Are you a good judge of other people’s happiness? Tell us about a time you were spot on despite external hints to the contrary (or, alternatively, about a time you were dead wrong).
When I was growing up on 52nd Ave just outside of Seattle, Felix Gill was a neighbor of mine.
Felix was, I thought then, a very old man, in reality he was probably in his mid-thirties. It was the gray hair that made him look old when I think about it, but you know how it is when you’re ten years old.
Anyone over the age of 18 is ancient.
The not really old Felix Gill had short hair and wore short sleeved shirts and when he came home from work his billions of kids (I’d never seen such a big family before) would rush out to the driveway to meet him.
They always looked glad to see him, so were the neighbors. They’d wave when he drove by their houses and he always said “Ma’am and Sir “ when he talked to them.
Felix Gill was a solid guy, he didn’t drink or smoke or swear like the rest of the Dads on 52nd. He mowed his lawn and dutifully carried the groceries from his wife’s car into their home and not only did he take his garbage cans to the curb he brought them in right away and he hosed them down when they were empty.
I thought Felix was okay.
He coached his kids various sports teams and when he wasn’t doing that he was teaching one of his kids how to ride their bikes.
Felix was just Felix. He talked kind of slow and he was predictable. One of his kids told me his favorite tv show was the Six Million Dollar Man.
One day I was home from school early- I think I’d been to the dentist.
I decided to take my puppy out for a walk until my friends got home from school.
And then I saw Felix driving up the street.
I waved and he pulled over, stopped his car and rolled his window down.
“Hello Mr. Gill.”
“Hello.” he said pleasantly enough. “Say. I was going to ask. Is that puppy yours?”
I nodded. “Yeah we just got him, his name is-”
“I don’t care what his name is Felix Gill said. “Because if I see it outside- I don’t care if it’s in your yard or on the end of a leash, I’ll blow it’s head off and I’ll do the same to you. Do you understand? Keep that dog out of my sight.”
And then Felix Gill drove the rest of the way home and got out of his car. He turned and waved to me and then walked into his house.
Just like always.
Two years later The Gill Family moved out of their house.
When they drove away I was standing on the corner with a few other kids and I saw Felix. He saw me and my now full grown dog.
The he rolled his window down, he pointed his finger right at me like it was a gun and mimed pulling the trigger.
I don’t know what happened to Felix Gill, but about 20 years ago I saw one of his daughters on TV.
She was being charged with the murder of her stepdaughter.
Later we heard she had even killed the Stepdaughter’s dog at least a week before she murdered the girl.
Everyone in the neighborhood was shocked. A few people even cried. How could someone like that have been related to good old Felix Gill?
I wasn’t shocked. I just wondered though…
if it was his daughter who killed the dog.
I still wonder about that dog.