Spelling New Neighbors
by KJ Hannah Greenberg
New neighbors, obsessed with pricey storage units, moved in. Their kids, oblivious to their folks’ fixation with order and with social status, engaged in mud play and in camping, between clumps of poison ivy, with ours. Those little ones hesitated, not in the least, to bring their potty problems to our door, or to announce to us, enthusiastically, discovered slugs, dead woodchucks, or cat feces.
Apparently, we had glamoured those youngsters so well that their parents constructed a spite fence. Thereafter, in short order, their daddy died, their mommy remarried and those delectable, messy kids moved away.
In their stead, other children moved in. They slept on our sofabed while their parents trekked the Himalayans or took scuba diving lessons on sandy, pink shores. They “baked cookies” with our own crew, using choice clay. Their yippy dog marked his boundaries, frequently, on our lawn.
Their parents removed the spite fence, having noticed its lack of utility in keeping their pup contained. What’s more, that new mom and dad babysat our gang on our anniversaries and birthdays, built snowmen with our offspring, and invited over our children, weather depending, for either lemonade or hot chocolate.
Over wine, we’d sigh on their deck, or on ours, about the increase in borough taxes, about new regulations on curbside trash and about the wonders of the local elementary school. There was as much truth in our cups as there was in those crusty, dead caterpillars one or another of our children brought home.
[KJ Hannah Greenberg has engaged in many matters of the mind, such as writing about intercultural communication for The Jerusalem Post, such as teaching chemistry to the children of expatriates, and such as coming to terms with the fact that some folk regard dumpster cats as "squirrels.” When not editing papers on the effects of electrical stimulus on the hippocampus, or ghostwriting university sociology texts, Hannah can be found sharing her ideas in speculative fiction venues. This year, some of the places that have provided shelter for her writing have included: 365 Tomorrows, AlienSkin Magazine, AntipodeanSF, Bards and Sages, Bewildering Stories, and Morpheus Tales.]