Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Your free fresh aphorism

There is no greater expression of the frustrations of suburban life than the poisoning of a neighbour's dog.

*

Everything you ever wanted to know about barking dogs but were too afraid to ask.

There are no dogs barking here. I was roused to write this post by a message I received detailing a dispute between suburban neighbours. I have always enjoyed the ludicrous sight of Middle Englanders frittering away their life savings disputing ownership of a six-inch strip of land. I can picture the patriarch now, marching up and down their Axminster carpet, a pensive family looking on... In fact, there's going to follow a very short playlet about it...

A Death in Suburbia

"But, Giles, is it really so important?"
"Margaret? This isn't about who has access rights to a six inch strip of dirt that runs alongside the garage - it's about Principle! I'll show that vulgar piece of shit a clean pair of heels, just wait until Johnson & Bedwetter get their teeth into this..."

Fast forward 40 years, everyone is jaded, old, and grey. Giles marches up and down...

"I wish I'd just borrowed a gun and shot him... an unlicensed gun..."
"Giles! Where would you have obtained an illegal firearm?"
"I don't know... from gypsies, or from, who were those black chaps in the Daily Mail? - Yardies! Yes, Yardies..."

Fast forward to old Giles, trolling around Brixton in a huge Mercedes, pulling alongside some young black men.

"I say, excuse me for breaking up your illegal business, but... the thing is, I'm looking for a Yardie..."

Unbeknown to Giles, his next-door nemesis is also trolling the night streets, also searching out his weapon of choice. Both men return home to their Surrey mock-tudor affairs, both packing heat.

A showdown, Wild West Style, both men face one another in the centre of their street.

"It's okay to have a showdown here, it is Sunday and this is a cul-de-sac..."

The families look on, ready for the last act. Both men draw, aim, and fire... both men miss, repeatedly, their stray bullets smashing through bedroom windows, the sides of cars, clipping hedges. This goes on for thirty minutes. Finally, both men collapse.

"Margaret, my heart... fetch the portable defibrilation unit..."

The enemy cries out... "My heart is out of control, too, fetch my top of the line defib unit asap, there's a love..."

Both men have their shirts torn open and are subjected to repeated electric shocks that bounce them around the pavement. They survive and are dragged indoors.

It's the big day in court. Giles loses the case horribly, the judge remarking that the entire 40 years of the dispute were a monumental waste of time and money. The enemy dances and shouts, giving an impromptu press conference outside, gloating over Giles' family having to meet his huge legal costs.

Giles eyes have a glassy look. He puts away his cellphone and moves towards the media.

"How do you feel, Sir? What will you do now?"
"I feel fine... I feel fine... It is him over there who is in for a surprise. Let's just say that this dispute is far from over. While I will sleep soundly in my bed tonight, well, let me suggest that my enemy will not be enjoying the same basic comfort."

Cut to the house of Giles, beside it the smouldering wreck of his enemy, the place razed to the ground by a couple of enterprising Yardies.

"Terrible shame," says Giles, puffing on a cheroot, a glass of vintage brandy in his hand.

The enemy and his family are weeping at the kerbside, while police and fire brigade see to the mess. Giles can't resist wandering over...

"Really, if there's anything I can do, don't hesitate to ask..."
"Why, why, why you hoodlum! You did this!"
"Now, now, please, let's not bandy about baseless accusations, particularly with my having my dictaphone running and my lawyer stood 10 feet away. Don't take it so hard, your tastes were vulgar anyway, I should think these smouldering ashes constitute something of an improvement."
Giles' enemy takes a deep breath.
"Anyway, I should think your settling of our legal costs shall more than cover the cost of buying a new house. Perhaps we'll buy yours..."
"Ha! It took 40 years to settle this dispute, how long will it take to settle the issue of costs! Dream on, my good man, dream on!"
Giles whistles as he walks away.

It's night.
"Giles! I can hear someone downstairs..."
"What?"
"Downstairs..."
Giles gets up and puts on his nightgown. Quite why Middle Englanders equate a nightgown with the power to stop bullets and repel knife stabs is as yet unknown, but, bolstered with huge amounts of false confidence, Giles saunters downstairs.
There are two men stood in Giles' lounge when he flicks on the light, both black.
"Aha! My Yardie friends, here to collect payment no doubt. And why not lads! You certainly earned it."
Giles begins to walk over to his study.
"Stop there, man."
"We ain't 'ere fuh no munny, man, we 'ere to tek you out."
"I do apologise, but I didn't catch that... 'tek me oot'?"
"Yeah, man. Kill you, shoot you dead."
"Ahhh, I see. And I suppose that bastard next door sent you? Fucking typical."
Giles pauses for a moment.
"Well, I suppose you better get on with it! Fucking typical! Shot to death in my own living room. By the way, chaps, you couldn't execute me over here, could you, this rug I'm standing on is worth more than 2000 pounds..."

Two shots ring out and all is still again.

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