Crime Scene

Posted on by Dave Woodruff

You could call Martin a criminal, You could say that. But he was a bit more than that. Yes he did enter the homes of strangers uninvited. Yes he did drive his late model car through neighborhoods looking for specific homes that would suit his specific needs. Yes he did pick locks or seek out unlocked doors and windows, and yes, he entered other peoples homes while they weren’t there and committed his offense. But in his mind, he was actually, reversing offense.

Martin grew up in a small town, with an immaculate lawn, with a perfect house and his bed made daily with hospital corners. It would be easy to call Martin a clean freak, just as it would be easy to call him a criminal, but that wouldn’t really be describing the situation.

Martin worked as a neonatal biochemist. It suited his regimented and particular nature. He performed tests, mostly devised to determine if an unborn child was ready to be delivered. His lab space was a particularly clean and tidy. His instruments and devices were neatly and elegantly labeled. This annoyed some of the other the technicians, but Martin had a distinct sense for making things nice. He couldn't fathom why some people couldn't take the time to make their space perfect. After all, you live there, how could you not want to feel good in the place you live?

On the next Friday, he is invited to a co-workers house for a housewarming party. They’re not actually friends, but it’s probably one of those type of parties where everyone gets invited. That’s always the best way to get a lot of gifts. He shows up and immediately thinks he should have given this specific co-worker a book about decorating. The curtains don’t match the carpet, the carpet doesn’t coordinate with the sofa. Heinous artwork likely outcast from multiple garage sales hang unevenly on the buttery yellow walls. And there’s no sense in bringing up the tragedy of the olive green kitchen decor. He mingles through the party, taking mental notes on an imagined spiral notebook, complete with color swatches, drawings and a shopping list.

Martin doesn’t really need to work, his great Aunt Gwendolyn left him untold thousands of dollars in an inheritance. She was beyond eccentric, probably insane, but she was always fascinated and amused by his outlandish and unusual tendencies. She left nothing else to other relatives, stating they would use it for too many things they needed, and the world could use a lot more unnecessary things. Her will only instructed him to use the money only for “The most outlandish intentions.” Until now, he hasn’t used it for much at all. 

A few days later Martin is sitting back in the house of the party. The colors are more garish, the furniture just a step more unpleasant. The walls seems to pulse as if they are breathing in and out. It’s as if every ghastly aspect of the house has come to life and is somehow aware of Martin’s presence. He stands to assess his situation and realizes he’s wearing a suit of armor and medieval chain mail. At his feet lie a shield and a sword, he doesn’t remember bringing them, but he does know, they belong to him.

This is how dreams are. Martin spends the next dream hours or two, which is in truth, only a few moments slaying the grotesque decor from the home. He awakes to a feeling of vigor and purpose. The last remnants of unsightly furnishings have been vanquished and the evil that overwhelmed the could-be kingdom was slain. At least in his dreams. A victory in the realm of fantasy should at least count for something he thought. It’s kinda like Einstein. Until many of his theories were proved, he was just some guy with a bad haircut and fanciful ideas.

A week or so later, Martin overhears from a group in the lunchroom, the couple who threw the party in the ugly house, we going to take a vacation to Canada. He imagines himself battering down their door with a giant ram and forcing his way in, to free their home from its own visual nightmare. Martin is smarter than most, he recalls the code to gain entry to the garage, no forced entry will be necessary. But there will be violence, and a hellacious unfurling of coordinated drapes and posh accessories.

Martin isn’t on hand as the couple arrive at their fully refurbished and superbly redesigned home. At first they think they’ve walked into a museum, everything is perfect and impeccably coordinated. They never find out how they became the lucky victims of a very odd reality show, or if that’s what it even is. Martin imagines their faces awash with glee and disbelief as their unknown design fantasies are brought to life. He’s not only a Knight of design, but a fairy godmother in one.

Martin befriends a travel agent and uses his connection to survey all the lands searching out houses in need of a dip in the waters of taste. You could call Martin the Robin Hood of style, You could say that, He robs people of their bad taste and in turn delivers a coordinated, perfectly matching, two to four bedroom castle with den and attached garage. All free of charge and free from the tyranny of ugly.