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Bob’s Bungalow

The house across the street.

By DamilolaPublished 3 years ago 9 min read
Bob’s Bungalow
Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash


A pungent smell of lemon mixed with herbs, shallow frequent breaths and awkward whistles of I’ve just seen a face — one of the fastest songs by the beetles. Those are the three main hints of his approach. He walks with such heavy strides, shifting his weight awkwardly between one foot to the other. But even at that, his presence still creeps up on me, like a blood-curling ghost with sharp fangs.

He is tall, lanky, and has an addiction to cream shirts and blue shorts. Not one crease, not even the tiniest one, exists on any of his perfectly ironed clothes. His glasses sit right in the middle, on the bridge of his nose and his moustache is quite sparse, the tips curled at a painfully specific angle. He has an oval face, tired eyes with heavy bags and an unmistakable scar on the left side of his chin.

That’s Bob.

At least in the way I know him.

But the neighbours would completely disagree with this depiction. They would say Bob, a middle-aged well-known resident of this town is the sweetest creature you’d ever meet. Diabetically sweet. He is the most delightful person and a gift to the town. The women would call him helpful and the kids love him for his generosity. His charming wide smile which reveals a set of immaculate white teeth, his signature wave and his charitable contributions to many projects the town has undertaken over the years has created a near-perfect reputation for him. Quiet, polite and generous. He doesn’t bother anyone. That’s their Bob.

I sit right at the corner, in front of the window sill, on a collapsible wooden desk in one of the 4 bedrooms in Bob’s bungalow. The biggest part of his inheritance — the charming 4 bedroom house, was passed down from his father, a successful realtor, who died tragically in a car accident a few years back. Whilst the bungalow itself is incredibly rich in character and history, the initial cabin decor feel has been stripped down into a very simple look, giving the place a hospital feel, reminiscent of Bob’s deceptively simple character.

In the tiny room where I spend all my days, there are only but a few items. Bob’s favourite vintage wooden seat, a small bookshelf containing only books about baking and a large roll of toilet paper. The books are old editions of his baking collection and the large rolls of toilet paper are replaced every night. The lights are always off, the large bay windows are always open and the curtains are to no purpose. You would also never find anything out of place, as the house is usually sparkling clean and the majority of the space goes unused, with the exception of a carefully camouflaged basement where Bob spends his nights, alone.

Bob has never been married. A lot of his female neighbours would constantly flirt with him, call him over for non-existent odd jobs or even ask themselves over. This is largely due to his very jovial nature and the fact that he is after all, very well off. He had inherited a large sum of money from his father, enough to live the rest of his life pursuing his many hobbies rather than working. Despite their many advances, Bob would politely turn them down with a wry smile, carefully changing the subject each time.

Throughout the years of living with Bob, he has never invited anyone into the house. Handymen have come in and out over the years, but he takes great care to restrict their visits to just one room — the living room, where he barely spends any time. As a DIY fanatic, he had learnt the majority of skills needed for the house to function with little to no help required. He can plumb, take care of his garden and fix any electrical faults. And the noises from his basement recently, shows he might be adding some building and woodwork skills to his resume. A true man of routine, at exactly 7 a.m., he’d wake up and mow the lawn despite having done so the previous day. This would be in time to say hello to the family living across the street, the Warrens.

The Warrens

You see, I know quite a lot about the Warrens because I sit facing their semi-detached house day and night. They moved in about 5 years ago, right around the time I came into being. A family of 4, they are quite friendly and the quintessential successful tight knit family. They have an older son named Brandon, who has recently moved to college, and six-year-old Lilly, who was a baby at the time of their arrival. They are quiet and good-natured.

The neighbourhood kids board the school buses at 7:15, which leaves their parents an opportunity to exchange pleasantries with the other neighbours going about their morning business, including Bob. In fact, the ever so jovial Bob is incredibly excited to do this every morning with the Warrens, and had not missed one day of it for the past 5 years. After mowing the lawn, he would come in and have his morning coffee. He would then sit on his rocking chair, right in front of the TV, and watch the morning news.

His afternoon routine consists of either of two things. Baking, something he picked up a few years ago, or looking up recipes on how to make pink cupcakes with sparkles. Occasionally there would be a search on ponytails, hairbrushes and a quick lesson about psychology. But there was barely any correlation in his very random and diverse interests, at least not in the beginning.

At first, I never quite understood the motive behind his thorough research on cupcake recipes, as he’d spend the day baking over and over again. And even though one might assume they are sweet accompaniments to his black afternoon coffee, all of the cupcakes end up in the bin. Instead, he would reach for a single cracker and eat slowly. Recently, however, the searches have gotten a lot worse and I have caught quite a few deadly viruses from some of the strange websites Bob had visited. And as opposed to twice a day, the toilet roll in the room is now changed at least 4 times a day.

In addition to his nightly visits to these websites, and his toilet roll obsession, I have been positioned on more days than usual to watch the Warrens’ semi-detached house. Especially the heavily decorated pink room with a white mini dressing table where Lilly listens to her lullabies every night before bed.

Bob would come back every morning after his usual gardening, and check on what I had captured the previous night. He would play it back over and over and over again. Obsessively and neurotically. With sweaty hands and periodic sighs, he would observe every single detail and every frame, zooming into things like hairbrushes, Lilly’s long ginger hair or even the freckles on her face. Sometimes he’d watch for hours, other times he’d increase the speed of the long footage, until he finally gets to his favourite part, Lilly’s morning routine. And when that’s not the case, he would observe the Warrens’ every move. Watching TV, cooking and other mundane tasks that would be boring to the average person. He has also watched a few arguments over the years, munching on popcorn as he asked rhetorical questions or performed a monologue to mock the situation.

For five long years, he has done this unfailingly, and managed to hide his antics behind a huge wall of convivality.

The unsuspecting Warrens, unaware of the surveillance on them would leave their curtains open especially on long summer nights. And even on winter nights, the tiny gaps between the curtains would leave Bob squinting at the screen for hours trying to make out all the details. They would go about their daily business, completely unaware, stopping every morning to greet their sweet neighbour with a big smile on their faces. And Bob would of course say hello to Lilly, in a high pitched voice, asking if she had slept well. A few days ago they had asked if Bob was affected by the power outage. He offered himself, conveniently, as a skilled and crafty electrician, to check for the problem in their home, with a cupcake in hand and a very sweet and wide smile to match. He was there till nightfall.


A pink hairbrush, a handcuff, a machete, and a shovel. In addition to the increase in surveillance, which is now focused on those going in and out of the Warrens’ house, the four items that arrived on Bob’s doorsteps yesterday tops the list of his strange behaviours.

Just last week, a man had come over to the house and moved some dusty pieces of furniture and planks of wood from the basement into his van. As he approached the room in which I am situated, I wondered if he’d stop by and find my placement odd. Perhaps I’d catch his curiosity, perhaps he’d be tempted to look. But he didn’t. He simply went past me, and eventually left.

Today is Saturday and Bob has ditched his usual morning routine, choosing to spend the better part of it perfecting the sprinkles on a tray of pink cupcakes. Covered in icing, buttercream, macaroons and sprinkles, they are the best looking cupcakes he has made yet.

He had spent the rest of the afternoon carefully watching the Warrens’ residence until Lilly was left alone by the family’s on and off babysitter for a few minutes, as she played joyfully in the front yard. Once the older woman disappeared into the house, Bob dashed out of the room in an instant. And from the window, I saw him beckon to Lilly, hastily, with a cupcake in hand. The young child who is visibly excited at the sugary treat, is now running over to Bob’s bungalow, into his waiting arms and bright smile.

The street is quiet, and no one can see me, or the tiny light at the top of my screen. All they can see is a four-cornered useless piece of junk, with a pear tree as its wallpaper.


About the Creator


poet, wanderer, writer.

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  • Test3 months ago

    Bob's Bungalow: A facade of charm hides unsettling obsessions.

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