What's Your Next-Door Neighbor Story?

Big Dick, Little Dick

My wife and I bought a house in a quaint little neighborhood in Lancaster, PA. It was built in 1927, and the house next door sat just outside our back door, to the right, beyond a huge thorny holly bush. Most days, on their porch were random dilapidated plumbing fixtures and Big Dick; I never knew him by any other name. He had worked at a hot dog packing plant for 34 years, and now weighed an easy 300 pounds and was confined to a walker. He had a son, whom the family called Little Dick, a perpetually bleary-eyed loafer who darted out the door twenty or thirty times a day to meet cars that would stop in front of the house. Drug dealer? I never found out, but was certainly suspicious. He would stand at the curb, hunched into a car, and Big Dick would sit on the porch and scream "LITTLE DICK!!!! WHO ARE YOU TALKING TO?... WHO IS THAT!!??...WHY DONT YOU INVITE THEM TO THE PORCH!....LITTLE DICK!!" No answer. Big Dick was kind and seemingly unsuspecting, lonely, and sometimes loud.

One day, Big Dick called me over as I was lighting my grill on the patio. Well, not exactly called me; "HEY!!! YOU LIKE MUFFINS??!!" and so, adjusting the flame, I walked over to his porch, where he sat behind his walker.

"Yeah, sure"

"Well wait right here" he said proudly, and he got up, painfully and slowly, scooting behind his walker, and made his way into his house, screen door slamming behind him.

I was hungry. I had some burgers to cook. I waited.

He emerged about five minutes later, with four packs of English muffins. "I got a buddy who drives a bread truck....got connections."

I thanked him and walked back to my house, went inside, got the burgers, and put the muffins on the counter.

The next morning I woke up, went downstairs for breakfast, and grabbed one of the muffin packs. Inside were six muffins, tainted with blue and green mold. The expiration date was two weeks old.

My wife gave birth to our first child soon after and I put up a six-foot privacy fence, so we could enjoy some time privately with our child. I talked to Big Dick over the fence and through the holly often, but I was no longer accepting random gifts.

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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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