No, this isn't my New Year Resolution, because I don't attempt that anymore. It is my promise to myself.
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Without any more ado, The Development
He liked developments, housing developments. The roads were always well laid out. Dependable. Always there were a set amount of crossroads, a few cul d sacs, and entrances and exits that were usually convenient to main thoroughfares and even sometimes to the interstate.
He really liked the Corey Road South development. It was an older development than the Corey Road North development. It had fewer models of houses, only four. It had been developed in the 1960's when people expected their homes to have a yard for their children and elbow room for themselves.
Most of the homes backed onto a strip of woods that made the backyards private.
The North development had run out of money in the recession of the 1970's and the building stopped. Then when the price of real-estate went skyrocketing in the 1980's, the building lots were made smaller than the more sprawling lots of the south development. The north development had the same basic housing models as the south development; ranch, high ranch, two story and three floor split level, but it also had the models that became popular in the later twentieth century; the saltbox, the country farmhouse, and a few horrible modern abstracts.
He hated the modern abstracts. The floor plans were as individual as each owner. There were huge windows, sometimes two or even three stories high. How could you have any privacy in a house with windows as large as that? They couldn't even be hidden by trees! The building lots were too small for any decent sized trees. Development South had woods through out it. Development North was built wall to wall.
He liked Development South the best.
He'd been in almost all the houses. Well, that wasn't really the truth. But he knew all the houses. Really he did! After you'd been in one, raised ranch for instance, you'd know the layout of all of the development's raised ranches.
Well, he would. May-be the average person wouldn't, but he wasn't average. He was above average, although most people didn't know it.
He looked average though. Average height. Was he 5'11'' or was he 6'? Were his eyes blue or green? Was his hair brown or a dirty blonde?
Just an average Joe. That was him, average Joe.
But, not that average, if you knew him. Like, did the average guy have night goggles? He'd bet not, so may-be he wasn't that average now, was he?
It was astounding how average the average American was, no pun intended. For example, take the Adams, the Fletcher and the Rockney families. They lived on three different streets, in three different colored raised ranches. Three different families, with the same floor plan! Could you believe it? And to top it, they had almost exactly the same daily schedule!
6 AM - the lights went on in the rooms over the garage. Gee, could that be where all the bedrooms were located?
6:15 - the lights went on at the back of the house. People getting their coffee pots started. If they had a dog, the dog was let out and back in then too.
6:30 The fathers left the house.
6:45 - Mothers leave the house with the kids in the car and dropped them off at the bus stops throughout the development.
7:00 - Busses come and pick up the kids. The whole development was empty really, except for one stay at home mother, a couple that worked from home, and two elderly couples. Seven people in a development of almost one hundred houses!
3:00 PM - Some mothers and one or two fathers came home.
3:15 PM - The busses started to bring the kids home from school.
6:30 PM The last of the parents came home. (Most residents were home by 9PM)
11:00PM - The security alarms were put on for the night.
He loved how average the residents of the development were. They were the average ones, not him! They were average Joe's and Jane's and Joe-ettes and Jane-etts!
Thinking on it always made him chuckle!
Like the Rockneys security system, for instance. They turned it off in the morning when they let the dog out. They turned it back on when the mother left for work at 6:45. Then the kids turned it off when they returned home from school, and usually forgot to turn it back on! The system was activated again at ten, which was a whole hour earlier than most of the other neighbors.
He'd spent a lot of time watching that house and their schedules. He'd use that one gap when the kids forgot to reactivate the alarm to enter the house at 8pm, when the family had all left to attend some school function. When he heard the alarm reactivate at ten that night, he had to cover his mouth to muffle his giggles. It just tickled his funny bone that the alarm to keep him out of the house was turned on with him in the house!
He waited in the attached garage until all the house noises stopped before he put on his night goggles and went up the stairs. The dog was sound asleep on the couch. It didn't make a sound as he made his way down the hallway.
First door on the left, coat closet. First door on the right, bathroom. Second door on the left, son's bedroom. Second door on the right, parent's bedroom. Door at the end of the hall, daughter's bedroom. He didn't know why, but parent's usually got the room next to the bathroom, sons got the smallest room and daughters got the end room.
He stood watching the Rockney girl sleep. Her blonde hair splayed across the pillow. Her breath was soft. She was just beautiful as she slept. Her foot stuck out from under the blanket, and he debated with himself for just a minute, if he should cover her foot? The room was cool, and she might catch a cold.
He walked into the room on cat feet. He covered her foot, then walked out of the room. He walked back up the hall, and then made a detour into the kitchen. He rummaged through the refrigerator, took a carton of take out Chinese food out, found a plastic spoon in the junk drawer - last drawer to the right of the sink - and walked back down the stairs. Then he waited in the garage for morning to come, and the alarm to be deactivated.
When it was, he left the garage with the take-out container and threw it into the garbage receptacle outside and in the back of the garage. Then he went home. He was tired from the night's adventures.
Sarah Rockney felt like someone was watching her as she lay in her bed. She tried to keep her breathing soft and natural while trying to listen for any sound that would give away the presence of an intruder.
She wished she had kept her swimming fish nightlight that her Uncle Nick had given to her when she was eight but she felt like such an immature baby having it in her room. She'd even seen her friend Maria snicker when she'd seen it.
Now Sarah wished that she hadn't paid Maria any attention. The room was as black as, as black as…..she struggled to think of a comparison.
As black as a velvet blanket wrapped around her head!
She could see nothing. She could hear nothing. Eventually Sarah fell back to sleep.
The alarm on her radio sounded what seemed only a short time later, and Sarah woke up still tired.
"You're moving slow today." Mrs. Rockney remarked to her daughter when Sarah eventually made it into the kitchen. Mr. Rockney had already left for work.
"I had trouble sleeping last night." She answered as she searched the refrigerator for last night's left overs of Chinese food. She thought it might make a good lunch for school that day. She couldn't find it, and grabbed a cup of yoghurt instead. Then she searched the junk drawer for a plastic spoon. There wasn't any.
"Sarah, you need more for your lunch than a cup of yoghurt!" her mother reproved.
"I would if people didn't finish everything in the house." Sarah mumbled.
As usual, this work of fiction is Copyright 2011 Mary Bennett