July 21, 2012

Stalking Arnold

Here is an excerpt, well a pieced together excerpt, from my story, Finding Hope, regarding ta da, Stalking Arnold. He is a not-so-pleasant man who likes to meander into peoples' personal bubbles and as luck would have it, he is a member of the Love Club, a weekly dating club where Hope and Gina are members.

The Love Club is like a Welcome Back, Kotter type of group (if you can remember the television show) with a group of misfits. Some of the Love Club members are: druggy Alice who can't choose between the only two men who have shown her interest, the Jiffy Lube guy who changes her oil with a smile or the barista at Starbucks who says "hi" when he does the foam just right on her coffee; a Domino's pizza delivery driver who drives a broken down Pinto with a delivery sign on top of it; Minerva, who has more hair than a sasquatch; Javier, who wears white cabana shoes, a pastel shirt and thinks he is in a Miami Vice episode and of course, the beloved, Stalking Arnold. So, here is part of an introduction to Arnold. God, I love these strange characters. Normal is boring, right.

from Finding Hope

“Arnold Thaddeus Mizilwick,” Hope said as she peered outside of her living room window down at the street corner where Arnold was leaning against a telephone pole, “is one hell of a name.”

This was the name Hope was given by the private detective she had hired to find out who had been following her for the past two weeks. At first she did not recognize the name and was worried a dangerous and strange man was following her. As it turned out, dangerous he was not, but strange, more so than most. To Hope and Gina, he was better known as spatially challenged Arnold from The Love Club, a dating class they attended once a week. Now, they could add stalking his description.

The private detective had told Hope that Mr. Arnold Thaddeus Mizilwick was actually quite harmless. He had no prior charges, lived a quiet life, and was just an unfortunate victim of low self-esteem. “And,” he had added as an afterthought, “he had a brief but uneventful stay in the Langley Porter Psychiatric Hospital—but nothing major.”

Although the bit about the mental hospital did not particularly make her feel at ease,Hope felt Arnold was for the most part, harmless. And in some twisted way, she looked at him as her somewhat protective but demented guardian angel.


“So how did Arnold find out where you live anyway?” Gina asked Hope who had relayed the information to to her the next day at breakfast.

“You know the old Victorian house down the street. The one which had the sale sign for the longest time?”


“Well, guess who bought it?”

“You’re kidding me,” Gina squinted. “Arnold?”

“Yes, Arnold Thaddeus Mizilwick.”

“Girl,” she said pointing her fork at Hope, “that’s a stalking sounding name if I ever heard one. That’s your cue to move.”

“I’m not going anywhere. I happen to like my house. So I have a man who follows me. I’m sure other women have that happen from time to time.”

Gina shook her head. “I’ve always said you live your life in denial, Hope. But I never knew it expanded to stalkers.”


Later in the story, as Arnold's stalking issues progress, they break into his house to find out if he is really dangerous . . .

“Okay, now I’m starting to freak out."

“It’s about time,” Gina said. “You just have bad luck Hope. Of all the men that could have had an obsession with you; you get Arnold. Why can’t women ever get stalkers who look like Johnny Depp or Brad Pitt. But no,” she said plainly, “they always have to look like Arnold. It’s the first rule in the Stalking for Dummies Handbook, you have to be weird and crazy ugly.”

Hope stopped finagling the bedroom window latch and turned toward Gina. “Are you done talking to yourself because I could really use a hand here.”

After they break in and find a few things . . .

Gina opened one of the bedroom doors. "Oh man. It's a Barry Manilow room!"
Hope turned the corner and pushed open the door. "You've got to be kidding." Concert posters were everywhere, t-shirts with his picture were framed and hung, and magazine stories and newspaper clippings of every place Barry Manilow had been covered the back wall.
"I think this guy has an obsession with someone else besides you," Gina said.
"You think?" Hope noticed a watch, a Christmas ornament, a snow globe, a dog tag, an iPhone case, water bottles, book bags and even a container of Eucalyptus bath salts all containing the Barry Manilow name. "This puts a whole new meaning to the word Fanilow," Hope said.
"I don't know," Gina said, looking at The Greatest Hits album. "You would think he would pick someone a little more, I don't know, womanly to stalk."
"Have you seen Barry Manilow recently?" Hope asked. "Anyway, let's move on. This gives me the creeps."
"Now, all we have to do is find your room, Hope."
Hope looked at her, "You're kidding, right?"

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