…Scotty was well turned out, at least his hands and forearms were. His face was round and jovial looking, clownish perhaps. His eyes were of a dull grey, probably a reflection of the grey matter and visual reality of his mind. His hair was cut very short in a crew cut fashion, well groomed actually. I wondered who cut his hair. Why I wondered that I don’t really know but I dearly hoped that he didn’t have the tools to try this on his own, or to shave himself or anyone else in this house for that matter. Sweeney Todd kept coming to mind. Was this the Barber, the Butcher of Fourth Avenue?
And through all of this Mrs Redfern held her sway. I watched in amazement as she orchestrated and dished out the various portions of soup, salad, main course, then dessert. She could hardly handle the various pots and pans over the stove with her dangly, fragile arms and extremely dainty hands. How on earth she never burned herself of take the house down and all of us with it I will never understand. I would also learn afterward that she only ate by herself after all was said and done, cleaned and put away.
This was my home for the foreseeable future. I gave Scotty a very wide berth. Robert was harmless until the one evening at dinner when he lost it, big time. His passive aggressiveness exploded into an onslaught of verbal bile the likes of which I have never seen. It all started when Scotty, in one of his rare and lucid episodes of thought and clarity, wormed into Robert’s high sense of personal importance by insinuating that his job at the paper was irrelevant, miniscule and gratuitous in the overall scheme of things, and that he only kept his job due to the good graces of the Newspaper’s hierarchy. They felt sorry for him. That may have been true but it incensed Robert to such a degree that his animosity at what had been said about him by Scotty turned him into a physical pile of mush and with that he lost control of his senses and his propriety. He burst into tears, crying uncontrollably as they took him away to settle him down. We didn’t see him for a couple of weeks after that incident.
Then Scotty lost it. One day when Timmy and I came home from our day of work we arrived to witness another verbal onslaught at the front of the house. Something had set Scotty off to such a degree that he was now in the middle of Fourth Avenue ranting and raving at the top of his lungs to anyone who would listen about the injustices of the Nixon presidency and its impact on his own sense of well being. He was calling on all of his conspiracy cohorts, especially the ones from the planets Argon and Anus to come forth and castigate this curse of a human being, that being Nixon, off the face of the earth. I could not really understand much more of what Scotty was yelling about but before long the police and paramedics arrived to take charge. As the police distracted Scotty the paramedics executed a flanking manoeuvre, caught Scotty off guard, then injected him with something that immediately made him as docile as a lamb. They took Scotty away in the ambulance and I never saw him again. What caused this rant and personal breakdown? Not being absolutely sure or knowledgeable of these things at the time but I was told that Scotty went off of his meds.
This black comedy went on at various times throughout my stay at this House of Horrors. Some were quite hilarious like the time I came home on my own accord only to hear screaming and wailing coming from the front room. I was in my room at the time so I couldn’t be sure it was another wrestling match on TV that was setting Mrs Redfern off. But the timing and day was off so I bolted up the stairs and ran into the drawing room to see what was going on.
It was Mrs Redfern but in a dire state of panic. There she was standing just about upright in her chest freezer with her head holding up the lid and preventing it from falling down completely. She was a frightful sight standing there looking about in all directions, her small tiny hands holding on to the sides of the freezer for dear life. She was screaming in fear at no one in particular but hoping against all hope that someone like me would hear her and show up to rescue her. It was a good thing too as she was beginning to shiver and turn blue it would seem from mild hypothermia. Apparently, as she leaned over the front side of the freezer to grab the evening’s main course, she fell in. And she couldn’t get out as she was not tall enough or strong enough to leverage herself out of this predicament. I ran over, grabbed her by the arms and lifted her out. What amazed me more than anything else was how light she was. It was like pulling a feather out of the depths of the freezer’s chest. Once I had her settled on the couch, I found a blanket to keep her warm and made her a hot cup of tea. I then proceeded to scold her for what she had done. I made her promise me, no us, that she would ask someone ahead of time to retrieve the next day’s morsels. I must admit though, when looking back on this that it was a hilarious sight to behold.
Mrs Redfern’s life was a wonderful story. Born in Rochester Minnesota, she moved to Hollywood California during the silent movie era. She knew all of the famous starlets of the time. She was also married a number of times finally settling down with a local businessman whom she shared her life with up until his untimely death. He left her the house that we were now currently sharing with her. Mrs Redfern kept a picture of herself as a young woman on a mantle beside the door to the front hallway. She was a knockout.
She lived a long life dying sometime in her nineties. Mr Johnston also lived to 97. Robert left the coast and moved back east to live in a small town with his aunt. He’d be in his late 80s if still alive. I never heard of him again. Same with Scotty.
That house is now gone. Torn down to make way for monster homes and condos.