunate corpses next door.

  2. Well, you might have a legitimate excuse as to a couple of stiffs under the floorboard, but not living in filth like this.