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Just Annoying

Just Annoying


I'm yelling at the top of my voice.

So is Danny. I look at him. He looks at me. We nod. I take a deep breath.


Sooty joins in, barking and howling.

We wait. But nothing happens. Nobody comes. No police sirens. My neighbors don't even bother sticking their heads over the fence to see what the trouble is.

"It's no use," says Danny. "Nobody cares."

I kick a divot out of the lawn.

"It would be too bad if we were really getting murdered," I say. "I bet they'd be sorry then. Let's try one more time."

Alright," says Danny. "Once more and then that's it. I've got a sore throat."

"MURDER!" we scream. "BLOODY MURDER!"

"Would you idiots shut up!" says Mr. Broadbent. I'm trying to work."

Mr. Broadbent lives next door. He's a university lecturer. He works in a little room right next to our fence.

"How did you know that we weren't really being murdered?" I ask him.

"Because you've been calling out for the last half hour," he says. "But, I swear, if you don't shut up, I'll come back and murder you myself. And your dog!"

Mr. Broadbent turns around and stomps back down the drive.

Sooty slinks off into his kennel. Danny and I look at each other. We don't say anything.

We're too scared.

Mr. Broadbent has just threatened to murder us.

"Did you hear that?" says Danny.

"I think I did," I say.

"What are we going to do?"

"I don't know."

"Should we call the police?"

"I don't think that would be a good idea, Dan. They'll probably arrest us for pretending that we were going to be murdered in the first place."

"But we are going to be murdered!" says Danny.

"We weren't then, " I say. "And if we shut up, then there is every chance that we won't be now."

"But how do we know for sure?" says Danny.

"He's crazy. Did you see the look in his eyes?"

"He did seem high-strung," I say.

"High-strung!" says Danny. "That's putting it mildly. He was ready to flip out completely. I know. I've had a lot of experience with these guys."

"Oh really?" I say. "When?"

"Just then!" says Danny.

"That's hardly a lot of experience,"

"I watched TV. I can recognize a psycho when I see one. He's going to kill is.unless."

"Unless what?" I say.

"Unless we strike first," says Danny.

"What are you suggesting?"

Danny just stares back to me. "Do I have to spell it out?"

I cup my hands around each side of my mouth. "Earth to Danny! Do you read me - over?"

"You think I'm crazy?"

"I know it."

"Well, what do you suggest?" he says.

"I think if he's as stressed as he seems, then it would be a good idea to help him de- stress. Cut the problem off at the source."

"What have you got in mind?" says Danny.

"Elephant tranquilizer darts?"

"I've got the next best thing," I say. "Meditation music."

"Meditation?" says Danny. "I've never heard of them."

"They're not a band, you idiot," I say. "It's just soft relaxing music. Jen's got tons."

I bound up the steps of the porch, go into the house, and head toward Jen's room.

Jen is going through this huge New Age thing at the moment. Ever since she went to the New Age & Psycho Expo, it's been meditation, chanting, incense, and soft music.

I'm sure she won't mind if I just borrow one of her tapes. And even if she does mind, she can just meditate and then she won't be angry anymore.

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