Literary Yard

Search for meaning

By Alan Berger

Which is worse?

Living in a shit neighborhood with great neighbors?

Or living in a great neighborhood with shit neighbors?

This was the riddle that was driving William Hollister nuts.

For him it was the latter with neighbors across the street causing him to lather with hate and anger.

Little Bill lived in a big beautiful house just like all the other houses up and down and around the block.

He had been living there for twenty years just like the people he hated so right across the street.

Bill hated them so much for so long he had long forgotten why because it did not matter one fucking iota.

The newest gripe he had was that they were making money with this new bed and breakfast fad with who the fuck knows who is coming and going in and out at all hours of the fucking day and night he constantly observed from his foxhole window.

Trouble was many of the other neighbors were doing it too so there went his homeowners leverage to complain.

Not that if they stopped, he would ever like them anyway.

This was just the latest on his list of atrocities.

William Hollister was not always alone in that big house.

Once there was a wife, a cat, a kid, and a dog.

The wife left and took them all away.

He missed the dog.

He was the joke of the community.

So he thought.

Truth was nobody really gave a walking or flying fuck.

Everyone else had their own problems.

Plenty of divorce, prison, sickness, financial ruin, in that part of town just like every town.

That wasn’t how Bill saw and felt it.

The people across the street were nice.

Too nice.

The people down and up the block and all surrounding blocks were ok.

Too ok.

Bill was the dark spot.

But he didn’t see it that way.

The way he saw it and other life items was distorted.

True happiness is when the ones you truly love are happy.

This concept had never entered, or even for a little bit took a short visit into bill’s brain pan.

He watched from his window the folly without ever seeing his refection.

He thought of having a bed and breakfast where you throw them out before breakfast, or even better yet not have them over at all

What if, Bill thought, what if I put out some bed and breakfast ads out myself and let them know that old Bill is putting out the good China.

I’ll take the deposits, cash them with some fake I.D. and watch the festivities from my window as they show up to get bed and breakfasted across the street, Bill planned.

So it was thought and so it was done.

The ads went up linked to a remote E mail courtesy of the local library computer complete with a post office box that didn’t appear as a post office box.

Bill didn’t ask for a big deposit. Only $200 bucks and the rest when they leave.

He wrote in the ad he descended from a long line of British Innkeepers and was doing it for the love of it.

He left out he also came from a long line of mental illness.

It was fun at first. Then it got funnier, and with the deposits coming in to supply Bill with the strongest marijuana in town, watching the out of towners try to become a part of an imaginary household was downright hilarious.

Most were sent right across the street and some were sent to each house on the side.

Bill thought of video taping them but felt he already put in enough effort with the ads and post office box.

He picked up deposits every day and soon had over a thousand bucks.

This went on for close to a month and Bill was going to wind it down.

It wasn’t getting boring, but Bill could see and feel he had had enough payback.

Then one day a lonely looking pretty librarian type tried to check in across the street with her cat on a leash.

Wonder how she trained him for that he thought?

She looked like his ex wife before she turned on him.

The early years, or even more accurate, the early months.

The owners were not home across the street as she kept on ringing and knocking.

Bill thought why not end my crime spree with actually turning the joint into my one day one night special bed and breakfast?

He went across the street to the girl and her cat.

He told them they had the wrong address, his fault, let me help you to the right one he offered.

His offer was accepted.

Bill took her on a tour while she commented that the pictures of the place in the ads looked different than the tour but was told Bill did some upgrades since those pictures were taken and she said to herself it looked more like downgrades but this should work out just fine,

So, we are alone here huh she asked.

You me and the cat, was what she was told.

Good, she said to herself then to Bill.

You remind me of my high school sweetheart she told Bill.

You remind me of my ex wife she was notified.

They started to kiss.

Bill was found a few days later as lifeless as he had lived.

His old fashioned Wells Fargo safe was broken into as well as all the pockets he had on him and the ones in his closets.

Maybe he should have spent a few bucks on a background check but then again, she wasn’t supposed to check in.

Not here anyway.

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