Aqua, Burgundy, and the Man in Between

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic


A quiet young man's peaceful life is interrupted by two troublesome and noisy individuals who move into the neighborhood.

Submitted: September 09, 2018

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Submitted: September 09, 2018

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All of my life, I’ve been a quiet guy. I live in a tiny little suburban house and keep to myself. While some others are loud and adventurous, I’ve always preferred a life surrounded by books. My historical biographies, thrillers, gripping love stories, and science textbooks are enough company for me. Science, the field that has always fascinated me since I was a little kid. My genetics textbook is my favorite book to read every night. For years, I have been able to enjoy my quiet lifestyle without any disturbance. Then came 2016, the cursed year when my entire life fell apart. It all turned upside down in one night when I heard tow motor engines purr outside.

Upon opening the front door, I quickly noticed that two massive moving vans had just arrived. Each van had been parked on the curb in front of one of the two houses next door to mine. To the left, a young, fit woman who lacked upper body strength  struggled to try and lift a small box off the ground. To my right, a somewhat chubby man in a dirty T-shirt and cargo shorts was using his massive arms to easily lift heavy looking boxes. Although I wanted to go back to reading, I felt an ounce of pity for the woman to the left and decided to help make her job a little easier by providing some assistance.

After walking over to her house, I said, “Hi there, my name is Leo! How are you?”  

She stopped trying to lift the box, turned to the right, and smiled sweetly. “Hey-o, buddy! Glad to see ya. Give me a high five!”

She was a woman of very short stature who donned a plaid shirt and blue jeans as well as flip-flops that exposed her brightly painted toenails. Although initially appearing to be scatterbrained and fairly aloof from afar, she had immediately adopted a cute and cheery persona. I sat there for a moment, surprised at this petite woman’s sudden mood shift.  She held her hand up and began to do a sort of impatient little dance causing the large bun on the back of her head to violently swing up and down.

Reluctantly, I gave her a high five and she began to chuckle. “Glad to see ya, neighbor. Since we’re buddies now you can call me Aqua! I’m moving in next door. Mind helping me move these heavy boxes? They’re just a little bit tricky to get off the ground.”

I took a deep breath and smiled sincerely, putting aside my uneasy first impressions. “I’d love to help. Where do you want me to start?”

Giggling, she replied, “Oh, it’s no biggie. Just take some boxes and bring them into the living room.”

As I began to assist her, I noticed that Aqua had not successfully moved a single box into her new house. She continuously attempted to lift a box that appeared far too heavy for her pick up without any sign of stopping. Her face glowed red as she stubbornly groaned and used all of her strength to attempt to make it budge. Stepping over to her side, I lifted the surprisingly light box that she was struggling with and began to take it towards the house. Afterward, I kindly suggested that she worked with one of the lighter boxes to her right and that I would be able to handle the heavier ones that were giving her difficulty. Her piercing blue eyes looked into mine as a nasty, hateful frown formed on her face “So you think I can’t do it. You really think I can’t lift that box? You don’t think I’m strong enough as a person?”

“Please, ma’am,” I began to insist, “I mean no such thing, I’m merely trying to help.”

She rolled her eyes. “Whatever, tough guy. If you want to INSIST that you’re so strong as you walk onto MY property. Go ahead! Just go ahead.” Upon deciding it would be unwise to unintentionally anger my new neighbor, I chose to not stick up for myself and move the boxes in complete silence. After our argument, in spite of her bitter protests, Aqua chose to only focus on the lighter boxes afterward and left me to deal with the heavier packages. Once we had finished moving everything in, I breathed a sigh of relief and began to walk back home.

Aqua ran up to me before I could leave. “Heeey Leo. Thanks so much, you’re such a sweetheart.”

I scratched the back of my head nervously. “It was no problem. Such a pleasure to meet you, but now I need to take a rest…”

She started to frown, but then quickly switched to a grin. “Before ya go, one last thing. I promise I won’t bug you any more after this. Do you like my hat? Just got it last week! Isn’t it cute?”

Up to that point, I hadn’t even noticed her blue baseball cap. It was plain and entirely blue except for some large white text that read “Women #1.” I smiled.

“It’s cute, I like it.”

I awkwardly tried to walk away in an attempt to leave the conversation.

“You know,” she said, cutting off my escape. “Women’s rights are very very important to me! I’m fighting super hard every day for equal pay and treatment. We are the backbone of this country! Go women! Don’t you agree with me, Leo?”

Annoyed, I assured her I did like women’s rights but that I really needed to head home.

She responded in a passive-aggressive tone. “Oh, ok. Guess you don’t have time for me.  Bye, then.”

Relieved, I quickly walked back home and secretly hoped that I had not just made an enemy.

Finally home, surrounded by nothing but peace and quiet, I smiled and picked up my beloved genetics textbook. Although I found its contents quite confusing at times, trying to decipher and understand the complex concepts was an incredibly engaging task for me. For the next few hours, I read without a care in the world. For a reason unbeknownst to me, there was an underlying tension in the air. Almost like an omen, a cool breeze mysteriously made its chilling voice heard as it blew past my head. I had this feeling that something very bad was coming. Something so terrible that it may cause me to even lose a little bit of sleep. Disregarding the concern, I decided to put my book down and head to bed.

My eyes shot open at 7:00 A.M. as my ears were barraged with the sounds of two extremely noisy individuals clamoring outside. I thought to myself, Oh come on, what’s going on? Tired, I stomped out the front door in search of the source of this conflict. I saw that two people, one to my far left, and another other to my far right, were bickering incessantly. Aqua, wearing a blue nightgown and her hair back in two thick braids, was whining with tears in her eyes, spouting out incomprehensible arguments to the man standing to my right. The man, a bigger fellow with a bushy red beard, a trucker hat, and a set of gray pajamas rejected every single one of Aqua’s claims adamantly.  From a distance, I could barely piece together the content of their arguments but I knew one thing for sure: they were really getting on my nerves.

Not wanting to be involved, associated, or even remotely affiliated with their quarrel, I proceeded to slowly walk back into my house and quietly shut the door behind me. Although annoying, I sincerely hoped they would eventually get over their petty conflict and spare the entire neighborhood from their grievances. After all, they were fully grown adults.

Going back to sleep was out of the question. Although I was incredibly tired and the sun had barely come up, falling back asleep was an impossibility with that irritating chatter happening just outside my bedside window. It appeared to me that opening a book was the only option to try to salvage any enjoyment out of this bitter morning. I picked up my genetics textbook and plopped onto the sofa with a smile on my face.

Voices called out,

“You ugly bigoted dickweed!”

“Damn it, Aqua, at least I’m not a pussy!”

I groaned and hastily slammed the book closed.

“Unbelievable!” I thought out loud, “I can’t even read one sentence without them ruining my train of thought. What am I going to do now?”

Leaving the house became my go-to option to avoid those two nuisances find some peace and quiet. Their fighting was relentless, it would never end. They continued this nonsense for days, and I couldn’t stand another minute of it. After getting up in the morning after all of those sleepless nights, I’d quickly get dressed and then hop in my car so I could drive far away from the commotion. Most of the time, the beach and the library were my favorite destinations. Every moment I was away from them was a blessing.  Unfortunately, a whirlwind of childish squabbles greeted me whenever I had the misfortune of having to come home after a long day of peace and quiet. Though I desperately wanted to avoid them at all costs, I had to come home at some point. One morning at 7:30 A.M., I realized that I had enough of their unrelenting conflict.

Full of anger and sleep deprived, I stomped out to the center of my yard and bellowed, “Enough! Stop screaming all day and all night., I can’t stand it! I just want some peace and quiet! Go fight somewhere else, because you’re both annoying and absolutely insufferable!” I looked to my left;  Aqua stood on the messy bed of flowers covering her lawn and called to her “Stop shouting all your opinions! No one cares!” I looked to my right at my other neighbor and gave a glare of absolute disgust. He stood confidently on his newly turfed lawn as I shouted to him “Stop adamantly denying everything she says! Be the bigger man! My god.” Feeling like I had gotten my message across, I grumbled angrily and walked back into the house.

For the next few hours, I didn’t hear a word come from my neighbors’ yard. Finally, I had managed to shut them up. Finally, I could relax in my own home without worrying about having to listen to them argue. I sat down on the couch, ready to enjoy my long-awaited solitude. It was not long before I fell into a deep and blissful sleep.

It seemed to me like I had slept for only a brief moment when I heard a loud, persistent knocking at my door. I looked up at my grandfather clock to check the time. I’d been asleep for only three hours. Tired and annoyed, I slowly stumbled to the door and turned the doorknob. Immediately, a small canine bolted right past me and began darting around my living room in addition to climbing over all my furniture. It moved quickly and aggressively, leaving large chunks of its shed fur in its wake. Before I knew it, it had scratched all my furniture, covered the house in dander, and pooped next to my potted cactus.

A nervous head peered in from outside. “Hi! I’m so glad to see you again, Leo! It’s Aqua. There’s something a little serious I need to ask you about. Can I come in?”

As I was attempting to stop the incredibly fast dog, I grumbled loudly, “yeah, come in.”

She flirtatiously waved her hand. “Thank you. I’ll just take a seat.” As Aqua walked in, I noticed she looked quite different from our initial encounter. The only clothes on her body were a blue tube top and a pair of short shorts that appeared as if they were hastily cut even shorter on the bottom. Her hair was undone and flowed down to the middle of her back, wavy and dyed a variety of colors. Her hair appeared as if it were colored completely tye dye. There were so many bright colors of the rainbow all fused together that any trace of her natural color was completely drowned out. She proceeded to sit down in the center of my couch, spreading her legs out and taking up much more space than was necessary. Although she was in an incredibly revealing and vulnerable sitting position, Aqua seemed completely oblivious to her inappropriate and suggestive posture. Additionally, it seemed like she was either unaware of or outright ignoring the fact that this dog had been rampaging through my house.

After what seemed like an eternity, Aqua finally acknowledged the mischief occurring right in front of her yelled, “Lindsay Grace Bethany Theresa! Come to me!” Without hesitation, the dog immediately stopped its rampage and jumped right into her lap, completely pacified.

I sat down in a different chair to rest after the exhausting chase. Aqua’s face turned to a shade of bright red as she spoke, “Leo, I’m really really sorry! The dog is a bit behaviorally challenged, I’m still training it. I got it imported from somewhere super far away and it doesn’t know manners yet. Don’t take it personally.”

I gave her a dirty look, “This animal just bolted through my house, covered my living room in her fur, and took a poop by my plant. I think that’s a bit of an understatement.”

Aqua’s embarrassment disappeared as she began whining defensively, “Don’t assume my dog’s gender! It’s an “it.” Also, stop scrutinizing it. It’s just a dog. It doesn’t know better. It’s just socially impaired!” Although normally my instinct would be to let this argument go, I was quite frustrated at her response to this incident. “I don’t care if it’s a dog. You should’ve trained it to not destroy every house it enters. Or at the very least reprimand it and show some remorse. Don’t encourage her horrible behavior. That’s not okay!”

A nasty, hostile frown formed on her face as her piercing blue eyes locked onto mine. “Whatever you say, dog hater. Don’t try to push your cynophobia onto me, you bigot.” I was taken aback “That’s preposterous. You have no right to make that assumption. In fact, I love most dogs. No big problems with them whatsoever. It’s just that a few, select individuals like yours happen to cause a lot of unnecessary grief to others. All I ask is that you and other owners of rambunctious pets demonstrate to them that they do not to aggressively and obnoxiously assert their presence onto others.”

Fake tears welling up in her eyes, Aqua shrieked “Shut up! Stop hating on my poor animal. Stop hating on me. You’re so rude.”

With a stern expression, I responded, “You do not have the right to speak to me that way in my own house. You’re crossing a lot of lines very fast, Aqua. I’d advise you to watch your mouth.”

The irritated young woman rolled her eyes, “Whatever, tough guy. Assert your masculinity on me another time. There’s something much more important that we should focus on.”

Aqua wiped her tears away and quickly shifted from a defensive state to a warm and cheery one in an instant. “So, pal, there’s a bit of a problem in this community. Recently, in the house to your right, a very disruptive and bigoted  man has moved in and has been causing serious disruption to our neighborhood. I’m sure he’s been a bother to you too.”

Holding back my rage, I decided to let her guide the conversation. “Ah, I think I know who you’re talking about. Is it the man you have been having… intellectual discussions with?”

Aqua growled, “You shouldn’t be talking down to me like that. That’s not appropriate, especially in this context. But forgetting my beliefs for this brief moment, yes. His name is Burgundy and he’s incredibly disrespectful. He mocks me, my dog, and my beliefs and I can’t stand it. He won’t change his ways either. That old man is so obsessed with his “traditional values” that he’ll never listen to anything I have to say! I’m just trying to promote positive social change to make this world a better place. I want women, men, and dogs to all be considered and treated as equals! I want all the bigots to burn and bow to me!”

My eyes widened in shock at this woman’s insanity. This attention craving lunatic clearly had ambitions other than the “social change”.  She was trying to preach. Perhaps she wanted permission to intrude on the lives of others and let her dog run rampant without having to face the social consequences? Was there an even greater, more sinister plot in her head that I was unaware of? Whatever she was scheming, I wanted no part in it. “Okay. That’s enough, Aqua. I got the memo. It's time for you to leave.”

She stood up angrily, hands on her hips with a despicable look of scorn on her face.  Leaning forward in a way that seemed to expose her body even more, she began bellowing with rage, “You need to let me finish my argument! You have no right to tell me to leave. You’re just a racist, sexist, cynophobic, bigoted piece of shit! ”

I rose from my seat and placed my hand on her shoulder. “Aqua. I’m going to have to ask…” An ear piercing shriek flew from her mouth “RAPE!”

Frightened, I instantly jumped back as I began to realize the severity of the situation. It could have been disastrous for me if the wrong people had shown up at the wrong time to witness that outburst.

She began to storm out. “This awful, atrocious pig of a man has not only abused me, but he’s gone so far as to RAPE me too! You’re despicable, Leo. Make sure you know that no matter how terrible you are or how much you misjudge me, I’m an angel compared to your other neighbor. He’s a new level of atrocious!” With that, Aqua flounced out my front door. with her whimpering dog following closely behind. I smiled and closed the door as she stomped away.

I spent the next hour cleaning up dog dander and feces, much to my dismay. As I was disposing of the waste, I grew angrier and angrier. I was appalled that my new neighbor would walk into my house and create a mess after I gave up my valuable afternoon to help her move in. A few moments after I finished making the house look spotless, I heard a knock at the door. “Damn it, Aqua. I’m not in the mood for any more of your cra…” Opening the door, I realized that I had been grumbling about Aqua to someone who clearly wasn’t Aqua.

He began to laugh heartily “It’s okay, boy. I understand.”

Looking up, I saw a plump, older man who was significantly taller than me smoking a cigar standing in my doorway. After turning and blowing some smoke outside, he held his hand out. “Name’s Burgundy, Burgundy Ray. Just moved in a lil’ while ago. Since we’all neighbors now, y’all can call me Burgundy. I came on over to have a chat with ya.”

I nodded respectfully, “Hi there, I’m Leo. I’d love to have you in, but I’d like to ask you to take your cigar somewhere else...” His eyes darted to the left, “No need to worry, boy. I swear it’s made right here in the beautiful n’ sunny countryside of our great nation. No foreign sticks of tobacco to pollute this old here piehole of mine. I’m supportin’ this darn country through and through.” Much to my annoyance, Burgundy shoved his way past me to get into the house without asking and quickly made himself at home. He immediately proceeded to step over the potted plant where I had just cleaned the dog’s feces and placed his fire red cigar butt into the soil.

My patience was quickly being tested “Hey, Burgundy! Try not to kill my plants with your cigars.”

Burgundy shook his head “Oh, don’t throw a hissy fit. That leafy green’ll be fine after a little bit of time. Let’s not get distracted, shall we.”

“No, it will die. That’s how nature works,” I retorted,  “You just killed my plant.”

“Forget the plant for now, boy,” he continued, “Our goals and plans are more important than trees n’ bushes anyways. Let’s get to the matter at hand.”

I gestured for him to take a seat on the couch as I fluffed the pillow on the nearby chair. He sat down in an upright position, refusing to lean or recline even slightly. Despite his efforts to appear professional in his gray business suit and tie, his plump belly stuck out of his shirt and ruined the entire illusion.

Once both of us were fully ready to converse, he began, “So that little girl Aqua is causing a bit of a ruckus.”

I beamed excitedly, “Finally, someone else gets it! She’s an absolute nightmare. You know, she came into my house an hour ago and wrecked the place. Her stupid dog, I swear…”

Burgundy chuckled, causing pieces of spittle to fly out and land on his ginger beard.  “That damn dog is right, boy. I hate that thing. Causes’ nothing but trouble, all those damn dogs.”

I sheepishly scratched the back of my head. “Well, I didn’t mean to say I hate all dogs. Most dogs, and a lot of the ones I know, are actually really kind and sweet. It’s just some of the more misbehaved and aggressive dogs are a nuisance.”

Burgundy ignored my statements. “I hate all dogs! People shouldn’t even be allowed to own dogs. That canine community needs to die down. Rotten people like Aqua need to get that thing outta here, outta my neighborhood, and outta our lives. Forgetting those rascals, for now, has that woman ever called you a bigot?”

Recalling for a moment, I nodded and replied, “Yeah. I was trying to have a civil conversation with her and she insisted that I was some monstrous bigot. Really rude if you ask me.”

“Darn straight, boy,” he enthusiastically responded,  “I go outside to enjoy the warm morning sun and that woman ruins my morning by yelling all her crazy opinions and conspiracy theories at me. I swear she wants to take over the world or some psychotic thing like that.”

Eyeing him suspiciously, I asked, “Why do you feed her anger, then? Why do you fight back?  If you want to stop her, wouldn’t you try to ignore her or solve your grievances in a less noisy way?”

His hearty grin changed to a bitter look of anger. He slammed his fist against my couch. “That woman is attacking my beliefs! All my patriotic ideals are being jeopardized by her blasphemous witchcraft. There ain’t no excuse for her to be yellin’ her nonsense at me. I was raised to be a rough fighter, no one’s getting a piece of me. I was raised to fight for myself, ain’t nobody gonna help you out of your predicaments in this wicked world. If that kid wants a brawl, then oh boy I’m gonna give ‘er one!”

At this point, I began to grow nervous. “Uh, Burgundy,” I intervened, “maybe your approach isn’t the best idea. It only seems to be making Aqua angrier and amplifying the intensity of your conflict. Perhaps being the bigger man and trying to pacify the situation would--“

Burgundy roared, “I see how it is, boy! You’re a disgrace, disrespecting your elders and siding with that girl. Don’t try to convince me otherwise, I see you taking pity in that slut’s feelings! I thought you were a good old fashioned patriotic gentleman with solid ideals like me. Damn plant-hugging dog-fucking pussies like you and that bitch Aqua are the reason the world is falling apart these days. You’re a dumbass, that’s for sure. Hate me and the truth however much you want, but at the very least know I’m not nearly as demonic as Aqua. Hell, even you’re not as bad as her.” He hastily got up off the sofa and flipped me off as he stormed out of the house. Before he left, he yelled “You’re a damn fool. That woman and her twisted beliefs are satanic!”

Tensions only worsened between Aqua and Burgundy as time passed since their visit. Eventually, their continuous chatter became a sort of white background noise to me.  I just stopped trying to fall asleep altogether. There was no point in trying. On the rare occasions I did bother to go outside, they’d see my bloodshot eyes and both showed signs of immediate disgust. Aqua would defiantly turn her head and grunt or completely turn around to avoid facing me while Burgundy would spit or swear in my general direction. Their message was clear: it’s my way or the highway. They were so radical and dogmatic in their philosophies that I was dead to them for not zealously rallying by their side against their respective adversary. I was the man in between the everlasting conflict between Aqua and Burgundy.

It was four in the morning when I ran out of things to occupy me that cold winter night. Half an hour before, they decided to stop chatting for the rest of the night to get some shut eye before starting their incessant bickering the next morning. I gave up on trying to sleep that night: it was far too late for it to be worthwhile. Opening the front door to get a little fresh air, I noticed a letter that had been hand-delivered outside my door in a fancy envelope specifically addressed to me.

 

Dear Leo,

I have been informed by my two children that you are their “bigoted” and “traitorous” neighbor. I sincerely apologize for any grievances that they may have caused you. Ever since they were toddlers, those two have been always squabbling about even the most arbitrary of matters. I have always tried to present a different approach or perspective to their predicaments; their stubbornness and loud voices always overpowered my weak, frail vocal cords. As they grew older, keeping them under control became more and more difficult until I had virtually no influence on them whatsoever. I write to you, expressing gratitude for being the mediator of their well-meaning conflict. They never listen, especially the day I told them not to change their names because of a petty debate they were having on a matter that I cannot even recall. Dear me, I can’t remember the names they gave themselves! I just know that they were rather ridiculous.

On a different note, I’m sure their arrival has made life a little bit difficult for you. They can be a little noisy. However, I guarantee you, those two are merely misguided souls with the purest of intentions at heart. I certainly have no authority over them. But you, my friend, can make a difference in their lives! You can work with the rest of the community and dedicate your efforts to resolving their lifelong conflict. Your efforts, unlike my powerless voice, can create solutions for their future. For your future! I guarantee that once they settle down, the neighborhood will be a much better place for you all. Once again, I sincerely apologize for the burden that has recently been unloaded onto you and thank you for your valiant and noble efforts.

 

Most professional and reasonable regards,

 

Dr. Vermont Liberty Green the Third

 

Great, I thought to myself. Although I appreciated his gesture and sympathy, the letter failed to resonate with me. He assured me that all of this work and activism would eventually solve their problems. He promised it would make my life better. The problem with that is simple: I don’t want to be an activist. I don’t want to rally a community to stop their bickering. I don’t want to spend my precious time trying to befriend those unreasonable buffoons.

I just want to get some sleep.

 


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