Virginia and the Airbnb

 Just an excerpt from a short story I've been working on...

Photo by britt gaiser on Unsplash
The sound of demolition woke Virginia up from her coveted sleep. She knew what it was instantly because it was the same noise that had disrupted her sleep the day before that. And the day before that, for that matter.  The culprits were the power couple who recently bought the house next door. The old Moon house was a beautiful relic of a bygone era that had fallen into disrepair since Virginia’s neighbor, Claude had passed on and his wife, her longtime friend, Gertie had been moved to assisted living by their kids. The house had been initially purchased, then foreclosed on and finally auctioned off to prevent the neighborhood from going too much further downhill.  

That’s where the couple currently bulldozing Virginia’s sound sleep came into the picture. 

Yanda and Mitchell bought the Moon House at auction. That’s right. Yanda. Not Manda. Yanda. The couple bought the declining old home, feigning love of the character and raving about its “good bones”, only to begin knocking things down with reckless abandon to create clean lines and to add shiplap, no doubt. Lucy at the bank had told Virginia that Yanda was documenting the carnage on her Instagram page and YouTube channel.  What those were, Virginia was only vaguely aware. She was certainly not going to watch it.  

Why hadn’t they just been honest, they wanted a completely different house. They did not want to preserve the neighborhood. 

The couple had come over shortly after the purchase to introduce themselves. They caught Virginia completely off guard, bearing gifts of seed packets and a necklace with leaves crammed into the pendant. 

It was called a terrarium necklace. Yanda made terrarium necklaces. She did this in the free time she had when she wasn't extracting character out of perfectly lovely homes.

Teeny tiny plants in teeny tiny jars, hung around necks. It appalled her almost as much as when the funeral director asked her if she would like to put some of her beloved husband, Charles’s ashes in a small vial and wear it around her neck. Tiny plants. Dead husband’s ashes. Neither appealed to her as jewelry. 

Yanda and Mitchell had explained they were remodeling the Moon House to serve as a destination vacation for families. They were going to rent it out to visitors and plant gardens so the families could have a real vacation experience in nature and experience self-sustainability. It was called agritourism or something.  Funny, when Virginia was growing up on her family farm, such activities were called, ‘not dying’ and now people pay to experience it apparently.

“Why am I not dead yet?” This was a question Virginia often asked herself when confronted with the ridiculousness of anything new. 

The couple were going to live in a 400 square foot tiny home in the back of the property. The hilarity of them buying a 3000 square foot home only to live in 400 square feet in what could only be described as a shed. “Maybe the shed would fit inside one of Yanda’s terrarium necklaces,” Virginia thought. 

Virginia knew right away that so much about her life was offensive to the young couple. They came over, tried to engage her in didn’t take long for the long, judgemental pauses to happen after almost everything Virginia said.  She wasn’t sure what it was she had first said that made Yanda draw in a dramatic gulp of air, but rather than tempering her thoughts, Virginia made a game out of trying to shock Yanda.  She’d made a jar in her kitchen and would award herself one dollar for every time she shocked the young couple. She was making a small fortune for herself with that jar. 

Mitchell and Yanda were crunchy and she had no interest in recycling or saving the planet or being self-sustaining in any way. They were Vegans. Vegans were not to be trusted. 

Recently Virginia had grabbed a Sharpie and written the word “meat” on the side of her paper bags from the grocery store before slow-walking them into her house, label side facing the Moon house.  Once she got into the house, she awarded herself $5 to the ‘shock Yanda’ jar. 

With the demolition noises making going back to sleep impossible, Virginia reluctantly got out of bed and got dressed. She would make the walk over to their house again today to see why they had to start working so early. This was becoming a daily occurrence? Did they not understand how precious sleep was to an aging woman? 

Virginia took 20 minutes to apply her makeup and fix her hair. She changed out of her house coat and into a smart looking pair of summer pants and button up floral shirt. She grabbed a big floppy hat to keep the sun off of her scalp. She was leaving her room, when the black bag that held her mother’s beloved Swears and Wells fur coat caught her eye. On an evil whim, she unzipped the bag, grabbed the politically incorrect garment made of muskrats and marched defiantly out to speak with her neighbors.

Yanda’ eyes bugged out of her head the moment she caught sight of Virginia making a beeline for their backyard in her fur coat. Maybe it was because it was 87 degrees outside. Or maybe because it was made of real animals. Regardless = creating a reaction was exactly what Virginia was going for. Crazy old lady or heartless old biddy - whatever Yanda thought exactly was fine, it established the fact that they were not going to be friends. 


Popular Posts