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My Neighbor Changed My Perspective

He shall remain nameless, but he helped me a lot

Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels

I had a curious friend — a neighbour, in fact — who told me all sorts of things. Very weird things, but he spoke seriously. I thought of him as a trivial man, hence I gave very little attention to what he said. Sometimes, however, I was free when he narrated and I, for I had nothing better to do, listened with intent.

The day before yesterday, I found myself in a similar situation and listened. He began:

“I have a great one in store for you today, just heard it from one of my highly secretive acquaintances.” He let a breath out, smiled and continued, “So you know that man Sam, eh?”

“Yes”. Sam was a wealthy tradesman whose house separated mine and this man’s, whose name I shall conceal for now.

“He isn’t a tradesman. He is a thief.”

“Are you drunk?” Surely he was joking? Sam is one of the most respected people in the city, and according to some people, gives more taxes than is his share.

“No, listen here. You ever saw him leave for his ‘work’?” His eyes flinched as he said the word and I nodded, as I saw him nearly every day. “He wears a total white suit. White shirt and trousers, with white socks, white shoes and tie, and a white belt tying it all together.”

“Yes, he does.” How could I forget? His entrance always seems like a sunrise, although he comes a couple of hours too late for that.

“Well, he’s trying to pretend he is not a thief! What do you imagine when you think of a thief? As in what does a thief wear?” He was full of sweat at this point, and a little too excited for my liking.

“Something that does not catch attention, like a black dress or something.”

“Well, he’s doing the exact opposite! Genius! He’s pretending to not be a thief so that when he gets caught, he can say he wore white all the time, what kind of thief does that?,” his eyes glistened with joy and arrogance as he looked at me intently, expecting some kind of answer.

I waited, for I did not want to rush this answer. I was conflicted. Was he serious or not because if he was, his reasoning made sense! How curious indeed! I took my time and answered: “I do think you make sense! Who told you this?”

“I cannot tell that to you, but I have another one for today. Do you wish to listen?”

“Yes, I am intrigued by your thoughts. Besides, I do not have much to do elsewhere,” I was sincerely intrigued, and still wasn’t sure if he was serious or joking, and intended to find out exactly that.

“Very well, now listen. I have been told, again, by some very secretive people, that the water that comes to our tap is not really water! It is a compound similar to water, odourless, colourless, but a slow poison!”

“What?” I thought he was joking at this point. This couldn’t be true! How slow does poison have to be to not kill me in my 37 years of existence? Surely he was joking? What if he was indeed telling the truth?

In the meantime, he was gone — half jumping, half running — straight into his — as I observed for the first time — oddly shaped house. It was a boot-shaped residence, with the main door opening through a hole in the sole. Weird, but more importantly, interesting. I went home, but my mind was still in the local cafe, which was curiously named ‘No Tea Available’, and served only tea.

With the strange conversation hovering in my head, I could barely sleep, which is to say I slept soundly, but only nine hours, instead of twelve. I was quick to rush to the cafe where I found the man I so dearly wanted to talk to already sitting. I took the seat opposite to him and asked, “Anything else you got for me?”

He was bewildered. After a moment of disbelief, he smiled broadly and began:

“Oh yes, I have one of the best today. Here it is,” he seemed to pause a little and think, while he set his hands upon the table in a way that facilitated gestures. He then continued, “You know that tea and cake is a traditional dish in Great Britain?”

“Yes,” I nodded.

“That explains the relationship between phrases ‘Cup of Tea’ and ‘Piece of Cake’. This means that a person prefers tasks that are easy to do! You get it, right? A piece of cake is his cup of tea! I was so very fascinated when I first heard this, I had to think of it for the longest time and just made my mind up just before you entered. You need to be careful on what you believe, eh?”

I was awestruck. I had doubt yesterday about this being a joke, but now I am completely sure. This is all true! He and whoever is telling him these things such a genius! But that also begs the question, Am I being slow poisoned? I asked him for the name and address of the man who told him this and this time, he agreed.

It has been a total of nine days and I have now accumulated a huge amount of information upon diverse subjects such as toothpaste, sewers, bedsheets and legs which I would never have, had I not met and listened intently to this man.

I hope you enjoyed this short story completely from my experience, totally, obviously true and I certainly endorse none of this sh*t. Also, this is my first humour piece, so be kind. Anyway, hey! I have a newsletter now! It will be a monthly email, a kind of monologue about literature, writing, philosophy, and music, linking the articles I found most useful. It will be delivered on the 19th of every month. Do Subscribe if you are interested.



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M.A. Mercier

M.A. Mercier


I am MA Mercier. I am interested in anything and everything! I am here to write about things that amaze me, things I am curious about.