What's Your Next-Door Neighbor Story?

Strawberry Hell Forever

Ivy covered the back wall of the house. This creeping, climbing plant, my downstairs neighbor Candida claimed, was the cause of our arguments. For the first year I lived in the ground-floor apartment, the basement remained empty. For twelve months, I stared out of my window onto the overgrown garden, weeds pushing up through patio slabs, birds resting in unpruned trees, cats stalking the birds. Then Candida and Adam arrived. Adam, a cameraman, was rarely home and for the first few weeks, through February into March, things were okay. I made my introductions when I heard them in the hallway. Music drifted up from their apartment, along with sounds of sex, and quickly hushed raised voices, but the noises were muffled, unobtrusive. Then spring arrived. Candida appeared in a yellow bikini along with the bothersome 170 BPMs of drum and bass, the merciless thump of Balearic beat, and the electronic whine of Abba. I countered at first – Hüsker Dü, Mötley Crüe, The Stalin - but to no effect. One day, the rhythmic bombardment began around 8:30am. I was trying to work. I stamped. Hard. The response, instamatic – a loud banging on my floor, their ceiling. I pulled on my Levi’s and ran down the stairs. I waited, took a breath, then knocked. Candida opened the door. Adam stood behind her holding a field-hockey stick. “Would you mind turning the music down? I’m trying to work.” I said. “It’s not loud,” Candida said; the door a shield between us. “It is. Turn it down, please,” I said, turned, and walked back up the stairs. A minute later, there was a knock on my door. I opened it. Candida stood there. “Come in,” I said. Without asking, she sat down. I sat next to her. “Do you eat a lot of red food?” she asked. “Not particularly,” I said, “the odd tomato.” “Well, you should cut all red food from your diet,” she said, “that way, you’ll be less aggressive.” I said nothing, felt my penis harden. “I’ve poisoned the ivy. It’s gone brown at the roots. It’ll be dead in a few weeks,” she said. “Oh, OK,” I said. She put her hand on my thigh. “Why don’t I go through your fridge?” She stood. I waited, followed her into the kitchen, watched as she threw away my peppers, my chilies, threw away my strawberries.


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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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