Imagine this opening paragraph appearing like the opening text to Star Wars. You know, that yellow slanted moving font that was impossible to read. Anyway, long ago in a town about 35 miles away, there was a family that lived next door to me. No. Not that family. The other side. The ones that were actually a family and not a woman who liked to cut down trees and sleep with men who drove dirty trucks. The ones on the right if you’re looking at my old house are the ones I’m talking about. This was a family who declared war on mine. Things never got out of hand, but they were entertaining enough for me to write about. Okay, that was not as epic as I had thought it would be. Kind of like the entire Star Wars franchise.
(Sorry, but I like the Ewok movies better. They got oozies!)
The family in question consisted of a mom, a dad, a daughter, and a son. The ideal for any family who is not Chinese. Their ideal family would be a son, a son, a son, and a robot. This family was nothing close to ideal. They were wretched. Being mean and aggressive was the way they chose to live their lives. And that brought out the demons in us all.
Mainly battles between our two clans took place over cat poop. They insisted that our cats were pooping on their property. I would argue today that the banks own property and that they should take it up with them, but back then I still had hope that Democracy was real. I’m sure our cats really were pooping on the lawn and I can see how that might be annoying. Even more annoying was when they would put the cat poop in a bag and leave it near our mailbox. No stamp was ever placed on the bag so it wasn’t like they were trying to send it anywhere. It would be ridiculous if they placed the stamp on the actual poop. How’s the mailman supposed to see that? Eventually things toned down and I’m sure there was a lot of yelling between parents that I never paid attention to. Our cats died and a few times we still had cat poop arrive at our mailbox. I think one time I threw it onto their roof. I don’t remember for sure. I do remember once when they were out at a soccer game I accidentally dropped a stink bomb and before it could fully shatter I broke it on their front door. They arrived home to a horrendous smell. A wonderful victory at my own hands.
(Holy shit! That finger print on the lens looks like a ghost cat. Children with large unibrows covering their eyes attract ghost cats too)
Another issue between us was that of balls traveling through the yards. We had an unwritten policy about returning balls to each other if we found them in our yards. Until they didn’t return one of my balls. Then it was fair game. My first dog Baylee popped a blow up ball of theirs. Another time, good o’le McGwire grabbed it and took it up to our deck. I remember sitting on the back deck while the kids next door were outside. At this point I was scary looking and fat. They weren’t about to ask me for their ball back so they just stood there hoping I could read minds. I can’t. So the ball sat on our deck until it slowly deflated itself. A perfectly good ball ruined because they were bitches.
(Who am I kidding? My backyard never had nearly this much grass. Only my family gets this)
I only remember going into their house one time. Their backyard, a few times, but actually inside once. I had returned home from school and neither of my parents were home. It was probably St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, or a work day when “mommy and daddy need a drink to help them with stress.” The neighbors let me hang at their house for about a half hour. All I remember doing was hiding under a blanket with the girl who lived there. Nothing happened. I didn’t want it to because I already knew their dirty secret. They were gummy bastards.
What is a gummy bastard? A gummy bastard is a next door neighbor of mine. More specifically, the family who had these strange things on the tops of each of their heads. The dad had it, the daughter had it, and the ginger son had it. I must have been playing a game of lice check with the daughter when I first noticed it. A big red deformity poking out of the top of her head. I poked at it because that seemed like the only thing to do. It felt like a gummy bear. But we certainly couldn’t call the family the Gummy Bears. They were not bears. They were bastards. Hence the name, the Gummy Bastards.
(I’d be a bastard too if my head contained delicious snacks I could not lick)
I’m not exactly sure why we really hated each other. I guess that’s just what neighbors do. You find things to be disgusted about one another. It’s natural though. When you are forced to see the same ugly faces everyday only feet away from where you rest your head at night, you’re going to grow to hate them. They were everything my family wasn’t. They were social, had family friends, athletic kids, their father smoked cigars instead of cigarettes like mine, the mom jogged while mine watched Dawson’s Creek, the daughter’s nickname was Cookie for some diabetic reason while my sister’s nickname was bear for reasons that made sense at the time, and their son was a Ginger while I had the hair color of champions, dirty blondish brown. All that separated us was a damn fruit snack on top of the head. Could it have been the source of their bastardness? The hair to their Samson. The genitals to their Ron Jeremy. The being married to the executive of E! to their Chelsea Handler. I can only speculate what it was. What I do know is that they were animal hating bastards. I hope a loud black family moved into our house you gummy bastards.