Things have been quiet at 2 York Road for weeks. Aside from the occasional romp of what sounds like an alarmingly dextrous toddler above the ceiling in our bedroom at 3:19am, we've had no problems with Mr. Splitfoot.
Last night my mother-in-law knocked at the back door. She loves to whack with the brass knocker in a very distinctive manner, and starts shouting my name immediately after the first rap. If I'm upstairs she'll knock and yell five or six times before I can get to the door. She delivered a bowl of chicken adobo and potatoes.
"You know, I don't want you living downtown. There are very many murders there. Dadong says you should buy single house in Towson." I protested that single family homes in Towson are ridiculously expensive, and that we can get more space in certain parts of the City for less money. "Yes but I like to walk to you. I will miss you when you are gone."
Satisfied she'd stung me sufficiently with the guilt javelin, Ma began telling me a funny story about her next door neighbor. The woman is, like many of us, fighting a war against unruly college renters who park illegally on her private property. "Dadong see her at two o'clock in the morning. She walk her little dog, and the dog poop, and she take the poop and she put it on all the cars there. He tells me not to talk to her because she is...OH MY GOD!"
I'd never heard Ma shriek before, and it was horrifying. I thought she was having an attack of some kind, and instinctively I put my hand out to support her. "I think I see an old man! He was there behind you. Ai na koh!"
I turned and saw nothing, of course, but upstairs one of the doors slammed. That always happens when the wind sucks air through the skylight, I thought to myself.
"Maybe it is best you leave here," Ma said.