KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK.
Five sharp raps on the screen door made Chocky jump and spill coffee on his pink bathrobe. It was military knocking, like how his dad would knock on his bedroom door. It was knocking that made you hide your pot and Mad magazines.
He sort of expected someone official to show up eventually. Things had gotten weird in probate court and his place was now owned by Annie, or whoever ran that old senile widow's trust. He thought he had bought it from old man Perea and hadn't bothered with a title search. Now he was out a $15,000 down payment. The old man died and the family offered to pay him back but he knew they didn't have it.
He kept living there - building the sculpture and fixing up the cabins. It had been six months now. One of these days there would be a knock like that. He took a deep breath and opened the door.
Taxi, the burro, was standing on the porch. Chocky wondered at once how the donkey had knocked like that and what he wanted. Then Rosa stepped into view.
The largest of the three cabins was only 500 square feet and Chocky had turned it into a sort of zen retreat. He had taken down interior walls, replaced plumbing, windows and appliances. It was all shiny wood floors and Buddhas.
Rosa wouldn't sit down. He motioned to the chair and she nodded politely but kept walking, admiring the cabin, pausing to look out of each of the four windows. He opened the rear door without speaking. She moved to the sundial in the center of his tiny herb garden and turned, smiling.
Then her eyes were drawn to the crooked shed in the corner, partially hidden behind the elderberry bushes. Her face darkened and she walked directly to it, narrowly missing plants. He followed and opened the door as she looked in the window. The shed was full of cardboard office boxes. He took the lid off one for her. It was full of broken pueblo pottery.