Food was hard to come by. Buildings had cropped up all around until the sun no longer shone in the windows located on the right side of my house. Then, too, there was the matter of families staying closer to one another. The increase in ethnic diversity brought with it more people from Old Countries: a fact I could appreciate since my transplanted roots still ached for a taste of the soil of home. These families also brought with them the Old Beliefs: tales of witches, warlocks, drinkers-of-blood, and diners-of-flesh. Not quite good for shopping, I might add.

I was having a hard time getting the small families, too. The first-floor apartment was huge: comprised of three large bedrooms, a dining room, and a kitchen off which branched the only bathroom. There was a time when the local government allowed that an owner-occupied building had the right and pleasure of refusing to families; fervor for housing central to town (of which my house had become) pushed the council to threaten punishment to all those owning rental units with severe penalties for suspected discrimination against families. I simply liked my meat a bit aged…and free of grandparents. (…a little too grisly for me.)

I had been lucky with the past several tenants. In the past ten years, I had gained five single renters and two married couples with no family of which to speak. I usually had a better pick when I advertised the acceptance of pets. People love their pets. Put that emphasis on love for me, will you? Run that word up and around your tongue and push your lips up towards your nose…

What? What? Did I scare you? Did you think I didn’t know you were watching? Watch me chuckle deep in my throat while I turn to look you full in those nice eyes of yours. They’d look nice on my wall, you know. I have a collection of them nestled in pits dug in the old horsehair plaster across from my bed. I wake up in the morning to a chorus of stares bolstering my spirits. My apologies, I’m rambling. Now–do you like what you see? I can be whatever you want–as long as you are what I want in the end. But no, you’ve been watching me for a long time. I need you as much as I need them. I crave that understanding….

Remember Jennifer? She was a beauty. All that tender plumpness; just enough to let you know that most of it was meat. The police came by after Jenny. I handed them a packet of meat; they thanked me and went on their way.

Then came Martha. Her eyes are in my wall, too. I hate when death curdles them and turns them white. But at least I am well-fed.

You can judge me if you want. Just know that food is hard to come by, and I do what I must to survive. Tell me—what would you do?

Copyright 2017 Joyce Bowen

About the Author:  Joyce Bowen is a freelance writer and public speaker.  Inquiries can be made at


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