What's Your Next-Door Neighbor Story?

The slasher next door

I moved into my first apartment in 1986, when I was 18. I had been there barely a month when the landlord knocked on my door and asked me if I would go across the hall with her to inspect the apartment.

I had only once met the lady who had lived there. She was in her late 40s, barely five-feet tall, and walked with a pronounced hunch. She had recently been divorced and had been seeing someone new, she told me. (Not that I had asked).

The landlord inserted the key and opened the front door. The walls were sprayed in four places with what I took for red paint but the police later confirmed was blood from an apparent suicide attempt. The furniture was gone, as was every light fixture, wall switch, and outlet cover. The tub and sink faucets had been taken from the bathroom. Holes had been kicked into the plaster walls in nine different places, five of them in the bedroom.

In the corner of the kitchen was a sizeable stack of mail, all of it addressed to the three other tenants in the building. I sifted through the letters and packages and found four items addressed to me, including a now-empty box that had contained ten albums I was to receive from my initial order and membership in the Columbia House Record and Tape Club.

I called the police, and when I mentioned the albums had been sent in the mail they put me on hold. A minute later a voice declared, "Federal Bureau of Investigation." I told the man my story and the man cryptically stated, "We'll take care of it."

Two nights later I heard someone in the hallway and when I opened the door the lady who had recently abandoned her apartment and committed a federal offense by stealing my records was trying to open the door to her former apartment, unaware that the locks had been change.

She froze when I asked her what the fuck she thought she was doing.

"Mind your own business," she said.

"Speaking of my business, how are those albums you stole?"

She glared at me, denied stealing anything, then flipped me the finger and left the building.

I never saw her again.


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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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