What's Your Next-Door Neighbor Story?

When a Tree Falls, Who Removes It?

One evening we had a sudden windstorm and at first we thought the only thing that had happened was that the cable had gone out. But when we looked outside for the cable truck we saw that the shaky Bradford pear tree next door fell across our driveway. We knocked on our neighbor's door, to no avail. Nothing to do but call a tree removal service, so we did. They came quickly, cut up the tree, hauled it away, and left us with an invoice for $300.

A few days later our neighbors returned. Evidently they had been on vacation. We didn't know them very well but we told them what had happened; after all it was obvious that the tree was now a mere stump. They took the invoice and said they would pay. We said great.

A month later the tree guy called--hadn't been paid. Our neighbor said he would have gotten his friend with a truck and chain saw to remove the tree. But they weren't home and we couldn't get out of our driveway. He again said they would pay. We passed this on to the tree guy.

A few weeks later, another call. This time our neighbor said, yeah it was his tree, but it was our driveway so it was our responsibility, our expense. That is the law in this state. Couldn't he have just said that in the first place? Why promise to pay if he never intended to do it?

The years have passed. Our neighbors always say hello when they see us, trying to be friendly. We are more reticent although we don't snub them and we don't even complain about their noisy little dog. On the other hand, when the tree on their easement was blocking my vision when I tried to pull out of my driveway, I called the city and they came and trimmed it. I didn't consult my neighbors and I am pretty sure the city didn't consult them either.

Evidently they don't remember the tree; they don't think that lying is wrong. Or maybe making promises you don't plan to keep doesn't count as a lie, just a little bend in the truth, a little temporary lubricant in the neighbor relationship. What's a little prevarication among neighbors after all? Just about $300.


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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.

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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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