If you achieved some larger context the sub-development had traces of inside-out beauty. The template construction and subtle personal deformities could pop. The problem with the subdivision is that the houses were miles apart. This proved inconvenient and lead to brigandry. Also, as an enclave of the airport, the subdivision proved difficult for goods, services, and first responders to reach. This is why no one was surprised by the following.
House 221 was deep inside the enclave.
Pamela was doing laundry in the manner of a pioneer woman, hanging austere linens to dry in the airport breezes. She was middle-aged but still sexy. She downplayed the sexiness and in fact was not actually constantly appraising her own value as a sexual object but the sex value was irrepressible, it kept expressing itself to the others, who blamed Pamela for this.
The strangers materialized out of the horizon between flaps of a blinding white bedsheet. They were approaching the house with paramilitary caution. Spread into a loose net of consequence, prepared to douse nearly any version of reality the house could cough up. They lacked the bald pride of legal invaders. Their shirts did not say who they were. They did not have walkie talkies. They wore no-iron knit shirts in mostly quiet tones and their jeans were too casual for all but the least consequential office work. They walked with purpose but not as good guys. They delivered menace but not in a clinical way. Two of them were a little fat.
All the trouble the house could offer was Pamela. She was hanging out the washing on a tired clothesline dried out twine. Kevin the beagle was sunning himself on the small concrete patio. He glanced at the visitors but did not get up. None of what followed would compel Kevin to stand up. He was a fine companion but in recent years he had started to smell like serious earwax.
Pamela unfurled a twin-sized sheet in the mellow exhalations of the day. There would be a few more hours of sunlight to dry out the washing. Her dryer was ailing. It seemed to suffer from some respiratory sickness. Clothes somethings barely dried at all, other times they were scorched into aridity. Make the dryer more magic.
She snapped out the sheet and saw the six of them. They had brown hair. She exhaled in frustration.
“Who are you?”
“We’re student loans.” The answer came from behind her. She wheeled around to see that there were six more approaching from the other side. None of them were fat but they all had brown hair.
She did not respond immediately. The visitors glowered in an attempt at menace. This only deepened her confusion.
“Like, student loan officers?”
“No,” said a pudgy brown-haired man at the center of the group approaching from behind.
“So … are you selling student loans?”
“We’re actually student loans. Personified.” This was a second man, a the other fat one.
Another unappreciative silence followed.
“I guess I am confused. I wasn’t expecting anyone. And now that you identify yourselves as student loans I guess I would have expected you to be sheaves of paper and neatly labeled file folders. If you were material at all. Just sort of gently throbbing clip art was more what I expected, if I had been expecting.”
“Cut the shit lady. Do you have the money?
“GOD DAMMIT I said cut the shit, not extend the shit additionally. One hundred fifty nine dollars and fifty six shitting cents.”
“I think there’s been some confusion. I don’t have any student loans.”
“DOLLAR SIGN ONE FIVE NINE PERIOD FIVE SIX,” the first pudgy brown-haired man roared. His roar was alarming but not impressive.
“I think you have the wrong house,” Pamela said. She stood up straight and puffed herself out to seem assertive.
One of the men shrieked. It was unclear if this was meant to intimidate or merely express anguish at the non-forthcoming payment. As the breeze carried his shout away, the other 11 men spoke as one.
“But I don’t have any student loans.”
“I went to college on a scholarship.”
“My grandparents tucked some money away in a mutual fund and that’s how I paid for my books and apartment.”
“I had a job waitressing too.”
“Are you sure you have the right house?”
“Maybe you guys should leave?”
“Stop saying numbers please, it’s upsetting me.”
She looked around in exasperation.
“Maybe you don’t have loans but your kid probably does.” This was the pudgier of the two pudgy brown-haired men. The other ten men also had brown hair, but most of them had acceptable or even admirable BMIs.
“I don’t have any children.”
“Oh you do. It’s your kid. I can tell when people lie,” the pudgier pudgy man shrieked. The eleven other men resumed the chant.
“Why would I lie about not having children?”
“No children?” The shrieker shrieked again. He flapped his arms as if to propel himself away from her statement.
“We’ll take your kids if you don’t pay,” the less pudgy of the two pudgier men hissed.
The chant sped up a tick.
“Why are you here? How did you even find this house? I don’t owe you anything. I’ve never taken out a loan in my life. I am not sure you all aren’t menacing me on my own property.”
The chant had devolved to just “DOLLAR.”
“I could probably gun all of you down under one of those stand your ground laws.”
“Do you even own guns?” the pudgiest man asked.
“Not enough to occlude all twelve of us in one gesture, one macromolecular gesture.” The pudgy but not pudgiest man was now jogging in place, his extra flesh trailing behind his bones and muscles
“That isn’t how guns work,” Pamela said. “It is more about the number of bullets I would have.”
“But do you even have guns, bro?”
“Why should I answer that?”
“Do you have enough guns for us to borrow? Each of us would like a gun.”
She looked back at Kevin the beagle.
“We would like the guns to be the same gun or at least look like the same gun.”
“I only have six guns.”
“Aren’t there six of us in some sense?”
“There are twelve of you.”
“Your point being.”
“Are you going to use the guns here or bring them back?”
“Can we decide later?” one of the skinnier men, not the shrieking arm flapper, said.
A second skinnier non-shrieker stepped forward. He smelled nice.”I feel like asking what we’re going to do with the guns is rude. Either you can help or you can’t.”
“Yeah even imposing the roughest of conditions on our guns tarnishes your brand.”
“Well, I feel like having my personal brand threatened by guests is as least as bad as not having enough guns for people who didn’t call ahead and also wanting to know how my guns, if I have six guns, will be used.”
“We don’t negotiate with terrorists.”
“Can I tell you all something? I feel close to you. I’ve been taking courses at night. I’m paying cash though. Out of my savings.”
A dozen different versions of “No” went off like flashbulbs.
“Never do that,” the pudgiest man said.
“You guys aren’t even real student loans. You’re just regular loans.”
One of the non-pudgy men bellowed like a cow witnessing an atrocity. What would even upset a cow that much.
“Can we do work around the house?” “Do you have anything to eat”
“What do you all eat?”
“My doctor said I should eat six small meals instead of three regular sized meals.”
“He or she said $159.56 was the one true portion size.”
“Please lady it has been so long.”
“I don’t understand. When you wake up in the morning as a student loan, what darkness does it feel like you have returned from?
“That’s not really how it works.”
“We’re not like you.”
“The fuck we aren’t,” the arm-flapping shrieker said.
“How long have you lived here?” another skinny man asked.
“Is it paid for?” the pudgy not pudgiest man asked.
“Are you paid for?” Pamela snapped back.