My most dangerous neighbor actually died half a year ago. I am told she was an elderly lady who used to live in the house next door. The family didn’t want to give up the property at the time, but they didn’t want to board it up like the other abandoned or condemned row houses on the block, so they just quietly locked it and left a light or two on.
I couldn’t tell at first; the porch seemed fairly decent, and I hadn’t been spending much time on my own front step anyways to note the absence of traffic to and from the house. I was still scared of the people out there, the neighbors I didn’t know. I suppose it’s no real surprise that they didn’t know I lived there either, that I was less known or appreciated than my deceased neighbor.
But nothing stays a secret here for long; after a while, everybody knows everybody’s business. Some enterprising fellow found out about my late neighbor and decided to swipe a few pipes from my neighbor’s house, most likely to sell them for scrap. One of those things also included a part of the gas line. My housemate was the first to smell the gas and, at 11PM, called it in to the fire department, who promptly showed up and eventually figured out what was going on (by breaking into the neighbor’s house). Turns out that gas was seeping into our basement too, and that only God’s grace kept our two houses from lighting up. Through this discovery process, we got temporarily evicted from the house and I found myself milling about the street and chatting with my (living) neighbors. The kids were buzzing with amusement and I joined the adults in snapping pictures on my cell phone of the excitement and chatting about life on the block. My neighbors were kind and offered us a place to stay for the night, but things cleared up enough to let us back in and sleep. Despite all the excitement, I slept well that night, oddly feeling more attached to my new home even though it had been trying to kill me.