Neighbors are chancy. They can be hardworking, helpful, friendly, active in the community--you know, good people. Or they can be mine. A few vignettes, then, of people I have actually lived next door to (part two sometime or other):
The Wise Junkie and His Lady Fair
One time I heard them fighting about the rent. Well, when it started it was about the rent. It ended like this:
She: Come out of the bathroom, you chickenshit!
He: Unh-uh! You got a knife.
She: Yeah I got a knife, because I need to kill you.
He (decisive): I ain't comin' out.
She (pleading): Come on out, honey. I need to kill you.
Tassel-tits and The Man
Then there were the neighbors at Third and Grant. She was a stripper, he was just--The Man. The kind with No Job. Soon after I moved next door, these two decided to construct--from scratch, exclusively between the hours of ten p.m. and four a.m., and 20 feet from my bedroom window--a really rather fine redwood hot tub. Dandy! A fine project! But when I asked politely if they might consider changing their hours of construction, they threatened me bodily harm.
Another time, their two Chows dug out of their run and nearly killed--she was just taking the air in her own back yard, for God's sake--my elderly little dachsund Snuffy. Ripped all the skin and fur right off her hind end. It got stuck back on okay, more or less, but when I requested compensation, they threatened me bodily harm.
Finally the happy couple were busted and foreclosed on for running a drug and prostitution ring out of their house. That was unexpected. But as they moved their junk out prior to (one hopes) their incarceration, they remained true to form: spotting me sitting innocently on my porch swing enjoying the evening, they threatened me bodily harm.
Salacious tidbit: they had a sex dungeon (is there any other kind?) set up in the basement. It had a really rather fine redwood pillory.
The Psychotic Geologist
This neighbor, for reasons that remain unclear*, tried to brain me (de-brain me, actually) with my own telephone one night after I stupidly let her in when she was drunk. It was one of those 74-pound rotary dial phones too, like Barbara Stanwyck used in Double Indemnity to cave in Fred MacMurray's skull. The cops showed up (after I wrestled my phone back, shoved her out, and called them), but she had already beaten it somewhere.
Much worse, for a couple of months thereafter, whenever she closed down her favorite bar (Club 404, dread lair of the $6.00 T-bone) she'd come home and, with a broomstick, begin to bang unrythmically on her ceiling (my floor) while intoning my name, zombie-like--BANG Johhhhhhhnnn BANG. BANG. Johhhhhnnn BANG Johhhhhnnn. BANG. Very spooky; she really had mental problems.
Club 404: draft Bud, cheap steaks, paranoid schizophrenia.
*She never actually said it right out, but I think she was under the delusion that, some months before when I had taken care of her cats while she was out of town, I had used the opportunity to sniff her panties. In truth, I'd rather have sniffed her cats' litter box.
Update: A "movie maven" who wishes to remain anonymous e-mails that it isn't Double Indemnity in which Stanwyck caves in Fred MacMurray's skull, but rather an episode of My Three Sons. Thanks for setting me straight, "anonymous!"