My retarded ex-next-door-neighbour has moved back in, much to the annoyance of everyone from number 29 upwards to the school.
He disappeared at the end of the summer last year after he trashed his house one evening during a drunken ‘barbeque’ he was enjoying with a few of his mentally dispossessed ex-army buddies from Newcastle.
I bumped into him in the street yesterday and was surprised that he actually offered me an apology.
‘Sorry about that thing before. You know, burning your fence down and that.’
For some odd reason, I told him it was all right, and to just be careful not to do anything like it again.
He was glad I accepted his apology and even went on to promise further reparations. ‘I’ll come round and fix up that dent in your kitchen wall if you like.’
‘No need. Just try to behave in future. Ha ha.’
I want as little to do with him as possible. (Apart from being so thick that light actually bends around him, he is also very frightening.)
‘I’ve been going to them evening classes, you know.’
‘Evening classes!? You? Erm . . . ahem . . . I mean . . . Oh, really? Basket weaving is it? Flower arranging?’
‘Anger management. I have to go because of me ASBO, like.’
He went on to tell me in minute detail about his various court appearances and convictions. I kept inching away from him and looking demonstrably at my watch but he wouldn’t shut up. I think, rather depressingly for me and Audrey, he is probably just looking for a friend.
‘I’m not your friend,’ I told him. (I didn’t, actually. What I really said was something along the lines of: ‘Anyway, nice weather, isn’t it. I must get going.’)
His account of his various legal adventures of the past few months was so long-winded, tedious and dull that it made me want to go home and self-harm.
After about five long minutes he stunned me by asking, ‘Maybe we could go out one night, me and you, and – ‘
‘I don’t drink.’
‘Maybe an Indian or a McDonald’s?’
‘I don’t eat.’
‘Maybe we could – ‘
‘Oh, look, is that the time? Must dash. Lovely meeting you again. Goodbye. Have fun with yourself.’
‘What about tomorrow? We could – ‘
‘See you later.’
Now I’m more worried than I was before when all I had to be concerned about was his noisy late-night parties and occasional fence-burning.
Why is nothing easy?