Daily Prompt: Wacky Neighbors

Today’s Daily Prompt:

Go to the nearest window. Look out for a full minute. Write about what you saw. 

So I cheated a little for this one. Our computer is directly in front of a window upstairs, at one side of the house…when I look out all I can see is the neighbor’s lawn, a bare tree, some closed windows, the street. If I turn my head to the right, I see a portion of our back yard and a portion of his, the patch of dead ground where his pool was before he recently ripped it down, layers of houses scattered on different levels of hill like we live in The Valley. It’s actually quite pretty at sunset.

Then I went downstairs, and stared out of our front bay window for a while. There’s one in the front of the living room and another directly across from it, in the dining room. The one in the dining room is my favorite, because the ledge is long enough for me to eventually turn it into a window seat, and with the shades drawn we get some beautiful sunlight through it. There’s also a butterfly bush right outside of that window, which apparently will attract hundreds of butterflies to it come spring. (I know nothing about gardening….but we have dozens of plants in our front and back yards so I better learn real quick.)

Anyhow, the front bay window. Upon drawing the shades and staring out, I can look directly at our neighbor’s house on the other side of the street. He owns a double lot; his house to the left, covered in some old, dark wood that reminds me of the beach, garage and pickup truck and trailer in the middle, then a large shed constructed of the same wood. During the few times we’ve chatted we’ve acquired two of his business cards, and he is a curator for some sort of Maritime artifact place by the shore. He said he spent several years deep-sea diving shipwrecks and his discoveries have been mentioned in several books. “My shed is full of all kinds of things,” he said when he turned up on our doorstep one night. “Hold on let me take this phone call.”

His shed does have all kinds of things plastered to the outside of it, two skylights on top, a sign that reads “DO NOT BLOCK” leaning against the trailer nearby. Sometimes – but not today – I’ll see him outside, no matter the temperature, in shorts and his bare feet, wandering around the driveway. The first time we met he let us know we may see his cats in our yard from time to time. I almost ran over one coming up our driveway one day. (And nearly had a heart attack when I saw she was the same colors as our cat.)

A little wooden ghost on a metal stick is still shoved into his flowerbed (there’s no flowers there) near a Halloween witch. An American flag hangs sideways from the roof of his porch and doesn’t seem to move much in the wind. At night, there is a single light that shines from the lone window at the top of the house. This is his bedroom. I know this because once he said, “I like to look at your Christmas lights from my bedroom window.” Somewhere around New Years a blurry, off-center picture of our Christmas lights showed up in our mailbox, no note attached. It seemed to be taken on an angle, like someone had been standing somewhere above the lights when they snapped the picture. A few days after that I took the trash out and he wandered over. “Did you get the picture I put in your mailbox?” “I did, thanks!” “I knocked and knocked a few days before that but no one answered.” Suddenly another neighbor appeared and inquired our strange neighbor about the cat that had been in his garage the night before.

“Your cat was in my garage last night!”

“So?”

“So it scared the shit out of me!”

“It’s cold out! What do you want me to do about it?”

That’s when I awkwardly shuffled up my walkway, waving goodbye, and jumped through my front door.

All of these lovely memories resurface each time I look out of our bay window. Then today I noticed that old newspaper that blew onto our lawn a few days ago, was covered with snow, and is now visible again. I’ll be sure no one’s around when I head out front to get it.

20 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized, Writing

20 responses to “Daily Prompt: Wacky Neighbors

  1. twindaddy

    This is why I try not to meet any of my neighbors. Creepy old freaks like that guy.

    • I didn’t even mention the time where he stopped over (I wasn’t home, but Joe told me) with a box containing: an old belt, a Mardi Gras t-shirt he said his mother refused to wear so he was giving it to me, a box of ornaments that had also been his mother’s – and that he said he wanted back – and incense for ME because, as he told Joe, “She has a lot of piercings and stuff, so she probably burns a lot of incense”. Mind you the man has never seen me without a jacket on (I hope so, anyway…) and is only aware of the hoop in my nose. -_-

  2. Ah, neighbors. We think they are off thier rockers. I wonder what they think about us?

  3. Those are wacky neighbors all right. My neighbors are fine. I have university guys on one side, who are a little loud sometimes but not too bad. The dogs bark because they have friends come and go at all hours but if we go upstairs we can’t hear anything. The neighbors on the other side are two women who do play their music sort of loud during the day, but during the day is okay. They have a sweet puppy and often babysit other dogs. They are quiet and keep to themselves. My neighbors are no trouble at all. I’ve lived here going on 4 years and all my neighbors, with the exception of my first set, who lived where the university kids live now, who had two little boys and were really noisy, have been great. I’m sorry you ended up with such strange neighbors. I don’t know what you can do about it except stay far away from them.

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  7. I think everyone thinks their neighbors are freaks. Some of them are. We are all strange in our own little ways.

  8. I have a butterfly bush. Those things are awesome. I think it will probably reach maturity by the end of the next season. They actually work. And……..I’ll bet you never thought I’d say that…

  9. This story is your response to a writing prompt? It’s so full of new ideas for more stories! I would be dying to write about my creepy neighbor and what’s happened in his life that makes him so creepy. For instance, do you remind him of his mother? Why? What sorts of things is he “hiding” in his garage? What about his adventures – I wonder what happened to him back then. Do you think he creeps all of his neighbors out? Perhaps he creeps them out on purpose bc he wants your house to stay unoccupied. Maybe there’s a reason? Anyway, not trying to keep you up at night, but I thought there might be some good writing material in there somewhere…

    • Yes it is! And you’re right…these are definitely good ideas to consider for a short story. They MAY keep me up at night, but if it turns into a juicy story, that’s all that matters. Thank you! :)

  10. sounds like you picked a perfect home to hear great dialogue and meet interesting characters!

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