51 comments

Creative Nonfiction Friendship Drama

Secret Secret Agent Man

I am new to this neighborhood. Moved in about a year and a half ago. Still getting to know the neighbors. I've an outgoing sort of personality so am not shy about starting up conversations. An equally outgoing couple live next door.

It was the middle of winter the day my wife, Teresa, and I were unloading. Mary stopped to welcome us to this house that had sat empty for a number of years. As the original owner she has lived in her house for over fifty years. Her second husband, Walt, is a transplant from Iowa and only been with her for the past twenty-eight years. They used to travel around for his career but now he works from home.

Lots of kids with innumerable grandchildren and other extended family members invade almost every Friday night over there for something called taco night. We've been invited but haven't taken them up yet because their house is not very big. Although we occasionally visit with them on their deck sharing the flame table.

Our house is a split level with stairs no matter what entrance you choose. Walt uses a power chair for mobility so can't get into our home. But, of course, we guys like to shoot the breeze out in our garages. We are both gear heads to some degree. He has a forty-year-old Harley, I have a classic Corvette. These wheels keep us reminiscing about good old days.

“Now, Tom, you know I would blow your doors off if I could still ride that hog!” Walt brags.

My wife's pack of mop-sters, four long-haired Dachshunds, drive everyone in the hood crazy with their yapping. Teresa insisted we fence in the entire corner lot yard for them to run free. They terrorize anything that dares to walk past. If they weren't so cute running en masse circling around they would have been banned long ago. Of course, it annoys me that they have worn a path in my pristine yard I work so hard at keeping trimmed properly. I'm glad Walt is so understanding about them as he tries to get work done. They can really assault the eardrums. I try to get him to keep one of them that is more of a foster situation for us but Mary says it would upset their charismatic cat, Bob, too much. These wives rule, I tell ya.

I suffered a debilitating accident on duty for the utility company therefore am on disability. The doctors finally got around to doing some surgery on my shoulder so this summer I can't do any yard work. It's already painful to watch the grass grow so tall. Teresa simply can't spend enough time keeping it all trimmed. She works out of the house part-time. Sometimes I think it is only to get away from me for a spell. When the weather is nice I like to spend a good portion of my afternoons sitting on my deck that overlooks the neighbor's.

Mary loves to sit out on her deck, too, watching for hummingbirds. She reads a book or uses her tablet or laptop. Something about writing for an online community. She has a hard time hearing so frequently walks over to the fence to visit with me instead of us shouting back and forth. She lets the dogs out for us when we need to be gone to doctor appointments all day. She is such a nice lady. Sometimes I wonder how Walt lucked out and found such an understanding woman.

Mary's knees are giving out so they rely on grandchild labor for their yard work which means they wait until the kids are available to help. The yard is never as neat as Mary would prefer but Walt doesn't want her doing too much and stresses because he can't take care of more himself. They are a loving couple always concerned for the other one's well being.

I find it somewhat funny when they converse outdoors. Walt won't cross the threshold of the sliding doorway because his power chair would ruin the track so he sits just inside the screen door talking to Mary on the deck. Because she can't hear very well she speaks loudly for others to hear in case they can't hear either. She is also one of those animated talkers that must use hands to get the point across. From my angle it looks like she is talking to herself wildly waving her arms around. I can't hear Walt's side of the conversation.

“So there's another contract out? Where this time?”

“..........”

“How long will that take you away?”

“.........”

“Typical agent stuff, right?”

“..................”

“Will you be okay?”

“...........”

“Still sounds dangerous.”

“............”

“But why always you?”

“............”

“Doesn't anyone else know how to keep things cooking?”

“...............”

“Somehow I find that hard to believe.”

“.............”

“Do you even remember the codes?”

“................”

“They really have your name and number don't they.”

“............”

“Well, if the shoe fits...”

“...................”

“Why always at the last minute? Will everything implode?”

“....................”

“Sounds expensive.”

“...................”

“Expenses covered?”

“.............”

“You've gone that route before.”

“...................”

“Want me to go with you? Like 99. Who has to know? We used to have fun.”

“...............”

“Need your phone. Look in the archives.”

“....................”

“What does the Chief think?”

“............”

“Sounds like chaos. Things under control?”

“.................”

“Get smart. Destroy the evidence.”

“.................”

“When all else fails, dump it. Delete, delete, delete!”

I begin to worry. Something, somewhere seems out of place. They seem like a typical older couple getting by on social security and a part-time at-home income. She is such a nice lady trying to get her novel published. What are they hiding? His garage is so cluttered it could be harboring all kinds of secretive operational stuff. He is a computer genius. He could be working under cover for the CIA, FBI or any other government alphabet agency. How dangerous is his position? Could we get in his way? Do I need to unleash the hounds?

“Oh, hi, Tom. Didn't see you over there. Looks like Walt will have to go to Indianapolis for a while for his control engineering job. Things got a little chaotic. I may go along with him.”

May 16, 2024 19:34

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51 comments

Marty B
05:24 May 23, 2024

Creative nonfiction is right! "Mary loves to sit out on her deck, too, watching for hummingbirds.... Something about writing for an online community. " A snippet of a neighborhood life. Thanks!

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Mary Bendickson
10:34 May 23, 2024

Glad you enjoyed looking over the fence.😊

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Giovanna Ramirez
22:01 May 22, 2024

What's cool about telling a story through the first person perspective is how it offers an intimate insight of the character's mindset. This story is a great reminder of this and the fact that the first few paragraphs felt as if though someone is verbally sharing this with me. The premise was very well-done as well as the speculation of what the conversation might actually entail. My only critique would be that the cliffhanger left me wanting more. Other than that, great job!

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Mary Bendickson
22:04 May 22, 2024

Why, thank you kindly.

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Philip Ebuluofor
09:04 May 22, 2024

Fine work. Do you write as you talk?

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Mary Bendickson
15:20 May 22, 2024

I guess it comes out that way🤔😆

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Story Time
02:13 May 22, 2024

I thought you really brought the characters to life in a charming way. Well done, Mary.

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Mary Bendickson
03:52 May 22, 2024

Thank you

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Jim LaFleur
10:12 May 21, 2024

Mary, your story offers a charming glimpse into the quirks of neighborhood life, spiced with humor and a dash of mystery. The dialogue style lends a distinctive allure, and the characters spring to life with remarkable clarity. Eagerly anticipating the next chapter in their adventures! 😊

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Mary Bendickson
13:58 May 21, 2024

Thanks. Glad you enjoyed my neighborhood 😊

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Irene Duchess
23:13 May 20, 2024

Really fun to read, and it's an interesting way to write creative nonfiction: from the point of view of your neighbor. I love it. :D

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Mary Bendickson
04:42 May 21, 2024

Thanks. Happy you enjoyed it.

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Rebecca Detti
12:58 May 20, 2024

Great read! I wish I had as interesting neighbours!

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Mary Bendickson
15:43 May 20, 2024

Thanks for the read and comment. Everyone harbors a little mystic.

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TE Wetzel
01:41 May 20, 2024

Four Things... 1. Classic Corvettes are awesome! 2. Dachshunds are incredibly sweet and cute. 3. Not knowing about Taco Night is utterly tragic. 4. Great story. Loved the dénouement.

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Mary Bendickson
06:42 May 20, 2024

Read 'But First Tacos'. One of my previous entries. Can't have tragedy.

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Milly Orie
01:39 May 20, 2024

Such a fun slice of life story 😊 I enjoyed the read!

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Mary Bendickson
06:39 May 20, 2024

Thanks.

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08:58 May 19, 2024

This is charming Mary, a really close look at family life and such details are picked out. Telling a story about yourself from someone else's point of view is really creative.

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Mary Bendickson
13:09 May 19, 2024

Thanks.

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21:05 May 27, 2024

Hi Again Mary - just thought I would let you know that I have tried a version of this approach myself in my latest story (Reading between the lines) - I have not tagged it as creative non fiction because strictly speaking it combines multiple real life characters into one character and multiple real life events into one storyline, and not in the real life time frames or sequences. So it is much more ficionalised than that. I thought you may be interested though - no problem if not.

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Mary Bendickson
00:29 May 28, 2024

That sounds amazing. It is on my to read list. Will get there soon I hope.

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Daniel Rogers
03:35 May 19, 2024

What an interesting approach. Seeing you through your neighbor’s eyes. You may be the only author to put Reedsy into your story. Well done 👍

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Mary Bendickson
13:02 May 19, 2024

Thanks for liking it.😊

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Martha Kowalski
00:10 May 19, 2024

The hounds but I want to know more about this charismatic cat Bob :D very enjoyed reading Mary!

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Mary Bendickson
01:38 May 19, 2024

Bob's a story all his own but you can read a little about him in 'Blacktop and the Bucket Babies' one of my earlier entries.😸

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Martha Kowalski
02:23 May 19, 2024

he really is a character all of his own!

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Mary Bendickson
03:00 May 19, 2024

Yes, he is. That adorable pack of mopsters entered our house a couple of nights ago when the neighbors were on our deck and discovered Bob. Four on one and he literally had the sh.. scared out of him! If it had only been one Bob would have been the victor.

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Myranda Marie
16:44 May 18, 2024

Awesome story! I love the "get smart" reference!

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Mary Bendickson
18:25 May 18, 2024

So happy you enjoyed it. My hubby is always claiming his work is top secret.😏

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Myranda Marie
18:35 May 18, 2024

A little mystery is always a good thing!!!

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Laurie Spellman
14:03 May 18, 2024

What a funny and intriguing story, Mary. I loved your one-sided dialogue. ”……….” I, too, have a mop-ster pack of dachshunds, but they are mini-wired-haired. And yes, release the hounds! 🐕‍🦺🐕‍🦺🐕‍🦺

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Mary Bendickson
14:50 May 18, 2024

Oh,that is funny! 😆

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Darvico Ulmeli
11:55 May 18, 2024

I thought it was you init. Lovely story. Well done.

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Mary Bendickson
14:51 May 18, 2024

Yes, more of my life 😜

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Rebecca Lewis
18:46 May 17, 2024

Your story captures a delightful snapshot of neighborhood life. The characters are well-developed, and the dialogue Mary and Walt's, adds a layer of mystery that kept me engaged.

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Mary Bendickson
19:11 May 17, 2024

Thanks. He is the drama king.

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Alexis Araneta
18:22 May 17, 2024

Hahaha ! Such a fun story full of humour. I do agree with Kristi. The title is very much attention grabbing so I like that. I couldn't help noticing you were also a character ! Hahaha !

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Mary Bendickson
19:11 May 17, 2024

Thanks . Guess I want to be a character actor.

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Luca King Greek
13:35 May 17, 2024

Funny, While Walt is in Indianapolis, Mary can do that online community thing.

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Mary Bendickson
15:00 May 17, 2024

Thanks for the read. Would be a good time to get more done.😆

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Kristi Gott
02:33 May 17, 2024

The title grabbed me right away and I knew it would be a fun read. The details paint a picture and invite the reader into the story like a friend welcoming visitors. I was watching for the "secret secret agent man." The sights, sounds, kids and dogs surround the reader in an immersive way. I can imagine this being part of a longer work about the neighbors and the secret agent. Great story!

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Mary Bendickson
02:40 May 17, 2024

Glad you enjoyed it. We'll see where those secret missions lead 😜

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Hannah Lynn
02:17 May 17, 2024

Fun story especially reading about Mary, the writer. 😊

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Mary Bendickson
02:27 May 17, 2024

Glad you liked it ☺️.

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