if you ask me, every corner house around here is suspect

baltimore has a reputation for at least a couple things. one is murder. another is, um, drugs. (ok, remind me why we’re living here again?) another (less scary one, depending one neighborhood you’re in) is corner bars. we have a lot of corner bars around here, esp where we live. there’s also corner stores. annnnd…corner funeral homes.

i pretty much forget about the funeral homes, b/c i pass certain ones so often. but when we’re taking walks thru the neighborhood, it dawns on me:

wait, those really *are* corner funeral homes. and ppl live next to them. like, they share walls. they share–gulp–basement walls. and you know what happens in the basement of funeral homes…

there are only four rows of bricks that separate us from our neighbors. i know this b/c we gutted our rowhouse before we moved in (it was a bonafide boarded-up crackhouse when we bought it, blood stains on the carpet, needles in the walls, the whole nine yards) and we got to know the anatomy of the average baltimore rowhouse pretty well. and i will be damned if there’s only a couple feet of brick separating me from the inner-workings of a funeral home. (i mean absolutely no offense to any funeral home owners or workers that might be reading this; i give huge props to you guys) i mean, geez, i have enough trouble going down to our basement as it is.

so here’s what got me thinking about all of this:

we’re out for a nice long city walk yesterday morning, and there was a corner funeral home just ahead of us. i tend to really scrutinize buildings and peer down alleys while we’re walking around, i don’t know why, i’m just curious, i guess, and i really zoomed in on this place.

we’re walking right next to it, and i see a basement window. i notice that it’s 100 percent open and also in the exact size and shape of a…yeah. a coffin. and there’s a fan perched in the open window. and it’s…it’s on. holly noticed it, too. and then we both held our breath and were like ewwwwwwwww……

“you couldn’t pay me enough to live next to a funeral home!” i said.

“um, yeah,” holly said.

“hell, you couldn’t pay me enough to live on the same block as one!”

we agreed on that one, too.

“actually, you couldn’t pay me enough to even live in a corner house around here, b/c, if you ask me, every single of ’em is suspect,” i surmised, shaking my head.

the homes around here, some of them, like ours, for example, have gone thru so many transformations. and so, in my opinion, any corner house in the city could have been a bar at one point, or some other business–including a funeral home.

i mean, a guy did OD in our backyard, apparently, a couple years before we moved in. (our neighbor told us; story for the book, so you’ll have to wait on the gory details 😉 ) but he didn’t kick it in the house, you see. i mean, maybe someone kicked it in our house in it’s almost 110-year history. but at least there wasn’t a morgue downstairs. i mean, at least i don’t think there was. b/c we’re not a corner house. unless funeral homes aren’t always in corner houses… aw hell, now i’ve freaked myself out.

“maybe that’s why the house next door to us is so weird and big,” holly just chimed in.

geez, babe. thanks for that. as if the peeping tom shut-in across the street didn’t freak me out enough…


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