My poor neighbor is living next to an idiot


It was after midnight. I’d been reading a good, action-packed Clive Cussler novel and it made me miss my bedtime. Which, by the way, is my goal for my own novels. If you’re reading a C. H. Cobb novel and can put it down, I know I have failed.

Oh, yeah, I started reading your book several weeks ago. Haven’t finished it yet.


But I digress. As I was saying, it was after midnight and I was emptying my pockets onto my dresser, getting ready for bed. I was fishing my car keys out of my pocket, but my jeans are getting tighter, so there was a good deal of fishin’ necessary to extract ‘em. I’m convinced my jeans are shrinking, but my wife says, No, you’re expanding.

Anyway, so I put my keys on the dresser. After a moment I became dimly aware of a car alarm going off. As I get older, ‟dimly aware” seems to be my normal state of mental acuity. 

I slowly realized that the sound of the car horn seemed to be coming from my own garage. I decided I’d better investigate. Grabbing my keys, I walked down the hall and entered the garage.

Odd. First, I noticed that the CRV’s lights weren’t flashing on and off—which I thought was customary when a car alarm was triggered. I also noticed that the car-alarm sound seemed strangely muffled and distant. When your hearing is as bad as mine, everything sounds muffled and distant. Which is not helpful when talking to your wife (unless she is asking you to do chores).

Maybe the CRV is different, I thought. Maybe its lights don’t flash during a car alarm, and maybe it has a really weak horn. Then I remembered that it was after midnight, and my neighbors would definitely not be enjoying the insistent clamor of my car’s alarm. 

The problem, though, is that I wasn’t real sure how to turn it off. I figured maybe the red button on my fob accidentally got pressed during the jeans-key-fishing expedition. Perhaps pressing the red button again will turn it off. So I did.

OH, MY! A blast like a semi’s airhorn immediately filled the garage, and the CRV’s lights began flashing. And, trust me, this didn’t sound muffled and distant, but up close and personal. Oops.

I panicked and started pressing all the buttons on my fob. Not sure which one did the trick, but after the windows all rolled down and the sun roof opened, finally the earsplitting honks stopped. Whew! By this time, I figured that everyone within five blocks is probably awake and blessing my name.

And then I became dimly aware that I was still hearing a muffled and distant car alarm, the one I’d originally heard while back in my bedroom. Uh-oh.

It was my Saturn Vue sitting in the driveway.

My neighbor’s bedroom window is maybe sixteen feet from my garage. The poor man is living next to an idiot.