Good Neighbours

Neighbour died yesterday.

Well. She was found yesterday. Had been dead for weeks.

Slipped and banged her head in the shower. Lay in the bottom of the bathtub like a sponge, single-handedly soaking up the streets water supply. They rolled her bloated corpse out on a gurney, swollen and soggy. It took six men to carry her out and she had to be loaded into the back of a lorry. Not an ambulance big enough.

Wish I’d known she had been there. Would have rung her body out over my parched lawn. Not that there are many flowers out. It’s still winter. But my snowdrops had started to wilt.

Mr. Brockett across the street couldn’t wash his car. His custom headlights and chrome hubcaps are filmy with dust, there’s bird shit on its roof. The boot is splattered with mud when he lifts it open to unload his shopping, three crates of bottled water. He stood in her yard as she was wheeled out, spat at the wheels of the trolley where they cracked the concrete beneath her bulk.

Mrs Massey’s pond dried up. Saw her from the window, prodding the flaccid Koi Karp scattered across the pond bed like loose change. While the emergency services were taping up the front of the house she slipped round the back, dug up a brittle hydrangea and took the sleeping plastic flamingo for herself. Pond’s looking better now. Flowers add some colour, the bird looks over the leaping gold fish that have doubled in number.

Yellow tape is still there, though the house is empty now. My snowdrops have died too. No tape for them. She has snowdrops in her garden as well, and daffodils in the spring. And her kitchen is bigger than mine is, smoother floorboards. Mortgage has nearly been payed off, wouldn’t be losing that much. And the kitchen is bigger. And there are more snowdrops in her garden. And she died yesterday…

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