By STEVEN R. TENNEY
After dinner, Otis, a middle-aged, overweight,
balding man, walked out onto the front porch, while his
wife, Gertrude, remained inside the kitchen washing the
He lifted his binoculars to his eyes and peered
across the meadow towards his neighbor's house. He saw
that the Real Estate sign had a SOLD sticker upon it.
"Looks like the neighbor house sold."
Gertrude, shapely, if not a little on the plump
side, walked out onto the porch drying her hands on a
kitchen towel. "No, kidding! That was fast."
"Yes, indeed. The real estate market must be
"I wonder when our new neighbors will be moving
in. I hope they're nice people."
"Me too. The last thing we need is a bunch of
jerks out here."
The next evening greeted Otis and Gertrude with
As usual, Otis was sitting on his porch while
Gertrude was in the kitchen cleaning up. Otis looked
through his binoculars again and saw that a Corvette
convertible was parked in the driveway. The real estate
sign was gone.
His spying became more intent as a beautiful,
statuesque, brunette walked around the house from the back
yard with a watering hose. She was adorned in a dark purple
bikini which showed off her voluptuous curves.
"Whoa!" Otis said to himself.
"What's that, Dear?" Gertrude called out from
the opened kitchen window.
Gertrude walked out onto the porch and saw the
gorgeous neighbor lady. "Is that our new neighbor?"
"Looks like it."
"Hmmmmm, she seems to hold nothing back with that
skimpy bathing suit and all."
"Well, Gertrude it is warm, after all."
"Let me have those binocs for a second."
Gertrude watched as the lovely lady swayed back and forth to
a Reggae song coming from an outdoor speaker on the back
side of the house, facing the forest.
"Goodness! I hope they aren't going to be loud
Otis took the binoculars back from Gertrude.
He watched, mesmerized, at that wonderful female body as it
danced seductively. "I kind of like Reggae myself."
"Humpfffff! When did you ever like Reggae,
"Oh, a long time before I met you, Dear."
"Huh! I can't imagine you at a Reggae concert,
Otis. Not at all."
"Well, I never actually went to a concert or
anything like that. But I'd turn up the radio when a good
Reggae song was played."
"Oh, seesh! That's all? That doesn't really
qualify you as a renegade, Otis."
"Who said anything about being a renegade?" Otis
took the binocs back and gazed at the lovely new neighbor.
"However, at times I could be a little wild in my teenage
"Wild? Like how? Smoking an occasional
cigarette, or having a sugar free coke?"
"Oh, you wouldn't understand, Gertrude."
"Okay." Gertrude walked back into the kitchen
The next evening, another warm one, Otis was
again, sitting on the porch. As he looked through the
binoculars he saw that the convertible was gone, and instead
a large pick-up truck was parked in the driveway.
The sound of a lawn mower could be heard from the
back of the house. The sound got louder as a tall,
attractive man came around pushing the mower on the lawn in
the front of the house.
Gertrude walked out onto the porch and took the
binoculars from Otis. "Now what have we here?"
"Just some jerk making noise, ruining a nice
"So what? It's a good time to be mowing the
lawn." Gertrude was glued to the Atlas of a man as he
walked the mower around the grass. "Maybe we should go over
and welcome him to the neighborhood."
"Some other time, maybe."
"You can be sucky a wet blanket sometimes, Otis."
Otis drank his beer in begrudged silence. He
walked into the house leaving Gertrude still watching the
The next afternoon Otis was outside washing his
car. He could see across the meadow that the convertible
was parked in the driveway. Since Gertrude was gone
shopping in town, Otis walked over to his neighbor's house
and rang the doorbell.
He was expecting the beautiful brunette to open
the door, but instead "Sampson" stood there, towering over
poor Otis. He wore only swimming trunks and every
intimidating muscle in his body was firm and ripped.
"Yes, can I help you?"
Otis stammered and was obviously flustered. "Uh..
well, I'm uh, your next door neighbor. I, uh, thought I'd
welcome you to the neighborhood."
The man extended his hand and shook Otis' hand
with a rock-solid grip. "Well, thank you. I'm Adonis,
glad to meet you."
"Of course you are, uh, I mean.... nice to meet
you. I'm Otis."
Otis felt so lame that his mind went blank,
leaving him almost speechless. "Well, again, welcome to the
A sheepish smile was pasted on his face as he
stepped back off the entryway and stumbled as he
"Well, thank you again, Otis. See you later."
Otis waved feebly as he meandered past the
driveway. To his amazement the convertible was gone and the
big pick-up truck was parked there instead.
He shook his head as he hustled back to his
house, thoroughly embarrassed.
The next day Otis was gone fishing. Gertrude was
sweeping the deck and looked out at the neighbor's house.
She retrieved the binoculars from the house and trained them
across the meadow. She noted that the pick-up truck was
parked outside in the driveway.
She felt excited as she walked over carrying a
covered plate of molasses cookies she had baked earlier.
As she passed the pick-up truck in the driveway, she sneaked
a look at her reflection in the side window. She smoothed
back her hair with her free hand and walked up to the front
door. She rang the bell with much anticipation.
As the door opened Gertrude's smile drooped in
shock as she stared at the startling beautiful shape of
the Amazon lady. Gertrude tried to prop her smile back up,
but it turned into more of a grimace of disappointment.
The woman stood in the foray wearing a black, lacy
bikini that showed off the curves of her sculpted, toned
body. How could someone be so gorgeous? She towered over
Gertrude with her long, shapely legs. Gertrude stole a
quick glance at her feet, expecting to see high heels, but
the beauty was wearing running shoes instead.
The woman had beautiful, green eyes which bored
into Gertrude's with a friendly, captivating stare.
"Hi!" Gertrude tried to compose herself. "I'm,
uh, your neighbor. I thought I'd bring over a house
The woman looked at the covered plate and smiled.
"Well, isn't that nice. What is it?"
"Oh, just some molasses cookies I baked up."
Gertrude held out the plate awkwardly like she
was making an offering to a Goddess.
"Molasses? I haven't had those in years."
She smiled gleefully like a young girl. "Won't you
come inside? I'm Aphrodite, by the way."
"Nice to finally meet you. I'm Gertrude."
Gertrude felt a little calmer as she saw how
tender this gorgeous woman was. "Well, okay. Thank you!"
"Well, thank you for the cookies."
Aphrodite led Gertrude into the dining area.
The house was surprisingly sparse. There was only a dining
room table with chairs and a long sofa in the living room.
There were no wall hangings at all.
Aphrodite caught Gertrude's stare. "We haven't
had time to furnish the house yet."
"Oh, yes, I understand." Gertrude stood in the
living room awkwardly. "Well, I should be going."
"It was very nice to meet you, Gertrude."
As Gertrude walked away, she noticed that the
convertible was now parked in the driveway. She shook her
head in confusion.
The next evening Otis went out to the deck after
dinner again and found a plate with a note laying on the
The note read: "Thank you so much for the cookies,
Gertrude. No one was home when I returned the plate. Your
Otis whistled under his breath. "Gertrude, you
went over to the neighbor's house yesterday?"
Gertrude walked out onto the deck, wiping her
hands with a dish towel. She took the note from Otis and
read it. "Uh, yeah. I took some molasses cookies over.
Just being neighborly, Otis."
"Okay." Otis looked downcast. "What was she
"Well, uh, very, very pretty. Actually quite
beautiful, if the truth be known."
"Uh-huh." Otis took a sip from his beer. "Did
you see him over there as well?"
"Uh, no. I saw his pick-up parked outside when I
went over. But a strange thing happened. When I rang the
doorbell she answered instead. And then when I left after a
short visit, the truck was gone and the convertible was
instead parked in the driveway."
"That is peculiar, alright."
"What's also peculiar is her name."
"Aphrodite! what kind of parents name their
"I don't know. What about Adonis? That struck
me as odd."
Gertrude looked narrowly at Otis. "How did you
know his name was Adonis?"
"Uh, well, uh."
"Come on, Otis. Did you go over there too."
Otis cringed. "Well, uh, well, yes I did.
What's wrong with that?"
Gertrude folded her arms. "When did you do
"The other day when you were in town shopping."
"And so you met the husband instead."
"Ah, yes, I guess so."
"Oh, let me guess, you went over there when you
saw the convertible parked out in front. You were expecting
to see her, weren't you."
Gertrude sat down and took a swig of Otis's
beer. "It is very strange, all together, don't you think?"
"Yes, we both went over there expecting to see
whom we were expecting to see."
"And then the vehicles changed when we left."
Both Otis and Gertrude stared out into the
"What in Dickens is going on over there?"
"Are we both hallucinating or something?"
"What have you been putting in all those brownies
you've been baking lately, Gertrude?"
"Just chocolate, Otis. Don't go blaming me
"Then what is happening?"
"I don't know. Maybe we should go over there
"Maybe when both vehicles are parked out front."
"Yes. Let's wait for that, then."
"I think I need another beer."
"Me too. I'll bring 'em out"
The next evening the setting sun was washing the
western sky with a blaze of orange and yellow. Otis and
Gertrude looked across the meadow and noticed that both the
convertible and truck were parked out in the driveway.
"Should we go over there now and see what's up?"
Gertrude looked doubtful for a moment. "I don't
know. I guess now is as good as any time."
Otis and Gertrude walked past the vehicles in the
driveway and up to the entryway.
They rang the doorbell but no one came to the
door. They heard a strange sound coming from inside the
They peaked inside the side windows of the double
front doors, past the foray and into the living room. They
saw both Aphrodite and Adonis standing naked facing each
other, both their beautiful bodies firm and sculpted.
Aphrodite pressed her body against Adonis', with her firm
breasts touching his chest.
Both Gertrude and Otis stared, mesmerized, not
able to turn away.
Aphrodite and Adonis kissed passionately. Behind
them a neon sign with blue lights suddenly appeared on the
back wall above their heads.
Otis and Gertrude tried to discern what the words
on the sign meant. But they are scrambled into strange,
hieroglyphics. It was all gibberish to them.
But then the words began to form something
intelligible. The words "Past Lives" were displayed
momentarily. Then they melted and became nonsense again.
The words flashed and wiggled like electric worms
and finally formed "Romantic Love" in neon blue.
Otis and Gertude watched in amazement as
Aphrodite's body merged with Adonis'.
The words changed again and read "Spiritual Love".
Their bodies swirled together into a large mass of
Lastly the words flashed "Harmony".
To Gertrude it looked like the energy field
twirled and formed the Yin and Yang symbol.
Suddenly the atomic energy field disappeared
altogether as too did the neon sign.
The living room was then empty, with no furniture
or any evidence that any one had lived there at all.
Gertrude and Otis shook their heads and eventually
turned around and walked out towards the meadow. The
driveway was empty, with neither the convertible nor the
truck parked there.
As they walked back towards their house, they saw
that the real estate sign was back on the lawn, with the
words "For Sale" emblazzoned upon it.
The next evening found Otis once again on the deck
drinking a beer. And as usual, Gertrude was inside cleaning
Otis thought he saw a commotion coming from
the neighbor's house across the meadow.
He retrieved his binoculars and looked across the
way. What he saw was something akin to a desert mirage,
with the image barely in focus. But as the light waves
finally gelled the image became sharper.
To his amazement he saw Aphrodite and Adonis both
outside tending to their yard.
"What?!" Otis exclaimed in surprise. But as
soon as he mutered those words, the mirage disappeared.
"What was that, Dear?" Gertrude called out from
the open kitchen window.
"Oh, nothing unusual. Is there any more beer
left in the fridge?"
"Yes, I'll bring some out for both of us."