- The Macadoo's by GWHARGIS
This work has reached the exceptional level
Boy finds something weird in neighbor's basement.
The Macadoo's by GWHARGIS

The summer of 1973 brought about two really strange things. The first is that my brother, Buzz, and I got along. We got along so well, we actually hung out. That may not seem like a big deal. But when you're fifteen and your seventeen year old brother wants to hang out with you, believe me when I say, IT IS A BIG DEAL.

The second thing is what I found in my neighbor, Mrs. Macadoo's, basement.

What I'm about to tell you isn't for the weak of heart. The worse part is it's all true.

It all started one morning in late June. My dad walked into the kitchen and announced very loudly.

"I'm not having another summer of you two sleeping 'til noon and then eating me out of house and home. Go get jobs. Cut grass, wash cars, hell, I don't care. Just do something"

Buzz looked across the table, steadily shoveling Wheaties into his mouth, and shrugged.

"Dad, I'm only fifteen," I offered weakly.

"Hell, my brother was in the trenches fighting the Nazis at fifteen."

Who knows if he was telling the truth, but it made it difficult to find a fitting comeback.

So after breakfast, Buzz and I headed out to return some empty pop bottles so we could get the refund.

That's when we saw Mrs. Macadoo. Every neighborhood has a crazy neighbor and Mrs. Macadoo was ours. She was shopping in Safeway, wearing this wild flowered house dress. She didn't see us, but it was impossible to miss her.

Mrs. Macadoo was the wife of Mr. Macadoo, whom neither Buzz nor I had ever seen.

Seems that Mr. Macadoo didn't like parties, and was always down in the basement "tinkering", as Mrs. Macadoo put it.

I know you're probably wondering why we didn't just peek in the basement window and check. But that would have been an invasion of privacy, and besides that, they were painted black on the inside.

My brother thought there was no Mr. Macadoo. But I had my own theory. I thought he was a mad scientist.

Buzz and I bought a Dr. Pepper and played a couple of games of pinball with the money then decided to head home.

Buzz was the first one to bring Macadoo up. He looked at me and scratched his head.

"I was thinking about maybe breaking into the house and checking out the basement."

"Break into what house? Macadoo's? Are you crazy?"

"Calm down, nimrod. We aren't going to steal anything. Suppose he's one of those guys who makes bombs in his basement. Wouldn't you feel better if we were the ones to find out and stop him?"

He was grasping at straws, I realize this now. Back then, however, it sounded quite patriotic. With the Bicentennial only three years away, I jumped whole heartedly onto Buzz's bandwagon.

After much thought, thirty minutes or so, we decided to try getting into the Macadoo house via the good neighbor route.

Over the next two weeks we tried repeatedly much like this.

Knock, knock.
Hello boys, what can I do for you?
We , uh, just wondered if you needed any help fixing stuff.
No, not today.

Knock, knock.
Hello boys.
Would you like for us to clean your gutters?
No thank you, boys.

Knock, knock.
Would you be interested in us cleaning your garage?
No thank you.

After our repeated tries, Buzz announced that we had no choice. We had to break in, if only for the sake of our nation.

It seemed that Thursdays were the days Mrs. Macadoo did her grocery shopping. So the very next Thursday, Buzz and I hid in the bushes on the side of our house and waited until she had turned the corner before we headed over to her back yard.

We knocked on the back door just to be sure no one was there. When no one came to the door, Buzz banged on the basement window. If someone was in there making bombs the racket he made would have brought them running.

The window opened and we were both ready to run like hell, when Buzz realized his knocking had jolted it open.

Buzz peered in through the small rectangular opening. He had his head halfway in and I couldn't see crap. I tapped him on the shoulder and he banged his head on the top.

"Move, I can't see."

"Dammit. There isn't anything to see. It's just a regular basement."

He sounded pissed instead of relieved.

A huge tarp covered something in the middle of the floor. It had to be five feet from floor to the top of the tarp.

"What's that?"

Buzz lifted his shoulders and squinted.

"Go check it out."

"How am I supposed to do that?"

Buzz eyed the window. "Climb through."

"You do it."

"Jeez, Ricky, you'll fit. Just hop down on the work bench and look under the tarp. Piece of cake."

Now I knew this was a bad idea, but doing something that is a bad idea is a lot less humiliating than the stigma of being deemed a chicken by your brother.

I dropped down onto the work bench and then down to the floor. If Mr. Macadoo was making bombs or anything out of the ordinary, he wasn't doing it in his basement.

There were hammers, wrenches, screwdrivers, and ten penny nails in cans. There were all sorts of basement stuff. I did notice a lot of cans of varnish. In fact the whole room reeked of it.

"Ricky, look under the tarp. See if he has an A bomb there."

I lifted the bottom of the tarp and the overwhelming smell of varnish hit me. It made me dizzy.

What I saw next, is really hard to describe. A man, some six feet tall was seated in a chair. His skin, like leather, was firm and shiny brown. Fingers splayed on the arm rests. He looked like he was made of polished wood.

At first I thought he was a sculpture, but the more I studied him I knew one thing. I had found Mr. Macadoo.

"Buzz, you aren't gonna believe this," I muttered.

Repulsed by the smell, I pulled my t-shirt over my nose. Every detail had been preserved. The fingernails were long but perfect. I walked around it slowly, taking in every detail.

Buzz smacked the sill with his hand.

"Come on, Ricky, she's back."

But I couldn't leave. Not yet. I knew in my infinite teenaged wisdom, I would never see anything like this ever again.

"Go on."

I could hear Mrs. Macadoo as she walked over head in the kitchen putting her groceries away. Then I heard her open the door that led to the basement.

I wondered what she'd do if she caught me here. There were enough cans of varnish to cover me. I dropped the tarp back down and dove under one of the work benches.

"Honey," she called, making her way slowly down the steps. "Did you miss me?"

She tugged the tarp off Mr. Macadoo and leaned in to kiss his lips.

I glanced at the window and saw that my brother had pulled it shut. Mrs. Macadoo lifted one of the cans that was close to me and pried off the top. She methodically dipped her brush in and painted another layer of varnish on Mr. Macadoo's corpse.

When she was done, she stepped back and looked at him for a long time.

I could hear popping like firecrackers from outside and I heard Mrs. Macadoo yelp.

"What on earth?"

She dropped the paint brush back in the can and hurried up the stairs.

I know I should have just climbed out the window but I didn't. No one would believe me. I needed proof. I searched the work bench for the tool I needed. I carefully cut through the bone in Mr. Macadoo's index finger and slipped it in my pocket.

"Sorry, Mr. Macadoo," I said.

I patted my pocket and climbed out the window.

I never did show Buzz the finger. After thinking about it I couldn't decide which was more ghoulish. A woman who preserved her dead husband's body or a guy who cut off the corpse's finger to prove a point.

I still have the finger. I wrapped it in tin foil and tucked it in a shoe box that I still keep in the attic. But I swear to you some nights when I can't fall asleep, I hear it scratching to get out.


Author Notes
Been thinking about those show from the sixties and seventies. Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, Sixth Sense. Feed back. Thank you to Marselius for the creepy window shot.


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