My neighbor is four hundred pounds of noise. He could’ve been created by Gary Larson, the Far Side cartoonist, with his startled expression and oddly bent hair and pear-shaped body. All that’s missing is the humor — he isn’t funny. The dude is a nightmare. He spends 23-hours a day squirming and grinding in a recliner that screeches with every movement, nails on a chalkboard.
My apartment offers all the comfort and charm of a torture chamber. Sleeping is not an option. Neither is a quiet afternoon with a book. I can’t think or relax or daydream, none of the usual things people do at home. I have one task: to endure.
Then I had a blinding revelation: tennis balls.
I bought a can of them. The second I did a weight was lifted from my chest and I could breathe again. The ssspfffffffft when I opened the can was pure, undiluted bliss. The smell of fresh, new tennis balls enveloped me and I smiled an evil, cunning smile. I waited, quietly and patiently, a fuzzy yellow message in each hand. Until? ScreeeeeeeeeeThonk!THONK!! I can’t describe the relief I felt with that first launch. Heavenly? Rapturous? Euphoric? No, better.
Ten minutes and many thonks! later, the dude was out his door and headed for the solitude of his ex-wife’s apartment, where he camped for the rest of the night. And I slept like the dead, oblivious and undisturbed, for hours and hours and hours.
After a week of unrestrained payback, my activities were nixed by the management, prompting a lively debate. Widely differing views were exchanged and, long story short, all future comments, concerns, and warm blankets should be directed to me c/o my car.
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