Beyond Normal: The Next Door Neighbor

I have had many things happen in my life that I consider beyond normal, and by beyond normal I mean things that don’t happen to hardly anyone ever! I seem to have had more than the average amount of these types incidents happen around me, or to me or my friends. I have had a pretty full and sometimes colorful life but I grew up a fairly well-grounded child even though I came from a household that was pretty dysfunctional in many ways so there wasn’t many good reasons for anyone in it to be well grounded but I did manage to maintain my base in reality as well or better than most anyone I know. The story I am going to tell here is about one of the strangest events in my life and I think it would qualify as really a strange event in anyone’s life.  I will not bore you with all the little details of my life that were dysfunctional as they don’t play a part in this bizarre story as it had nothing to do with my dysfunctional family. This one incident is basically sometimes you are just at the wrong place at the wrong time. I didn’t have anything to do with the way this strange and dangerous set of events, they just happened. In 1984 I had a boyfriend that I had been going out with for over three years and for most of our relationship I went over to his house in the evenings, because I lived with a roommate in a rented house and my boyfriend was buying the house he lived in so I guess he thought I should come to his house since he was buying his though in retrospect I realize it was because he was not willing to inconvenience himself by staying at my house when he saw himself in the superior position of buying his own house but it took me until after our relationship had ended to figure out his motivations, better late than never as “they” say. For the whole time I dated Greg he had a neighbor that lived across the street who he had become friends with, his name was Bill and Greg said that he had met him the year before I started dating him when he first moved into the house he was buying. I met Bill many times throughout the three years I dated Greg since he lived right across the street and Greg usually invited him over to his house when Greg had small parties. Bill also invited Greg and I over to his house occasionally when he had friends from the place he worked at come over for barbeques or other occasions. He never drank or did any drugs and he had basically admitted to me that he was an alcoholic which was why he didn’t drink and that made sense to me and I never questioned it. There were several times through the years when Greg and I were fighting he would come over and visit me the next day while I was still at Greg’s house after Greg had gone to work when he knew we were fighting and he was very understanding and helpful when I needed to talk about those things. There were a couple of times that Greg flew back east to where his family lived for a week and I stayed at his house to “baby sit” it that Bill would come over to visit with me in the evenings and I trusted him and thought of him as a good friend. He had been given key to Greg’s house so Greg could call him and have him check on it when he and I were gone for the weekend and also to check on the place the time Greg and I went to Mexico for a couple of months. He had proved himself to be honest and trustworthy by all of the times I was around him for three years I knew him, both at Greg’s house and when we had been invited over to Bill’s house for the evening. All of Greg’s friends felt the same way about Bill as I did. During the summer of 1984 Bill started drinking, but he didn’t seem to be out of control so there didn’t seem to be any reason to be concerned. Then one evening when I was over at Greg’s house he got a phone call from Bill telling him that he had been arrested for threatening a co-worker’s girlfriend and he asked Greg to go over to his house, Greg also had a key to his house, and take care of his dog and cat until he got out of jail. We just assumed that it was a minor issue and we took care of his dog and cat until he was released from jail the next day. A day later I was over at another friend and his wife’s house and they knew Bill because he used to work with one of them a few years earlier and they told me they heard that the reason Bill had been arrested was that Bill had threatened a co-workers girlfriend with a knife because she was taking the ex-boyfriend, who worked with Bill, to court to sue him for child support for her child she had just had. Bill had been told by his friend he worked with that the gal was lying and it was not his child and she was just trying to ruin his marriage because he had spurned her attentions. They also told me one of the main reasons they heard Bill was arrested was because he had an arrest record for raping someone several years ago and was on the official sex offender’s registry and the reason he was an ex-alcoholic is that it was a condition for his not being in jail. When I heard that my first thought was I don’t want to have anything to do with someone who had raped someone. I told this to Greg and he told me I was overreacting. I listened to the reasons he gave me for not believing that Bill was dangerous and that I was being paranoid so I went against my first reaction and continued being a friend to Bill when I was visiting Greg. About a month later he was set to go to trial for the crime of attacking the co-worker’s girlfriend and he expected to lose he said because it was his word against hers and he had a record. He said he gave his dog and cat to a friend, and he rented his house out to two friends of Greg’s so they would take care of it while he served however much time he thought he would be sentenced to and Greg let Bill rent his spare room from him while he was awaiting the court date. Two nights before the court date Bill called me up and asked if I would go out to dinner with him, sort of a last dinner before he went to jail and he wanted to buy me a nice dinner at the place of my choice for being such a good friend. Well I didn’t feel right in refusing him so I suggested we go to a place I really liked and he asked if I could come over and pick him up for dinner at Greg’s house where he was staying. I went over there and Greg wasn’t home from work yet, it was summertime and he frequently had to work late, so I picked Bill up and we went to a very nice restaurant that I really like next to a river and had a very good dinner. After dinner Bill asked if we could drive to a local park that has a nice view of the city on our way home. I said yes and we went there and he told me he was very scared of going to jail while we were parked there looking at the stars. I sympathized with him and we had a pleasant conversation. He also told me that he was worried about his dog and cat and I told him that if he did get sentenced to jail time I would find a good home for them. I drove us both back to my boyfriend’s house and dropped him off and went home. The evening was his last evening before he was to go to court and at the house he owned and had rented to the couple that were friends of Greg’s they rented a Pay Per View Fight at that house and Greg, Bill and Larry and Debbie (the couple that had rented Bill’s house) had small party which I didn’t attend because I was not a big fight fan and I had to go to work at 6 am the next morning. The next day I was called at work at 4 pm just before I went home by Greg and he asked me to come by as soon as I got off work. He sounded pretty serious so I didn’t ask any questions I just went over to Greg’s house. When I walked in Greg was sitting there with Larry and Debbie, the ones who had rented Bill’s house. Greg hugged me and said “Bill killed himself”. I immediately started crying and didn’t ask any questions, I suppose I just assumed he committed suicide when faced with going to jail. Then after I calmed down I asked Greg what happened. He told me that during the “fight” party at Bill’s house across the street Bill had left the house saying he needed to go get something from over at Greg’s house where he was staying. Not very much after that Greg said the police came to Bill’s house and knocked on the door and when he answered the door they asked where Bill was. Greg told them that Bill was across the street at his house, they asked him if it was alright if they went over there to talk to him. Larry told them he would go over and get Bill and bring him over to his own house so they let him walk over there. Larry then said as soon as he walked in the door Bill pulled a gun on him and told him to leave and Larry left. When Larry went back into “Bill’s” house, the one that he was renting that the police were at and told that to the police they told everyone to stay where they were and went across the street to Greg’s house. Apparently as soon as the police walked up and knocked on the door they heard the sound of a gun being cocked and backed off. They went back over to Bill’s house where Greg, Larry and Debbie were and told them what had just occurred. They then went outside to discuss the next course of action. For some very stupid reason Greg got it in his head that he needed to save Bill and went over to his house while the police weren’t watching him and entered his house. He told me that Bill then held the gun he had to his head and told Greg if he got any closer he would shoot himself. So for the next three hours, it was about 3 in the morning by this time, Greg tried to talk Bill into giving himself up to no avail. So he then suggested at 6 or so in the morning that they drive over to the local drug treatment facility that Bill had been treated at many years earlier so he could talk to the counselor’s there. So apparently Bill said yes and Greg drove his car there with Bill sitting in the passenger seat with a gun to his head for the entire 20 minute drive. When Greg drove into the parking lot for the place he could see SWAT team guys hiding around the side of the building. After he parked his car he told Bill they needed to get out of the car and he then attempted to wrestle the gun out of Bill’s hands which only ended in a shot being fired into the floor of his car before Bill wrestled his hands free and told Greg to get out of the car. Greg did as he was told as he found out Bill was a lot stronger than he was. Greg then walked over to the SWAT team guys to tell them not to shoot Bill and they promptly grabbed him and handcuffed him to a pole at the side of the building so he couldn’t put himself in danger anymore. They then walked to Greg’s car where Bill was sitting next to it with the gun to his head to try and negotiate. As soon as one of the men got near Bill he pulled the trigger and shot himself dead. I was in sort of a state of shock when I heard these events told to me. We all were. We turned on the local news at 11:00 and the whole suicide was caught in its “entire splendor” by the local news media. Greg, Larry, Debbie and I were really depressed by the whole affair and thought the police had pushed Bill to suicide. The next day we all found out that the reason the police had come to talk to Bill the night before he was to appear in court was because two nights before, the night before I went out to dinner with him, he was a suspect in an incident where a local prostitute had been picked up by a guy driving a blue 1969 Camaro with a fuzzy dashboard (the exact description of Bill’s car which would explain why he wanted me to drive when I went over to Greg’s house to go out to dinner with him) and she had been tied to a tree and her mouth taped with duct tape before she was raped by the man. Since he knew he had done this crime he was ready for the police to come visiting on the night they did. After all of the facts came out I didn’t feel sorry for Bill, but I felt I was either extremely lucky, or had a guardian of a higher power, or that Bill really respected me for all the good things he told me I had always done for him and everyone else but I have got to say that even if I am a great person I never want to count on that saving my life ever again. I really feel that there for the grace of “me being a good person” I might not be here today and I never ever want to count on that even if it may have been the only reason Bill did not harm me. From there on out I always go with my “gut” feeling no matter what anyone else tells me. The eeriest thing about this event was after Bill had killed himself I was cleaning out the bedroom he had been staying in at Greg’s house and underneath the mattress I found a handwritten list, which had on it “Lye, duct tape, garbage bags, shovel, ropes” and we never ever found the cat and dog that Bill had told me he was worried about their well-being, he may have given them away but I don’t know who it would have been to. Kind of creepy and kind of a horror story!

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