Life of Loudness - A VERY Short Story

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
What happens when you find out your neighbors can hear everything you say from within your house when conversations get a little heated? Meet Henry Yout, an average family man who will discover how revealed his life is from behind closed doors. A very short, but meaningful, story.

Submitted: December 29, 2011

A A A | A A A

Submitted: December 29, 2011



Life of Loudness

Copyright 2011 © DesktopEpics Entertainment

Copyright 2011 © Corey A. Burkes

Started Writing: 12/29/2011 9:15 AM

Ended First Draft: 12/29/2011 5:03 PM



Henry Yout (as in what’s a yout? – see My Cousin Vinny) loved his home in the ‘burbs. Five bedroom corner home with all the trimmings was the reward for a good life well charted. He did the good grades thing. He did the four years of college thing. He’s been at his job for over fifteen years and recently got his promotion to senior VP. He did the marry the high school sweetheart thing, and had two point five children with her. The point five was baking in mama’s oven currently. The subdivision was on sloping mounds so the corner property was on a hill and sported a white, country fence.

Yes, folks—he did it. House on a hill, wife, 2.5 children and a white picket fence.

Looking at his property and his accomplishments, he couldn’t help but to pat himself on the back and give himself the congratulatory solo chest bump followed by a Tebow touchdown kneel right in front of his lawn mower.

“Daddy!” His four-year-old daughter yelled out from the porch, catching him in his ego praising. He started wiping off the gears and checking the wheels to pretend he wasn’t doing what he was doing.

“Hey, honey.” Why don’t you come outside and help daddy?”

“Ok, I will!”

Followed by a sharp, “No, you won’t!” It was his wife, Sharon, stepping outside to take in the beautiful summer air and snatch up their full-haired child that simply refused to get her hair done. Apparently mommy pulls too hard.

Henry could say the same thing too about his wife—arrgh, be it not the hairs she be pullin’ at, me hearty. His smile was evident from across the yard.

Sharon covered her daughter’s ears quickly. “Keep your dirty little pirate-ass thoughts to yourself. That’s Friday night madness and it’s Sunday, if you haven’t noticed.”

Arrgh, when ye gonna let me claim more booty.”

As sweetly corny as he was, Sharon almost considered letting him plunder her booty if it wasn’t for the fact that she had a list of chores and things to do and an uncomfortable two ½ months of pregnancy to go. Regardless, unfortunately for Henry, spontaneous pirating of his wife’s treasures was never her best trait.

“We have hair to do, missy. You’re welcome to help, daddy.”

Assisting the washing, combing and brushing of his daughter’s hair was on par with peeling his finger nails off with Palmolive liquid acid. “No thanks,” he kicked on the lawn mower. “But you can keep calling me daddy if you want to. You know? The suitable rejoinder to the query ‘Whose your…?’ followed by the traditional cupped hand arching back ninety degrees, aimed directly for the gluteus maximus. And speaking of pulling hair…”

Sharon pulled their daughter away shaking her head at her sex-fiend husband. “You have to stop.”

In Henry’s mind, he wished she would start. Or at least start more often. Maybe this was all there was to his marriage. Scheduled sex at best once a week, at worst once a month. Birthday, extra freaky lovin’ was planned and always expected but overall, this was it. Work, family time, nothing unplanned. Nothing risqué.

Before he let his mind drift into a Dr. Phil episode, Henry already tried the talk to the spouse and be open routine. He might as well have revealed he was a serial killer. Apparently, there are things intimately that his wife just will not explore and so … Henry mowed the lawn.

Coming around the side of his house that divided his from his neighbor, Carl Grant and his wife, Meryl, Henry stopped to drink some water. Between homes, there was about twenty-thirty feet of distance. The Kentucky Bluegrass belonging to Henry gave away how much lawn belonged to him verses Carl’s drought resistant Bermuda. While the whole subdivision was built with Bermuda grass, seems Henry was the only one with an off-breed landscape and he suffered for it when the local lake was below regulatory water usage. He couldn’t water his lawn and his property turned a dead brown while others were still in full green that part of the year.

Carl was cleaning the windows of his home when Henry downed the last of his water. “Henry.” Carl greeted, trying to rub the most suborn of stains out of the glass.

“What’s going on, Carl. How’s Meryl?”

“She’s good, thanks. The weather is good for her this time of year. She’ll be out of the house helping me with the house for a change.”

“At least you have a willing participant.” With more complaints about his wife on the tip of his tongue, Henry chose to just let it slide. His comment implied enough.

“How’s Sharon? She’s getting bigger. When’s the baby due again?”

“Oh, I think in another two months or so.”

“You think?” Carl questioned.

“I don’t keep track of these things like I used to.” He scoffed.

Carl, an older man, possibly in his late 60’s, been there—done that with Henry enough times that Henry knew there wasn’t a topic of child rearing that Carl didn’t have answer for. Most of his wisdom almost always came back with a fit-all just say yes dear and everything will be okay in the household.

Henry was already a slave to his job and was not the kind of man to kowtow aimlessly to his wife on every occasion. For god’s sake, if she’s wrong about something she’s wrong.

So naturally there was plenty of fighting going on.

That’s when Henry heard it for the first time.

Someone screaming. A child. Maybe a female … a little girl.

Or maybe he imagined it because Carl just kept on talking about what wives thought most of and how husbands can avoid this and that and some other crap he was dishing from years of marriage to the same woman. If Henry wasn’t so preoccupied with understanding where that scream came from, he would have felt misery for Carl and his forty plus years of marriage to the same woman. Talk about the king of once a year sexcapades … if any.

“Did you hear that?” Henry mentioned, interrupting Carl’s regression on some nonsense he did when he first met Meryl.

“Here what?” Carl asked.

“That scream. Sounded like a little girl.”

Carl laughed heartedly, slapping his hand on his thigh real country-like. “Boy, Henry. You do got it bad. You’re gonna tell me you don’t know the sound of your own daughter’s hollerin’?”

Henry’s face, fingers and extremities went a sudden cold. “That’s my daughter?”

“Yeah. Who else would it be?”

Now that he thought about it—and heard her clear as day now—he was sure it was his daughter. In fact, considering how loud she was right now, he was acutely aware of where she was in the house, in their bedroom, on the floor while Sharon had SpongeBob on as an unsuccessful distraction while combing and pulling her hair.

From the clarity of her screams, he could even identify how far she was from the window of the bedroom.

And then Carl went and said the fateful words that ruined the rest of Henry’s day.

“We hear ya’ll over there all the time.”

Henry was speechless and tried as best as he could to control the multitude of expressions that was going through his mind. The best he could do was start up the lawn mover again and pat Carl on the shoulder. “Gotta get this lawn done. I’ll … ugh … we’ll try to keep it down a little. “ He capped it with a nervous fake laugh.

Carl was laughing for real. “Tell me you just finding out how much sound you got coming out of there.”

“Christ, Carl.” Henry was at a total loss of words.

“Yes, sir.” Carl took off his gloves and walked to the front of his house, waving. “We hear ya’ll over there all the time.”

Henry watched Carl leave and then shut off the mower to take in the gravity of this recent information and continue listening to his daughter, clear as day, screaming her head off from Sharon’s hair assault. He’s been at this house for fifteen years and he’s just learning how much sound is heard coming out of his windows. Just now. Right now. Why the fuck didn’t you know things were this loud over here.

They picked the neighborhood because of the friendly serenity it provided. He swore to god he thought the serenity was because the windows and insulation were tight as all hell. He couldn’t believe after all these years, he wasn’t aware of the vacant noise capacity of their home. But it makes sense. Whenever his wife needed him, she would call him on his cell even if it were outside. There was no reason for her or him to yell to each other from inside the house if the other was outside.

No reason to yell to each other.

Plenty of reasons to yell at each other.

Henry couldn’t restart the mower and drank the last few drops of his water, feeling his head sweat and heart beat a little faster. But Oh, did they have glorious fights.

Right in that very bedroom.


“What the fuck, Henry! You knew goddamn well my mother was coming into town this week.”

“Let the bitch stay at a fuckin’ Super 8 for all I care. This is my house and she can keep her old judgmental ass at a fuckin’ short stay.”

“You sonofabitch! That’s my mother!”

“My fuckin’ condolences! She never EVER has anything good to say about me. We stayed with her just until we got our lives together and she treated me as if I was the fuckin’ plague. All the time bringing up that joker she wanted you to marry. Bitch NEVER respected me.”

“Watch how you talk about my mother, Henry.”

“Fuck her … and FUCK you. This is MY goddamn house!”

“Now you woke the baby!”

“I don’t give a fuck!”


Henry remembered that night vividly. Two A.M and he rolled over to get a piece and all she had on her mind was getting fresh linin for the guest room for her mother. He was pissed that night because she totally blew off his advances. Maybe he did let too much get said. Much of it was out of anger. That was certain—but her mother got under his skin so, so much. It’s as if no matter how well he’s done or how hard he worked, it was never good enough. Still, under his breath, he had a special fuck her always next to the fading soft spot he once had for Sharon’s mother.

The yelling from his daughter was consistent and he wanted to judge for certain exactly how much of this can be heard around the house. Gradually, he walked to the front of the house, watching the kids ride by. His neighbor across the street washing his car. All the while, listening with absolute clarity the screams of his daughter as he arrived at the front of the house and mid-way of the driveway.

Still hearing her screams.

What other screams did the neighbors hear?


With Sharon on a road trip to visit family in Connecticut and Henry had to stay behind for the week she was gone to handle some important business at the office, he had plenty of free time and free space to save money on the hotel’s he’s been shelling out to screw Tricia Peterson, the attractive, buxom new girl from the office right in his own home. Since day one, Tricia let it be known, she would fuck him anywhere and anytime, all he would have to do is ask. He stalled on that for about a month. Not because he was concerned about his wife or infidelity or any guilt trip crap. He waited on getting a piece of that ass because he wanted to make sure she was tight on her household as well. She was married too and he caught rumors of her in bed with a few people around the office. Shit, everybody was fucking in the office; taking bets and winning good beer money on who was going to screw who next. That’s nothing new.

Henry always played it cool because he never ever wanted some issue with the angry husband rampaging because of him or even if the chick would go nut, start falling in love and mess up his ‘happy home’.


The goal is always to make sure the players stay in their lane and realize what this is was all about.

Tricia knew exactly what this was about and during lunch one day, at about 11am, they went out for a turkey sandwich and kept driving to his house. It was a Monday afternoon. Nobody was home and he drove straight into the garage, closing the door and he pounded her from the passenger seat of his car, on top of the car, into the kitchen connected to the garage, on top of the great room couches, on the floor, up the stairs to the bedroom, on the floor leading to the bedroom, detoured to the children’s room and produced her fifth orgasm on his daughter’s bed, back to the floor doggie style, chasing her across the floor while giving her oral, into the bedroom and didn’t stop hammering her until 7pm that night with only a brief moment to call the job and for her to call her husband with some lame excuse she said she could handle.

The best day of his life. The raw, unplanned spontaneous thrill of his life, quite frankly. Something he lost the moment he got married. Also the loudest day he could remember, cause he made Tricia scream her head off and he loved every minute of it. Every stroke, she almost vocalized the paint off the walls. Clothes everywhere and he dug deep into her to let her know he was sexually deprived up till that moment.


Listening to his daughter still hollering at the top of her lungs, Henry rubbed his forehead with worry, waving at his neighbor across the street. He had to see exactly how much anyone could hear because, if he remembered correctly, Stanley, his neighbor, was washing his car that same afternoon he was plowing into Tricia.

He’s always washing that damn car.

Henry thought of some reason to cross the street to greet Stanley. In a neighborhood mostly of waves, hi’s and goodbyes, this chance chatting would normally seem odd. So he had to make it seem reasonable. Every step he took, smiling absently at his neighbor, Henry still heard his daughter’s blaring voice.

By now he was across the street and for the exception of the volume decreased by the distance, he could still tell his little girl was crying and in pain.

Henry, by now, was in Stanley’s driveway.

“Hey, Henry. Hair day again, I hear.”

Great. “Yeah. Gotta keep it clean and neat, you know how kids are, right?”

“Yeah. My daughter would yell and carry on for hours. Took forever for the misses to think about doing it in the basement. Better insulation, if you get me.”

They laughed. Henry wanted to cry.

“So what’s up?” Stanley asked.

“Oh nothing. Just … wanted to say what’s up. I’ll check you later.”

“Hey, no problem.” As Henry crossed the street, Stanley left him with one last comment. “Remember—think about the basement.” Concluding with a wink.

Oh yeah, Henry thought. He heard me fuck the shit out of Tricia.

Then Henry became indignant. The nerve of these neighbors. Don’t they hear shit and want to give a neighbor the heads up?

But why should they? How could they? You just don’t go up to your neighbor and say, we hear you fuckin’. Either let us join, watch or keep it down. How do you tell someone that? How do you approach your neighbor and tell them you hear all their business without exactly giving away that you are, indeed, listening.

The question really is why can’t he hear the neighbors if they hear him. Oh, well that’s easy. They hear him and simply check themselves, leaving him in the dark. Best believe Henry would be mindful of noise pollution coming out of his house from now on.

From now on things would be different.

How different? he thought.

Now, he started feeling bad.

He did a strange woman on his and his daughter’s bed. Washed the streets and nobody knew the difference but that sort of thing still stuck in the latest remaining pure part of his head. He defiled his home. How fucked up is that?

Well, he needed sex more often and his wife is a goddamn prude. What’s the harm releasing a little steam? Truth be told, he was messing around since they met. Never caught once. Guilty? Sometimes, but the thought of living a life with one person not getting the recommended amount of explicit sex from a woman who was cool with once a month was maddening! Too keep the peace, he reasoned this was the best solution.

The guilt was starting to grow larger and weigh heavier on his shoulders and mind.

More now than ever because his life was apparently so loud. So loud that not only can he no longer ignore it—but neither can his neighbors either.

THAT was the embarrassing part. The part that they knew how he and Sharon would yell at each other.


Henry walked in the house from a night of insane drinking and unabashed sex at a secret swingers club he discovered from hanging out with the right people. Naked bodies everywhere. Not extremely sexy bodies—not every experience was a living porn video of god/goddess unblemished bodies. Didn’t matter. Sex was in the air and he was having a good old time with multiples and a visual display of stuff his wife would never approve of. A night of complete decadence and carnal pleasure.

The problem was the party didn’t end till four in the morning and there was no amount of work on the planet that he could lie about for coming in that late. So, he downed half a bottle of vodka, some rum and coke, screwed his brains out, showered, drank a little more, smoked that joint he refused till the last minute and stumbled into the house with an  I don’t give a fuck attitude.

Waiting for him, of course, was his wife and the sparks flew. Him cursing her out. She cursing him out. Him not explaining a damn thing because he was a grown ass man. She not knowing anything about his whereabouts and can only assume the worst but couldn’t prove it. He telling her to give him some space and on and on and on. Screaming and waking the kids up. She threatening to call the cops because it looked as if he was going to strike her. She telling him to get the fuck out. He reminding her who goddamn well owned this motherfucking house and she threaten to take the kids and leave him.

It was bad.

One of many bad experiences that lasted through the early morning.

Very loud.

Very unpleasant.



He remembered the argument truly ended around noon that day. After another twenty-four hours of not talking; him sobering up and finally he apologized as he should without really giving away any details. She probably wouldn’t want to know anyway.

Thank god. But still, Henry felt bad.

Now that he could hear how loud they have been, he had the time to reflect on the things he had done and the things he said; unable to imagine he could be so—ugly. He took a forced inventory of his life since his family business was publicly aware to those around him.

Silent neighbors who knew just how ugly things could get in his household.

How ghetto was that? But of course, a ghetto had no specific race. It’s an equal opportunity, economical condition and mind-frame that had no color—just loads of indiscrete, loud people who either struggled to stop being ugly inside—or preferred to stay there. Or maybe some people who don’t even know how ghetto they were.

Until Henry realized how loud and ugly he was to his wife, to his home, to his children, to his own life behind closed doors—now openly audio broadcasted to his neighbors—he wasn’t aware of how he brought a form of ghetto to his own family.

Thus, he felt bad. What could the neighbors be thinking of him?

Then he thought, fuck them. That brief defiant position took hold only for a second then vanished as soon as it came. He could take the position of this was his house. He can say and do what he pleased.

But that would mean signing off on his ugliness inside; approving the way he spoke and handled his family.

The full picture of Henry wasn’t that. He did want the house on the hill. The high school sweetheart. The two point five children. The picket fence. He wanted it and he achieved it. On the outside, like his manicured lawn, it all looked great. It was the inside that had many issues and the neighbors knew it.

Henry now discovered it too.

He walked back into the house after the noise settled down a bit and went up to the bedroom to find both his daughters sitting on the floor and mommy bushing hair while cartoons continued to play. Sharon sat on the bed, legs spread wide to give the forthcoming baby growing in her belly some space.

She wiped sweat from her brow even though the ceiling fan was on above her, spreading air as thinly as it could. “Well, look who’s here. You’re too late, it’s already finished if you came to help.”

“I’m sorry I missed the action. It’s hot in here. Why didn’t you open the window?”

“Ha! The way she was carrying on? I don’t want the neighbors to hear any of her yelling and screaming.” She looked down to her littlest child. “When are you going to grow up for mommy and help me with this?”

Henry sighed and walked to every window in the bedroom and opened them, letting fresh air breeze through and then sat next to his wife. He rubbed his daughter’s heads and leaned back, looking up at the ceiling fan. “You know, I love this house.”

“I do too.” Sharon responded. “We did good, didn’t we?”

“We did.” Henry looked at his wife, full of thoughts. “Sharon?”


“I’m sorry.”

“For what?”

“Nothing. A lot of things. I just want you to know I’m sorry.”

“Well what did you do?”

“Just how I talk to you, I guess. I was—thinking. Going over all the arguments we had in the past. I’m really sorry. I have said some things. Some things that just weren’t right. Some of it out of frustration, you know?”

“Well, thanks. I’m sorry too. You know I love you. We just got to hang in there—no matter what, right? If you’re frustrated about something, why don’t you tell me?”

This was going to be some conversation and not one that would be over one evening either. A mix of re-discovering themselves, revealing things about himself and finding compromises. Not just about sex, either. All sorts of stuff that needed to be re-discovered when one marries the high school sweetheart and that’s the only person they’ve ever known. A re-establishing of who they were so the fighting could stop and the understanding could be let in. After all, it was better to understand one another if they weren’t yelling.

Silencing the loudness a great deal so, after a while, the neighbors hardly knew whether or not Henry and his family were even in the house at all.

Each of them using their indoor voices so only they can hear each other … understand each other … and respect each other—keeping the window open full to let the fresh air in without concern.


© Copyright 2018 Corey Aaron Burkes. All rights reserved.

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