Here's the Scoop: June 3, 2009
Welcome to my house
It was like a police interrogation. Without the dead body. Yet.
The story was told to me while I was at a gathering the other evening with some people I had just met. It didn’t matter, though, because like many people who have had a life-altering experience, they were ready to spill their guts.
I can’t recall how we got on the topic, but I think it went something like this: “Hi, I’m Norm (names have been changed to protect the undead) and you’ll never believe what happened to me last night.”
Norm then proceeded to tell me how he and some buddies had nervously accepted an invitation from a local restaurant owner to visit his house and “check out his stereo.”
Several disclaimers: This was not a restaurant around here.
Secondly, I tried the “come hear my stereo” line on numerous occasions during my bachelor days and it never worked. For me.
That wasn’t the case with crew. Maybe it was because there were four people going to “Stan’s” house and it made them feel safer. Still, these brave souls are of the age where horror movies are quite popular, so they certainly had no shortage of fears — real or imagined — as they headed for Stan’s.
As with any good fright film, the meeting at the restaurant was disrupted because the visitors were running late. Stan had left a hand-scrawled note on the window of his eatery giving the visitors a number to call. If this had been a Hollywood picture, ominous music would have filled the theater as none of the four had a cell phone. What are the chances?
So, they followed the crude map drawn on the paper and all agreed that the red smudges on the paper must be the result of pasta sauce from the restaurant. More music here, please.
Into the cellar
Apparently, Stan is only a part-time restaurant guy. His true passion is the aforementioned stereo. As it turns out, this is much more than a stereo to impress coeds who have quaffed a few too many ounces of Natty Ice (ask college students for definition). It seems that custom stereos are something that Stan installs for others.
He probably doesn’t go this far on all his jobs, but Stan’s own home was built around the stereo. Literally. Kind of like the Kohler faucet commercials, only with better sound. Much, much better.
Stan, it seems, built the house from the ground up with the ultimate listening experience in mind. A special foundation was key, followed by construction that utilized no nails or screws. I’ve heard of shady contractors pulling some shortcuts, but this was done upon Stan’s orders.
Asked about this at different times, all four visitors agreed that the evening’s most spine-tingling moment occurred not when they were seated in the home theater (complete with subwoofers built into the benches).
No, the goose-bump moment came earlier when Stan led the group to the basement to “get a view of the construction.” Stan led the way, the visitors following and Stan’s exotic, mysterious bride came along last. Did she have some instrument of death in her hands? The light was dim and it was difficult to tell.
The tension was like the seventh game of the World Series with the tying run on base with two outs. But the scoreboard was not spelling out “Charge.” Instead, the visitors were exchanging quick glances, wondering how they had convinced themselves it had been pasta sauce on the note.
But it really turned out to be just a basement tour. No trap doors. No chains. Just an intimate view of the foundation.
With the stage having been set, the group returned to the theater room. The stereo poured forth extraordinary sound. Videos flashed to accompany each tune. And the sauce dripping off Stan’s signature chicken wings caused an eerie, blood-like glow underneath the pulsating strobe lights.