What's Your Next-Door Neighbor Story?

Hell's Bells

Jakob was my surprise fortieth birthday gift--we were going to need a bigger house. We didn't know we were moving fifty years into the past to a county that celebrates its status as Maryland's home of the Ku Klux Klan. Appearances were deceiving.

Moving day, my husband felt the shock of a bolt of lightning when he closed the aluminum garage door. Minutes later, little Jakob fell and bled all over the white carpet. Not an auspicious start.

Within the week, we learned our neighbor had outside speakers mounted to his house, and played AC/DC music 24/7 at thunderous decibels. Hells Bells, indeed.

After a particularly rowdy Saturday night party, someone called the police on the man, and the music stopped temporarily. The next morning, we piled the kids into the car to go to church and I impulsively beeped my horn as we drove by the party house and said to my family, "How's the hangover, Buddy?"

That beep would cost us fifty thousand dollars and a lot of sleepless nights.

We were under siege. Convinced we were the neighbors who called the police, the man began a calculated effort to drive us from our home. My kids were jumped every afternoon at the bus stop by the children of the community party animals. One night, while we were at Back-to-School night and my oldest son was babysitting, the man came to the door and said he knew the kids were alone, and that he was going to call the police and have them taken away from us. When we arrived home later, he pulled around the corner in his large SUV, jumped out, and threatened to have our children taken away.

I began to fear all black SUV's that were in my rear view mirror. We installed bolts on all the doors and kept the shades drawn. The music blared and the parties went on--many of the neighbors were part of the scene, which included ice luges, beer bongs, and wife swapping. When the drunks were in full glory, they would stand on the man's deck and scream obscenities at us-heard clearly inside with closed windows.

We had enough. Five months of living in an armed camp, and we called our realtor. We lost our shirts, ended up in bankruptcy, but gained peace of mind.


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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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