On my way into town I pass, a couple of times a week, a house that continues to inspire in me the same inconsequential ramblings time and again.
It is time to share.
First, let me describe the house. It is an ordinary two or three bedroom terraced house in a row of other such houses, built perhaps in the 1930s or thereabouts. It has a small space at the front, which is concreted over and slightly unkempt. I imagine that there is a small space at the back, too, room for a washing line and an extension built some time ago to house one of those new-fangled indoor privies.
But it is no ordinary house.
Its windows are covered over by ventilated sheet metal. Its front door is not so much a door as a security extravaganza. It too is covered over by ventilated sheet metal. Given the number of times I have walked past this place and speculated about it, it’s surpising that I can’t remember its features very well – I suspect mind control – but I think it must have a satellite dish on the front, although not one that looks like it was installed by Sky. There is also a CCTV camera, I believe (although the mind control makes me unsure). I have never seen any sign of life within or around the place – not a sausage. They don’t even put up Christmas lights.
The overall impression is of a building in which Important, Secret things happen. Maybe it is where the real Men In Black have their Gloucester safehouse.
Yet if it is really somewhere that Important, Secret things happen, why make it so obvious? Surely the place should be nondescript and blend in with the surroundings, the better to hide from those who are not supposed to guess the Secret. And if it is supposed to be secure without necessarily being a great secret, why is it in some old, ordinary house? Why not a properly secure, modern building with guards and things?
Ah, but perhaps it is an elaborate double-bluff. We are meant to think it is the home of some terrified agoraphobic locking out all externality, or perhaps some deluded middle-aged man who likes to play at being an International Spy, or just a plain old paranoid nutter – and so we are not meant to give it a second thought. But really it genuinely is a site of Interesting Goings-On.
But, again, if it wanted to blend in then posing as the home of some nutter is hardly the best way to go about it. There are surely many less conspicuous ways to secure a property, and no doubt the Men In Black are well enough funded that they can afford something a bit less like a sore thumb.
Ultimately, I think this house probably is the home of some lonely, slightly mad person. Maybe it is rather boringly an empty house that has been thoroughly secured by a concerned owner against the possibility of squatters. Whoever it is, and whyever he* has created this extravaganza, I am thankful to him, for he has given me the opportunity to pass many a minute in pleasant, fanciful speculation.
(*Yes, I’m assuming “him”. Something about the macho locked-up-ness of the place says Man.)