" THE NEIGHBORS "
BY: Guy Zappulla
Right about now most of you are reading this from the comforts of your own home, a place weather rented, owned or inherited , it's the place you chose to live.
Sure some of you want an extra room, a new kitchen, or maybe a second or third bathroom, but for the most part you can change whatever you want. Except once you walk out your front door, all bets are off. As you can't renovate all your neighbors, as when you moved in they were'nt part of the deal. And I bet the Real Estate lady that showed you the place never even mentioned them.
Sometimes you're blessed with decent people around you, but even they can get under your skin after a while. And even though you try to avoid most of them, somehow you still manage to get stuck interacting with them all. Maybe an evening of cards, a not so quick beer, or a kids birthday party you're obligated to go to.
Then there is the dreaded block party. The one which starts off nice enough. A spring breeze gently blows while you socialize with the other parents, watching the kids jump around in one of those plastic castles. All while a DJ plays oldies. Then you start to remember, why you have'nt spoken to most of your neighbors since last year. As you kinda forgot about the cast of characters: the recovering - from - everything guy a few doors down, the schemer a few doors the other way, and let's not forget the fake drug dealer/gangster who of course lives with the part time Jezebel, all the usual suspects.
At least the old greaseball couple is nice enough, even though you have to remind yourself not to eat the wife's baked ziti. As years ago you had two helping's before you noticed the raisins had legs. Ok you overlooked the dirt under her nails, even the fart she ripped next to you but the extra ingredients are another story. Then somewhere after eating your umpteenth plate of dried out Lasagna, and slurping the last bit of peach out of your cup of wine, you realize those flashing lights were not coming from the DJ booth but from the tops of enough police cars to film a "Smokey & the Bandit " remake.
Well maybe not that many, and you still recognize a few cops from last year, when your neighbor had one beer too many and thought he was Mike Tyson in a Whore house. Except he was in front of your house and still used the philosophy if you can't eat it, or fuck it just try and beat it up.
But since you did'nt inherit anything and pay dearly to live where you are and will for another 20 or so years, as thats how many payments you have left. So if you don't want to be bothered with these people, you either have to nail your doors shut and not come out except for special occasions, or maybe when your Social Security check kicks in.
I'm not that fortunate. I can't just decide to be a shut in or a recluse as the Corrections Dept. kinda likes to make sure you're still here. Then instead of a nice Mohagony door with the stained glass on the side, I have bars which I can't very well keep out passing comment, let alone anything else.
Which brings me to my neighbors. To my left is well, lets call him Evan M. aka the headless horseman. Middle thirties, text-book bug-out, who decided to cut his neighbors head off one day simply because she answered the door. Then he seat belted her head in the car and took her noggin for a nice tranquil drive to un-wind. I wonder when he stopped short did he put his arm out so her head would'nt fall? Or how the hell did he explain this to the cop who pulled him over for driving alone in the car pool lane ?
" No Officer " since the head used to be attached to an entire body, technically she counts as the second person in the car, so I CAN use the H.O.V. lane. Really.
Now safely locked up for the past 6 - 7 years, he can't play with knives anymore, at least not store bought ones, so his new hobby is jumping on the bed, then climbing the bars, LITERALLY.
I know this is hard to believe, but true it is, and whenever the mood strikes, he starts bouncing away like an 8 year old who found his father's Coke stash ! Then he will climb the cell's bars like a stripper at a telethon wearing a skateboard helmet. Ok but since he's obviously nuts, I try not to go overboard trying to convince him that his cell is not a state issued jungle gym. That is until my wall starts vibrating and my typewriter starts shaking, then all bets are off.
Then two cells away is a guy who claims he is a woman trapped in a man's body. Ok I've heard of that one before and I guess sometimes these things happen, but to throw a wrench further into the works, on top of this particular gender identity issue, he also thinks he might be a lesbian !
To compound the matters, most of us are a product of our environment, so after hearing him enough times, and his list of symptoms, i'm starting to wonder if I am a lesbian too ? So now I can sit here wondering hoe the hell would I explain this to my honey boo-boo wife ? Or do I even have to, as if I'm a lesbian, I still should be attracted to her.
This also just happens to be the same guy whom I put a petrified pigeon in his pillowcase for a goof. A laugh that quickly evaporated as while waiting for him to notice it days passed by. This meant either he did'nt feel it crunching under his face like a bag of chips, or maybe he tried nursing it back to health for a few days before calling it quits.
Saving the best for last, to the left of me, I have who we will call Peter B. aka the Fireman, who dressed up as one before holding some women hostage for 12 hours as he cuddled next to her, after choloraphorming her of course. To be honest, he is kinda quiet and does'nt say much. Then when he does speak it's with a tone that has no pitch, which I dubbed the " Visine " guy voice. He never goes anywhere, nor even thinks of exercising , so those little green turtles we all had as kids walked to the palm tree far more then he moves around in the course of a day.
BUT, when he does speak it's usually worth me taking my headphones off, because like a child, you never know what the hell is going to come out of his mouth. For instance just yesterday , during a break in cross examination portion of the Jodi Arias trial, which he can't miss a minute of. He wanted to know if I knew any florist that delivered FTD. I answered I did, ans asked him who he wanted to send flowers to.
"Jodi " !
And we're off !
Ok, let me get this straight, you want flowers delivered to Jodi during her murder trial in which she stabbed her boyfriend 28 times, cut his throat, then put one in his head.
I can almost picture this one, " Excuse me your Honor, " call for recess, so that Jodi can accept her lovely arrangement which she can place in the water pitcher before she continues testifying. Right after reading the attached card signed, Love always Peter.
Then he inquires if inmates can marry inmates ? " Gee Pete " if you mean with another dude, I doubt that would be a problem. But I think they keep the chicks on death row in single cells, but hey for the price of a stamp you can write the warden and ask if you can double bunk.
Just think if they had any children this could really get cute, especially around Halloween when the kid wants to dress up like a Fireman, that should be good for a chuckle or two. "Be careful crossing the street honey and make sure you take duct tape and clorophorm ".
Or what would the kid ask for on his birthday, " Mommy can I have another box cutter " or maybe a pistol, "Sure sweetheart, just hold the blade the way I showed you ". And don't shoot any of your little friends, unless you have an alibi, even if it is lame.
Anyway, before I put my headphones back on and return to my legal endevours , just remember this story before your next weekly get together or block party.
Then after you put it all in perspective, you can pull up a lounge chair for you and your spouse, split a bowl of chips and dip as you watch the police club the guy next door like Rodney King.
But hey, at least you can always move to another Neighborhood.