The neighbors of serial killers have such a nice, quiet existence. They are always interviewed after an arrest, and they always say the same things.
“We never suspected anything, he was so quiet,” or “He kept to himself, never bothered anyone.”
You never hear, “We wondered about all those clown costumes,” or “Were it not for the screaming, this would have been a peaceful neighborhood.”
Not even a “He played his music ridiculously loud until 2:00 AM.”
I’ve never had the neighbors that are quiet and keep to themselves.
I get the schizophrenic who randomly stops taking his meds and runs around the neighborhood wearing nothing but tennis shoes (1996)
Or the nymphomaniac who cranked Boyz II Men while she banged whoever was handy upstairs from our living room (same year)
Then there was the Let-me-bring-you-some-soup -EVERY-DAY lady. She was while I was still living at home in 1992.
Then there was Let-me-park-my-car-here-guy. “Here” was ON my doorsteps. Twice. (1995)
Any current readers of my blog already know about the Goat-owning dude living out behind me right now.
There has also been drug-dealer (’93), dog -lady, which is WAY worse than cat-lady (’97), Fat Walter (his only known and well deserved moniker) – he was way back in ’85, and the guy we nicknamed Chester the Molester (original, I know) around ’98.
And these are the ones I can recall off the top of my head. Never mind the guy we had to call the cops on for trying to beat down our door, or the shifty fellow who kept trying to make friends with our dog by bringing her cheeseburger chunks.
Ever since our short stint in trailer park living, where we first encountered Fat Walter, it has been one crazy neighbor after another. It’s like living there magnetized me to attract the nutjobs.
We assumed it would be different up here – there is a tenth of a mile between us and our closest neighbor.
Just last year the goat episode taught us otherwise.
Up until then, everything had been pretty quiet. Even the pallet people, who concerned us when we first moved in, had done little beyond the country wave as they drove by a .5 miles per hour.
We call them the pallet people because they have about a half-acre of their property covered with stacked pallets – old new, broken and whole – at any given time they have anywhere from 50 to 1000 of them stacked everywhere.
Sometimes there are so many that we can’t see the first floor of their farmhouse – it looks like the second story of their home rises up from a shaky foundation of psychotic craftsmanship.
They’ve stopped in a couple of time since we moved in – introducing themselves, reminding us to vote, or register the dogs. Harmless. The worst part is his severely crossed eyes – I just never know where to look when talking to him.
So I mostly look at her, and try to lean away from her tendency to move in close when she talks.
I should have known we were going to begin our traditional fun with neighbors, when they showed up in the middle of January, catching us just as we were about to leave.
They’d been trying to catch up with us since December with a bag of treats for our dog.
Her Christmas gift.
But yesterday, when I went out to get the dog, I found them just hanging out on my front porch. They were visiting the dog.
And when I went out, they made a nod in my direction and continued to chat with our family pet.
And then they turned to me.
“Our son loves dogs.”
“Oh really?” Really??
“He hasn’t been home since you’ve gotten this dog. He’d love to see this one.”
“Mmm” Mouth clamped closed, non-committal sounds only.
“We thought it would be funny – ”
“She thought,” he interrupted, “She’s the joker.”
“We thought it would be funny if we told him that you have a puppy and that you said it would be okay for him to come over and take a look. We’d call first, of course, but we thought it would be funny to send him over here to see your puppy, expecting a normal pup and find this great big beautiful animal.”
As she trailed into ‘big, beautiful animal, she turned away from me and back to Nibs – a puppy, yes, but a St. Bernard pup. At less than a year she is bigger than most fully grown dogs.
Wait. Did they just invite themselves and their son into my home?
“Welllll. . . ” My quick thinking skills failed.
Instead, I got this:
Can I say ‘no’ without looking like a total bitch? Probably not.
I mean, they are our neighbors. It’s just for a few minutes. Weird yes, but harmless enough. Right?
But Lynnette, you hate people being in your house.
Yes, but that’s just because I’m weird. I don’t think that aversion is normal.
You’ll have to make small talk. (I hate small talk)
I could feel the panic rising because I couldn’t think of a graceful way out of this visit.
“Welll, I guess –”
“Great. We’ll make sure to call first!”
They planted a few more kisses on my dog’s head and bundled back to their car to head home.
Ummmm. What just happened?
Now I have to tell my husband, who is just as averse to random visits as I am, that we are going to have a visitor sometime soon.
Someone we don’t know. Who is coming to visit our dog.
It just now occurs to me.
We are the quiet ones, that keep to ourselves.
- The Goat Episode, in 3 Parts: part 1 (rantravewrite.com)
- The Goat Episode in 3 Parts, Part 2 (rantravewrite.com)
- The Goat Episode in 3 Parts, Part 3: The Final Confrontation (rantravewrite.com)