The deep croak preceded the raspy old voice.
“Would you like to have sexual intercourse with me?”
Peering into the bushes I caught a glimpse of the practically bald head of Frank, the frail old pervert from next door. He had gone to a lot of trouble with his remaining wispy strands of white hair. They had been parted at the top of the right ear and plastered over his head to meet the top of his left ear. I’d say an excessive amount of Brylcream had been used to keep his do in place. As he worked with the snippers I could see his wedding band glistening in the sun.
“I’m OK thanks,” I answered into the bushes. The proposal was polite enough and he didn’t need to elaborate. He was just straight out with it and obviously not one to waste time and money on courting and romance. Even though it had been years and I’d never had an offer like that before I just wasn’t that desperate. His directness made me wonder if he had made proposals in the same way during his working life as the CEO of a large company.
As I walked away Frank kept tending to the bushes. But it was obvious they were not the kind of bushes that appealed to him. For weeks now I had been the object of Frank’s desires. He had done a serious amount of perving but it seemed harmless enough given he would have been in his late nineties and could barely walk. Lecherous old men seemed to be a feature of the units next door. They either lived in them or were connected to them in some way.
Since the sudden death of his sister, Frank had been arriving daily to prepare her unit for sale and to check me out. The vantage point for the latter was the garage. Early in the morning the automatic roller door would rise to reveal Frank standing there in direct view of my kitchen. He only had to avert his eyes slightly diagonal and upwards. With three children and no dishwasher I spent a lot of time at the sink so that provided him with many hours of unsolicited perving – morning and afternoon.
But Frank had gone too far with the brazen encounter in the bushes. The next day, I threatened him with telling the police. Or even worse, telling his wife. Frank’s voice was trembling as he promised not to do it anymore. His droopy eyes even pushed out a couple of tears. This was surely going to cause Frank a lasting emotional wound. Maybe even a degree of humiliation. It would definitely bring his perving days to an end. Or would it?
That night I raised the kitchen blind to gaze at the sky. It was dazzling with hundreds of stars shining and twinkling. It was so bright that I could see the silhouette of Frank in his usual position under the brightness of the moon.
Image: https://notableplants.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/gooseberry-ribes-sp/ for the image.