Thursday, February 12, 2009

Neighbors at Dusk: A Play in One Act

The scene: early evening in a suburban cul-de-sac, just as the streetlights are flickering on. Children are playing, stretching out the last outdoor minutes of an unseasonably warm day. The world is turning in its usual way, and all is calm and peaceful in the gloaming.

Mindy, my next-door neighbor, comes out of her front door looking worried. I am standing in the street with Hank wrapped around my legs.

Mindy: I need to ask you something, Rebecca. [She always calls me 'Rebecca.'] Remember last week when Percy started barking late at night?

Me: Yes, I'm so sorry about that. We let her out one last time before bed, and something made her go crazy. Matt went out with a flashlight, but he couldn't tell what she was barking at.

Mindy: Well what do you think she saw?

Me: I don't know. It sounded like a bigger deal than a rabbit. Maybe a coyote or a deer?

Mindy: You think it was a coyote?

Me: Or maybe a deer. I don't know.

Mindy: Maybe. . . .[looks troubled.]

Me: What's wrong?

Mindy: Well, something really important to me was stolen from my backyard that night, and I thought maybe Percy saw.

Me: Really?!? What?

Mindy: I had a stained-glass suncatcher with a dragonfly on it. My husband gave it to me right before he died.

Me: [I have a sinking feeling as she speaks.] Mindy, it's in my backyard. I just noticed it. I'm so sorry, maybe Laura and her friends picked it up while they were playing. [I feel terrible. My dog barks at night and my kids are thieves.]

Mindy: Oh thank goodness! I was so sad!

Me: I will speak to Laura about this. The way our yards are, I think she thinks all that space back there is her territory. I'm sorry. Let's walk back there and get it. [Our lots adjoin and are semi-wild. Laura roams all over the place, scavenging bits of things from the woods. And also our neighbor's flower bed, apparently.]

We start across her lawn to a little path that leads to our backyard. Just at this moment, Danica, aka Rebel Yelling Mom, speeds into Mindy's driveway and spills out of her car. [These two drive to each other's houses, even though it is 100 feet from Mindy's driveway to Danica's. Only Conspiracy Guy's house is between them.]

Danica: Hey Rebecca! [She too always calls me that.] I need your email to invite you to my jewelry trunk show.

Me: Great! [I'm thinking, I can't believe I just blogged about this and you're inviting me to a trunk show again. I tell her my email address.]

Danica: Can you spell that?

Me: [spelling]

Danica: What about the last part?


Danica: Yeah.

Me: It's G-M-A-I-L dot C-O-M.

Danica: I'll just have to call you and get it.

Me: Okay.

Danica: [holding up a little plastic cup] Mindy, can I borrow. . .

Mindy: Do you need cooking oil again?

Danica: [grins]

Mindy: Go on, it's in the pantry.

Danica leaves and Mindy, Hank and I walk to my backyard and retrieve her suncatcher. I apologize some more, and we walk down the hill into her yard and put the suncatcher back where it goes. I apologize some more and she is very gracious.

Mindy: Well, I better get in the house, because my supper is all ready in the kitchen, and if Danica's alone with it, she might take some of it.

Me: [laughing] Oh really?

Mindy: Yes, really. One time she took a whole dish of twice-baked potatoes. She snuck them to her car and took them home.

Me: !!!

Mindy: But you know, it's no big deal. At least she's not making herself throw up all the time anymore.



Camp Papa said...

If I didn't know as well as I do, I'd acuse you of making it up. Do we really think it was cooking oil she was after?

Becky said...

You think she was coming to borrow a cup of whiskey? LOL. And I couldn't make this stuff up--these people here, they just give and give!

Those two are interesting--they seem close, but I know they also get on each other's nerves.

Kelly said...

This is why I am glad there are no houses on either side of me...except they started building last week...uh oh!!

Keely said...

lol! I could never blog about my neighbours. They're insanely boring.

Yours, however...can I move in next door?

Casey said...

Wow, Rebecca, that is one whacked out street you live on! I can't believe you have a twice-baked potato thief in your midst... was she baked when she stole them? So weird.

Cassie said...


(And, may I add, brava!)

A Day That Is Dessert said...

You are so funny!! I hate trunk shows too - I never attend. I think it's rude to hold them and expect people to come.

Amy said...

I see where Lecia is coming from, but PLEASE go to the trunk show so we can hear all about it! :)

I also want you to hang out more in the cul de sac so we can get more neighbor stories--love 'em! You seriously have an interesting batch of neighbors.

The Dental Maven said...

Wait! The girl has never heard of gmail??? She needs to pull her head out of that Trunk!

Anonymous said...

Can I just say, I'm feeling SO MUCH BETTER about my odd neighbors after stopping by here a few times? Because yours? Make mine look like June Cleaver. Thanks for the laugh this morning!

Kate said...

Hilarious! I love the turn at the end, how Mindy quickly informs you of her friend's theft and eating problems. What?! Great post.

Michele said...

The two of them are so interesting on so many levels. Like how Mindy would prefer the food stealing of her own cooked food to Danica making herself throw up. I too am looking forward to the spring to hear of more cul-de-sac encounters.

Michele said...

Can I move to your neighborhood? I don't even know my neighbors.

Anonymous said...

How cool would it be if it turned out that RYM was the one who moved the suncatcher from Michelle's yard to yours, just as a way of messing with everybody?

Krystal said...

you see, this is why I want neighbors but my husband is hell bent on moving to the middle of nowhere so that there is a field between us and the nearest house.

Maggie said...

Hey Becky, Your FAVORITE aunt has finally figured out how to join the blog party. I have loved all of your blogs. You really need to write a book or a screenplay. BTW, your neighbors sound priceless!! Hugs to all, can't wait to read more. Love, mag

Ginny Marie said...

Well done! *applause*

Jenni said...

hahaha, awesome!

Better Than Machines said...

[Standing ovation.] That is awesome. I need more of these plays.

NoBS said...

I have no idea how I got here! But I'm glad I did!