Challenge #01417-C322: Contentious Neighbour

Vuvuzelas aka stadium horns plus a group of children ages 5 to 8. -- Anon Guest

The big house in the neighbourhood had finally sold. Not to a dot-com temporary millionaire or some other fancy individual, but to a business of sorts. A foster home.

Biff didn't like it. As their immediate neighbour, he got to see a lot of what was going on over the maximum-legal-tall fence. And he was offended by most of it.

Hardly any of the kids had any kind of promise. They were all the criminal element, or something was wrong with them. Or they were the troubled sort who were bound to be serial killers.

Their yard, once an expanse of landscaping beauty and a joy to behold from his own balcony in the early morning, became a playground. Trees and plants were uprooted and shipped off - the live-in-help claimed that they were poisonous or bad for children and even insisted he pay half the fee for lopping off parts of his tree.

Stupid foreigners didn't understand the law.

He began writing letters to the council. Daily. About the noise, about the negligence of the home's adherence to the Home Owner's Association's rules and regulations concerning the upkeep of the grounds. He included pictures of the bald spots growing in the lawn.

They installed a bike track and a half pipe, and then laid down astroturf. Which was not, strictly speaking, against the rules.

He kept writing. About the bad elements introduced to the neighbourhood. About how the big house should never have been re-zoned as a business. About how the children were out of control. About how his tax money should never go to so many delinquents. About how they sent debt collectors about his alleged share of the fee for them chopping up his tree. About how one of the children -obviously mentally disabled- kept peeing on his fence. About how all the Help did about it was put a sign up for him. About anything and everything that he deemed to be wrong.

In the end, one of the Help came over with a casserole. She was soft spoken and very polite, and requested that he cease being so contentious about their presence. They did have as much right to shelter as he did.

He told them to go back to their home country. In less than polite terms. And threw the casserole out into the street while shouting that he didn't eat poisoned food cooked by "her kind".

She took all this in with stony silence, and watched the casserole dish shatter in the street. "Very well," she said. "I shall have to bring out the big guns."

For a week, nothing happened. He continued to send letters and action ceased being taken. He wrote to the local paper. He wrote to the city paper. He wrote to the state paper. He even began blogging. And yet, increasingly, his words were met with nothing but silence.

And then, one day, at precisely eight o'clock in the morning, every single brat in that home got a vuvuzela. The horn of the devil. All day. But not, thank God, all night. At the very stroke of nine in the evening, the horns stopped.

Not one of those brats could wrangle a tune out of the thing. The net effect was like a herd of already-gassy elephants after every single one of them had binged on baked beans.

The government official who came to see him about his numerous complaints attempted to patiently explain that the home next door was obeying every single law of the land. And while he had freedom of speech, that did not extend to freedom to be an asshole. Reporting innocent civilians as criminals was an offense and, if Biff continued, he would be the one hauled away to jail.

And then a dot-com moved in across the street. Run by a bunch who should have gone back to Abu-Dhabi or Mumbai or wherever the heck they came from. He tried to report them as terrorists, but instead found himself locked into a cell at the local police station, with a soft-spoken counsellor of some kind of foreign descent attempting to ascertain his sanity.

"GO BACK HOME," Biff screamed. "This country don't need you!"

"Sir, I'm Apache. I'd go home, but your ancestors took it away from my ancestors. Now... about these delusions that your neighbours are..." she consulted the sheaf of paper in a folder, "...terrorist thugs running a crack den and plotting to blow up the civic centre?"

He told her the truth. He told her until his tongue felt sore and his throat refused to let him speak.

Biff could never understand why they never took him home. Or why, at the end of the day, they took him off to a state-funded sanitarium. Or why, for the rest of his life, he could not convince anyone he spoke to about the vast conspiracy against good, god-fearing Christians like himself.

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