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The case of the disappearing couch: A Tale from 2006 (or thereabouts), Part 2

17 Jan

(Read Part 1 here.)

So the couch. It was missing. We had nowhere to sit. Or rather, we had places to sit, but they were not cozy. They were, in fact, hard-backed wooden dining chairs, which are the same hard-backed wooden dining chairs I still have. Although they’re in rather desperate need of a refinish, especially after L and I worked so hard to refinish the dining table, now nothing matches.

In any case, we were couchless. This would make our soon-to-be-scheduled Rocky Balboa marathon viewing session rather uncomfortable. (If I haven’t espoused my love for Rocky here before, let me do so now. I loved those movies, in particular movie No. 1. “Yo Adriennneee!” What a cutie.)

So naturally being of the nonconfrontational sort, I went directly to bed, in hopes the problem would solve itself overnight. The morning revealed lovely rays of sunshine bursting through the Oregon cloud cover. The sunbeams fell, of course, on a large gaping hole in the living room where the couch belonged. (Also, the couch at the curb had disappeared, but that was less noteworthy.) So, I did what any sane postadolescent-posing-as-an-adult would do, I put on some flip-flops and stalked to each of the neighbor’s houses and asked if they’d seen anyone make off with the couch. Each neighbor shook his or her head, admitting that they’d been at work or hadn’t been paying attention, or just hadn’t noticed anyone carting a giant brown behemoth furnishing under their noses and off to Timbuktu.

By the time I got to the last house, the house directly behind ours, I let out a heavy sigh and said, “Well, I suppose I’ll just have to file a police report, then.” I mean, it was worth a pretty penny, particularly in our postcollegiate salad days. I’m sure the cops wouldn’t have rubbed two sticks together to find the missing couch but what the hey, worth a shot, right?

That’s when the tubby, prematurely balding fellow behind the Scotch-taped screen door paused. “Wait,” he said. “I … wait here.” He disappeared into the dank interior of his 1.5-bedroom shanty, which was quite likely larger and posher than our 1.5-bedroom shanty. I stood. I shifted my weight from left to right. Right to left. He reappeared, slowly emerging from black to brown to gray, smelling faintly of clove cigarettes and wet dog hair.

“Well, we have your couch,” he relunctantly admitted.

“Reaaa-he-heeeally,” I remarked.

“Well, you see,” he said.

“Yes?”

“In this neighborhood.”

“I see. Go on.”

“Well in this neighborhood, when a couch is positioned as yours was,” he continued.

“You mean, in a yard?” I asked.

“Well… yes. By the curb.”

“By the porch.”

“In this neighborhood…”

“I see. This neighborhood.”

“Well, we thought it was free.”

“I see.”

Much hemming and hawing later, the truth came out that they had kidnapped our couch, thinking (or at least, pretending to think) that it had been abandoned. They swapped ours for theirs, placing their 70s monstrosity by the curb, where a really real free couch ought to be positioned. Someone had pulled up with a pickup to take that one away, and naturally now they were seatless.

Nevertheless I convinced them to return our couch, explaining that it was not, indeed, free. The end result was that the burly men who lived in the house behind us were able to detach all our various doors and manhandle the couch inside. We did end up having a cozy spot to sit whilst watching Rocky’s 80s workout montages after all. Hooray!

Moral of the story? You can’t trust your neighbors. Or can you?

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