This is a fictional short story, in 985 words.
Ada didn’t like the new neighbours. Trust Doris to die, and her son to sell the house to a noisy family. They couldn’t be that well off. Two young boys and just a two-bedroom house. Those boys would grow fast, and hopefully that family would have to sell up to someone quieter.
Meanwhile, Ada helped them along the way.
When they kicked a football over the fence while she was hanging out her washing, Ada punctured it with a garden fork. The older boy knocked and asked for it, and didn’t look best pleased to find it ruined.
Then one of those drone things hit her kitchen window, and she went out and stamped on it. She took her slippers off and put her garden clogs on first though, to make a good job of smashing the annoying thing.
That time, the woman knocked. She tried to be friendly. “Hello, I’m Mandy from next door. We haven’t been introduced. Sorry, but my son’s drone has landed in your garden I think. Would it be okay to have it back please?”
Ada reached behind the front door, and gave her the carrier bag full of bits. She didn’t smile as she spoke. “It landed on the patio. Concrete, you see”.
Then she closed the door in the woman’s face. Too fat, dyed blonde hair, and wearing leggings. What a sight. And a tattoo on her neck of all places, some sort of Chinese symbol. The area was going downhill, no mistaking that. Ada gave a little shudder as she put the kettle on for her afternoon cup of tea.
When they had the barbecue, the noise was something awful. Ada went upstairs to look out over the garden. There must have been twenty people in next door’s garden, all shouting and drinking, listening to noisy music that just sounded like monkeys chattering. She phoned the council, the emergency number for noise.
They told her they couldn’t do anything about it until eleven that night. Ada usually went to bed at ten, but she sat up looking at the clock on the mantlepiece. At ten fifty-nine, she picked up the phone. But then the music stopped.
Undaunted, Ada wrote out a note, using a fountain pen and in her best handwriting. She told them what she thought about them having noisy parties, and how it just wasn’t good enough to disturb an old lady past her bedtime. They should be more considerate, or the next time she might phone the police. She waited until they had gone to work, and the boys were at school, then she put it through their letterbox.
One morning, the postman rang Ada’s doorbell. “I have a parcel for next door, a Mrs Mandy Wilkins. Will you take it in for her? Or she will have to go into town to the collection office”. Ada shook her head. “Sorry, I don’t do things like that. Don’t know the woman. If she wants parcels she should arrange to be in. Taking her parcels is not my job”. The postman shrugged, and walked back to his van.
When the man started to do work on the house, the noise was terrible. A whole weekend ruined by the sound of drilling and banging. Ada was sure he would soon drill through the wall, and break the mirror above her fireplace, or something worse. When they had all gone out on the Monday morning, Ada put another note through the door. She told them a whole weekend of noise was unacceptable, and she was going to inform the Council.
It was a bad winter that year, and Ada’s hip was playing her up. She would liked to have slept on the settee, to save going up and down stairs. But the bathroom and toilet was upstairs, so there seemed no point. Doris had probably been right when she said Ada should have moved into a bungalow. Not that Ada would have ever admitted to Doris that anything she said was right.
One evening she had drifted off to sleep in the armchair, watching Strictly Come Dancing on the BBC. She liked the dresses, and the men were so smart. Annoyed at missing the end, she decided she might as well go up to bed. Halfway up the stairs, her leg gave way. The next thing she knew she was tumbling down them backwards, and there was a terrible crunching sound as she hit the lino in the hallway.
Try as she might, she couldn’t get up. The phone was in the living room, but she was in too much pain to drag herself in there to get it. She banged on the inside of the front door, but that soon hurt her frail old hands. So she tried shouting, only to discover that her shouting didn’t sound as loud as it used to. She spent all night on the floor that Saturday, and had to wet herself too.
For most of Sunday, she tried calling out and banging on the door again. But she was at the end of a terrace, and nobody had a reason to walk by. She was thirsty and hungry, and she knew she had to do number twos. By the time it had got dark, she couldn’t hold it any longer, and had to mess herself. That sent her into a fit of sobbing, and she finally cried herself to sleep.
As they left for school the next morning, the Wilkins boys were sure they could hear faint shouting coming from next door. “Mum, mum. The old lady, she’s calling for help. Listen. You can just about hear her. We should phone someone”. Mandy shook her head. “No, we ain’t phoning anyone. Come on, or you’ll be late for school”. In the car, the older boy persisted. “But why mum? Why won’t you help her?”
Mandy looked into the rear-view mirror as she replied.
“Because not all old ladies are nice”.