The Peeping Tom of Willoughby

The Peeping Tom of Willoughby
By: Stephanie L. Robertson

wooden house art

I’m not a peeping Tom.

The residents of Willoughby can rest easy.

Those rumors are false!

I do have a problem, however.

An embarrassing secret:

I sleep walk.

Please…It’s not funny.

I’ve done everything from hanging bells on my doors to tying a rope from my foot to my bed post. Nothing works. I can untie rope in my sleep, apparently.

I’ve been a sleepwalker ever since I moved back to Willoughby and into my parents old house. I’ve come to the conclusion that most folks are suspicious of an unmarried 35-year-old male. It’s none of their business that I lost the love of my life ten years ago and will never love again. I suspect that the accident drove me back to Willoughby and may be the cause of my walking. More about that, later.

Whatever makes me walk, unfortunately, sent me to the window of our illustrious post-mistress. Her stupid Papillon, Smirkymonkey, woke her with her barking. (The dog’s barking, not the post-mistress!) There I was, from what I’ve heard Deputy Morris Greene say, peering into the woman’s living room window.

Fantastic.

Greene’s a good fellow, unlike that no-good drunken sheriff of ours. Greene was called to the scene and questioned me, later, at the station. He sent me home and promises to keep an eye out for me if he sees me walking while patrolling his midnight rounds…about when I start walking.

It doesn’t always work, but at least I haven’t peeked in the post-mistresses’ window lately.

Last night, I learned a secret about another Willoughby neighbor.

Apparently, I’m not the only Willoughbean who roams the streets of town at night.

I actually woke during one of my nightly rambles. I found myself outside of Mayline Crisco’s house. A noise woke me, I guess. Granted, I was probably half asleep when I saw a horned creature rise from Mayline’s forsythias. The hairs on the back of my neck prickled. Two bulbous eyes bore into mine, and a twisted mouth pealed a harmony with a scream of my own.

True, I was half-asleep.

But I know I saw something.

upcycled fence art

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The Basement Child of Willoughby

The Basement Child of Willoughby

By: Stephanie L. Robertson

mixed media house

Listen here—don’t you feel sorry for me. What happened was a long time ago, and I don’t appreciate pity. I git purty tired of them long looks Willoughby folks give me. It happened over twenty-five years ago, and let’s leave it at that.

I suspect you ain’t heard the story—being new to Willoughby and all that. I reckon I’ll tell ya, since ya’ll seem so nice.

Just don’t blame me, alright? As long as ya don’t blame me, I’ll tell ya what happened.

Well, like I say, it happened over twenty-five years ago—naw, I need to go back further than that. Hmmm. Maybe thirty years ago…

I was hurting somethin’ fierce.

“Stop pushin, Mayline,” said Doc Quimby, wiping sweat from his forehead. “This baby is breached.”

It finally got born.

“Oh!” gasped the nurse, her eyes round as gourds.

Doc Quimby’s wordlessly laid it across my chest.

I took it home, grieving it and my husband who just died in the war. I let nobody see it, and before long, time came for it to go to school. I couldn’t let that truant woman have a look at it. She came along, knocking at my door.

“My sister in Mobile has it,” I lied.

“Your child needs to come back home and get in school,” said that truant woman.

I said alright.

I had to think of somethin’.

Y’all want to know my secret?

Y’all will be the only one who knows, other than my sister. She kept it the during the whole “kidnapping” ruckus in Willoughby, twenty-five years ago. When I took it down to Mobile—that was the first time since its birth that it seen daylight.

Our no-good sheriff came and investigated. I knew I didn’t have much to worry about with him on the case. Pretty soon, the whole thing blew over and went to cold case.

I brought it back from Mobile, and it’s lived here ever since.

Now, if y’all will ‘scuse me, I gotta go take a plate of dinner down to the basement. Like I’ve done for thirty years.

mixed media house

Basement Child art by Stephanie.

Mixed media materials:
acrylic paint, upcycled fence piece, fabric, magazine clippings, Modge Podge, and Titebond 2 Premium Wood Glue.

Queries

Hi Everyone!

It’s a beautiful sunny day (albeit steamy in North Ala), and I just sent off a query to “Life: Beautiful” magazine.

I’ve got a good idea for a home article about correctly disposing of household paint, and I’ve spent a couple of hours trying to find a magazine who could use such article.

Any suggestions?

I may just book in on down to Barnes and Noble to get some ideas.

It’s not easy to break into the consumer magazine industry, but I’m working at it.

I’ll keep you updated.

The Town of Willoughby

The Town of Willoughby
By: Stephanie L. Robertson
June 15, 2018

wooden houses

This is the town of Willoughby.

Willoughby is a quaint little Alabama town, just east of the big river.

There are quaint houses and shops, there’s a little valley chapel and the children safely play outside until called in to dinner.

Willoughby is known for its charming little shops and eateries, and the Book Barista is the favorite meeting place for Willoughby’s eccentric locals.

Eccentric, I say, because behind the picturesque facades of the Willoughby cottages lie many, many odd little secrets.

Take the houses closest to the Willoughby Valley Chapel.

If you look closely enough, you’ll see that the addresses on the door are both labeled “No 3.”

wooden houses

Well, that doesn’t make sense, you may say.

Maybe not. But each house is owned by the Misses Cowl—Identical twins, old as the Willoughby hills, and they dress exactly the same. They are the second oldest Willoughbians. I say second, because old Mr. Rooney is ancient. But he’s a different story for a different day.

Anyway, the Misses Cowl—whom I honestly don’t know one from another—are the daughters of the High Mayor Phiscus Cowl who died in the late 80’s. Before he, ahem, passed, one of the Misses Cowl moved in the vacant house next door to her sister and the High Mayor.

Back then the addresses were different. Since odd numbers typically go on the left side of the street, I assume the house number used to be Number 1. I suspect the High Mayor had something to do with changing the number to Number 3.

It doesn’t quite seem logical, does it—to have to houses with the same address? But that is how it is. And I’m not sure how to explain the eccentricities of the Misses Cowl.
More stories to come, but now I shall take my afternoon nap.