The Squatter Who Turned Off the Water: A Fictional Tale 

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Buffy. Buffy had a charmed life with lots of friends in Muskalooska, Alabama. As the years went by, classmates changed schools. More and more of her friends started going off to boarding school. Not to worry though, Buffy was very friendly. Some would even say overly friendly. 

Buffy was also very smart. Finally, Buffy’s mother had to make a hard decision. While Buffy’s social life was on track, her school curriculum could not say the same. Buffy would have to go away to start high school at the young age 14 years and 2 weeks. 

Buffy and her mother visited several schools. “Isn’t it neat! We could stay here every time I visit you at school!” Buffy’s mother encouraged her the weekend they stayed in a submarine. Tatahootchie, Tennessee was famous for its submarines and set to be Buffy’s new home while she spent the next 4 years studying at Mayord. 

Then something happened. Buffy’s mother changed her mind. Buffy wasn’t going to have to go away to boarding school! But Buffy wasn’t going to get to stay in Muskalooska either. The whole family was moving to a yellow house far away. 

“This is your home to come home to,” Buffy’s mother explained as they drove down the streets lined with manicured lawns, white picket fences, and children playing. Banville, Kentucky looked like an episode of a black and white tv show to Buffy. Places just weren’t this picturesque. But they were. 

Year after year the world named Banville the best small town in America! The public high school was ranked a school of excellence! Every fall, right there down Main Avenue, on the lawn of Middle College, they had the Wonderful American Woodwinds Festival!

If life in Muskalooska had been charmed, life in Banville was picture perfect. Buffy went to peprallies, Friday night football games, dances. Her social life fell into place in her new life. What about her studies? That’s why they were there. Those were just fine too. More than fine. Buffy was in all the honors classes. She was doing great! 

As Buffy started to make her own little teenage life in Banville, Buffy’s mom started to do the same. Jerry was a shopkeep at the local China shop that Buffy’s mom frequented stocking their new home. Jerry was funny and eventually started to become Buffy’s mom’s friend. 

Jerry had had a colorful life before moving to Banville. Jerry thought it was cool to smoke pot. Jerry thought clothes were dumb. Jerry tried extra hard to be Buffy’s friend too. 

Jerry encouraged her to try pot. Go out late with boys she wasn’t allowed to date. Jerry wanted to hear all about how much fun Buffy was having doing things she wasn’t supposed to be doing. Good thing Buffy knew better. Barely 15, Buffy was still old enough to know this did not seem not right. 

After that, Buffy started to see how maybe Jerry wasn’t actually a very good friend to her or her mother. Good friends don’t get you in trouble. And whenever Jerry hung out with Buffy’s mom, there seemed to be trouble. Not long after that, Jerry started telling Buffy’s mom about all of the things she had encouraged Buffy to do except in Jerry’s version Buffy had done them. 
Yeah, Buffy crossed Jerry off her list real quick. Not long after, Jerry slithered off to cause trouble in other people’s lives. 

Time went on. Buffy graduated and went off to school. A few years later, Buffy’s younger brother did the same. All those years went by and no one missed Jerry. 

Alas, Buffy and brother were gone. There were no extra eyes to keep watch on Jerry’s tricks. There was only Buffy’s mother left to be tricked. That’s when Jerry decided it was time to sneak back into Buffy’s mom’s life. 

“It’s been so long!” Jerry proclaimed. “I’ve missed you so much!” Jerry lavished. “Why did we ever drift apart!” Jerry tested the waters with…

Not long after, Jerry laid out all the troubles that had come to Jerry’s life. Buffy’s mom was too nice, nostalgia got the best of her.

Right on top of all the troubles Jerry had laid out as a foundation, Jerry started building a scheme.

 Without any of her children to remind her how more often than not, it was Jerry who caused the trouble, Buffy’s mom opened her home to her old friend. After all, Jerry had made excellent points: the house was big and empty now. The utilities must be a lot on her own. Most of all, didn’t she just miss having a full home? 

Just like that, Jerry was in. 

Buffy didn’t hear so much from her mom anymore. She did start to hear a lot from Jerry. Jerry would point out the silence of Buffy’s mom and always tell Buffy that didn’t matter, Jerry would always welcome Buffy at the yellow house. Buffy didn’t really need Jerry to tell her that, the yellow house was her home after all. 

Jerry started to fill the house with more and more of Jerry’s things including trouble. Buffy’s mom started to feel a little cramped in the yellow house. Hadn’t the yellow house just felt too big and too empty for Buffy’s mom not that long ago? Buffy’s mom mentioned this to Jerry. Always looking out, Jerry knew how to fix it. Buffy’s mom should go on vacation. 

“Go visit Buffy” Jerry pushed. Jerry pushed and pushed and pushed until Jerry had pushed Buffy’s mom right on out of the house. “Stay gone as long as you like” Jerry told Buffy’s mom only the words Jerry chose sounded more like an order. Jerry could take care of the yellow house. Jerry loved the yellow house. Jerry loved the yellow house so much that Jerry wanted to buy it. But the yellow house wasn’t for sale. 

Then somehow without the yellow house being for sale, it became Jerry’s. A big, big box showed up at Buffy’s one day full of her mom’s clothes. 

Jerry’s things moved into Buffy’s mom’s room and Buffy’s mom’s things moved into the garage, all while Buffy’s mom was off visiting. 

Eventually, Buffy’s mom missed her yellow house. It was her yellow house after all. The home she had specially picked in the picturesque town that she had changed her whole life for her children years before. Buffy’s mom really missed the yellow house and all of her things. 

Buffy’s mom had stayed away too long and headed back to the yellow house. Jerry stayed in the yellow house.

Things were not different after Buffy’s mom’s long stay with her. The yellow house didn’t feel like home to Buffy’s mom anymore. “Maybe it just isn’t home anymore…” Jerry shared only it sounded more like a plot. 

Jerry used the same good points that had opened the door only this time in Jerry’s version they became burdens that Jerry could lift. The house was big and expensive. The house was not filled with Buffy’s family anymore. The house was full of Jerry’s things and Jerry’s family. It could become Jerry’s yellow house. 

Jerry was very good at explaining the plan to buy the yellow house. Jerry was not very good at actually producing money to buy the yellow house though and Jerry had been there so long already…wait, Jerry had been there so long. 

Jerry had been there for 2 years without buying the house. And now that we were thinking about things, Buffy’s mom had asked to come back to the yellow house and been turned away by Jerry even for just a weekend. 

Then Jerry ruined the Buffy family Christmas. All warm on Christmas Eve in the yellow house, Jerry watched the Jerry family trim the tree while Jerry picked up the phone and cancelled Buffy’s family rental in the mountains. Unlike all the times Jerry had told many things to many people to spread trouble, Jerry didn’t tell anyone about this trouble leaving it as a surprise for Buffy’s mom when she went to get the keys. 

That was it. Jerry had to go! But, Jerry wouldn’t leave. Mr. Mudd, the very best attorney in Banville, sent Jerry a letter. “You must go!” It said. “Leave the yellow house!” It said. “You have 30 days” it warned. 

The mailman came, he put the letter in the mailbox and left. The 30 days came but unlike the mailmen, Jerry never left. 

Grandmother Buffy asked Buffy to please help her mother. Go to the yellow house, take back the yellow house. Rid us all of Jerry. Buffy was a good girl. She got in the car and drove all day from Muskalooska to Banville, straight to the yellow house. It was still big. Still filled with Jerry’s things. Still had Jerry guarding the door. There was no room for Buffy. Come back tomorrow.

Mr. Mudd called the next day. Jerry had an attorney too, though not as good as Mr. Mudd. Jerry’s attorney had a lot of rules to relay. Buffy wasn’t allowed in the house. Buffy cannot just come to the house. Buffy will not be let in the house. Jerry needed more time. Two years and 30 days was not enough time to move! Jerry needed more notice! At the very least, 2 more weeks. 

No.

Allied with the most savvy realtor in town, who just happened to be Mrs. Mudd, Buffy returned to the house on day 34. There was no more time. 2 years and 34 days was plenty of time. The yellow house was being sold and not to Jerry. 

Somehow Jerry was still surprised, but not as surprised as Buffy’s mom had been when she didn’t have a cabin on Christmas Eve. 

Jerry needed 20 days now, not 2 weeks. Jerry never said Buffy couldn’t be there, Jerry had always asked Buffy to stay there even when Buffy’s mom didn’t. Jerry definitely had never even seen the missing bench Buffy searched the house for. Jerry proved it by helping in the search.  

It didn’t matter. Buffy may have been away, but she was back now and she still remembered Jerry’s tricks. Buffy was firm. Buffy said no. Buffy was moving back into the yellow house. Mostly, Buffy had no intentions of disobeying her grandmother. 

Jerry left taking all of Buffy’s family things, yet still had left lots of Jerry things. Jerry came back to the yellow house again and again with and without asking Buffy. When Buffy got mad, the bench Jerry had never even seen before magically showed up in Jerry’s truck. Couldn’t Jerry come return it? 

And Jerry did. Jerry put the prodigal bench right in the living room when Buffy wasn’t home. Buffy started being more careful about how long she was away from the yellow house after that and made an appointment to have the locks changed. Even on her guard, Jerry still managed sneak past Buffy for a very big, unpleasant surprise. 

To be continued with edits….