Over the years rumors about Gruder centered on a traumatic event that had turned him into a recluse. He dressed in dark clothes and always wore a hooded sweat shirt. Some said his face was disfigured in a fire, others thought he was mentally ill. He was known as “Gruder” because that was the name on the mailbox in front his dark house by the park, although some said “Gruder” was the prior owner. Regardless, people kept their distance when they saw him and the dog.
The mystery of Gruder was unknown to Mindy, a twenty-something high-tech worker who moved into an apartment one night near the park. At 11 p.m. she took her first walk in the neighborhood and 11:10 p.m., she confronted a dog with a leash held by a large man.
“Is your dog friendly?” she asked.
“Yes, but apparently I’m not—you’re the first person to talk to me this year,” said Gruder, throwing back his hood.
Mindy stepped back. Gruder laughed. “It’s ok—I’m highly allergic to the sun so I only go out at night.”
“Wow, I have the same problem with the sun,” replied Mindy.
A month later Mindy moved into Gruder’s house. Soon his neighbors noticed the windows were no longer covered and that two people could be seen dancing at all hours of the night.