…Timmy and I went below and took note of our new digs. A very large room in the basement, half completed and just off of an area where our landlady’s washer and dryer area were plus the furnace room and what appeared to be a cluttered workshop: mouldy and dusty, the air would choke an asthmatic horse. We did have a large bed and there were two dressers for our clothes. Comfortable enough. There was even a spot for my “Heath Kit” stereo system and my records, which we brought out with us from the East. Not much in the way of clothes mind you but definitely my tunes. We set all of this up then decided to leave, find a restaurant, and over coffee and smokes discuss our way ahead from here.
Timmy and I decided to go into business for ourselves: a window cleaning business. As we were discussing this fact I couldn’t help but look outside at the continuous rain, mist and greyness of the place. Well, the sun must come out eventually I thought. No matter. Cleaning windows would have very low overhead. We already had a car, and a few bucks to tide us over for a month. Buckets, squeegees and sponges wouldn’t cost too much and we had all of the water one could possibly have. It was decided then. We also had to purchase a ladder: a 20 foot extension would fit the bill.
We left and went out to purchase our inventory from a local hardware store. All in all I do believe the total cost came to about 20 bucks, the ladder being the most expensive item on our list. Ready to rock and roll, but where do we go from here. We hardly knew our area. We’ll start tomorrow. Let’s explore our surroundings now, which we did that afternoon, bearing in mind that we had to be back at our digs for the 530 chow call.
We decided to focus all of our attention to the residential properties of this coastal city. The northern burbs would be our best chance of success as they had views to die for: panoramic vistas over the city, the English sounding bay, the straits and the gulf islands that were in situ haphazardly to the west and southwest of the city’s core. Added to that was the beautiful green suspension bridge that bridged the gap from the city’s main core and large green canopy of a park of old growth trees then over the city’s harbour approaches and narrows to the northern burbs. These burbs, located to the west and north of the city centre and separated by the extension bridge, skirted along the city’s northern harbour limits. In fact one had to be a mountain goat to navigate the streets of these burbs as they meandered uphill from the lower reaches of the harbours quays and wharves and bay. The area also appeared to be an affluent area of homes with small business strip malls. Although this area presented a considerable drive from our lodgings it was ripe for the pickings.
When we arrived back at our digs a very strange and weird occurrence greeted us. As we came into the house from the back alleyway we could hear a high pitched screaming, clamouring, yelling, wailing and shouting coming from the area of the drawing room. Then silence, for a few seconds followed again by a cacophony of rants and curses. What on earth we thought as we looked at one another in shocked disbelief. Added to that, as we came into the house, the kitchen was a disarray of blazing, boiling and steaming pots and pans of varying sizes and shape strewn about on the counters, on the stove and by the old fashioned farmers sink. But there was no one there looking out and over this disorganized mess!
We called out. “Mrs Redfern, Mrs Redfern. Are you there? Is everything okay?”
Silence, then more screaming. Silence, then hammering of her fists down on the carpet it would appear.
We tip toed through the kitchen into the hallway that led to the front door and the entrance to the drawing room. We peered into the room itself. In disbelief we saw a very small, frail Mrs Redfern on her hands and knees peering into the magnified screen of the television set, about two feet away: screaming at the top of her lungs at the inanimate characters emanating from the screen into her living room. It was late afternoon wrestling, early evening back east where the show originated. And there, in full physical dynamism, was the famous and legendary Whipper Billy Watson fighting and wrastling some unknown opponent. Or perhaps it was the Sheik, or Gorgeous George or even Bulldog Brower taking on this giant of a man. Regardless, I got the impression watching this bizarre scene unfold that Mrs Redfern was rooting for the underdog as Watson was the star attraction in those days and, what appeared to us, was annihilating his opponent.
Timmy and I just stood there watching, incredulous as what was going on. It was just too weird a scene to laugh at out loud. There she was, Mrs Redfern, our landlady, down on all fours yelling and cursing at every move and at every blow from the Whipper onto his opponent. Her high pitchiness of a voice hurt the ears while her language would make a sailor blush. I am sure they could hear her back east. Yet here she was, our frail and demur landlady, suddenly transformed into a lioness of fury at some indiscretion, misconception of wrestling insanity. Added to that she held that same butcher knife in her left hand that we saw when we first met her, at the ready, to disembowel any threat to her sense of wrestling fairness and sportsmanship. Timmy and I retreated ever so slowly so as not to disturb this disturbing scene. We would come to learn that this was a weekly afternoon occurrence in Mrs Redfern’s House of Horrors…