By Rudy Uribe, Jr
My wife thinks I’m obsessed with our new neighbors, but I’m not obsessed with them at all; I’m obsessed with getting even.
Shortly after moving in, our neighbors built a massive deck in their backyard that looks straight into our house. Our loss of privacy really bothered me. I thought of calling Building and Safety to see if they had a permit, but I want to be a good neighbor, so I let it go.
My wife and I were watching a rerun of Gomer Pyle, the one where Sergeant Carter yells at Gomer, when we heard barking next door. It turns out our new neighbors bought a Mastiff for protection.
“Enough is enough, Harold. You need to do something about that dog,” my wife said.
“But he’s just a puppy. He’ll stop once he settles in.” I thought of calling Animal Control, but I want to be a good neighbor, so I let it go.
We had just finished a rerun of the Beverly Hillbillies, the one where Ellie May brings home an animal, when we heard our neighbor pull up in his new sports car. His muffler set off several car alarms on the block. “California Koo Koo berries.” Excuse my language, but how about a little consideration for the rest us of who go to bed early? I thought of saying something to them, but I want to be a good neighbor, so I let it go.
It was a week later, and I remember telling my wife I smelled a skunk.
“That’s not a skunk, Harold, it’s marijuana. Now, what are you going to do about it?”
I deflected her question with a question. “Marijuana,” I said, “how would you know?”
Our bedroom smells like a dispensary. Oh, some of you are salivating right about now, but I’m a law-abiding citizen, and the odor of reefer makes me sick. My wife reminds me that pot is legal in California. “Mother of macaroni, what is this world coming to?” I was going to go next door and say something, but I want to be a good neighbor, so I let it go
Memorial Day was something else. They threw a party for one hundred of their closest friends. They hired a DJ to blast music in the backyard. The decibel level was louder than any Tony Bennett concert I have ever been to. It was only five o’clock in the afternoon, but still, the music was so loud I thought of calling the police. But you know me, I let it go.
At six o’clock there was a knock at our door. My wife and I were in our pajamas, and we figured it was the UPS guy, but when someone shone a flashlight through the beveled glass, we figured we’d better answer it.
I looked at my wife, who moves faster than me. “Oh, alright,” she huffed, and hurried to the door.
“Excuse me, ma’am, but your music is too loud,” the police officer said.
My wife pointed to her pajamas and said, “Officer, do I look like I’m throwing a party?”
Ten minutes later the music stopped. “Sweet potato crumb cake.” Excuse my language, but the silence was delightful. We settled in for the night to watch an episode of Columbo. It was the one where he says, “I don’t mean to bother you.”
We were an hour into the show when we smelled a thick cloud of reefer next door. My wife and I have never laughed so hard at a Columbo episode in our lives. I was going to say something, but I was having such a good time, I let it go.
Moving into September, Labor Day weekend was upon us. Anyway, 200 people showed up for the party of parties. My wife and I don’t even know 200 people.
They must have had everyone dancing on the deck because it gave way right in the middle of M.A.S.H. You know, the one where Radar hears the helicopters before anyone else. People rolled down the hillside, crashing into pylons and two-by-fours. There were broken legs and mangled arms and a lot of cuts and bruises.
It turns out our neighbors built the deck without a permit, imagine that. I know it’s hard to believe, but my neighbors also had illegal drugs in the house. The drugs were on display for everyone to see and use. No warrant needed. This time, I didn’t let it go.
We finished watching an episode of Matlock, you know, the one where he wears a light gray suit, and it reminded me that I might want to cover my tracks. I grabbed my trusty saw and threw it in the trash can. It wouldn’t be long before the insurance company discovered someone had tampered with the deck.
I may be eighty-three, but I can still jump a fence in under three minutes flat. Since most of my work was done under the deck, no one could see me from the house. Godzilla barks all night, so he isn’t much of a watchdog, and besides, he’s my buddy. I used to work construction, so I can spot load-bearing timber easier than I can put on a Ronald Reagan campaign button. All I had to do was cut halfway through a few of those timbers and wait for the next party. My wife thinks it’s Karma.
I know these guys pissed off a lot of other neighbors with their antics, so the cops will have an entire neighborhood of suspects to interrogate. I doubt they’ll bother with an eighty-three-year-old who puts on his pajamas at six o’clock in the evening.
At one point my conscience kicked in, and I thought of calling the police and turning myself in, but “f@#% ‘em,” I’m tired of being a good neighbor, so I let it go.