I have a neighbor. She is inconsiderate and downright hostile not only to me but to everyone in the neighborhood. No one has done anything to her. We just think she is one of those people who prefer no contact with other neighbors.
At one time, she was married. He seemed like a nice guy to me. My neighbor across the street did not trust him and told me that I am too welcoming. He might have a point. I am the unofficial bottled water supplier for the Jehovah Witnesses who tour the neighborhood. It’s the same two elderly ladies who come to preach and one of them uses a walker. I don’t want them collapsing on my front lawn in the summer heat, so I give them bottled water. Why they don’t bring their own is a mystery to me, but I guess it’s some kind of God test. The funny thing is that they don’t even try to save me, which to me is a little insulting. Not to be oversensitive, but I think since I give them water they could at least pretend to be concerned over my eternal path.
But I digress. The first week the bitch neighbor and her husband moved in, he came over and introduced himself. He said his name was Brett, and then he informed me that he was putting up a six-foot fence in place of the four-foot fence that was there.
“Are my dogs bothering you?” I asked. “They will get used to you.”
“No, it’s not that. I have three pit bulls, and I’m bringing them here next week, and I don’t want them bothering your pets.”
After the fence went up, I started to hear the pit bulls in the yard. They didn’t seem like misunderstood or mislabeled dogs. They sounded like hostile dogs impatient for a good meal, and I didn’t want me or my dogs to be that meal.Time went on and all seemed fine. The dogs were not a nuisance. However, I started to notice a lot of activity going on in that house – especially at night. We could hear their garage doors open and close several times during the early morning hours. I started to get a little nervous. My neighbor across the street would continuously warn me that the new guy was up to no good, and I started to think that maybe he was right.
About a month after they moved in, Brett got a new Mercedes and his wife got a brand new BMW. Once again, my neighbor across the street said, “Two luxury cars in one week – they never leave the house! They do not have jobs!”
“Maybe they work from home like me,” I argued. “They could be writers!”
“With a Mercedes and a BMW? Do you have those?”
“Well, maybe they are more successful writers. Thanks for letting me feel like crap!” My neighbor just shrugged his shoulders and slid back to his house.
One day, I was raking leaves off my front lawn when Brett and his Mercedes pulled into his driveway. He came over to say hello.
“I hope the dogs aren’t bothering you,” he said in a concerned voice. “I know they can be loud sometimes.”
“No, not at all,” I lied. “They are fine.” He tried to make small talk about the never-ending chores that go with homeownership. I was polite, but I could not help shake the feeling he was trying too hard to be the good neighbor. Then, Brett made what I think was a fateful or rather a fatal boo boo. He tried to hit the lock button on his car, but instead he must have hit a garage door button. The doors went up and all I saw was floor to ceiling boxes of stereos, TVs, computers and other electronic merchandise. I now understood why he never kept his new cars in his garages. I could tell he was nervous that I saw all that stuff stacked up in his house. I pretended not to think anything about it, but in my head I was screaming at myself.
“Oh my God, He’s a stolen goods fence or maybe he is an armed robber or a murderer or something and now I am a witness and he’s going to have to kill me!”
As quickly as I could, I made up an excuse to run back into my house. I locked all the doors and put my German Shepherd in the front window and told her “Kill”. Unfortunately, she never heard that command before so all she could do was lick my face. I was also panicked because this was a week my husband was in Europe on business, so I couldn’t count on him for help. I thought about calling the police, but I kept thinking that there was a logical explanation for everything, and really, what could they do? Brett had not broken any laws that I could prove.
It didn’t matter anyway, because after that day, I never saw Brett or his Mercedes again. Just like that he was gone. About two days after the garage incident, another funny thing happened. Two dumpsters were dropped off in his driveway at about 1 AM. A group of people also showed up and throughout the night, they emptied the entire contents of the house. Three of my neighbors phoned me to ask what was going on, so I gave them a play-by-play as seen through my dining room window. By sun up, the dumpsters were full. Furniture, clothes, appliances – you name it, it was in those dumpsters including, and I swear this on my Jehovah Witness ladies, a back seat of a car that looked an awful lot like the black leather seats that could have been in Brett’s Mercedes.
Is there an epilogue to this mystery? Yes, of course. The wife or whoever still lives in the house and remains unfriendly. She still has her BMW, but the house looks empty. The only activity at times is the landscaper who comes once a week to mow her lawn. And knocked on her door. One of the officers asked me if I had seen the guy who lived there recently. I told him how he vanished and the consensus of the neighbors on our street is that he is dead. I told him that we think she had him whacked and he is buried with his Mercedes — minus the backseat — somewhere in southern New Jersey. Why southern NJ? That is where hit men dump their victims in the movies.
I expected the cops to laugh at our paranoia, but instead one of the officers said rather nonchalantly,
“Yep, that is pretty much what we think happened too.”
One last bit of information, the day the dumpsters pulled out, the pit bulls vanished too. There is a dog living at that house, but it looks more like a lab mix than anything else. My neighbors and I will probably never solve the mysterious disappearance of Brett, but he and his widow or ex or whoever she is have certainly added a lot of color to our otherwise dull, suburban existence.
photo by mgbales