I got along great with my neighbors until John Hall moved in next door.
He had points against him moving in because he pushed his father, Jack Hall, out of the house he’d owned his entire life. We all pitched in, but Jack was getting to the point where he couldn’t handle things on his own. So it made some amount of sense, but it still felt awful to come home one day and discover Jack had been stuck in some nursing home before we could say goodbye.
That was only the start. John started throwing parties. Lots of people in beat up old cars attended and they went late into the night, often with frustratingly loud music. I tried to be understanding, but I couldn’t put up with it forever.
John laughed and flipped me off the first time I talked to him so I got the neighborhood association involved. They fined him, but he refused to pay since his father had signed the agreement, not him. I called the police, eventually, in the middle of one of his parties, and a bunch of people got busted for drug possession.
We got a couple years of peace out of that, but Jack was eventually back and John had passed away in the meantime. Instead of throwing parties, he started planting bushes that grew onto my property and sued about property lines. After he lost and had to trim his hedges, he started throwing things into our yard to get our dogs to eat them. Which is why I went over there today to confront him. He said he hoped our dogs died so I decked him.
-Statement to the Police regarding assault at 81 Oak Tree Lane on June the twenty-seven between one John Hall and one Lawrence Henderson.
Martin “The Nose” Samson could feel something was wrong. He trusted that feeling with his life, because it hadn’t been wrong yet.
He was at home, alone, eating breakfast. A normal Sunday. Afterwards, he was going to do the dishes and read because he had nothing going on until that evening, when he would join his friends for their usual movie night.
After finishing his cereal, he walked around his apartment, looking for anything that would explain his foreboding. Gas wasn’t leaking, doors weren’t mysteriously open, nothing was out of place, and there was no around his house.
Mystified, he returned to his routine. He cleaned up, read, and was making lunch before he heard something that startled him. Something was scratching at his front door. Martin didn’t have any pets. He liked to be alone at home, which included avoiding animals. He preferred plants
Martin walked over to his front window and peered out at his porch. There was a woman standing in front of his door, picking at something. He watched her for a moment, but she kept scratching, occasionally stopping to flick bits of something into his front garden.
Unable to squash his curiosity, Martin went to the door and opened it. “What are you doing?”
After a moment of surprise, she shrugged apologetically. “Sorry, I sneezed when I came to your door and I’m trying to clean off the mess I made.” She held out a hand. “Anyway, I am here to let you know that I’m your new neighbor across the street.”
Martin shook her hand. “Nice to meet you.” As he let go of her hand, he realized it was the one she’d been using to pick at the door and the trepidatious feeling vanished.