The neighbors, Sweetey, Petey, and Baby Dumdum, moved across town with promises to come back for a summer time cook-out. We watched them drive off with the final carload of clothes and boxes, feeling a sense of regret and acceptance that a reunion would never happen. Not knowing their last name, forwarding address or phone number made it clear that we were not the best neighbors.
Next time, we vowed to get it right.
Tears dried on our faces as we looked onto the empty house when a moving truck rumbled up the street, manned by the new neighbors.
Garry and Ginny had arrived.
Has one day ever been enough time to repaint, make repairs and clean the carpets between rental residents? I should think not, but to a slum landlord those are mere inconveniences easily overlooked, likely in the same way that she overlooked their background check and employment verification.
It was a fair exchange of a blind eye for a blind eye.
Garry stepped out of the truck with a cigarette dangling from his lip. His arms and legs were swirls of vivid colors and tattooed images. Stroking his beard with one hand and smoking with the other, he surveyed all that was his by way of rent and nodded. He saw that it was good.
Ginny hopped down from her side of the truck. Points of bright, red hair poked out from underneath of an army hat. She, too, smoked, and agreed that this was going to be eh…whatever.
They flicked their cigarette butts out onto the grass, and hand in hand, the couple walked into their new abode.
From that time, I’ve watched them halfheartedly through the window. The joy of neighbor watching left with Sweetey, Petey and Baby Dumdum. I’ve even listened to them as they like to keep the windows open when they fight their terrible, cruel fights. Neither one drives or walks which doesn’t help the constantly brewing tension between the two. They use cabs or they don’t leave.
However, visitors come at all hours throughout the day and night, parking for only a few minutes while the driver runs inside to complete some type of transaction. Then, the driver usually slinks back to his vehicle with his head down, looking from the side of his eye for witnesses.
Garry, Ginny and their many visitors have yet to learn of the Neighborhood Watch Society of One.
I guess as long as they have visitors, they will have money for rent, and will remain our neighbors until someone rats out the “business” and the police arrive for what will almost certainly be a shootout showdown. I suppose my interest in neighbor watching/voyeurism will be temporarily renewed with the sirens flashing and guns firing.
Another set of neighbors will move in after Garry and Ginny are either arrested or taken to the hospital or morgue.
There is always next time to get it right.
Still, I miss Sweetey, Petey, and Baby Dumdum.