Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Adventures in Banjo Country

I always get the interesting jobs. And by 'interesting', I mean the difficult, tricky, inopportune, or generally just unpleasant ones.

Sometimes, if I'm really lucky, a combination of the above.

So, there I was the other evening, contemplating the free time I had ahead of me when the phone rings. It's one of my regular clients and they have an urgent job for me which needs to be done this evening...

It's not like I have a life, right?

The job sounded simple enough (as they do): drive a ways out of Bad City and serve some documents on Old Lady DeVille* pertaining to the imminent foreclosure on her property. The demand was for $1million and some change, nothing to sneeze at. Time was a crucial factor in this; the Client was closing up shop noon the next day (it's Christmas, you know) and their client was not far off behind them. The job had to be done now.

Seems I'm just the man for it!

It was a pleasant evening for a drive in the country and, for a change, I was headed someplace I've never actually been to before. A first for me. Kind of exciting really.

No, not really.

The drive was boring and uneventful and, eventually, I arrived at the stretch of gravel road where Mrs DeVille resided. Only one problem, the numbers on the (few) letterboxes did not correspond with the address I had been given.

No problem. Being the innovative and lateral-thinking problem solver that I am, I just went and asked someone. I went to the first house at the end of the road and a gentleman came out to meet me when I stepped out of the car.

I was a bit disappointed, he wasn't chewing on a blade of grass or wearing overalls. Nor did he seem to have a banjo, but looks can be deceiving.

Well, he was helpful enough and pointed me to the property bordering his. He also told me that she was a madwoman. Yep, I just felt this job go from 'simple' to 'tricky' just like that. He informed me that I should be careful because she would probably start telling me about the various conspiracies against her.

No problems there, I thought to myself. "They" sent me.

Well, as I made my way onto her property, through the gates, past the ramshackle and run-down outbuildings to her house, I realised there was one thing he hadn't told me about...

The dogs.

As I was later able to establish, there were 19 of them loose on the property.

As soon as I exited the vehicle, I thought this was probably a bad idea. The dogs surged forward, barking loudly. They seemed more intent at attacking my vehicle than getting close to me. A loud yell and they scattered, eyeing me silently before slinking forward to bite my car's tyres again.

So much for the element of surprise!

I called out loudly, hoping that the crazy dog lady would come out but, apart from setting the dogs off again, silence.

The back of the house was a bit of a mess. And smelly.

I thought that surely no-one could live here?

Surely this had to be an abandoned property, right? So I looked through the kitchen window...

Mrs DeVille is also a crazy cat lady!

I walked around the outside of the house, and it didn't get any better. You kind of expect a little dilapidation in the country, but not to this extent of disrepair and decay. Some of the windows were broken or just didn't have glass in the panes.

No-one came out or answered by calls, so I left the property and went back to the helpful neighbour. He directed me to his landlord who, as it turns out, is Mrs DeVille's brother. He only lived a short distance away and it was suggested that he might be of more help to me.

Well, as it turned out, the brother and his wife were of some assistance. They confirmed that Mrs DeVille was quite mad and was unlikely to come out of the house when someone, such as myself, turns up. She would just pretend to not be home. Also, to play 'hard to get' she did not have a landline or mobile phone.

The sister-in-law went so far as to accompany me back to the property to ascertain whether Mrs DeVille was home.

It turned out she wasn't.

Well, I did manage to serve the documents on her and her cousin the very next day but that is another story entirely, and not much of one at that. What I really wanted to point out is the condition that some people choose to live in. Strange that Mrs DeVille lives in such squalour when the land is worth several million dollars.

Then again, she *is* barking mad.

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