Everybody Needs Good Neighbours
The day Sheila Meadows fell off her shed roof and punctured her kidneys on a pair of garden shears was the best I’ve had in years.
She died almost instantly, which made me feel even better – she’d have known she was getting her comeuppance but I didn’t have to feel bad about not responding to the screaming.
Ignoring Sheila’s noise has been a huge part of my life these last five years. It used to drive me mad that I had to undertake all my personal business – sleeping, crying, shagging, going to the loo – just feet away from where she was doing hers, with only a flimsy layer of bricks to separate us.
It was worse out in the garden of course, because we couldn’t avoid each other out there. That’s how the feud got going in the first place. It was all nicey-nicey to begin with, cups of tea perched on the garden wall, chatting as we put our washing out, mutual moaning over the hosepipe ban. Then she had the extension done and blocked all the light onto my little suntrap patio and that was it; all hell broke loose.
I went to the funeral, wanted to make sure she was in the ground so I could move on and forget all about her. But then the bleaching started.
At first it was odd patches here and there, little clumps of grass dying off and then a wobbly circle. Thought it was foxes peeing, but then words started to be spelled out. Bitch. Just you wait. That kind of unoriginal crap. I wasn’t having it, so I concreted the lawn.
Stuff started happening inside the house then. The drains blocked and the place stank like a sewer. The plumber found all the pipes stuffed with strange pale goo. “Like bloody ectoplasm! Or something out of Ghostbusters!” he joked. But I could only manage a grim smile. It was easier to fight this bitch when I could see her.
Yesterday, all my knives went missing.