What's Your Next-Door Neighbor Story?

Straight, No Chaser

It was around 2:30 in the morning and I was in bed, nodding in and out of consciousness due to a heavy night of imbibing, when I heard a couple of shots outside. It wasn't anywhere near the 4th of July, so the noise struck me as odd since it normally feels safe in this northwest Chicago neighborhood. Even so, I didn't feel like getting out of bed for any type of detective work. My boyfriend had continued drinking into the wee hours, and I had no desire to add to the discussion he had been having with himself for the last hour.
About 10 minutes later I heard a woman's voice in the next room. Apparently someone had driven up and killed her parked car with a smattering of bullets. I could hear my boyfriend ask her if she wanted a drink. "Yes," she said, "I will take some of your vodka." He said, "what do you want to mix it with?" The response was "I'm Russian, I'll drink it straight." At that point I realized it was my next-door neighbor, the young lady I know only by our brief "hello, how are you" conversations and from the singular time I attended a modern dance recital she had directed and performed in. The conversation continued for about five more minutes along the lines of "what am I going to do" and "at least you were safe inside" and then she left and went back to her place. I fell asleep.
The next day we peered outside and noted her car, although still drivable, had definitely been shot up. The driver's side window was broken out and there were obvious holes in the doors and the hood. My boyfriend and I conspired as to the source of the bullets. The street is always full of cars, yet this was the only car that had been attacked. Could it have been an unhappy ex-boyfriend or a case of mistaken identity? Although we came up with many theories, our neighbor never found out why her car became a victim.
Winter came and went and since most Chicagoans stay in their house all winter, we did not see our next-door neigbor again until spring. She reinvented herself with a new haircolor and had bought a new car.


No comments yet, why not leave one of your own?

Leave a Comment or Share Your Story

Please Sign In. Only community members can comment.

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.

SMITH Magazine

SMITH Magazine is a home for storytelling.
We believe everyone has a story, and everyone
should have a place to tell it.
We're the creators and home of the
Six-Word Memoir® project.