Earlier today I heard a screech of brakes and a thump. I looked out the window and spied a moving van in front of the house next door. Hmm. New neighbors?
There’s always that one house in every neighborhood. In my case, I’m lucky enough to live right next to it. When I first moved here, the house next door was populated with a group of single mothers. And hell hath no fury like a single mother scorned. I spent two years listening to endless screaming and shouting as the gals next door took turns chewing out the deadbeat dads and asshole guys who lived there. Or visited there. It was hard to tell as the guys kept getting kicked out of the house. And then I woke up one morning and everybody was gone. Ahh… peace at last!
My relief was short-lived as a guy and his girlfriend rented the house next. I thought they were all right – they kept pretty much to themselves and seemed pleasant enough. Then the fighting started again. More screaming and shouting. Sigh. Then the shit really hit the fan one day when an unknown neighbor called the police because their car parked out in the street had no plates or registration or inspection.
Oh, and I forgot to mention the best part: turns out they were both heroin addicts. So after the police left, they decided to shoot themselves up and then ran from house to house on the block, pounding on everyone’s door looking for whoever called the cops on them about their car. Nobody answered; my neighbors simply reacted as if the Jehovah’s Witnesses were calling. I myself was trained at an early age what to do if the Jehovah’s came around:
Get away from the windows
Don’t answer the door
Don’t make any noise
And lie on the floor.
Which always worked. And it worked for the neighbors. From house to house the heroin addicts ran, all to no avail. But for some reason they saved my house for last.
WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM.
I looked out the peephole and saw the guy and his girlfriend hyperventilating on the porch.
WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM.
Fuck that, I wasn’t going to answer. Nobody else did, so why should I? If I ignored them, surely they’d go away. Surely.
And sure enough, they turned and ran back to their house, and I went back to what I was doing.
WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM.
Holy shit, what the fuck was that? I looked out the window and saw the guy now by himself, holding a log and using it as a battering ram to try and bash my front door in. I ran downstairs. This had gone far enough. By the time I got back to the front door and yanked it open he was gone, leaving his log behind. But he was coming back: his girlfriend had handed him a sledgehammer and now he was barreling up my driveway.
I’ve never gotten into a fight or so much as raised a hand to anyone in my life. But when a guy is running at you in a drug-addled rage, with his eyes popping out of his head and holding a sledgehammer aloft like a battle axe… well, you don’t really have many choices. I figured I could either let this guy smash his way into my house and pound my brains in, or I could take him down.
I chose the latter. He went down. Hard.
It was immensely satisfying. For a second I almost understood why some guys like getting into fights. However, restraining him proved rather difficult. It was akin to trying to hold down a flopping wet 150-pound fish. Fortunately, my neighbors saw what happened and finally emerged from their caves to help. Three of us sat on the guy while the police were called.
Long story short, the drug addicts didn’t live next door much longer after that, and the house has been vacant ever since. Phew.
So it was with much trepidation that I viewed the latest arrival. But then a car pulled up a minute later and a girl got out. Whoa. I nearly fogged up my living room window.
A short time later I casually sauntered over to introduce myself.
“Hey, I’m Tommy,” I said. “I live next door. I just wanted to say hello and welcome you to the block.”
“Well, hello Tommy – I’m Kristy! It’s very nice to meet you!” We shook hands and she positively beamed at me. Hmm, looks like I’m off to a good start… We stood on the front lawn chit-chatting about various things, she asked me what I did for a living and vice versa, etc.
“Well, I’d offer you some help but it looks like you’ve got everything under control here,” I said, as the two Mexicans from the van carried a piece of furniture past us.
“…we’re here less than an hour and already the gringo next door is hitting on her…” I heard one of them say in Spanish. They both laughed as they disappeared through the front door. Oh really?
“Yeah, these guys are taking care of all the big stuff, and then my boyfriend will be here later to help me with the rest,” Kristy said.
Boyfriend. Of course. Of course. JESUS CHRIST, WHY DO THEY ALWAYS HAVE BOYFRIENDS?? Did I break a goddamn mirror once or something? I have no recollection of doing so… although there was that one time I accidentally stepped on a black cat. So maybe that’s coming back to bite me in the ass.
I thought it strange that her boyfriend wasn’t already there helping her move, but whatever. We talked for another minute or two, and then I let her get back to supervising or whatever she was doing. As I approached the van the two Mexican dudes were unloading a heavy-looking wooden dresser.
“Ten cuidado con eso. Esto se ve muy caro…” I told them as I walked past. One of the them gaped at me and nearly dropped it on his foot. I simply responded with a grin and kept walking. I was just happy that some non-crazy folks were finally moving in.
Or so I thought. Nighttime fell and once again I heard screaming and shouting next door. UGH. I knew it was to be too good to be true. But it sounded like a really weird fight they were having. I determined that it deserved a closer listen, and I was halfway over to their house when I realized they weren’t fighting. They were having sex. Really loud sex.