‘Don’t you remember.’
Some one at the part says to me, which I struggle to come up with an answer, and then the whole events come to me.
He was the weedy guy from Steve’s party, skinny with tight jeans. Funny to think of the lack of bum curve that was part of those back pockets. Why is it that guys think ill fitting pants with a crouch hanging down is attractive? Based on that assumption this bloke was a trend setter, with jeans that clung to his butt, either that or this guy’s been out of circulation a few style changes. More than once he must have noticed that I was checking it out. But it’s not just the posterior. He’s so skinny I wonder does he have some sort of an eating problem.
‘See something you like?’
‘You buy those pants at Jeans West, is what I was thinking.’
‘How do you know Steve?’
‘He occasionally works at the hospital where I do.’
His face lit up at mention of hospital. What is it? Some sort of a turn on to be a ‘nurse’ type? To know that those white uniforms were resting at home waiting to wander the wards somewhere; I’m just waiting for you to ask me to partake in your adult fantasy.
‘Maybe you could dress up for me?’
Sleaze-bag, I make myself scarce.
He must have followed me home, known it was my car. I would have been singing along with the radio while stopped at the traffic lights, recognizable on Perth’s empty late night streets, heading South off Leach Highway, visible in the yellowish street lamps. I’m sure I was subtle about leaving the party, but perhaps he was listening in to farewells. How did he know, and anyway isn’t that stalking?
The side door must have been open. It was a big house, outer suburbs. Chuck and his two kids, I had the spare room down the kid’s end of the house. Often it was me who had to deal with his son’s first full nappy of the day. But in spite of the occasional nappy poo, the sharing arrangements were a good deal, really. Chuck works for a linen service and all our towels, sheets and even cloth nappies were a bonus deal. Once I rang him at work, using only the name on his business card.
‘Charles? There is no Charles White here?’
‘Of course there is. The big American guy? Charles Weiss, I am looking at one of his business cards.’
‘Oh, you mean Chuck....’
As our break and enter guy, the bastard, walked into the back rooms did he suddenly feel the need to go to the toilet? Bathroom noises wake me. And I wonder is it little Dylan sleepwalking again, or is Chuck’s date lost down this end of the building?
I can usually tell when Chuck plans a big night; he comes home, has a shave, and takes a single bed mattress out to the back of his truck. Asked him once, ‘why are you shaving after work?’
‘So I won’t get stubble rash up the inside of her thighs.’
Oh, too much information, big boy. But he keeps his activities with the opposite sex very separate from our shared house arrangements, and doesn’t usually have girls stay over. ‘Going to be hard enough dealing with their mother as an ex-wife, don’t want the littlun’s to be confused with girlfriends.’
I wasn’t really asleep anyway; my head was still going over the night’s events, so I decide to check out what’s making the racket.
Turn on the hall light; Dylan and Katie are sound asleep, nothing untoward here.
But the toilet door is closed, and with a sudden burst of imagination I hope something human is behind there. Remind myself I’ve been watching too many horror movies lately. The door must just be stuck, I rattle the sliding door. Just as I pull my hands away the whole thing tumbles open.
He stands there barefoot, broad grin like he’s some sort of freshly unwrapped Christmas surprise.
‘What the fuck, are you doing here?’
‘You said we should get together some time.’
‘I did nothing of the sort, what were you thinking?’
‘You don’t remember do you?’
‘Come on you know your want to, just one kiss, then I’ll go.’
Don’t know where I got the reflexes, but in a flicker I have hold of a handful of shirt collar behind his neck, and belt and am frog-matching him towards the door. He’s complaining all the way, wanting to kiss me again, offering to stay here while I go back to sleep, won’t do anything I don’t want.
Just as I recheck the front door is locked, before the giant Chuck Weiss arrives.
‘We had an intruder.’
‘Got in here, by the looks of it.’ A fly screen has been removed from an open window. One shoe left in the garden.
The police don’t get around to us until the following evening. The first thing that attracts their attention is the row of size 15 shoes lined up at the door.
Chuck told me once that he rang a bowling alley before he went out, if they didn’t have any size 15 bowling shoes, he couldn’t go. No matter how bad he fancied a bowl.
Faced with his looming form, the detective barely reaches up to Chuck’s shoulders.
‘When I was growing up, playing football, I never gave my size a thought, everyone else around me seemed to be the same. But when I first arrived in Perth and I went into a bar, everyone stopped talking and just stared. I seemed to be able to look over the top of all the heads. Plus never being able to buy clothes that fit, I ‘spose that brought home how big I actually was.’
Now I’m no slouch in the height department, shadowing in on the old six foot mark, but I look like a trinket next to my gargantuan housemate. How the police seem to stand closer together, appearing to say, safety in numbers, is funny and brings home how he can intimidate.
‘Don’t tell me, you work in security?’
‘Nah, did for a while, mate,’ he does his best at Aussie twang, but doesn’t quite pull it off, ‘but now I work for Alsco Linen.’
‘Anyway we’re really glad you rang this break-in through, there have been a few rapes reported in the area and this might help catch him.’
Then turning to me, ‘you live with that, and dealt with an intruder on your own?’