The watcher

Noel, our good friend and neighbor, is an electronics buff. A 60yr old retiree and widower,  he’ll be in his basement, dawn to dusk, busy connecting this to that, making gadgets do things with remotes. And while he’s at it, if you’re close, you’ll hear small sounds. squeaks, grumphs, ahems, hmms, expletives coming from the base of his throat.

But this once, he went just a bit too far…

We were leaving on vacation and I asked Noel to keep an eye on our house. He came in, had a look around, spent some time in the basement and left. “Don’t worry, guv, you’re in good hands,” he assured us.

Fast forward to the present day, a few months after we were back from our frolic on the beach.

My DVD player was skipping scenes while playing some DVDs and ejecting some  while letting some others play right through. Like, just when Hugh Grant got in bed with Rene Zelweiger, the DVD ejaculated…er…ejected. It had a mind of its own. Got to the point where I was thinking of stomping on it with hobnailed boots.

I decided to seek Noel’s help first. Lets see how good the guy is, says I to Joan. I picked up the phone,” Hey Noel, if you aren’t busy, would you come and take a look at our DVD player? It’s doing mysterious things.”

“Buddy, you have to correctly connect the red, white and yellow jacks, you know. Check it out. Red, white and then yellow, right to left, ok? Right now, you have red in the center, pal.”

“Right! How did you guess? OK, got it. It works! Hope it won’t act funny again,” I said gratefully. I started moving the speakers..channel separation and all that, you know.

“Hey, don’t move speakers around, OK? Spoil the acoustics, buddy, relax..they are fine where they were”.

“Now wait a minute, how did you know I just moved the speakers around?”  consternation in my voice.

“Forgot to tell ya, guv. I fixed a webcam in your basement, just to be able to catch bad guys when you were away, skinny dippin’ in the sea. Just forgot to remove it after you were back”.

I was aghast,” You mean all this while you’ve been watching us in the basement? Why, Joan and I…often…when Andy is asleep…!!!! Noel, how could you!”

“Reeelax, old fellow. You’re offending me now, you know. Here I am, trying to  keep you safe and you call me a voyeur? By the way, you huff and puff too much. Just take it nice and slow, that’s what I used to do with Pierrette.. and she was putty in my hands, let me tell ya!”

I shook and flushed with embarrassment, “That’s it Noel, I have heard enough. Please come over and dismantle your gizmo immediately, you hear?”

“Okay, Okay..no one appreciates my selfless sacrifices anymore.”

With that, Noel lumbered up to our house and proceeded to remove the webcam, with a hurt look on his face.

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