What's Your Next-Door Neighbor Story?

That Opossum Isn't Playing Possum

A man's well cared for and loved garden is both a source of pride and oft consternation. Several years ago, my patch of tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers and collards produced a bumper crop much to my delight. Without warning, but not entirely unexpectedly, evidence of an unwanted night visitor began to appear in my happy veggie haven. Small bits and pieces missing at first soon turned into whole tomatoes, peppers, and collard leaves disappearing under the cover of darkness.

A quick Internet search on the subject of small animal nuisances produced a few ideas toward the task of protecting my bounty. A fence did little to hinder the destruction of the plants, calling for more drastic measures on my part. Pepper spray, animal hair, marigolds, and scarecrows of various kinds were completely ineffective in even discouraging the annoying little interloper. In complete desperation, I decided to set a trap to end the destruction once and for all.

Having nothing better to do with her time, my retired neighbor followed my activities with unusual interest, inquiring about additions and innovations in the battle to free my friendly plot of its blight. She was especially interested in the more obvious construction attempts, since they had more potential to reflect poorly on her property. With every attempted solution, she feigned both interest and concern, complete with mock encouragement to continue the good fight.

Several days later, I returned home after a full day of hiking to a full blown commotion in my backyard. Making my way around the house, I was rudely greeted by my now not so friendly neighbor with disgust and disapproval. Accusations of cruelty and abuse were spat at me as I made my way to see the object of her anger. Apparently an opossum had found its way into my trap, somehow catching its leg in the door. Hissing and showing sharp teeth, it was making a noise sounding like the cry of a frightened child. I could only hope its leg was broken as I threw the crazed animal into a bag and transported it several miles away to raid the garden of someone else.

While others steal, cheat and lie, I will forever be known as the great opossum hunter in neighborhood infamy. At least my garden is safe.


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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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