Lori R. Lopez
The Handyman arrived in a snorting
hiccupping Pick-Up. He consulted a small
notepad page containing scribbles.
The job posting listed this address. It must be
the place. A For Sale Sign leaned at an angle
with SOLD plastered boldly across.
Whoever bought it got ripped off. Jobs, a nickname,
shook his head — squinting through a dusty windshield.
Creaks accompanied a shift of weight as his
left leg descended to gravel. He strolled to the rear,
lowered a tailgate, slid out a fancy portal.
It shouldn’t take long. Whistling, he lugged
his burden to the top of uncertain steps and leaned it
on the porch, against a rough peeling wall.
The grizzled Farmhouse had seen better decades,
probably centuries. It was a dump, needing a lot more
than a new door. He walked to the truck for a rusted
Toolchest that once belonged to his Gramps,
who gave it to his father, who eventually handed it
to him and bought a shinier box. It was the thought
that counted. Jobs felt proud to be carrying on
a family tradition. He reached for
a knob to open the weathered slab being
replaced. It wouldn’t yield. Did they forget to
unlock it? His knocks produced no results.
The house seemed abandoned. A chill prickled
forearms and neck. He peered at a second-floor
window. “Hello?” The man thought he
spotted movement up there. Tired eyes from
a lengthy trip he dismissed, as silence persisted.
Jobs hunkered and solemnly inspected a lock.
Should be able to jimmy it. He was here
to take the thing off and doubted they’d mind.
Whoever hired him. He couldn’t remember.
Too much static on the phone.
“Anyone around?” He waited.
“Okay.” Selecting an awl, a sturdy hammer,
he pounded the handle, driving a steel point into
the keyhole. Implements clattered. He jumped back.
Was that a scream? Wind from nowhere
stroked his flesh. The gruesome abode mocked,
rippling, wavering with rustles and squeals.
“That does it.” Slamming tools in the box,
he lifted his heirloom and turned. Maybe the house
was haunted. Maybe just a creepy relic,
nobody’s home. Needing to be torn down —
before it could collapse on the poor dayworker
sent to repair it. A plank rose and
whacked his face. He wound up flat, staring
wide of orb while spirits inhabiting the real-estate
danced on his corpse. Gusty breath fluttered a paper
that blew off, unveiling seven letters spelling
FOR SALE. There would be further accidents.
Until a jinxed, bedeviled, spooked property
went back on the Market and remained . . .