Steve’s next door neighbour, Noel, was a pain in the proverbial. He was forever “popping over” to visit Steve. He’d pop over for this. He’d pop over for that. Steve was the practical sort; a down-to-earth salt of the earth sort of guy. He was sick of Noel’s intrusions. There was only one thing for it: he would have to do Noel in. Permanently.
Steve planned Noel’s demise scrupulously. He would suggest to Noel in the jolliest of ways that perhaps they should spend a few hours together at Halloween at the Fair Ground that was coming to town; a sort of Halloween “Boy’s Day Out”. Then when they were in the Haunted House he would murder Noel. There was lots of screaming going on so noisy shrieks wouldn’t be a factor, and anyone who saw the deed and viewed the corpse would regard it as simply no more than further action in the Haunted House.
Steve went through the Haunted House several days before to plan in which room he would stab Noel to death. It would be in the third room of the four. It was dark enough, with rather silly holograms doing a sort of spooky dance to spooky music. Even on his first visit people were screaming. Dare he say it, but this murder could be fun.
Off Steve and Noel went to the fair. Steve had the knife (with folded blade) carefully concealed in his jacket. The time came to go through the Haunted House. Steve was nervously excited.
Jiminy Crickets! It was Halloween. They had upped the scariness since Steve had been through earlier. He was never so scared in his life as in that first room. In the second room Steve was screaming obscenities like they were going out of fashion. The third room was devastating. To hell with Noel – wherever he was – Steve just had to get out of that terrifying Haunted House. He ran through the fourth room. He escaped to the outside.
Son of a monkey! Suffering succotash! Dang rabbit! Steve was shaking like a leaf.
Noel appeared through the Haunted House’s exit. He was calm as can be.
“WOW!” he said. “That was great! Let’s go get some cotton candy.”
Valencia had had enough. It rained and rained and rained. She wasn’t too worried about the Bloxham family, the neighbours on the left hand side; she was more concerned about Janet on the other side of the road. Janet lived alone, and with total lockdown demanded by the government, there really was no way that Valencia could check on Janet.
In the end Valencia could take it no longer. She had obeyed the lockdown orders for two months now. She left her house, strode across the road, and knocked on Janet’s door. Janet answered.
“I was just checking to see if you were okay and if there was anything you needed,” said Valencia. Everything was fine, so Valencia returned home.
It can’t have been more than twenty minutes before the police arrived. The Bloxham’s next door had seen and reported. Their neighbour was wandering the neighbourhood indiscriminately. Valencia explained to the police that she had been checking on a neighbour. That was not good enough. Valencia was issued with a warning.
Valencia had had enough. It rained and rained and rained. She went into the kitchen, turned on the gas, and stuck her head in the oven.
I mean, what can one do? The next door neighbours have been very kind. When my little girl was ill and I had to spend a lot of time with her in the hospital, the neighbours came over and mowed my lawn. Wasn’t that kind? I am a keen gardener and my property is not exactly tiny, so the lawn takes over an hour to mow. But that was no trouble to Nadine and Todrick, and what a lovely surprise to get home and see the lawn all shipshape.
Now it’s the end of the harvest season and the shops haven’t messed around in putting the price of vegetables way up. Tomatoes especially are a hideous price. So I picked the last of my tomatoes just before the cold weather set in, and I’ve been ripening them in a turkey dish sitting in the sun on my dining table. When they are all ripe I’m going to put them in a bag and take them over to Nadine and Todrick’s by way of thanks.
At least, that was the plan. My mother came in to baby sit my little girl while I went job hunting. It’s almost impossible these days to be a parent and look for a job. Once a job is found it’s easier to settle into some sort of routine. But looking for a job is erratic and hit-and-miss.
Anyway, when I got home my mother had kindly cut the tomatoes up and had made a green tomato pickle. That was sweet of her, but the taste is atrocious. I couldn’t possibly give the neighbours a jar of this pickle so now I’m all at sixes and sevens as to how I should thank them for their kindness.
Oh thank goodness! There is a God after all! I have just heard that Todrick is in hospital and gravely ill. Nadine spends all her time at the hospital of course. It will give me the opportunity to mow their lawn.
Dolores had lived next door to Mrs Grimmer for years. For years Mrs Grimmer would turn her bathroom light on three times a night. For years, three times a night, Mrs Grimmer’s bathroom light would shine over the boundary fence, across the lawn, and into Dolores’ high bedroom window. For years, Dolores had woken three times nightly.
And then, the impossible happened; one night the light didn’t go on. Dolores lay awake waiting and worrying. The next day she tapped on Mrs Grimmer’s door.
“Are you alright?”
“Of course I’m alright,” said Mrs Grimmer. She never was the nicest of neighbours. “Of course I’m alright. Why wouldn’t I be?”
“Your bathroom light didn’t go on last night, and I thought I’d check.”
“I’m perfectly alright. There’s no need to go snooping around my house. I’m old enough to look after myself. Stop bothering me, you nosey-parker. If I want someone to meddle in my affairs, I’ll let you know.”
Dolores left. The thrice nightly bathroom illumination recommenced.
And then, the impossible happened; one night the light didn’t go off. Dolores lay awake waiting and worrying. The next day she did not tap on Mrs Grimmer’s door.
It’s amazing what a stroke can do. Sometimes you lie on the bathroom floor for days before you die.