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Who are the People in
your Neighborhood?

by Ken Carlson

Ken is the author of Get Out of My Way! The Annoyed Commuter's Handbook. Recently, he has published humorous essays online for Defenestration, Conceit Magazine, and Variety Pack, as well as short stories for 365 Tomorrows, Flora Fiction, and Literary Heist. Find many of them at KenCarlsonSaid.com. He has covered the Arts for several news sites and his editorial work for The Comedians Magazine was featured in the A.V. Club section of The Onion. Follow him online @KenCarlsonsaid.


Stalking their prey. No concern for human life. Serial killers. They represent the darkest, most vile, deadly traits of evil. They areó


HOBSONS: (Beep, beep as they pull into their driveway) Hi, Ken!


óthe Hobsons, my next door neighbors. 


If they see you around town they say hello with a smile. In the winter they clear neighborsí sidewalks with their snowblower. In the summer they freely offer to help with outdoor fix-it projects. Their house is a cozy brick bungalow with a well-kept lawn, a garden replete with playful ceramic gnomes and deer, and a white gazebo for relaxing on a sunny day. It is in that gazebo, they allow me to interview them for this publication.


ME: Well, thank you, Samantha and Craig. I appreciate your time.


CRAIG: No, the pleasure is all ours; any chance to appear in Cleaver MagazineÖ


ME: No, itís not Cleaver Magazine. Itís Clever Magazine. Clever. Itís a funny publication, humorous, well, never mind.


SAMANTHA: Are you sure itís not Cleaver, because we know an awful lot about cleavers.


CRAIG: Do we ever? Remember that hitchhiker in the desert?


SAMANTHA: Oh, that was priceless! (Giggling and faking fear, ďNo, please! Take my watch, my money! I want to live!Ē)


CRAIG: (Laughing hard and wiping a tear.) So much to live forÖcímon, he was wearing a football jersey for the New York Jets. You canít make that up! Hilarious!


ME: Right. So, Craig, Samantha, you are serial killers.


CRAIG: Guilty as charged! 


SAMANTHA: Guilty! (Both are laughing, holding hands and lifting them up) Oh, thatís funny.


ME: And have been for some time.


SAMANTHA: Thatís how we met, a support group meeting for serial killers in town. 


CRAIG: Serial Terminators Assistance Board.


SAMANTHA: STAB for short. 


ME: A support group for serial killers.


SAMANTHA: To help us with what we go through, to appreciate the problems we have.


ME: To help you stop doing it, take to writing angry letters instead?


CRAIG: Uh, not as such. Itís such a difficult practice and you have so many headaches to deal with.


SAMANTHA: Weíve made friends, lovely people really. Different meetings focus on topics, like tips on cleaning implements like knives or plastic sheeting; legal advice, when you get booked go see Cheryl for finger printing, Patty can be just nasty sometimes. 


CRAIG: Itís a shame people have to be rude like that, donít you think?


ME: Well, there are worse way to act toward peopleÖ


SAMANTHA: What to do when news crews trample your lawn after the police name you as people of interest, again.


CRAIG: Remember that time a couple of years back, honey, before Ken here moved in. Reporters were yelling KILLER and crushing our tulips. Shameful.


SAMANTHA: Well maybe if you hadnít photo-bombed that crime scene downtown.


CRAIG: Hey, I was just clowning around.


SAMANTHA: (Laughing) Yes, heís a regular Jeff Foxworthy. 


CRAIG: (With a southern accent) I might be redneck! Ha!


ME: If we could stay on topic. What else can you tell me about, uh, STAB.


SAMANTHA: Oh, itís a nice bunch of people. Being in the group gave us a discount on certain items.


CRAIG: Like duct tapeÖclown makeupÖ


SAMANTHA: Windowless vans. Oh, by the way, Craig and I appreciate your not complaining about some of our challenges. Boy, you should have heard the last homeowner complain. 


CRAIG: (With a nasal imitation) Craig, whatís with all the shoveling noises in the dark? Craig, must you bury things on your property at night? Ha! Well, now heís not much of a complainer anymore. Right?


SAMANTHA: Itís people like him who donít see the positive in what we do.


ME: Such as?


CRAIG: Well, with our reputation, weíve been on the Evening News, bit of a thrill, this is a very safe neighborhood. No harm will come to you or your property.


ME: Except from you.


SAMANTHA: No porch pirates here! No one touches our Amazon packages. Plus at Halloween, no snotty-nosed kids traipsing on our lawn.


ME: You realize the two of you donít fit the standard makeup of serial killers. 


CRAIG: Oh, here we go again. Serial killers are all dysfunctional loners, right?


SAMANTHA: All of them are lonely single white males. Itís sexist, that is.


CRAIG: Samantha and I have been married for seventeen wonderful years. We work very hard and pay our taxes.


SAMANTHA: We co-manage complaints at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Lowest rate of recidivism, nine years running. 


ME: Is that because you control others through intimidation and violence, as serial killers?


CRAIG: Hey, if you have an interest in life, Pick a Lane!


ME: Is it true that you canít stop killing? That itís a compulsion you canít control.


SAMANTHA: Oh thatís just silly nonsense. Weíve never killed anybody on Wednesday nights. Thatís when we have bowling. 


CRAIG: And Fridays is Bingo over at St. Maryís. Oooooh, those Catholics sure know how to hold a coffee hour. They make lemon squares I could kill for!


SAMANTHA: (They both crack up laughing.) Oh honey, thatís a good one. You see how he keeps me laughing. Thatís the secret to a long and healthy life, keep laughing.


ME: Yes, well, that brings me to my final question. Itís been said that serial killers want to get caught, that they crave the attention that comes with their, uh, completed task.


CRAIG: Thatís more utter nonsense. If someone wanted to get caught, theyíd hang around afterwards and get caught. Howdy Sheriff Andy Taylor! Ready to arrest me? Hey, Barney Fife! Whereís Kojak? 


SAMANTHA: Oh, he loves all those old television programs. You should really come over some time and join us.


CRAIG: Thatís a great idea. 


ME: (Getting up to leave, feeling cold in my veins) Oh, I donít know. 


CRAIG: We could go down to my basement. Itís completely sound proofed. We could watch TV, holler for days down there, and nobody would hear.


ME: (Running away) Thanks! Maybe some other time!


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