that’s what i always said to people when they responded with glee when i told them i was moving home to new york. “oh! i LOVE the city,” they would gush. “how exciting!”
ok. let’s get one thing straight.
this is not the city.
this is where the first thing you see when you walk up to the house is the wood pile and the propane tank.
this is where, now that the snow has melted? we see the patio bricks from the walkway that never got finished. and the shavings of wood from when we built that cabin out in the back yard.
this is where, on easter night, you can get harassed while you’re outside looking at the stars with your boyfriend.
so. have i mentioned the Crazy Neighbor? since the day i moved in, he has been shouting insults at me over the fence, calling me names, and referring to me as one of “the dead people” – which is apparently what he calls everyone in this house. what he has called them, anyway, since one of the dalmatians he breeds happened to die a few years ago.
when i drove in the first day, there was a piece of plywood, painted white and lettered in blue, posted on my neighbor’s house facing ours. the sign read, “i see dead people.” when i got out of my car, the neighbor yelled, “oh great, another lickin’ lezzie!”
one day, when i was outside helping one of my roommates do something, the neighbor looked at me, made an imaginary gun with his hand, “fired” at me repeatedly, and then started laughing maniacally.
other days, he has just chanted, in a sing-song voice, “shoot them in the head… shoot them in the head, until they are dead!”
so… i think that’s enough background. i am going to recount the story of easter night now. please be forewarned, i am going to tell the story as it happened, to the best of my memory, including direct quotes that involve strong language and derogatory remarks.
i was outside star-gazing with my boyfriend, eric. we were trying to see some constellations in the western sky, but due to a tree line, our view was obscured… we walked to the end of our driveway and eventually to the road so we could get a better view. we probably would normally have gone to the back yard, but the yard was quite muddy.
as i was standing there with eric, the CN let his dogs out into the pen in front of his house. at this point, we were probably about 200 feet away from the neighbor – our driveway is right next to his driveway is right next to his house. when he let the dogs out, he yelled, “go get the faggots! go kill the faggots! i can’t wait to put a bullet in that motherf*cker’s skull. one less faggot in the world will make the world a better place, right?”
bear in mind, as i tell you this story, that CN is gay.
the “M-Fer” in question is my roommate, stan. some events occurred in the past, before i lived here, that soured the neighborly relationship. one such thing was CN finding one of his dalmatians dead. supposedly, he had a necropsy performed on the animal and from that information determined that stan killed his dog. he actually stood in the driveway for 5 hours with the dead dog, waiting for stan to some home so that he could show him the corpse and scream in his face.
anyway. back to easter night and the death threats.
i told eric to ignore the guy. i whispered, “he must think you’re stan” because he is only that vicious when stan is around. we ignored him and continued to stargaze toward the western sky.
suddenly, there was a giant spotlight (like the kind used in hunting) dashing at me from the direction of CN’s side door. it was CN, screaming and walking down his driveway, “GET AWAY FROM MY PROPERTY! STOP TORMENTING MY DOGS!!” he walked out to the road, about 20 feet from where i was standing IN MY OWN DRIVEWAY. he shone the spotlight directly in my face and said, “what are you doing out here?!” i replied that i was looking at stars and i wasn’t even so much as looking at his dogs. he then told me to move away from his property and i refused. he told me again, and i refused again, reiterating that i wasn’t doing anything wrong by standing on my own property. he then screamed, “ma’am, you have THREE SECONDS!” and then something happened that sounded like the “ch-ch” of someone cocking a shotgun.
so, i ignored him.
i stood there, turned now, spotlight on my face, staring intently at sirius. eric had already started moving toward the house and was saying, “AMY! COME ON! it’s not worth it, let’s just go inside, AMY, let’s GO.” so, after about ten seconds, i glared into the spotlight, then turned and started walking back toward the house out of respect to the level of strain in eric’s voice.
CN then made some remark about stan being a pedophile, and said something to eric that would have made sense if he had said it to stan. at this point i told the neighbor that he was terrorizing the wrong guy, that this was someone else and that stan wasn’t home.
at this point, my other roommate, art, came out. he had heard the yelling and wondered what it was. when he heard that it was CN, he yelled out the door to see what CN wanted and to see if the situation could be resolved. CN yelled, “stan is GAY!! and he killed SPECKLES!!! with veterinary euthanasia medicine that he got from his VET FRIEND, WHO IS ALSO GAY!!!!!!”
art continued to ask what could be done to resolve the situation… CN simply yelled, “i want you to move out!!!!” and then, when art told him that probably wouldn’t happen, CN yelled, “then someone’s gonna get HURT!!!!”
(you see, CN wants this land. and he wants to convert our house into another kennel to house the dalmatians that he breeds.)
so, that night, we called the police. and we asked to have CN arrested for the threats he was making, so that we could get a restraining order against him to help with future incidents. the incidents are frequent, and tend to occur whenever anyone from this house is outside for any reason.
and the police told us that there was nothing that they could do. that if they arrested anyone, they would arrest all of us and let the courts sort it out. that if we want him charged for threatening our lives, we actually have to have a recording of him directly threatening our lives. the fact that he says things to the dogs like, “let’s kill the people next door… do you want to see dead people? i know i do!” well, that just doesn’t count. the state trooper suggested many helpful ideas. like carrying a mini tape recorder. or wearing a mobile microphone. or installing a surveillance system. because, you know, there was this one case where the cameras finally caught the neighbor in question slashing tires and dousing a vehicle in gasoline, at which point the police had the authority to step in.
i know i’m relieved.
but, above all, we have to capture a direct threat. the implications of “someone is going to get hurt” simply weren’t precise enough for the trooper to take any action, even though there were three witnesses present when CN said that and we all knew exactly what he meant.
CN is holding up his end of the bargain. when i leave the house early in the morning, i can see the little red “record” light in his kitchen window. he records our house overnight and when he’s not home, just in case he, you know, needs any evidence against us.
i, on the other hand, just can’t seem to save up enough money to get that mobile mic. maybe the CIA has one i can borrow?