notes from the neighbors

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There is a dog on this block that barks and barks and barks. We can't tell whose it is, so apologies if not yours.

I work at home and cannot concentrate - my work is suffering. Please do something about this ASAP.

A frustrated neighbor.

- Typed note left in our mailbox.

When we lived back at Ward Street, the drug dealers next door had a collection of broken-down cars. Every afternoon, someone would come outside and rev the Camaro's engine for half an hour or so. There was also a van with a hair-trigger alarm. The alarm would blare at irregular intervals, if the battery died, or if one of the many neighborhood cats walked too close. Sometimes the car alarm would go off while one of the drug dealers was revving the Camaro, to create a low-income automotive symphony.

I don't really miss that place.

Gene eventually decided to do something about the car alarm situation. He wrote a note, offering his help in disabling the alarm, or fixing the van's electrical system. Unlike our workaholic dog-hating neighbor, Gene left his name, address, and phone number on the note.

Not the note Gene left:

There is a car alarm in this driveway that blares and blares and blares. I watch three or four Netflix DVDs every day and cannot concentrate - my collection of heist films is suffering. Please call me up late at night to harass me ASAP.

A week later, Big Jimmy called up at about 3 AM to discuss the note. He seemed very agitated, quite possibly high on the very cocaine he sold out of his home. Big Jimmy was mad at the note. It wasn't the fact that a note was left that irked Big Jimmy, or that someone had complained about the car alarm. No, he was offended that Gene had not put a date on the note. We never reached a consensus before the phone was hung up angrily.

About a month later, Big Jimmy was shot in the buttocks. The undercover Berkeley police officer who told us about the shooting could not confirm or deny that the shooting was car-alarm-related, but he did implicitly endorse Big Jimmy's attempt at vigilante justice. The officer didn't have any leads on who the assailant was, but he did assure us that "this kind of thing tends to work itself out, in-house."

Not a phone message left on an anonymous neighbor's answering machine:

Arf arf arf. Ruff ruff ruff. Arf arf no date arf arf.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Keane published on June 16, 2006 5:24 PM.

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