Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of
Volume 14, Number 2
Copyright © 2019
by Leah Browning, Editor.
All future rights to
in the Apple Valley
Review are retained by
the individual authors
Fiction by Casey Forest
here is a list of all the arbitrary things my neighbor does.
he rakes his lawn once a week in the fall.
he asks me how it’s going every time he sees me but doesn’t
stop what he’s doing (usually raking) to listen.
he makes grocery lists. i know this because often they fall out
of his pockets and make their way over to my lawn.
he has a dog.
his shoes are arranged from most muddy to least muddy,
which is something i saw when walking by for exercise.
i have seen him put his most muddy shoes on by accident,
while he’s in a hurry, so obviously his system is not doing its job.
sometimes i wish he would just clean his shoes instead; there is no
occasion one would need to wear his most muddy shoes for.
he piles up bags of raked leaves and grass clippings in his back
yard. i let the leaves on my grass rot. i heard somewhere about the
nitrogen being good for the soil.
he puts up holiday lights and takes them down, on time. the
great cosmic schedule of holidays comes and goes based on my
if he doesn’t have the right spices for a dish, he won’t make it.
last month, while i was doing my morning exercise walk, his
sentiments woke the whole street. i watched his wife huff out of
the house. my neighbor was in the doorway—she stalked right past
him. he was talking, perhaps pleading, and she ignored it. he
followed her out to her car, all the while mumbling on. she started
the engine; he banged on the window. by then i was stopped across
the street because of their racket. i must say i admired the wife’s
silence and no-nonsense way of pulling out of the driveway. she
could have been on her way to the shopping mall. my neighbor did
not take this well. he chased her down the street, yelling. he did not
have any shoes on, muddy or not. she has not been back since, but
he still only parks on the left side of his driveway.
he has made an inordinate amount of phone calls this month,
which i know because the postman accidentally delivered his bill to
his bags of clippings and dead leaves are starting to smell. i
consider dropping by on my way home from work to tell him,
because it affects me, but it seems arbitrary and so i do not do it.
Casey Forest is a Liberal Arts undergraduate at Colorado State
University. She is currently the Writing Editor for Cicada Creative
Magazine. This is her first published story.
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