I’m trying to finish the chapter

And my neighbor seems to be running around her yard screaming.  I THINK she thinks she’s talking, but her voice cuts through walls.  And floor.  And sanity.

Dan refuses to kill her with a flamethrower.  He says that we can’t go around killing people because they annoy us.  Apparently he has moral objections to killing people who shriek while I’m trying to write.

You know, I think he should have disclosed this handicap 28 years ago.

(I’m joking, I swear.  Well, not about the neighbor.  Or about the fact Dan won’t let me open the window and scream “SHUT UP FOR THE LOVE OF HEAVEN.  I HAVE DUCT TAPE AND I’M NOT AFRAID TO USE IT.”  But about killing her.)

86 responses to “I’m trying to finish the chapter

  1. ppaulshoward

    The problem with “some people deserve killing” is that others may think *we* deserve killing. [Wink]

    • Once again the Gods of the Net are playing with me and won’t let me initiate a post on this particular blog. Poop!

      The first house that The Spouse and I owned was on the edge of a state university. As the university got nearer the noise got worse. I recall deciding that I would no longer wonder if the shrieking girls were doing it from pleasure or terror. For a long time I argued that I wanted the next home situated where I could post: If I can hear you I can shoot you.

      Now we live in a house where the people behind us took up rebuilding and restoring cars for fun…

  2. I suspect his objection to killing neighbors is more practical than moral. As an author, especially of mysteries, you should know how difficult it is to discretely dispose of bodies. I suspect you would find it equally disruptive of the writing process to have police detectives coming around asking “just one more thing.”

    Consider the “good neighbor” stratagem where you invite her ’round for a cup of hot tea … and liberally lace hers with an appropriate sedative.

  3. One word…noisecancelingheadphones.

  4. My guess is the noisy neighbor got the same sewage flood as you did, and if it flooded the new basement excavation you mentioned…
    RES, did you MEAN for us to picture the late lamented Peter Falk saying, “just one more thing?”

    • No, Charles, it’s the other neighbor on the other side. And this is just how she talks. The problem being she has an unerring ability to shriek around the house while I’m trying to work or sleep. You know, the ice demons, who do construction work at two in the morning in Winter? Yeah. this morning she’s decided to do gardening and is shrieking at everyone who passes by.

      • Just bury a few discrete claymore mines in her garden, late at night when she’s not shrieking. Make sure to follow the embossed directions, though, and face the “Front Toward Neighbor”.

        • Scott – not only are claymores loud, they’re MESSY. Anything with ten pounds of C-4 and 175 ball bearings in it will definitely ruin someone’s day, but they’re noisy, and the clean-up bill is horrendous. They definitely attract attention. I would suggest Sarah ask the boys to enter their neighbor’s name in every contest they can find, especially those that offer prizes such as free trips, a summer home, or some other incentive that will reduce the neighbor’s presence.

          • Sorry. I meant to specify the Nerf(tm)-brand Claymore.

            • I’ve got a cousin that lives in the back of beyond in Louisiana. His closest NEIGHBOR is three miles away, by boat. He was having a problem with losing chickens. I taught him to make homemade claymores with a metal juice can, black powder, a spark plug, and odds and ends — rusty nails, old nuts and bolts, anything metal that was small enough. He set one off about a month after I told him how, and killed four members of a pack of wild dogs. One of the wild dogs weighed almost 200 pounds! He’s a black powder buff, and a deputy sheriff, so he got away with it. He now has his property posted, with big signs saying “Minefield- Please watch your step!” And yes, he’s as crazy as I am.

    • RES, did you MEAN for us to picture the late lamented Peter Falk saying, “just one more thing?”

      I couldn’t think of an appropriate bit of imagery for Sam Vines, so defaulted to television’s most annoying* detective.

      *From the POV of an author trying to concentrate. For other situations other definitions of “most annoying” might apply.

      • I loved Columbo. Dan and I were delighted during our engagement (when he went to Portugal to propose) to realize we both loved the series AND Portuguese TV was having a late night marathon of it. This led to my grandmother thinking Dan was seducing me, though as my mom pointed out, seducing would involve less talk. So Dan didn’t HAVE to marry me. He just wanted to.

  5. Sounds like she should be red-shirted in one of your novels. – a particularly gruesome death

      • Choking on a piece of cherry tart, unable to attract anyone’s attention, unable to even whisper. Slowly fading, fading, … !

        • You.Are.A.Bad.Man.

          (Is starting to think you guys live for these rebukes!)

          • Oh, piffle – everybody knows that tarts don’t have cherries.

          • Why, THANK you! I try. Besides, it fits. Make it part of a murder mystery, with her being the primary witness against one of your shape-shifters – maybe Tom. And yes, I know I have a wicked imagination. Unfortunately, as a history major, I also know the foibles of mankind. Read up on Vlad the Impaler, or some of the excesses of 16th-Century Italian leaders. MMe Bourghesa comes to mind… 8^)

    • Now we know why there are so many screaming redshirts in zombie movies/books! It’s not just to provide drama, it’s because the author/scriptwriter is… working out their aggressions.

      • Yep – I hate shriekers. Plus some parents let their kids shriek and play that is why there are so many of them.

        • we let our kids shriek. Just curbed it after about 4. Marshall had a shriek that sounded like a factory whistle.

          • lol – oh yea… my parents curbed us at around the same age. What they put in our heads was that screaming was for danger. Dad emphasized it a few times by running out to save us. We realized that he did not like to be inconvenienced if we were just shrieking. ;-) Also we knew that if we shrieked it meant we needed saving so we didn’t get ignored. –very important

            • Yeah. Marsh did it a couple of times when bigger kids cornered him on playgrounds and such, and that we encouraged. (He was in the 90th percentile for height and 20th for weight, so… Also, he wore glasses and had asthma. OF COURSE he got picked on.)

            • Free-range Oyster

              I’ve been working on the same thing with my boys, and with the same approach – if they scream, I come tearing out of my office looking for blood or protruding bones. If I don’t see any, and no one is trying to drag them away, someone gets an earful. Screaming has gone down a lot. :)

          • Timmy shrieks. He’s seven, and it’s pretty typical for kids of that age. The problem is, I have hyperacusis and the sound is like an out-of-pitch dental drill – the four-inch kind they use to remove impacted wisdom teeth. INSTANT headache! We’ve talked to him about it, and he does try. Like all kids, though, he forgets. It doesn’t help that Jean is losing her hearing, and unless you shout, she doesn’t hear you half the time. Lots of conflicting signals there.

            My neighborhood itself doesn’t have many loud kids – in fact, it doesn’t have many kids at all. The ones that were here when we moved in 22 years ago have all grown up and moved out. The few new people with kids who have moved in don’t seem to have screamers. Unfortunately, we live just a few blocks from Academy Boulevard, one of the busiest streets in the city. The noise from there has doubled – almost tripled – since we moved in. That, plus my pain problem, is why I live in my basement office 90% of the time.

            • To be honest my neighbor is not that bad — or rather, she’s bad but I’m sure I only resent her noise because she DOES time it when I’m just falling asleep or not feeling well AND trying to write. Not her fault. Probably. BUT ARGH.

          • Oh, we thank whatever deity may have been responsible for Sean’s (younger son) voice finally changing. When he would shriek, it would positively stab through my brain. He had a shriek that sounded like a three-year-old girl’s, but magnified.

    • Let’s get out of here before they kill Guy!

  6. I thought I had a similar problem until I discovered the voices I was hearing were just in my head. I started answering them and they went away. ;-)

    • I started answering them and they went away.
      Oh, NO! THAT was a huge mistake! You NEVER, NEVER answer them. You just THOUGHT they went away. They just left to get the trenching machine and the heavy-duty fiber-optic cable. When they return, it will be on a 64-person party line, in quadraphonic sound, 24/7!

      • I dunno — maybe it works like for mobile phones, when the prior owner of the phone number owed money (“he hasn’t had this number for years now, and this is my cell phone”), or if the first three digits are also the area-code for a neighboring New England state (“you have to dial 1 before the area code; this is a [different NE state] number”).

        I (and my kid) get fewer calls when we impart this information. If it’s similar with voices, answering and telling them where to appropriately direct their messages may be quite effective! :)

        • actually on the first one, it’s not true, it’s a form of spam and finding if the cell phone is active. (I only found this out after we’d answered a few of those and got on all the wrong lists.)

          • Huh! In my case, answering made every single one of those stop. “X no longer owns this number, this is my cell-phone, and I’m on the Do Not Call list. You’ll have to find some other way to track the deadbeat and get the money he owes you.”

  7. Alternatively, fight back. I knew a guy in college who had a tape of some sort of Japanese folk balladeer (or something).

    It sounded something like this: Imagine, if you will, some guy with a 1-string instrument with no reverb body (when the string was plucked, it sounded something like a Banjo), who has a voice like Bob Dylan. And the music was presented by plucking the string once, followed by 5-10 seconds of chanting in Japanese, then plucking the string again, followed by 5-10 seconds of chanting. Rinse, repeat, for a couple of minutes.

    If you could get something like that and play it out the window, maybe she would go away…

    • I used to work nights in Denver many many moons ago. There was a talk show host on from 3am to 6am. He asked one night for people to call him and give them their most outrageous suggestion for talk radio. My comment was to play the 1812 Overture, on auto-repeat, from 6am to 7am, the time most people had their radio alarm clocks set for. It took him three minutes to quit laughing enough to continue his show. He never did it, but…

      As for your neighbor, I have a NASTY suggestion, but it’s probably illegal and would cause you all kinds of problems. Record about ten minutes of cars being crushed. Set up a small device to play it at ~150db, triggered by your neighbor’s shrieking. MAKE SURE IT’S ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND. If she asks about it, tell her you don’t know, but it sounds like a T-rex mating call.

    • This reminds me of barracks living. We had a next door neighbor who would put on her rap so loud the entire building would shake. We stuck a radio on a CountryWestern station and left it against the door (full blast). Then we went shopping. When we came back it was so quiet… Never had a problem again.

    • Well, burying them doesn’t work out well — you lose the directionality and the ball bearings get all clotted up with random dirt and stuff. They really need to be up so the convex side is pointed toward the evildoer. (How do you know they’re evildoers? They’re on the convex side.)

      I’d go for the good echt-Deutsch Splittermine.

      • The best option is likewise the most unthinkable, if at the same time the most muss for minimum fuss. Simply bury some claw robots in her garden, make sure your radiation tab is afixed to your uniform and pray the little buggers don’t go all Second Variety on you.

    • Imagine, if you will, some guy with a 1-string instrument with no reverb body (when the string was plucked, it sounded something like a Banjo), who has a voice like Bob Dylan.

      That’s a shamisen, it has three strings thank you very much, and I rather enjoy that stuff.

      Yes, I do have strange tastes.

  8. I applaud your restraint. I am displeased with Dan’s. FLAMETHROWERS ARE NATURE’S WAY OF TELLING YOU TO STFU WHEN THE WRITER IS WRITING!!!

    You know, when you want to be subtle and all that stuff.

  9. I have commented on more than one occasion that the reason I don’t kill people for being stupid is that once I started, I’d never be stopping, and eventually I’d run out of places to hide the bodies.

    • I don’t see that as a problem at all. First use this and then use this.

      Problem solved.

    • YES. Same here. or as I told husband when kid was being destroyed-by-stupid-middle-school-administrators “you make them stop, because this time if I go down there it will be the sort of scene where they say ‘we found two heads in the toilet. The rest of the bodies are still missing.”

      • Hannibal Lecter, Creepiest Smartass Ever:

        “Whose body was that we found in the storage locker, Dr. Lecter?”

        “You found a body? Strange. I only saw a head. Where did the rest of it come from, do you suppose?”

    • It’s not the bodies, it’s the BLOOD! It attracts vampires, government officials, and other sorts of leeches. Can’t clean it up fast enough.

      • I believe it was in the context of a history of the battle of Waterloo that I learned that the farm fields are very productive the year after a major battle.

        I don’t know if it is still available, but you used to be able to buy blood meal to enrich soil. ;-)

  10. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Is that new? I don’t remember seeing that before. Did I cross a blogeratti boundary somewhere?

    • Scott – did you update your WordPress profile? That happened when I updated mine a while back.

      • Not to my knowledge. I increased my awesome over the weekend, but I don’t know how WordPress could possibly know about it. Come to think of it, that would just be creepy.

    • You have links. WordPress doesn’t like links.

      Also, Scott, let’s face it, you’re pretty immoderate.

      (And I am reading your post. After doctor today. PROMISE.)

      • PLEASE! I feel the need to be judged.

      • You have links. WordPress doesn’t like links.

        This is what gets my comments held for moderation from time to time. WordPress lets a comment with one link go through, but if it has two or more links, it assumes it’s someone trying to blog-comment-spam and sticks the comment in Sarah’s moderation queue. And I tend to have either no links, or LOTS of links, in my posts…

        • WordPress doesn’t get the obvious genius of including both a grinder and an automatic breadmaker in a thread that’s turned to talking about bones :)