What's Your Next-Door Neighbor Story?

Revenge Tastes Like Tatertots and Ham

It was our junior year of college. A classmate and I had moved into the second floor of an off-campus apartment house. Not the luxury loft of my fantasies, but it was fine for a rather thin student budget. Directly above us resided Dante and Raymond. Dante was a dapper man with a warm, dimply smile. He was never at a loss for a kind greeting or lively conversation. We liked Dante.

We could never comprehend what he saw in Raymond, a shabby, pale, greasy, unfashionable, trash-mouthed, drunkard of a man who was the owner of the house. Raymond enjoyed delivering stinging verbal slaps to Dante that would bleed through their apartment walls.

One Saturday afternoon we heard a commotion upstairs. As I opened the door, we saw Dante running down in tears. He hopped into his car and drove away to a better existence.

The days and months following, Raymond continued his inebriated custom of standing at the top of the stairs and bellowing insults at a now invisible Dante. And, like always, he would retreat into his apartment, accidentally leaving the door cracked open, just before passing out cold.

One day, with an impish smile and a tube of ruby red lipstick, my roommate said, “Let’s go.” I stood at the bottom of the stairs while she disappeared into Raymond’s apartment. “Hey, catch!” she whispered loudly, as a bottle of ketchup came hurtling towards my face. It didn’t stop there…a jar of mayo, bag of tater-tots, onions rings, can of coffee, smelly cheese, Ramen Noodles, and a ten-pound frozen ham. At last, she comes downstairs with a jug of cheap wine.

The next day I answered the pounding on our door, the aroma of crispy baked tater tots wafting through the air and me, with a hearty, smelly cheese and ham sandwich in one hand. It was Raymond, looking greasier than usual, but with an unflattering ruby tone to his lips. “You got the rent or what?” he asked with all the charm of a glob of spit.

“Oh, yes.” I said and quickly grabbed the check for him. I lifted my arm to fully display the tasty concoction in my hand. “Would you like a ham sandwich?” I asked with wide innocent eyes and a grin.

Raymond seemed baffled by my kindness. “Wha’? Naw.”

As he turned away, I said “Okay, your loss.” Indeed it was.


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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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