I pulled in the yard one day and seen the sign out on the front lawn.
I rushed to the front window with her and sure enough, there was a realtor’s sign with the phone number and everything in front of Dave’s half of the company house.
I wonder what’s goin’ on there, Minnie said. I’ll have to “bump into” Linda and ask her where they’re movin’ to.
I don’t care where they go, I said. I’m just glad to get rid of him.
In case ya don’t remember, my googly-eyed tool of a neighbour Dave has been a thorn in my side for as long as we’ve lived here. Him and his wife Linda and their two kids live in the other half of our company house. I can’t say nothin’ bad about Linda, since her and Minnie get along all right, and I can’t say nothin’ bad about their kids, since they’re sort of friends with our kids, but me and Dave have never seen eye to eye on anything, pretty much ever.
I remember the first few times I met him, I tried to be nice, but he’d always say somethin’ to rub me the wrong way. I remember we had this old Ford truck at the time and it was a bit of a clunker, all patched together in places and a crack in the windshield, and vise-grips instead of a window handle on the driver’s door.
Holy frig! Dave yells over one day from his back yard. I never seen a truck made out of nothin’ but body-fill before.
Now, if Cyril or Murph or one of my friends said somethin’ like that, I’d probably laugh right along with them because like I say, the truck was a clunker. But there was somethin’ about the smug smirk on Dave’s face and the way his eyes looked right big and googly behind his glasses that made me sort of want to puck him in the mouth.
And it went on like that – every time I’d be outside doin’ anything, he’d holler over somethin’ stupid. One time I was fixin’ Little Bill’s bike and he yelled over – How much horsepower that thing got? Minnie said he was just makin’ a joke, tryin’ to be friendly, but I took it like he was sayin’ my son’s bike didn’t look big enough. Like I couldn’t afford a nice bike for him.
Mind yer own business, ya googly-eyed son of a gun, I said to him. Only, if ya know me at all, ya know I never said “gun”.
Then came the straw that broke the camel’s back. I was out in the baby barn one day, workin’ on somethin’ when I turn around and who’s standin’ in the doorway but Dave, with his eyes rollin’ off in all directions like the Cookie Monster.
What? I said to him.
I was just wonderin’ if you had a drill I could borrow for a little while, he said. Linda got this shelf thing that comes in a thousand pieces and it would save a lot of time if I had a drill instead of a screwdriver, so I thought I’d come over and see if my buddy BIlly had one I could borrow.
Now, by this time, them googly eyes had rolled over everything in the baby barn and spotted my drill right there on the workbench. So it would be pretty hard to say I didn’t have one. The only other option was to tell him I wouldn’t let him borrow it. And for some reason, I kept thinkin’ of Minnie tellin’ me I had to try to be nicer to him. So I said – All right then, bye. Ya can take it, but don’t break it and make sure ya bring it back.
So off he goes with the drill. And would ya believe it was years before I seen that drill again? Every time I’d ask him when he was gonna return my friggin’ drill, he’d say he already gave it back to me.
It’s probably buried in your baby barn somewheres, he’d say. Do you ever clean that thing out? And then he’d smirk in a way that told me he knew he still had the damn drill.
The way I finally got it back was, Minnie asked Linda to see if she could get it back from him since she needed it. As if Minnie would need a drill for somethin’! But anyways, it worked and I finally got my drill back.
But by then, the damage was done and me and Dave were sworn enemies.
Bumped into Linda at the grocery store, Minnie says a few days later. She said they’re movin’ to New Brunswick. I guess her brother can get Dave a job at the car dealership in Moncton where he works but they gotta sell the house first so they got enough money to move.
Oh yeah? I said. Good job, is it?
Full-time, she said, with benefits and everything. I guess Dave can’t wait to sell the house so they can get up there and get started.
Is that so, I says to myself.
So a few days later when a car pulls up in front of the house and gets out to take a look, I stick my head out the door and say – Ya better wait in the car. This place got rats the size of puppies, so ya might lose an ankle.
The car pulled away before the realtor even got there to meet them.
What did ya do that for? Minnie said. Didn’t ya say ya wanna get rid of Dave?
Yeah, I said. But he really wants to sell this house, and there’s no way I’m gonna help that googly-eyed tool get what he wants.