I recently moved to a little beach town in New Zealand from a nice apartment in New York City. I had to escape the hustle, the bustle and the vain, lying, superficial people that I saw day to day.
Everyone in this town was so down to earth, except it seemed for the vain, lying, superficial woman that lived next door. Every word that left her lips was a huge scandal, whether it was the story that the guy down the street stole his dog from the town mayor, the story that the kids that met at the pier were escaped delinquents from the state detention centre, or the story that the husband of the lady that lived up the hill was kidnapped by pirates. I think my neighbour just craved the attention.
She was convinced that her time in a south-east Asian prison hardened her and gave her a sixth sense – a second set of eyes. Her 1950s housewife fashion sense didn’t match her contrived, macho back-story. I tried to keep my distance.
It wasn’t until one day when the kids on the pier were all arrested by the police that I began to wonder. On the same day, the man with the mayor’s dog didn’t go for his daily dog-walk, and a dilapidated fishing boat pulled up at the pier. The shabby, bearded man that stepped ashore headed straight for the house on the hill.
At lunch time that day, I heard a knock at the door. It was my next door neighbour.
”I know why you’ve come so far from home,” she said. My heart jumped. How could she know? Was she behind all the activity in town today? She makes a suggestion. “I won’t tell anyone if you use your special skills for me…”
Here I sit at my computer using my “special skills” to launder money for a New Zealand Special Information Services ex-spy who wears a 50s hairdo, a polka-dot dress and lives in a small beach town spreading false rumours that are true. What a way to start my retirement!