What's Your Next-Door Neighbor Story?

The Bug and I

I did not know his actual name. He used a graffiti "tag" that referred to an insect. I cannot mention which, though years have passed and said bug may be dead, such was the fear he inspired. On the other hand I don't think he'd be much of a reader.

The Bug dealt drugs and had an ear for music, a very big ear: the woofers and tweeters blasting havoc from his ground floor lair in another tenement towards my third floor studio walk-up must have been ensconced in refrigerator-sized loudspeakers. And the show began after midnight.

I changed my routine, hanging out in neighborhood watering holes until closing time--irrigating myself towards oblivion--hoping that by then he'd have gotten all DJing out of his system or that I'd be too besotted to care. This altered schedule resulted only in numerous hangovers and some ill-advised couplings.

I tried bathtub as bed, cushioned with down comforter and pillows, curving myself against the porcelain, bruising limbs on its unyielding surface. The sonic booms penetrated the chamber. Next brainstorm: nailing my small raggedy Oriental rug over the large window facing his building; a dismal approach to decorating but I had no other soundproofing material.

Calling the police generally proved futile. Ultimately, I decided to take matters into my own hands. After all, I was a reasonable person who could make a persuasive argument. Surely my neighbor would hear me out. I marched around the corner to the source of my misery and knocked on his pulsating door. It was easy to find; I was a musically-trained drug-sniffing dog.

Sesame opened and there he was. A female silhouette loomed as background, the din absolutely stunning. I recited: "Excuse me, Sir, but if you would be so kind as to lower your music--" He grabbed my arm, hard. "This is my neighborhood and I do what I want!" he said, his remarks concluding with a death threat. I ran home, a blur. Why didn't his poor neighbors complain? I wondered. Were they illegal immigrants? Afraid? Deaf? I telephoned the police one last time. This scofflaw assaulted me--my life was now officially in danger! The response: "Our hands are tied."

So, I did what I could: I moved to Germany, where bugs were Volkswagens.


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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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