Monday, January 12, 2009

Pocket parallel

I can't stand my next-door neighbor. The feeling is mutual.

As long as we've been neighbors, we've bickered continuously over boundary issues. It's frustrating because I recently moved back to the first place I ever lived. For years, my parents had promised that this place would be all mine someday. Over time, however, people died, economies changed and we moved away. We found ourselves in an unfamiliar and at times hostile, environment. We got by as best as we could, but we could never quite capture the security and comfort of our days in the old neighborhood. After a decade or so away, and trying and failing to establish roots in various regions, I recently moved back to where it all began for me. After so many years of uncertainty, peril and tragedy, I finally felt once again the almost mythical warm blanket of home.

From day one, however, my next-door neighbor has been anything but welcoming. The first night I was here, he shot firecrackers in my yard. The next day, he cornered me at my front door, warning me that he was angling hard for my home. He was a real dick about it, too. He said I had no right to the property. I tried to convince him otherwise, saying it was written in my scrapbooks and photo albums that I had been here and was destined to return. Much to my shock, that didn't sway him; in fact, it only made him angrier. He accused me of falsifying the house deed, an allegation that made me scoff. It's true that in order to get the house, I used my clout to have the previous residents evicted. But the deed is hardly falsified, at least not according to the local and state governments that officially recognize it.

Furthermore, in the time I've been here, I've established a house safe from the oppressive elements of its previous tenants. They blasted their music too loud and routinely tossed around potentially dangerous projectiles in their yards. Sometimes, when struck by wooden bats, these projectiles landed in neighbors' yards. The father was even known for telling the family, "This isn't a democracy." Seriously! But that's all over now. My work has drawn respect from the pillars of the community. They like that I have overcome adversity and have created a safe house in a rough neighborhood. They like it so much, in fact, that they don't mind turning a blind eye now that I've resorted to various acts of "defense."

But try telling that to the former tenants? Hah! Ever since I reclaimed the land chronicled in my scrapbooks of yore, the exiles have been very hostile towards me. Every time I walk out of the house, they glare at me from the tents they set up in the driveway next door. The thing is, they're not bad people; the children in particular are quite charming. But my neighbor has been a bad influence on them. He yells and rails, and is quick with the lash when someone gets out of line. The damage he is causing the children, both physically and psychologically, is liable to fester a lingering resentment that will last long after I've had children and given my house to them.

The final straw came last night, when my neighbor fired a hobby rocket through my roof. I saw him do it; everyone did. Looking at the hole in my roof, I decided that my ornery neighbor had such contempt for existing legal channels that I had to enact a swift and appropriate retribution. So, I took my grenade launcher and blew up several of the children.

After all, my neighbor is a very bad man. And I have to defend myself.

4 comments:

GumboFilé said...

How restrained of you. You could have incinerated his entire home.

David in Grand Coteau

Ian McGibboney said...

Well, I was aiming at his house. In the general vicinity, anyway. But as long as I hit something...

rhonda said...

oooh, be careful. you may want to do yourself a favor and polish off the rest of those damn kids now, before they grow up and really become an inconvenience...because something tells me that after seeing their families smeared everywhere, they'll probably be even less moved by your scrapbooks than their dear ol' dad was. they might even be pretty pissed off. just a hunch, though.

Chris said...

I see all this going on, and it's all horrible.

Do I stay out of it? Do I call for an end to it? Or do I support one side?

Can't decide yet.