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October 27, 2009
The House that DisappearedRate this encounter: Randy Fisher - Winton, California - December 1980
I've waited almost 30 years to tell this story. As a young man of 17, my girlfriend and I had trouble finding places to be "intimate." It was about two weeks before Christmas in the agricultural area of the Central Valley in California. We were on a rural road among small farms, and almond orchards. It was near midnight, cold, and a little foggy. We had pulled over on the side of the road in my 74 Grand Torino. We had consumed a six pack of Lowenbrau and we were right in the middle of amorous activities when she let out a little scream and pointed to the window on my side. About that time I heard a knock on the window. A short little man stood there, in his 50s I would guess. I cracked the window and asked what he wanted. He answered in an accent I can't identify, but I would describe as German, or one of those surrounding European countries. He asked if were we okay, and I explained the situation to him, that we were fine, and just needed some "alone time." I also noticed he had a pistol in a holster on his belt. He said he lived in the house up on the hill which was probably around 500 feet from where we sat. He asked would we like to come in by the fire, get warm and visit. He said he had some wine and we could all get acquainted. My girlfriend objected immediately, but my sense of adventure won out, and I convinced her we should go.
The little man walked away and up to the house. We composed ourselves, and I emptied my ashtray into the paper bag the containing the empty beer bottles. I've smoked Camel non filters for almost 30 years now, and they're not a real popular cigarette. I handed the bag to her, and she set it out on the side of the road. We drove up the hill on a gravel driveway where there was a fairly large tree on the left and a small, old farmhouse on the right. We went inside, and the old man was very gracious, building a warm fire, pouring us homemade wine, asking us questions, and telling stories. I do recall asking about his accent and such, but he seemed to dance around the issue. He played some records that I can only describe as modern, top 40-type music for the time, but stuff I had never heard, and never heard since. This was unusual because I was an active musician and listened to everything. We had quite a nice time, visiting and laughing with the charming stranger, and caught a pretty good buzz from his wine. We parted ways, thanked him for his hospitality, and I took her home about three or four miles away, and then went home myself.
Christmas came and went, and it was about a month later that I mentioned to her we should go back and see him again. We drove and drove up and down the road, and for the life of me I couldn't find that house. We tried a couple of different roads, to no avail, and went back to where I knew we had been. I found the hill and the large tree to the left of the driveway, but there was no driveway. And no house. We parked on the road and walked up the hill the where the house should've been. There was not a trace of a house ever having been there. Not a rock, a brick, a board, nothing. Nothing but grass and a tree. We walked back down to the car, and before getting in, I walked down the road the 500 feet to where I figured we were on that night of the encounter. Sitting on the side of the road in the weeds was the paper bag containing the six empty Lowenbrau bottles and my Camel non filter cigarette butts.