How do you know when a stranger has been in your house in your absence? Here are some signs. Your television is missing. The fridge is left open. The painting of a sheep grazing in a meadow which you have hung on the wall to please a grandmother who painted it has been smashed. On second thoughts, maybe that last sign is not a true one if you have paid someone to come in and destroy the painting that has been getting on your nerves for years.

One more: Your books are strewn all over your study. Destruction, damage, devastation is what you expect. And usually what you get. But when a Massachusetts man returned home from work one day, he sensed that someone had been there, yet none of the telltale signs were present.

Still, there was something nagging. And then he realised what it was. Nate Roman (for that’s his name) discovered his beds had been made, his rugs vacuumed and his toilets scrubbed. Even the toilet paper rolls had crafted origami roses on them.

Strangely, Roman complained to the police. This is where he and I part company. If someone came into my house, rearranged my books, cleaned up my study and perhaps gave me a haircut, the last thing I would do is complain to anybody. I would leave a note detailing my daily movements so the housekeeping ghost would know when the house would be empty for him to do his work. I wouldn’t mind even if he broke a plate or two. Small price.

This happened last year, before the pandemic kept all of us at home, but it is a sweet story. I can already see a Hollywood movie in this.

A man (looking like Nate Roman, but played by Brad Pitt) leaves home for work and returns to find his taxes paid, his pets given their shots, his living room painted, and his television replaced by the latest gizmo. This goes on for a few days till he decides to hide behind a sofa and catch the ghost in the act. Turns out the ghost is a woman he has seen in the neighbourhood and had always wanted to meet. They fall in love, invest in Amazon stocks and live happily ever after. The only fight they have is over who should take the garbage out.

Or, if Tarantino makes the movie, it could be about the young man discovering the head of his neighbour on his bed when he returns from work and shooting everybody who visits his house thereafter before setting fire to a nearby theatre showing a Brad Pitt movie based on the same story.

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