What's Your Next-Door Neighbor Story?

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My neighbor doesn't talk. He screams.

I live in a small town in northern France. I am an English teacher at the local university and I moved into my new apartment in August. I found the apartment through the British girl that lived here last year. She suggested I contact her landlord about living here. When I came to visit her place for the first time, I asked …

New York City: 1990's, upper east side, 71st street and second avenue. A row of 5 story walkup buildings that contain many small studio apartments converted from bigger one bedroom apartments. In my building there were fire places in the room which forced you to place your bed on common wall between apartments. There was an electrical outlet near my be through which I could hear my neighbors every move …

I live in Mexico. My next door neighbor is Dona Elena, a more than ancient ghost-like woman who floats down our street several times a day. She is not aware of anyone or anything except trash. Clad in her long black coat and black stockings under a black dress, with 100 year old black stretched-out shoes, she picks up every piece of trash on the sidewalk and …

It's Sunday night in State College and Jack is lying on a tattered leather couch next to me. It's been a long weekend for Jack, you can tell just by looking at him. His face, unshaved and pale, his white undershirt, stained and worn from three straight days of use, and as he checks his Blackberry for a glimmer of hope he lights his last Marlboro with a shaking hand. …

Joe was a bronzed and blond hunk of a guy who worked for DWP in the daytime, lifted weights and sun-tanned himself in his spare time, and tried to enforce upon his family a rigorous policy of health food for every meal, whether he was home for meals or not. Edna was a slender, pony-tailed cop who got a kick out of strolling through the San Pedro jail at night …

Quincy was a Spider Monkey that lived in a cage in the South Texas backyard of my neighbor. He was not happy in the cage. He was not happy when he was in a cage inside the neighbor's house either and one day when the woman came outside and opened the door of his cage to feed him, Quincy ran away and came over to my family's house …

When I was small, maybe four, an elderly black woman lived next door to me. I spent a lot of time talking to her on the street, or over the fence, and we would always share stories and laugh. I loved talking to her, and enjoyed her company very much.

I remember her wide, gleaming smile, with sporadic holes where teeth should be, her rolled down stockings and …

Cartagena - Murcia. Miles de años contemplan estos restos arqueológicos de tan bella factura. En estas vetustas piedras se han desarrollado excelentes historias hechas teatro vivo. Miles de espectadores han aplaudido los dramas representados en el profundo escenario. Las épicas batallas entre cartagineses y romanos continúan rememorándose alrededor de estas piedras. Todo un pueblo se echa a la calle con sus vestidos de gala para representar la batalla ancestral.

Every day he looks out of the curtains at me. I drive in or out and there are his peering eyes, watching me. Late at night, I put the garbage out and there he is again. I go and sit in the back yard and he goes and sits in his. He is always, always watching.

At first I thought I was paranoid. He just happens to …

I sleep in the living room on my Moroccan couch (ahem – futon). Next to the wall. Well, of course, next to the wall. Where else do you put a bed?

Dead asleep. 3 A.M.
“WTF!”

More thuds on the wall. The floor shakes again.
“Oh, shit – Do I call the cops?”
“No! Of course not. What the hell time is …

The husband left his wife, 2 year old son and 3 month old daughter, suddenly, in the middle of the night. Poof, he is just gone. Wife has to find a job, doesn't speak English very well, is struggling to pay mortgage that is in her sister's name. She puts the house on the market, asking more than the market value is at this time, trying to cover loans made …

There are vodka bottles hidden under the bushes. Under ALL of the bushes. There's a gallon jug of vodka under every single shrub on the property.

I figure, it's deer-deterrent. I mean, when I caught him pissing on the fence, he said it was deer-deterrent. And when there was a strange smell coming from the back lot, it was deer-deterrent. And when there were suddenly little bits of …

It was one of those sweltering summer nights, windows flung open and the curtains barely touched by a breeze. The homes on the street of our little town are close so you can hardly "not know" your neighbors and sometimes you get to know them more than you would have ever imagined. Pixie, Ed and their children lived across the street from us, maybe a kid's stone …

I grew up in Maryland. Let’s say 1990. A cute Pakistani guy and his New Yorker wife lived across the street. T came to America in his 20s with nothing, but got a job pumping gas. When the station owner died, T was surprised to find that he had inherited the whole shebang.
T’s basement had a dance floor with flashing lights and a disco ball, and he liked …

I was two, my mother tells me, when she got a chain lock on her front door because of our next door neighbor. Or rather, because of our next door neighbor's mistake. My mother saw the vaccuum cleaner salesman making his way down our quiet suburban street, and knew in advance she wouldn't let him in, not because she didn't need a vaccuum cleaner, but because door-to-door salesmen were …

I was 6. An old man lived next door. He had an isolated backyard filled with plants and ivy; I always played there.

It was my birthday, my seventh. He gave me a present wrapped in star covered paper. There was a bear inside. I hugged it, and wasps flew out and stung me.

I was 6. An old man lived next door. He had an isolated backyard filled with plants and ivy; I always played there. I shudder when I think about it now.

It was my birthday, my seventh. He gave me a present wrapped in star covered paper. I ran home to show it to mommy. I tore open the papr, and there was a bear inside. I hugged it, …

Remember when you were a kid and there was a house in your neighborhood that you avoided at all cost? It was the creepy house that never had porch lights for trick or treaters. It was the dark abyss that swallowed the baseballs that were accidentally hit in its direction. In my neighborhood, it was the house where the witch lived -- and it was right next door. …

From the kitchen window I hear voices coming from the neighbors’ back yard. Through the gaps in the fence I see two men, heads bent, looking down at a huge snapping turtle moving through the grass. It hunkers down when the older man bends over and begins to wack its head with a small hammer. Wack. Wack, wack, wack– now the sickening sound of metal …

Last year when a family moved in next door, I wanted to give them a welcoming gift, sort of a house warming present. So I went out and bought a bread basket and went to my favorite bakery and got a French baguette. With a feeling of brotherly love and in anticipation of meeting my new neighbors, I rushed over to meet the new people on the block. …
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Have a Next-Door Neighbor Story?

As part of our new webcomic, Next-Door Neighbor, we thought it appropriate to have a little contest. Tell us your best true next-door neighbor story, and the winning tale will be matched with an artist and transformed into a webcomic and included as the final installment of Next-Door Neighbor.

About Next-Door Neighbor


No matter how close or how far, we all live next to someone, and we all have a Next-Door Neighbor story. With that in mind, editor Dean Haspiel asked some of his favorite storytellers and cartoonists to create their favorite NDN stories so we could share them with you.

The Fine Print & Contest Rules

By submitting an entry, you are granting SMITH the right to reprint or republish that entry online or in print, as well as make any necessary edits. See SMITH's terms of service for complete details.

This contest ends September 1, 2008. Prizes are not redeemable for cash and must be accepted as awarded. Winners are decided at the discretion of SMITH judges and all decisions are final. SMITH reserves the right to change the contest rules. Enter as often as you want. SMITH reserves the right to reprint or republish all entries.

 
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