Tuesday, January 22, 2013

J M Blackman Week 31: Spotted

Picture 1

Picture 2

J.M. Blackman’s Picture Choice: 2

Title: Spotted

I know that the sole purpose of blinds is to prevent others from looking in. But as I ready my area, adjust my armchair just so, wipe the lenses and eyecups, I, like every other watcher out there, know the truth. The blinds are really to hide those who look out, perhaps look on. Those who don’t want others to know how much we like to...watch.

And I like to watch.

As is my usual ritual, I slide the thin strips of plastic between me and THEM open, just a bit. Just a slit, a slice of the outside. Yes, just enough to see, enough to tease. To provoke. To taunt, and plague and disturb.

Just enough to be involved.

There isn’t much activity this late in the evening. The normal comings and goings. People returning from day jobs, leaving for night jobs. Deliveries. It’s a weekday, so there are few get togethers to observe, even fewers parties. I do love a good party.

But then I find someone who is having a party. At least, a party of sorts. The type that people have by themselves. Closed door, closed blinds parties. But they’ve made the mistake of closing their blinds downwards and they haven’t closed them entirely. And before they closed them, I saw the video on their TV. People only watch those videos for one reason.

And I’m going to watch the reason.

Their lights are on and their shadow moves around the room. The bedroom.

Their shadow obviously disrobes, clothing falling like dark clouds behind the blinds. Their shadow moves to the bed. It is an oblong shape. A fan swings above it. I wonder if the air is cool on their skin. Their shadow lays across the bed. Their shadow...

The knock on the door is more than unexpected. I drop the binoculars and jump up so fast the armchair flies backwards. I very nearly slam into the blinds and window but catch myself on the sill. I hold still. I hold my breath. I wish I could hold my heart. Because it is beating so loud I know the person at the door can hear it. It announces that I’m home. It is the evidence of my crime. I clutch my chest just over it as if it could muffle the thunderous pounding. What’s worse is the pounding has long since filled my body--since I’d seen my party of one. And it had to be amplified by the filling of my skin. I try to quiet it, try deep breaths, but the knocking comes again, harder this time and I know I’ll need to answer.

I slide the chair away from the window, drop the binoculars into a drawer and straighten my clothes. I open the door and it’s the landlord.

“Good evening,” she says. I nod and mimic. “I’m sorry to disturb you, but we’ve received a complaint that there may a peeping tom in this apartment building and we just want everyone to be aware and protect themselves accordingly.”

“Yes, of course,” I nod gravely.

“Especially young girls like you, living on your own. It’s doubly important that you’re careful. Keep your blinds closed.”

“I always do,” I say, tugging at my dress.

“Good night, then.”

“Good night.” I close the door, eyes automatically roving to that drawer. But I pass it to close the blinds completely.

Can’t be too careful these days.


J.M. Blackman is a Language Arts teacher, author rep'd by Gina Panettieri and a feminist. She endeavors to review nearly everything she reads and is a happy wife. She's a SFF enthusiast, loves dark humor, and has an unhealthy need to protect the image of Batman.



  1. Oh, Jalisa, this was just delicious in the most disturbing way! To find out it was a female was a great twist. You built so much tension and then turned it all upside down with that knock on the door. Nice job!

  2. This is great-- as always. You have a knack for describing a scene and for creating tension. Then you manage to sustain that tension all the way through the story, which is hard to do well. Very nice.