Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Off the Top of My Head

My quarter.  My hail.
Hail is an itinerant menace in North Texas, and consequently, roofers are atop my head today.  While I’m grateful for their expertise and daring, the constant banging jars my synaptic transmission.  From a writer’s perspective, this wouldn’t seem to inspire creative thoughts. 

Yet, the search for Advil has encouraged my mental gears to ka-chug on the possibilities.   
As my fingers bounce off the keyboard with every new thud, I realize, they can see inside the windows of second floors for blocks.  Add a decent set of binoculars, and the secrets of an entire neighborhood lay naked.  With a digital camera, roofers can acquire proof in hi-res.

Photo by CA Hairy Bear

The lady with the poodles, is she noon-trysting with a coworker?  The man who fires up the leaf blower at dawn, is he rolling a corpse in the shower curtain? Or the biddy who grouches at the kids, is she slipping more arsenic into her husband’s Cream of Wheat?

Happens every day.  Somewhere. 

Photo by June Yarham

Maybe roofers have a blackmail syndicate that extracts huge amounts of cash from the unwitting (does that = witless?) and spied-upon.  The daytime hammer job is merely a cover for the covert activity afoot.  Snap a few pics and rake in a pile of unmarked Ben Franklins.  Makes even a 100+ degree day worth the time on #30 black felt.   

Photo by Chuck Coker
















But why stop at extortion?  With such a vantage point, an enterprising type could case the entire street.  Who drives the latest Beamer?  Who drips in gold and diamonds?  Who owns the bleeding-edge tech?

Photo by Brice Canonne
It’d be too risky for a roofer to burgle from the same streets on which he tacked down the Weathered Wood shingles.  Too many security cameras.  Maybe the poodle lady was more observant than she appeared.  So maybe the syndicate exchanges this information between the gang--, er roofing parties, a la Strangers on a Train.

You take my street.  I’ll take yours.

On my short street alone, roofers have replaced over two dozen house tops in the last three months.  Multiply that with all the streets in all the towns battered by the monster hail storm of ’14, and opportunity for wealth-fleecing abounds.

I hope someone enterprising takes advantage of this emerging market sector.  Even I’m drawn to the lucrative nature of the proposition. I'd make a great ringleader.  Myers-Briggs * says so.  But, I would need a stealthy partner to make this work.  Someone lithe, artful, and most importantly, not afraid of heights.


Helen Hanson works in the high-tech sector, which informs her geeky thrillers. According to The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, she wrote # 1 bestselling technothriller, 3 LIES, with “an artistry that is hard to deny.”  * According to Myers-Briggs, she is an ENTJ.

Currently, she’s writing a sequel to 3 LIES. You can find her thrillers in the usual places. And you can find her at HelenHanson.com coddling a goblet of red.

5 comments :

Eliza Cross said...

Great piece. With your personality profile and vivid imagination, I think you'd make an excellent ringleader for a gang of reconnoitering, ransacking roofers!

Peter Hogenkamp said...

If I were your husband, I would sleep with one eye open. Great post!

Helen Hanson said...

Eliza, I think I would enjoy the task. Not too crazy about working nights, though . . .

Helen Hanson said...

He's a bit suspicious when I insist he take a particular plate, Peter. Silly man.

Sue Coletta said...

I love it! Alas, I'm no good with heights either so I can't help you out. Helen, I'll never look at roofers the same way again.