Jeanette said into the phone, "He's out there again right now."
"What exactly is he doing?"
"He's staring at the back of the house."
"Well, Ma, what do you want me to do about it?"
"I don't know, Bobby. I just wish you weren't so far away."
"Is he scaring you?"
"Not really. At first I thought he was having a stroke or something. Then he saw me and waved."
"When? Just now?"
"No. Yesterday. Today, I haven't let on that I see him."
"You're talking like he scares you."
"It's like when you're in your car stopped at a light and a motorcycle pulls up next to you. You know he isn't going to do anything, but you double-check your door locks."
"Do you want me to come down there and talk to him?"
"No. I can talk to him myself if I want to. I've lived next door to him since you were in diapers."
"I never thought one way or the other about him. He was just the guy next door."
"Your father and I were once pretty friendly with him and his wife. We use to play cards, and go out to bingo. You were pretty young. I don't know if you remember."
"Yeah, that's right. I forgot that he use to be married. I was only six or seven when she left him. Is that why he turned into a hermit?"
"I wouldn't call Bart a hermit. And she didn't leave him. We never talked about this before, but she was cheating on him and he caught her. Bart was the one who kicked her out. Do you remember the police coming over there?"
"Not really. What happened?"
"Well, when Julia's boyfriend... I don't know who he was... wouldn't let her move in with her, she came back to Bart. Bart wouldn't let her in the house. So she threw a gnome statue through the front window. Bart called the cops and they were here in no time flat. They took her away and that was the last I ever saw of her. I still remember like it was yesterday, the two of them screaming at each other across the broken window, him inside, her out, when the police pulled up. I don't condone the way she acted, but I still felt sorry for her when they put her in handcuffs and took her away."
"Wow, I'm surprised I don't remember that."
"You kids were all in bed. I know Trina woke up. We talked about it the next day. She was worried that your father and I might break up too."
"You and dad? Was there a problem?"
"Just normal married stuff. Nothing we couldn't work out."
"That's good. Hey, I remember that statue. The Snow White dwarf that sat on the corner of their front porch."
"That's right. Red shirt and green overalls. A green hat, too. Ugly little thing."
"Aw, Ma, you think their ugly? Now, what am I suppose to get you for your birthday?"
"You give me a garden gnome for my birthday and I'll take you out of the will."
Mother and son enjoy a laugh together. Jeanette promises to keep Bobby apprised of any new developments before hanging up.