What's Your Next-Door Neighbor Story?

Rita's Squirrels

Spending a few nights at the Vegas hotel was a brief respite from our old lunatic downstairs neighbor Rita. Constantly screaming at the ceiling for the least infraction, including walking from the living room to the kitchen in our bare feet, she and her Igor-like roommate would also rustle about on their balcony at night, slipping off to the dumpster with mysterious plastic bags we suspected contained dead squirrels. There were certain … squelchy noises at night that were creepy as hell. Not to mention that it made it awfully tough to relax in the one place that should be your sanctuary from the real world. I wanted to feel safe in my own home for Chrissake, not worry about being literally knifed in the back by a psychopath, though I’m sure she thought it would be better if we didn’t exist in the first place. Calling the front office was useless, since all they’d do was offer lame platitudes like “she’s a little out there, sure, but she means well”. Right. And just how does calling us “pigs” while shuffling down the halls in her open ratty bathrobe at all mean well? She’d call the police on us too when we had normal 5 p.m. dinner conversation with the window open. And yes, mutter about murdering us in our sleep. Exactly how was this normal behavior?

We soon found out that every tenant living above her suffered the same fate – eventually you’d get too tired of fighting the insane and just move. She’d been there so long, she’d win out of sheer spite and longevity. That was one nutty, angry woman. So after many a legal consultation and documentation, my husband and I finally did just that, we moved to protect our peace of mind, starting with a short vacation in the desert. A few short weeks later, we moved to the other side of the apartment complex and every once in a while we’d drive by our old place just to reminisce and listen to her familiar rantings. Some nightmares are oddly comforting when you know them by heart. Still, it got me thinking. What if this was the future end on the path of bitterness. Then, dear God, I solemnly swear to stop holding grudges and to start loving my fellow man more. Except of course when someone dumps my wet laundry on the Laundromat floor. Amen.


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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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