Walter Mencken 10:05 a.m., April 30
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The Boys Next Door
Although I’ve never caught a glimpse of them I can picture them in my mind. I’ve never actually seen them because of the fence and the giant hedge that separates us. If I listen closely as I type this, I can hear them now. I can hear them going on about what the draft picks are going to be for next year and which offensive coordinator failed to do his job last year every night at approximately 10 P.M. I picture them wearing baseball caps pulled down to their eyebrows with sunglasses hanging off the back of their necks- even though it is dark outside. They are back from the bar, ready to shoot some pool in the comforts of their own home.
I imagine they are renters, but I could be wrong. They may be young professional bachelors that all pitched in to buy a house by the ocean. But I have a feeling they don’t surf. They do watch football however- this I know for sure. I’m so thankful that football season is finally over. Now that it is baseball season, the conversations about women have become less raucous and a little more leisurely. I have even heard a woman’s voice. My first thought being, “God, what is she thinking?” This thought is usually followed some short time later by the sounds of obnoxious sex.
I’ve tried on several occasions to communicate with the boys next door, but to no avail. My fist technique was to slam my bedroom window with extreme force, hoping that they would catch my drift. It was a failed attempt, and so a few nights later after allowing this boyish behavior to continue, I stepped out into the dark- clad in my pajamas, with the intention to let it be known that I meant business. It was time to shut-up! I found a gap in the fence and hollered through the space where the light was penetrating through. In my deepest voice I yelled, “Hey guys, could you keep it down over there? Your neighbors are trying to sleep!”
Another failed attempt. To them I was invisible. I wasn’t part of their world. They had no idea that other people lived within such close proximity to their late night soirees. We are so close that on occasion they have entered my dreams. I once had a dream that I was a rock star in a concert that was taking place in an amphitheater where the crowd was screaming out wildly for me to come back for an encore, only to wake up and realize that the crowd was coming from a television. And the television noise was coming from the boys’ next door.
The final straw was the night I heard my cell phone ringing at about 2 A.M. Thinking it must be an emergency, I stumbled out of bed and picked it up only to realize that it wasn’t my phone at all- it was coming from the other side of the fence. The only thing I can think to do now is to either write them a note and throw it over the hedge, hoping that in their unawareness they will see it or resort to going out to the local dive bar and looking for these boys in order to obtain a phone number at which they can be reached. I’d prefer the former because the latter might take years and at this point I’m already exhausted.