What's Your Next-Door Neighbor Story?

The Other Side

I am the perennial bad neighbor. I came to this conclusion after our landlords phoned to inform us of third complaint the Environmental Health Service had received on our behalf. Between us, me and my housemates, we struggled to decided whether this was for the pile of uncollected rubbish in the front garden, the noise from the party a night ago, or, that last time someone complained, we drunkenly yelled threats at people's houses. Either way, we were in serious trouble now.

I became the permanently bad neighbor when I was 10 years old. Me and my mother would stage shouting matches at three in the morning. She was drunk and refused to wake up and go to bed. I hated that. Not that she was drunk, but that she refused to go to bed. I wanted to watch ultra-violent late night films on the Sci-Fi channel, and drunk or not, my mother was an authority figure standing in the way. We had two neighbors move away, a young couple and a middle aged woman. Neither ever complained before moving, they were too polite.

When I moved in with my father, my newly acquired step siblings and I, became the bane of the well-to-do estate we lived on. At night, we would drink cider on the streets, vandalise property and break into peoples back gardens to use their swimming pools and trampolines. During the day, I parents went to resident meetings to discuss how to stop the hooligan problem.

The time came for me to leave home, and despite all I had ever done in my life to prove I was not responsible enough to ever be trusted, a landlord gave me and five friends a building to look after. This was a not a smart move.

The night after the phone call, we sat around a bonfire in the back garden. We were angry that our youthful exploits had been threatened with punishment! Slowly we reasoned that ultimately, it would take too much time for any legal action to be taken against us, and we should not worry about ever having to face the consequences for our actions. We got drunk and went to bed. The next morning our landlord phoned again. He said that last night the fire brigade had been round to put out a fire in our garden at four in the morning. The Fire Marshall wanted a chat...


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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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