Pal S. Stein returns home one day to find his things on the street. His key does not work in the door. He looks in the window and sees an old buddy from school, Jacob, inside his home. He rings the bell.
“Um… hi, why is my stuff in the street? And why do my keys no longer work?”
“Oh, my family was murdered and I was buddies with the sheriff, so he gave me the deed to your house. We moved your stuff out for you and had a locksmith come and –”
“Wait a minute,” says Pal. “I had nothing to do with your family being murdered. Why did they take my house?”
“I grew up in this house,” says Jacob.
“Really? I thought you lived a few blocks from here.”
“I did most of the time, but my parents lived here when I was born and we lived here until I was about three.”
Pal blinks a few times.
“Is there anything I can help you with?” asks Jacob.
“Where am I going to sleep? My stuff is going to get ruined out here.”
“Well, I suppose you can hang around here for a bit and we’ll figure something out. You can sleep on the lawn for now.”
A few days pass. One morning, Pal wakes up to Jacob pointing a gun in his face.
“Get up, I want you off my lawn.”
“Your lawn?” asks Pal, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. “This is my house, and my lawn, and frankly I’m tired of –”
“Who’s the one with the gun, here?” asks Jacob.
Pal gets up and slowly makes his way to the concrete curb, beside his things.
The next day, Pal wakes up to a loud commotion. Jacob is using a bulldozer to move Pal’s things further away, breaking most of it in the process. Pal shakes his head.
As days go by, Pal grows restless and angry. He sometimes throws rocks at the house, his own home. He stops when Jacob fires warning shots.
Pal decides to call the police, but they are no help. The sheriff, Ulysses Nuremburg, is old friends with Jacob. Nothing Pal says seems to sway law enforcement. “It’s all legal and legit according to us,” says the sheriff.
Pal is livid. “Well of course it is, you’re implicit in the crime of stealing my house. You wouldn’t go and admit now that it’s wrong, that would make you look bad.”
The sheriff thinks long and hard. “I have an idea, but I need to call Jacob and get him over here so we can discuss it.”
Jacob shows up and the sheriff makes his proposal. “How about a two-household solution? Jacob, you can have the first floor, and Pal can have the basement or the attic.”
“I don’t know…” says Jacob.
“Are you kidding me?” asks Pal. “That is my house, it’s mine. I lived there until you guys up and decided to move me out on the street with hardly anything, most of which you then destroyed. I’m not going to settle for living in the unfinished basement or the attic.”
Jacob sighs. “See, he’s so unreasonable. You know he throws rocks at my house?”