Photography © Glenn Bowie


Upside Down

I wanted to get back at those across the street neighbors with all the signs plastered in their windows: Black Lives Matter, All Lives Matter, Women Count and quite a few more. None of that mattered to them. They mattered to them. I knew how their paltry brains worked. I’d had some truck with them over the years. Putting up those signs was a ruse. They wanted to keep the ‘riff raf’ from a home invasion while they were away sloshing wine over the Christmas period at their vacation house. I knew those two cold fish like they were laying on the ice chips at the fish market.

I’d been watched the comings and goings in their ugly newish gray car. Trying to get a grip on their away schedule. I figured they’d stick around for Christmas Eve and Christmas day, to keep the riff raf at bay. Then in the middle of the night their gray car would take them away, and I’d wake up to their empty driveway.

What could I do to scare the shit out of them? Obviously I couldn’t break in. They probably had hidden cameras under the eaves of the roof. These people knew about self-protection to a degree I couldn’t begin to fathom. Also, my wife Bree would stroke out if I tried anything and got caught. She’s beautiful, and the female of the neighbors is an ugly mug with periodic plastic surgery. She hates Bree. The few times I’ve seen that face up close, it was a whole different face. Unrecognizable.

I discussed this situation with my best friend Hal when he popped over today. He said any woman who goes to those lengths to change her appearance is hiding something really big. Hal decided she was an organ transfer mule.

“Nah,” I said.

“But look how many times with the face, and their roof getting re-done, and all the professional house painting every couple of years,” Hal said. “That’s big money to lay out. Money doesn’t grow on trees. It’s all very suspicious if you ask me.”

“I didn’t ask you.”

He was peering out my front window. “Look they have a copper weather vane on the new roof,” he said. He whistled.

I pushed in next to him to have a look. “Jeez, I missed that altogether. Those things are pricey. Then you have to pay a roofer for installation. Maybe the husband went up there and put it on.” I let the curtain drop.

“No possible way that out of shape guy could get up three rungs of a ladder,” said Hal.

“I suppose. You want a beer?”

“Well, it doesn’t make sense all that plastic face,” said Hal. His OCD was kicking in hard on this subject.

Then Bree came into the living room and Hal started acting like a dope. I knew she turned him on. She turned everyone on without even trying. There are women like that.

“Bree, what’s a great woman like you doing with this guy?” he said to her.

Ignoring this, she said, “You two are going to get in trouble. You do anything toward those people they will nail you to the cross.”

Hal said, “You mean like Jesus?”

“Not quite,” said Bree. “Like the criminals they hung upside down on the cross.”


Susan Isla Tepper is the author of 11 published books of fiction and poetry and 2 stage plays. He satirical Novel titled Office is out from Wilderness House Press.

Glenn Bowie is a published poet, lyricist and photographer from the Boston area. He also owns and operates an elevator company that supplies custom-built elevators for clients from New England to Hollywood. Author of two poetry and photograph collections (Under the Weight of Whispers and Into the Thorns and Honey) on Big Table Publishing, he donates all profits from his books to various charities for the homeless and local animal shelters.