What's Your Next-Door Neighbor Story?

summer of sam

I was two, my mother tells me, when she got a chain lock on her front door because of our next door neighbor. Or rather, because of our next door neighbor's mistake. My mother saw the vaccuum cleaner salesman making his way down our quiet suburban street, and knew in advance she wouldn't let him in, not because she didn't need a vaccuum cleaner, but because door-to-door salesmen were creepy.

Our next door neighbor Mrs. Whitman--friendly, confident, jewish--did not feel the same way. She opened her front door and stood in the foyer and politely listened to the salesman's shpiel before declining the sale. My mother watched through the window as the dark suited man in the hat walked out, backwards, still talking, gesturing, even as Mrs. Whitman closed the door. My mother decided that for a salesman he did not have a particularly friendly face.

When he came to our door, she pretended she wasn't home.

When the salesman visited people down the street just four blocks away, this time with his father, the residents were equally friendly as Mrs. Whitman. And they were punished for it. Their bodies were found tied to chairs in the basement, the rope and the knives left beside them. They had not wanted a vaccuum cleaner either.

My mother had a chain lock installed within days.


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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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