What's Your Next-Door Neighbor Story?

Letting Go

My neighbor across the street, Simone, was remodeling her house. Simone is a nice woman, about 60, very quiet. She lives alone. We used to feed each other’s cats when we went away on vacation.

The remodeling took a long time. She moved out for months and a bunch of unruly construction workers moved in. Well, they were there from 7 a.m. until 3. All day, for this late riser.

Every morning they blasted Howard Stern and woke me up. I went over there and told them they had to turn it down. I could have asked nicer. I was grumpy. It was early, and my cat had cancer then. She was dying. I didn’t want to spend her dying moments listening to Howard Stern blasting from across the street. The foreman, a big bald guy with blond eyebrows, told me to go to hell.

I called the police. The policeman told me there was no law against playing the radio. “If I got on my roof and blasted Howard Stern every morning at 7, would that be legal?” I demanded. The foreman agreed to turn the radio down.

Every day after that, whenever I left my house, the construction workers would howl at me and gyrate their pelvises. Inside, my cat stopped eating. I fed her baby food with a syringe.

One day, they put a big sign out in front of the house aimed at me. It said, “You Offend Me!” Except they spelled it “Afend.” Idiots.

Once they were roughhousing and they knocked over their Porta-Pottie. Shit and piss flooded the street. They hosed it down but didn’t really clean it all up.

I took Simone out to lunch and asked her to rein them in. She said, “I hear what you’re saying, but there are two sides to every story. Why did you have to call the police? All construction workers listen to the radio. It sounds like you all are provoking each other.”

One day, my cat died. I carried her body out in a shoebox to go the vet to get her cremated. The men all watched me pass, and for once, they didn’t yell at me.

That was six years ago. The construction workers are long gone. But Simone and I don’t really talk anymore. I don’t know if she feels guilty, and I just can’t let it go.


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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.

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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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