Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Safe In My Basement

Thirteen years ago, when my gun moll and I found our safe-house in a Boston suburb where, coincidentally, Whitey Bulger committed one of his first bank robberies, we discovered an actual safe in the basement. The real estate agent pointed it out right after I attempted a bad joke about converting the coal-bin into a mother-in-law apartment. The safe was just lying there on the concrete floor, arranged at an angle like some polyhedron playing hookey from a geometry book. There was part of a shelf or metal wall still attached to it, as if it had been torn off something - and there were burn marks near the door hinges, as if somebody had tried to blast them off, but hadn't used near enough nitro. All three of us stood there laughing, joking that whoever had lived in this house years ago might have been thieves or some such thing. "Thieves like us," I thought to myself. When we finally bought the joint, and I stopped by the empty house to paint the candy-colored decor off the guest room walls, I had the sense of a presence. Like a ghost, I guess. If it was a ghost, it had decent literary taste, because I lost a paperback copy of Moby Dick during those spooked-out painting sessions and never found it again. The day we moved in for real, my gun moll left me alone in the joint while she went to the gun-moll accessories shop to get her mink stole retrimmed, and I was majorly creeped out. Something compelled me to climb the stairs, wide-eyed like some freakin' governess in a gothic novel, all the way up to the third floor, where the crawl-space was, and where curtains still fluttered in a Victorian bay window out of which I could see this old dead tree. I sensed that "presence" once more at this time, but after that never again. Whatever ghosts inhabited the joint, they eventually decided we were okay and left us alone. Maybe they were simpatico with my latently sociopathic soul. The safe is still there, too, tucked away in a corner of the basement. My gun moll and I occasionally shoot the breeze about calling in a locksmith (or a safe-cracker) to open the damn thing and offering the dude half of what we find inside. Visions of 1950's greenbacks sometimes dance in my head. But thirteen years have passed, and we have not yet acted on this pipe dream. I like to think we hold some crook's stash permanently in abeyance, on the cusp between being just a curiosity we can play innocent about - and a Pandora's box type deal that would make us accomplices to a crime decades after the fact, if a little richer.

No comments:

Post a Comment