My neighbour's biting problem is getting out of hand: the other day she got her teeth into my man's ass.
That was the last straw. That was a stride too far.
Sally was what you could call a neighbour from hell: I had already complained about the noise, her constant banging on the wall in the morning before breakfast time, and a few other issues like giving us the death stare, but it was the biting that did it: I told Martin we needed to move. Only a few doors down would have satisfied me, even though the noise would bother me still, but the risk of getting bitten would significantly decrease.
Besides, I didn’t want to move too close to that creep, Mr Pickles, on the corner.
To be fair to Sally, it wasn’t like I’d never been tempted to do just the thing she did, but actually biting him? That was wild. Of course, she was bonkers and didn’t care about social niceties, that’s why my Martin was branded with her teeth mark, framed in a bruise of dark purple. An ugly sight, but being a gentleman, I didn’t say anything when he pulled down his pants to check as soon as he walked in the door, cussing her out.
She won’t admit it, but she did it as part of her petty revenge; out of jealousy. Maybe I was lucky not to have my backside near her, when she saw her girl kissing me just outside our doors. I didn’t have the heart to tell Martin that I suspected I was partially to blame: he was quite an insecure man himself, not keen on seeing the girls all over me. So, I kept quiet about it, but what could I do? I was a real stud.
Only he couldn’t see that nowadays, telling me that I got a little F-A-T, spelling it out to emphasise. “Why can’t you be more like Sally?” he asked, because that horrible persona was in great shape. That hurt. It was unfair. Maybe he thought I couldn't tell he’d been slacking at the gym if he went at all, and though body-shaming was way below me, I had to admit: the dead weight he carried was not doing any favours for either of us. Yet he served me only half a dinner, whilst he chomped on a chocolate bar. The double standard could not have been more glaringly obvious if we made it into a neon sign. “We are supposed to be sportsmen, Martin. Not just me. Both of us,” I reminded him, looking at his snack with resentment, planning my revenge for the injustice. I would remember to fart in his face again. Maybe I should've just brushed it off, as he took a biting for me; it was a painful thing, I would know. I had been one of her victims too before.
“Who did this to you?” he asked me then, rubbing aloe vera onto the bite mark on my bum. I liked my Martin, but clearly, he was not the sharpest tool in the box. Who else did we know, who was that feral?
Alright, I suppose there was Mr Pickles on the corner, but that midget only came up to my knees so I would’ve had to literally sit on him to make this happen. Which, for the record, was not something I would have ever considered doing.
I still remember the day when I first saw him; it nearly gave me a heart attack. He was so small. Abnormally tiny. A vertically challenged, grumpy old man. I worried his height might be contagious, but despite my exposure to him, so far I haven’t shrunk. Still, I tried to keep my distance the best I could, just in case.
The short are closer to the devil.
It was never a bad idea to stay out of reach, when you were dealing with a biter, which he was too, even worse than Sally. He targeted children. The amount of little ones he charmed and then left crying was most disturbing. But my Martin wasn’t a child, and so I figured moving farther from Sally and a little closer to Mr Pickles would be the right compromise for us. I didn’t want my man anywhere near that moody mare after all.
But Martin didn’t get it. No matter how many times I have explained it, we stayed, and, as the misunderstandings piled up between us I wondered whether we were the best of matches. Sometimes we were having the best time together, but other times he went out of his way to upset me. Like when he painted the fence blue, knowing how that colour terrified me, and I almost stooped to Sally's level to show my displeasure. Or when he insisted I carry him through a puddle. “No big deal, it’s only water,” he said. But what if there were sharks? He wasn’t willing to put his feet in it to find out. We had a big argument and he ended up falling into the puddle. Luckily, there weren’t actually sharks, but how was I supposed to know that? I liked to be cautious.
However, Martin did not appreciate me looking out for the both of us, and told me things like “you aren’t five anymore” and “Merlin, this is embarrassing!” when I jumped at the sight of an opening umbrella or the falling of his jumper, when he took it off whilst sitting on top of me.
We fought a lot about those kinds of things when we trained together, just getting upset and not moving forwards: he was never going to be a match for me in strength, he needed to negotiate and I told him as much. “You pull, I pull, do you really wanna see who would win?”
One evening we got home both drenched in sweat after our training. Sally gave us that stare from her window, and Martin put my pyjama on me, the one his sister bought, with stars, magic wands, wizard hats and cauldrons printed on it to match my name. He grimaced, and he didn’t need to repeat it again for me to know; he thought I looked stupid in it. I caught him glancing at Sally’s smarter nightwear through the window. Did he really want me to be like her?
I pushed him up against the wall and rubbed my itchy head into his chest.
“Oh hey, is that a carrot in your pocket or you’re just happy to see me?”
“Merlin!” he groaned, trying to push me away. “Fuck, I can’t breathe!” He slapped my chest and I bit his side on an impulse.
I quickly backed into a corner as I realised what I had done. I messed up. He was not going to give me the carrot now. I kept my eyes on him, as he rubbed his side, with his brows crossed. Then, he came to me, adjusted my pyjama and grabbed my ear.
His soft whisper tickled the hairs inside.
“Don’t be like Sally,” he said, biting the tip of my ear before he gave me the carrot. “You are better than that.” I watched as he walked out of my stable, with the sweet taste of the carrot in my mouth.