Tag Archives: neighbour

1971. Oh sugar!

Pamela was a sound sleeper. She lived alone. She locked the house thoroughly each night before she went to bed. The neighbours were a bit strange – especially the wife. She was a bit of a recluse. Pamela had met her just the once. Word had it that she had been in and out of psychiatric care centres throughout her life.

It may have been because of this that Pamela was nervously suspicious. She had suspected for quite some time that strange things happened in the night. She was always meticulous about things, and sometimes she noticed that some household items had been moved ever so slightly, or even that she ran out of tea bags faster than she should. In fact she counted the tea bags. She used two tea bags a day. The seventy-eight tea bags in the box should last for thirty-nine days. She marked the date on her wall calendar.

Ashley, the neighbour, was a bit strange, but not as strange as his wife. He would come over once a week to Pamela’s for a cup of coffee. Pamela had never warmed to him. But a neighbour is a neighbour and it was after all only about thirty minutes in her week that his visits lasted. His wife never came with him.

Now the doctor had told Pamela to go easy on the sugar, so she filled the sugar bowl (in case visitors came and took sugar) and put the sugar bowl high in the cupboard. That was the last time she used it. It was a lot easier to give up sugar than she had expected.

When Ashley came over next she filled the conversation with the usual small talk. She had given up sugar. Did he still want sugar in his coffee? Perhaps he would prefer a cup of tea?

“Oh,” said Ashley, “I think you’re out of tea bags.”

1830. Poached salmon

Aubrey was preparing a nice dinner for when his wife, Shona, got home from work. It wasn’t a special, special occasion, but nonetheless it was special enough. It was their thirteenth wedding anniversary.

Aubrey decided on nothing too fancy. He was going to poach salmon on a bed of sliced lemon. He would make a dill and mustard sauce, accompanied by potato and bean salad. Then all would be topped off with his wife’s favourite, rhubarb pie.

He was just beginning to prepare the meal when he realized he needed a lemon and had omitted getting one at the supermarket. Not to worry. His next door neighbour had a huge lemon tree, laden with fruit. In fact it was so close to the boundary fence that Aubrey could simply have reached over and plucked one. But Audrey was not one to do that.

He would visit Mrs. Geraldine Trapski and ask if he could have a lemon. Incidentally, Mrs. Trapski was renowned for her generosity. She was involved in the Girl Guides and had even been given a special medal after she had donated a not-so-small château in the mountains for the girls to use. She had also been seen (although some claimed it was a little ostentatious) putting a tin of beans in the bin for the poor at the supermarket. “Oh no!” Mrs. Trapski had said in a slightly louder voice when asked about it, “I always give something to the poor.”

Of course, this has little or nothing to do with this story. Aubrey needed a lemon and Mrs. Trapski had a tree-full. Aubrey knocked on Mrs. Trapski’s door.

“Good morning! Look, I was about to poach some salmon steaks and realized I don’t have a lemon. I was wondering if it was possible to borrow a lemon.”

“Borrow a lemon? Are you intending to bring it back?” joked Mrs. Trapski. “I’ve had some unusual requests today but nothing like this! Only this morning the Girl Guides phoned to say a window latch in their château that I donated needed fixing. Of course I’ll pay for it, I said. And then – you won’t believe this – at the supermarket I placed a small jar of what the British call gherkins but I really think the French word for them, cornichons, had a bit more class. But when I placed the jar in the poor bin the shop assistant exclaimed, the poor don’t eat that stuff. Goodness me! So I brought the jar home. I can’t stand the things myself so I threw them away. It was terribly wasteful of the shop assistant to force me into doing that. Waste not, want not has always been my motto. And in answer to your request for a lemon, the answer is no. Grow your own.”

Aubrey returned home with his tail between his legs, or he would’ve if he’d had a tail. Mrs Geraldine Trapski left home half an hour latter to attend her Bridge Evening, the snob, just as Aubrey’s wife Shona arrived home.

“Dinner will be a little late tonight,” said Aubrey. “I haven’t started it yet. We’re having salmon steaks poached on a bed of lemon slices from two large lemons.”

1662. A limp and a laundry

(Thanks to Chelsea Owens for suggesting the opening sentence.)

She always wondered why he limped; now, she knew. Randall McAvoy was eighty years old and hobbled along with the aid of a walking stick. Dolores Hughes had known him for the last eight years. He was a neighbour. She had always presumed that his limp was because of age. One day she asked him if his limp was due to rheumatism. He said, “Oh goodness me no! I’ve had this limp since I was sixteen.”

Dolores asked further, even though she didn’t want to appear nosey. He had got a knee injury when he was sixteen while rescuing orphaned babies trapped in a gun fight between warring factions in Lebanon. Some shrapnel had hit him in the knee. No, he wasn’t a fighter; he was rescuing the orphans. However, it was only today that Dolores discovered the full truth.

Dolores was just settling down to watch her favourite afternoon soap when there was a knock on her door. It was Randall. He said, “Look, I don’t want to be a bother but my washing machine needs fixing. I know it’s a silly request but would you mind ever so much if I used yours? The need to wear these clothes has become a matter of urgency, and they’re frightfully dirty with soot and the stink of acrid smoke.” He had the clothes neatly folded in a large paper bag, and there were just a couple of items.

“Of course I don’t mind!” said Dolores. She showed him her washing machine and the soap powder and softener.

“I’m very grateful,” said Randall after setting the washing machine going and leaving. “I shall be back in a while to pick things up.”

He was long in returning. Dolores wanted to do her own washing so she put Randall’s clothes in a laundry basket. She got the shock of her life. Randall’s clothes were not ordinary. He was the real Superman.

1501. The novelist next door

(Note: Even though I thought the stories should stop (1500 being enough) there will be the occasional one sneak through the steel girders. Besides, there are some “stories” scattered throughout the 1500 that are simply not stories (being Award Acceptances and so on). So the extra occasional story will help build up the numbers to strictly 1500).

There was a time when I would’ve been thrilled to have lived next door to a famous novelist. It would be exciting enough to live on the same street, or even in the same town. But next door! My word!

But let me tell you… my next door neighbour, the famous novelist, is the rudest, scummiest, sleaze ball that nature ever contrived to crawl on the surface of the earth. I despise her beyond belief.

She’s just finished yet another novel apparently, and the nose-in-the-air-carrot-up-her-jacksie has turned into a giant pumpkin. She is arrogant, pretentious, facile. Let me give an example. Just yesterday I saw her over the rather low hedge that separates my property from where she lives. I said, “Congratulations on your novel being published.” She said, “What is it to you? Keep your nose out of it. It’s none of your business, you moron.” So you see, she might be a famous novelist but I don’t enjoy the prestige of her proximity one bit.

God, how I hate living next to my ex.

1098. Neighbourhood watch

My neighbour works as a prostitute. Well, that’s a bit harsh; she’s a “call girl”. She must be all of thirty if you want to know, and she drives quite an expensive motor vehicle. So she must be doing quite well.

In between times, and goodness knows she seems to sleep in quite late, she sells marijuana to all the people who constantly visit. I can see them out my window. They’re all eager for the weed. They knock on her door with four taps, with a brief pause after the third. From my window I see things handed over, and then they’re back in their cars and off like a shot.

I know it is marijuana because she grows it just over the fence on her property at the bottom of the garden. I see it when I mow my lawn. I have no idea where she dries the stuff. Maybe in her garage or in her roof somewhere.

So both these activities keep her pretty busy, and no doubt rich: entertaining guests and selling dope. I know it keeps her busy because every time I’ve knocked four taps on her door she’s been too busy to see me.

1085. Dog neighbours

Barbara made almost enough to get by on. She had two little children, and a little dog. Her partner had long left on a container ship. He had no intention of coming back. It was with a great deal of relief that Barbara managed to rent a little house within her budget.

The next door neighbour also had a dog; a pit bull terrier. It was a violent thing. It barked and smashed into the boundary fence like it wanted to kill Barbara and her children and their little dog. However, the man and woman living next door kept it under control.

And then the man died. He dropped dead in the middle of the night, slap bang at his front door.

After that, the woman living there had no control over the pit bull terrier. Barbara kept her mouth shut. She didn’t want to create a fuss at such a mournful time. But Barbara’s children couldn’t play outside, and nor could the little dog. In fact, Barbara was too scared to go outside to hang the washing out.

Barbara went to see the lady next door and explain. “Phh!” said the lady. “Phh! That was my partner’s dog. It’s precious. Surely you don’t expect me to get rid of my late partner’s dog? How heartless. Get a life.”

Things with the pit bull terrier went from bad to worse. Barbara went to the police. The next day Barbara’s little dog lay dead on the front porch. There was a note under the door. If you go to the police again your kids are not safe.

Barbara packed her kids in the car and headed for the Women’s Refuge Centre.

Next night her uninsured house burned down.

844. Stolen parsley

844parsley

It annoyed Norma immensely. She had a patch of prolifically growing parsley in a small garden not too far inside her front gate.

The neighbours would frequently come in and steal a bunch of parsley. It’s not that Norma minded about that. They could have as much parsley as they wanted. They just had to ask. “Help yourself whenever,” she would have said.

But they didn’t ask. They would sneak over once it was dark and pinch parsley.

Norma trained her dog to piss on the parsley. It wouldn’t kill the neighbours, but it gave Norma a great deal of satisfaction.

Norma grew another small patch of parsley at the back of her house. That was for her own use. Unbeknown to her, the dog rather fancied that patch as well.