What's Your Next-Door Neighbor Story?

That's a picture that will be hard to erase.

On the corner, in a mannered but 1950's vintage suburban neighborhood stood the "House of Horrors". Okay, so it wasn't actually a haunted house, it just looked like one.

It once was a two-story farmhouse, but now resembled nothing more than a prop on a slasher movie set. The front and back porches sagged, falling under the weight of the sparse slate roof. The paint had peeled off, except on the north side, where one square had been scraped and repainted a sickly green. Slates had deserted the roof, leaving behind a bed of green moss. Rumor had it that there was a bedroom on the second floor that had a hole in the floor.

The grounds were no better. Although the children were in their teens, the plastic toys they'd played with were strewn about the woods willy-nilly. Whatever was used in the small patch of mown lawn was never thrown away; it just made its way farther and farther into the tiny copse behind the house. The only valuable thing was the huge hot tub that stood by the side of the slumping porch.

The neighbors were rumored to be swingers. The neighborhood often saw and heard parties that spilled into the cops, but no one ever knew if those were family or something else. It was clear that many of them ended up in the hot tub.

At twilight, the woman who owned the house bordering the copse was out walking her dog. The neighbors' party had moved into the hot tub. The dog walked to the back of the yard, to the corner near the cops, to do her business. The woman could see that people were in the hot tub in the yard beyond the copse. She looked away

Just then, the male neighbor and a male companion stood up and yelled, "Come on in. The water's great!" They were both as naked as they day they were born. She broke eye contact and became intent on the small dog's stance. The dog finished her business, and the woman scooped her up and walked quickly and purposefully to her home.

"That's a picture that will be hard to erase," she said.


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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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