The House on the 14th Street

February 11, 2008
By Kilia Foster, Monroe, NC

The house on the 14th street was being shamelessly violated. The door was wide open, sighed in resignation. Muscled men marched in and out, dragging out furniture and decorations like unwanted organs. A bulldozer sat in the yard; the ball-headed driver impatiently turned the vehicle on and off.
James Westnorth, dressed in a fine black suit with a polka-dotted tie, watched everything from across the street with an unlit cigarette perched between his lips. His head tilted, as if picking up a low-frequency signal. He started across the street, flicking the cigarette into the awaiting, green trash bin.
"Hey, you-sir!" The bald driver stuck his head out of the bulldozer, waving at James.
James rose a patient hand in the air, "It's all good."
The driver's face was the product of being slapped in the face with a skinned lemon. "Uh.. Helmet!" James skipped up the porch steps, and grabbed a yellow construction hat that was conveniently waiting on the railing of the porch.
"Thanks for the reminder!" James called over his shoulder and entered the house.

The movers moved like ants, removing items and leaving, then coming back. He grinned pleasantly as he strode over the foyer and up the slanted, cracked steps. The next floor was simple enough, a long hall with opened doors on each side. He chose the fourth door on the right, where two movers were tackling a mirror.
“Hold it!” James announced. The men, so grateful for the excuse, dropped the mirror without looking to see who issued the order. They leaned on each side, heaving and gasping on chunks of their tobacco-eroded lungs. Through his sweat-filled vision, one mover with gray, fuzzy patches on his head caught sight of James’s shiny shoes. He looked up.
“Are you supposed to be here?”
James rubbed his chin and pursed his lips. His steel eyes measured up the mirror and his reply seemed rather offhanded, “No, not technically. Just hold on a minute.” He must have been serious because he glanced at his watch as he spoke. It appeared that James was quite busy examining the mirror from its clawed feet to its gilded edging. The two men, though, were not busy and had plenty of attention to give the man with the polka-dotted tie.
“If you’re not a relative, you cannot have the mirror,” said the other mover, who had enough black hair to make his own Cousin It.
“I don’t want the mirror,” James replied with a touch of exasperation, as if he was insulted the mover would make such an assumption. He tapped the emblem of wings on top of the mirror and looked at his watch again.
“Then you really must leave, you have no business being here,” the patchy mover said gently, his red streaked eyes following James’s movements.
Patience on his face, James stepped back with his arms crossed over his chest. Purposely he kept his watch arm on top, in sight. “Your business is not the only business here.”
While the two movers blinked at him, a yellow, aged envelope spat out of the mirror and James’s long fingers caught it without uncrossing his arms. He checked the front of the envelope briefly as if he was simply checking the date on a carton of milk. The movers went from suspicion to the look one has when King Kong has stolen his car to get to a movie premiere.
“Is that your business?” Patchy asked in his stupefied trance.
“It is indeed.” James Westnorth tipped his construction hat and skipped out of the room.

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