We have new neighbours, and while everyone is technically entitled to have children, this couple proves there should be some kind of permit system. They have two daughters, the loudest ‘Screamy’ because that’s what she does, and her sister ‘Meany’ because that’s what she is. Meany torments Screamy, and we poor neighbour suffer.

They share a wall with our neighbourhood serial killer Dennis, a Scottish truck-driver on the run from a string of unsolved sex-murders in the UK, who tried to lure my wife into his backyard a couple of times. He once pounced on her in our front yard to show off a hernia scar, and, we think, his McWilly. Given how much Dennis hates women, we expect Screamy to go oddly silent any time now.

Across the road is the next-youngest couple in our street, who also have a daughter. The mother seems dutiful and organised, the daughter blessedly compliant, but dad is a scruffy, tattooed ballsack who comes outside to watch you mow the lawn while he sits smoking in his ute. I suspect he’s a bikie, because he is a solid ping on my shitbag-radar.

Directly opposite us and to shitbag’s left is Jeanette and her obnoxious daughter, whose favourite phrase “FUCK YOU, MUM!” is heard whenever Jeanette banishes her outside to cool down. Jeanette goes through men like a Black Widow spider. I imagine them hanging, shrivelled and mewling in silk cocoons from her back verandah. If only she could eat her revolting daughter, too.

The street’s nosiest neighbour, octogenarian Ann, lives next to Jeanette. A devout Catholic, she is a mad gossip and subsists almost wholly on soft-boiled eggs and rumour. Her son is a redundant human being who is ‘on the spectrum’ as they say. A soylent green candidate if there ever was one.

Back on our side, opposite Ann were members of a Christian cult. Not sure which, but one that failed to recruit us some years back. You know the type, all smiley and welcoming, generous and charming, until you say no. Then it’s all thin-lipped sneers as you pass them on the sidewalk. I’m glad God sent them elsewhere. Somewhere COVID-y I hope.

This brings us clockwise back to our immediate neighbours, who seem to be nesting. I suspect they’re planning a baby, but she’s in her mid-30’s so it’s fingers crossed. They both work, maintain their yard, and except for clockwork bouts of loud shagging they don’t bother us at all.

Which just leaves us. My son plays his trumpet for a solid hour a day. My wife is on her treadmill at 4am every morning with the radio blaring dodgy 80’s music. And I’m either rattling off on my bike for work at 4:30am or, on my days off, throwing tools into the boot to go prospecting or hiking. I wonder what our neighbours think of us?

More to the point, what do your neighbours think of you?

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