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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Neighbors

Shadows fill the courtyard where Suzy waits. She has no business out there, and is unhappy with the cold stone slab that is currently leeching the heat from the seat of her pants. She uncrosses, then recrosses her stiffening legs. She should have heard the scrape and scuff of Jeff’s hard-soled office shoes against the paving stones a good hour ago. Has her neighbor met with some tragic accident? Suzy glances at the super’s office, which is dark and silent. She fears the super and Jeff may be sharing a drink down the road.
The super has it in for Suzy. She’s not sure when his antipathy began, but all signs point to Jeff’s arrival in the building. Old Miss Harris died, Jeff moved in, and a malaise seemed to seep through the door jambs and infect the goodwill of all the residents. Even the academic couple –the Deerfields on the top floor- have withdrawn from Suzy. She can feel them watching her now from their kitchen window as they peel potatoes and speak in low voices. Below them, Hambone Johnson sits in his threadbare bathrobe counting coins, or screws, or nuts. The window is dark in Davy Hanson’s apartment, and the hi-fi is silent. Maybe he’s out with the super and Jeff, buying a round of beers for a bunch of college girls.
Suzy uncrosses her legs. She will have to get up now, despite the sneer of victory that will crawl across the face looking out from behind the frilly yellow curtains. Mrs. Deerfield will let the water trickle over her husband’s squeaky-clean dinner plate while Suzy stands, brushes herself off and avoids looking across the courtyard and into the road. The streetlight is already warming up for the long night. Suzy thinks she hears Miss Harris’ old terrier whining at the back gate. There’s a good chance it will whine all night.


30 comments:

  1. There is an eerie quality to this. I read it through a few times. I have so many questions. Why and for what does Susy wait. What does Jeff mean to her?

    Nicely done. I'm hooked.

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    1. I don't think even Suzy knows why she's there.
      Thanks, Renee!

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  2. Whoa, this is a little unsettling with the nosy neighbors and general creepiness o__o Awesome atmosphere.

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    1. Ha! Not used to me unsettling you, eh?
      Thanks, Draug!

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  3. You've done it again - such is the level of detail in the story that I could picture the whole scene. Waiting for more. The story's dangling now, full of qs.

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    1. So glad you could see it all.
      Thanks, Rashmi!

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  4. This scenario is perfectly painted. Would so like to know what's going on. Well done

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  5. A mystery, and a creeping feeling of dread. You created a chilling presence in this piece.

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    1. The chill of a Friday evening... It's fun to be mysterious! Thanks, Tara!

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  6. This is really beautiful! Funy, I didn't get a creepy vibe at all. To me, it felt like a girl being stood up...again. I love the water dripping from Mrs. Deerfield's plate.

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    1. Yeah, I think that's what Suzy felt like. And Mrs. Deerfield, can there ever be enough of them?
      Thanks so much, Intarsia Jones!

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  7. Terrible place... and tense in suspicions Love it.

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    1. Yeah, a place you don't wanna be. Thanks for the love, Björn!

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  8. Your entry is #69 in week 69. Surely that is auspicious. Or maybe I just have a fondness for signs. This piece is great for what it does and doesn't tell us. Who is really watching who? Seems Suzy might be the stalker. Love the details - reminds me of Rear Window.

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    1. Yeah, I was kinda pleased to see the 69s. I could do with some auspiciousness.
      I see Suzy as a kind of passive stalker. Rear Window! cool. Thanks for the love, Steph!

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  9. This is awesome and a bit disturbing. You've done a great job building tension - by the end of the piece it feels like it's going to snap. Love the details about the neighbors. Would love to know what happens next!

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    1. I have a feeling it all goes downhill from there...
      Thanks for the awesome, Suzanne!

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  10. That super sounds like bad news. Hope Suzy doesn't have much longer left on the lease!

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    1. Depends where you're standing, which one is bad news... Thanks for reading, Janna!

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  11. I enjoyed the method you used to introduce the other tenants around Suzy's potential paranoia.

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    1. Ha ha. You must be an excellent neighbor to have, Jody! Glad you enjoyed.

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  12. I don't like the way these awful neighbours sound-am so glad I am not Suzy!A great piece,with amazing detailing Kymm:-)

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    1. Yes, that would not be my first-choice apartment! Thanks, Atreyee!

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  13. Fantastic descriptive words. I was right there in the courtyard feeling Suzy's tension. I want to know what happens next.

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  14. That's the problem with Suzy. Nothing happens next.
    Thanks so much, lumdog!

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  15. You've drawn me into Suzy's world and I want to know why the super doesn't like her, and how's he made the others antipathetic towards her. You've painted a whole cast of characters in few words and I'm feeling ever-so-slightly unsettled. Well done.

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    1. Suzy is a bit unsettling, isn't she? Glad she sucked you in.
      Thanks, SarahAnn!

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