Welcome to SeniorVu’s daily ‘flash fiction’, with the continuing saga of Mary Lu at the Vu. Mary Lu is a 78-year old fictitious resident of a fictitious senior living community called Hickory Hills View (a.k.a. The Vu). Every night, while her husband Bobby (he’s fictitious too) sleeps next to her, she sends her sister Carolyn (yup, fictitious) an entertaining email updating her on the day. These are her stories. We hope they become as addictive as your morning cup of coffee.
Disclaimer: Even though these stories may sound familiar to your community, the story, all names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this series are fictitious. No identification with actual persons (living or deceased), places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred.
We met with The Vu’s management today as they tried to understand why on earth I fired my starter pistol at Doug Bennett, the handyman they’d sent to install a security lock on our door.
Doug was at the meeting, too.
I wanted to tell them how scared I’ve been. I wanted to say they had no business hiring someone with a criminal history. I wanted to be brave.
But I froze.
“You tell us why a convicted felon has a key to our place,” Bobby barked. “Tell us why he spent 16 years in prison.”
“What?” the managers and Doug said, in unison.
They made clear that Doug hadn’t spent a microsecond in prison, let alone 16 years. He’d cleared several background checks. They asked Bobby where he heard such slanderous talk.
Bobby sheepishly pointed to me.
“We called you to ask about it. You skipped town,” I said. “I was sure it was you.”
“It was him… what?” one manager asked.
“The ex-con. The one who lives here.”
They all looked confused. Doug explained that his older sister fell at her home in rural Maine and he’d driven up there to take care of her and install ramps and grab bars. He’d emailed The Vu, but the message got stuck in their spam file.
He wasn’t our ex-con. The Vu said there’s no ex-con. We’ve been chasing shadows for weeks.
Bobby asked the managers to dispose of my starter pistol. And he shook his head at me the whole way back home.
I called Jackie, Noreen and Angela and told them I’d riled them up for nothing.
I was about to call you next, C.
But then, there was a knock. Angela had come by.
“Promise you won’t say anything?” she asked, pinkie-swearing me to secrecy. She took a deep breath and said, “It’s me.”
Angela, the sweetest human being on the planet, confessed that she spent most of her 20s and half of her 30s incarcerated at a women’s prison in Ohio. And her real name is Antonella Durand.
Her first husband was a serial burglar. Mickey dragged her along to help pick locks and act as his lookout. One night, a homeowner came up from the basement and interrupted the burglary. Mickey fatally shot him.
Mickey got 50 years and only got out a few months before his death last spring. Angela was sentenced to serve 22 years, which was reduced to 16 for good behavior. She served her time, remarried, changed her name and salvaged what was left of her life. An employee in The Vu’s mailroom must have figured it out when Angela’s attorney died and forwarded her file here last summer.
Angela was the last person I would have guessed was our ex-con neighbor. I was scared of a boogie man and it turned out to be my best friend.
“Don’t tell Jackie or Noreen,” she begged. “Don’t even tell Bobby. Just let it go. Please?”
So I will. I’m only telling you, C, because I know you’ll keep the secret.
And what a hell of a secret it is.
P.S. To catch up on all of my previous Mary Lu at The Vu posts, click here to go back to Day 1.