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This is a story I am not particularly proud of, but I will tell it anyway. If you have already read it here, forgive me, I am hopelessly out of touch with what I have and have not written. One of these days I am going to have to go through all my posts and make sure which of them have been written in black and white, and which in mere air, or rather in my head, especially while in my bath or cooking or when out walking.

So getting back to my story. It has a neighbor in it who lived across me on the first floor and of course me, as its two main characters. The third, the villain of the piece, was a dog, not mine though. The entrance of the first dog into our family fold was still a couple of years away. The dog in this story belonged to my neighbor, a cute and fluffy thing as Pomeranian dogs go. Not too friendly with outsiders, but devoted to its family.

None of this has bearing on the story, not the cuteness or fluffiness, nor its devotion to its own family members or even to the soldier, the orderly, who took care of it. What mattered was the fact that soon after moving into the house (army quarters) and going up to the tiny enclosed terrace to put my clothes out to dry, I found plenty of dried dog poop littering the floor.

As I said, our dog was still in the future, but the poop, dried though it was, was in the then and now. I concluded that the neighbors had been using our terrace as their dog’s pooping area. After all the house had been lying vacant for a couple of months. No one was around. How much easier to just let the dog run upstairs and do its business. No bother of taking it out for a walk.

What I did was sigh in exasperation and have the place cleaned up. Now that we had moved in, the terrace would no longer be used by them, I naively thought. Yup, I was innocent that way.  Still am to some extent. I believe in things like fair play, truth, integrity, keeping your word and other unfashionable stuff including not using neighbor’s space as your dog’s pooping ground and not even cleaning up afterwards. Nope, never.

But my neighbor was different (from me). I went up the next day to dry more clothes and found fresh dog poop adorning my terrace. I peeped into their terrace, it was clean and neat, no dog poop anywhere. I tried closing the door to our terrace. It was off its hinge and broken (yeah, sometimes the army quarters are in very bad shape and people back home have visions of grandeur about our life, a royal household teeming with cooks and gardeners and orderlies waiting to do our bidding, duh!).

Since I couldn’t shut the door, I realized my only choice was to talk to my neighbor, a young woman with two small children, just like me. Reluctantly I rang her bell and told her (very apologetically) of the problem and requested that her dog not be let loose in our terrace. She graciously accepted the error on her part. It is the orderly taking the easy way out, she said shifting blame. Instead of taking the dog for a walk downstairs, he was letting it do its business up on the terrace. She promised she’d see to it.

The next day I went up, I found dog poop again. Irritated, I had our orderly talk to their orderly. Let’s try another level of approach. Anything for a good cause, right? But the very next day I found, no prizes for guessing, more dog poop. I was angry. When the L&M came home, I cribbed about my neighbor to him. I told him what I’d do the next time I found dog poop on our terrace. He didn’t say anything.  He probably thought I was being dramatic. But no, Shail is never dramatic (Do you hear me, friend? Never, ever!) he had yet to learn.

The morning dawned the next day. I was up early as usual. Clothes went into the machine first thing, breakfast, sending children to school, all followed. Next I had breakfast watching Mr. Belvedere which used to be aired those days. Then, I walked upstairs with the clothes. I pushed open the broken door and there it was, on the inside of the doorway where my foot was to go next, bleddy fresh dog poop.

I left the bucket of clothes there and stomped downstairs. From inside I found two hard cardboard pieces and walked back upstairs, scooped up the offending poop and dumped it right inside my neighbor’s terrace doorway. Satisfied, I walked back downstairs to my home, threw the cardboard pieces in the dustbin, washed my hands with soap, and went back upstairs to put the clothes to dry. The rest of the day went as usual.

You probably want to know what happened afterwards, how it all ended? Well, nothing actually. Not a thing. My neighbor did not utter a word to me about it, but the dog stopped shitting in our terrace as if by magic. Yup, not once did it happen again in the one and a half years we continued staying there. Truly magical, wouldn’t you say, how the dog got the hint? Like I said at the beginning, I am not too proud of what I did, but it worked, so I guess I can live with that.

©Shail Mohan 2017


Daily Prompt: Neighbors