Ding Dong the Neighbor’s Gone!

In the beginning there was Lot and it was good. There were awesomely large black snakes, tortoises, turtles, squirrels and even once a family of armadillos. I even got close enough one morning to pet one of the baby armadillos. It was so cute and weird… mostly weirdly cute. Once or twice a year all we had to do was call the town to complain about the dried grasses being a fire hazard and they’d send someone out to brush-hog the property.

Then there was Construction and it was bad, very, very bad. Lot was torn asunder. Creatures fled or died in panic. A mere ten feet from the walls of our sanctuary trucks brought in endless loads of dirt and materials. And then, then there was hammering and pounding and more hammering and more pounding. Days on end this horror went on. Horrible music from badly damaged stereos accented the annoying sounds of…

House. At first House sat there, quiet and alone. It was much like Lot but without the creatures or the forty foot pine tree that had grown in the middle of Lot. And while it wasn’t good it was better than bad.

But then… Neighbors. The first was a pleasant guy in his thirties. He was reasonably quiet. Having a few people over from time to time on the weekends. Never annoying. He planned on buying after renting House but there were hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean and the banks wanted to play ‘wait and see.’ Finally he got them to agree to a closing date which as it turns out was four days after we got slammed with the first of two hurricanes in 2004. House was damaged and damaged again a few weeks later. The banks ran him around in circles. So he gave up.

Then there were others. A nice couple who said ‘Hi.’ and never gave their names or the names of their two daughters. Creatures it seemed only capable of running around in circles and screeching at nearly hypersonic levels. Luckily these people were only ever home on the weekends. And I mean that. Almost every Monday morning to Friday afternoon the house sat empty. We knew of their arrival by the exploding of our fine lead crystal stemware (kidding, but just barely). These folks owned two cars that were worth more than the property they were living on. Hers, a fully loaded and tricked out Cadillac Escalade and his an also fully loaded four-door, four-wheel drive GMC diesel pick-up truck. One day they stopped appearing. We saw nothing of them for a couple months. Then the woman showed up in her gleaming white Escalade looking for a package of ‘pens’ that she assumed had been delivered to the wrong address. She had driven more than an hour north from the depths of deep south Florida to accost every neighbor in a two block radius for her ‘pens’. She was back a week later and nearly hostile with veiled threats and accusations that someone HAD to have her ‘pens’ and she wanted them, “right NOW!” I saw her about a month later cruising the neighborhood perhaps looking for people illicitly writing with her ‘pens’ but she never stopped by and I never saw her again.
{Sotto Voce} I think they were drug dealers!

Then House sat empty for a while. We hoped and hoped some elderly retired couple would move in, settle down and be in bed by 9:30 PM. So we got…


A couple in their mid to late 30’s moved in. They had a son, 12 or 13 who didn’t appear to go to school but stood in the driveway ten feet from my bedroom window and bounced a basketball from early morning to past sunset just about every single day. After a while several twenty-somethings appeared and started hanging around. They decided to white-trash up the neighborhood by moving the kid’s basketball backboard down to the street and spray painting the street to look like a basketball court. When the town disapproved of that they moved the backboard back up next to my window and repeated the spray paint decoration in their driveway.
We rarely saw the couple who first moved in but the twenty-somethings we hanging out playing basketball at 2 in the morning after drunkenly screaming at each other for several hours. The group of semi-adults also seemed to change from week to week. It was decidedly odd.
About a year of that the driveway crowd dried up and disappeared then the older gentleman stopped by and told us they had trouble with the bank and were moving out.
House sat pleasantly empty and quite for several months and then they were back. The same middle age couple minus the basketball playing tween and with a different batch of late teen early twenty somethings.
After they said “Hi we’re back!” I never really saw the older folks again. The twenty-somethings set up in the garage and sat there, all day, every day in the summer heat. Once in a while they had a fan sitting there but most of the time there were several people just sitting forlornly at a patio table in cheap plastic chairs from just after sunrise until sometime around midnight. Sitting there. Sitting. In the Florida heat. SOMEONE was in the house. I could hear their A/C cycling on when I was out back cooking on the grill. They also had someone living in one of their mini vans. Every now and then I’d see him out in the street shaking out his blanket or walking his pillow up and down the road until ‘Those Who Live Inside’ departed for the day and then he was back hanging out in the garage.
A short while after they came back we found two kittens by our front door, adorable little things, they had collars so someone cared about them. I went next door to see if they belonged to them. When I knocked a young boy maybe eight or nine answered the door. Then a girl a few years older came to the door and said that they were indeed their kittens. She came and got the kittens and I never saw either kids or kittens again.
Woke up one morning about a month ago, went down the driveway to see where the paper”boy” had flung the paper this time and the parking lot next door was empty. Normally in the morning there were six to eight cars parked in the driveway, front yard and street and they were all gone. Even the one that hadn’t moved in months. They’re gone, again, without a sound this time.
Here’s hoping we get a nice, elderly couple with no grand kids or pets as our next neighbors. Please?

Hawk (wants Lot back!)


  1. trish

    I love your writing.

  2. Cindy

    Here’s hoping!!

  3. Bill

    Never pet armadillos.
    They carry leprosy, fer real.

  4. Hawk (Post author)

    While true it’s not quite as dangerous as it sounds.

    Found online:
    “The only cases of transmission from armadillos to humans have occurred in rare incidents in which people ate undercooked armadillo meat.”

    So even heavy petting with an armadillo won’t get you anything but arrested…


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