Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Morals & The Neighbors

by Bethany Maines

So, I’m pretty sure my neighbor’s live-in boyfriend is a drug dealer. Now, on one hand, this really annoys the crap out of me. Such activity attracts a grungy, unwashed, tattooed smoker kind of crowd that hold loud, outdoor parties with clouds of pot smoke drifting over the hedge. Then there’s the fact that their life style brings an increased risk factor to the area.  Also, I kind of think one of their dogs died because it “ate that whole nugget.”  I’m not entirely sure what amount or type of drug a nugget is, but I’m pretty sure that it can’t be good for a fat, old bulldog.

On the other hand, since Scruffy Boyfriend moved in, the home maintenance is up and so are the weird, crime ridden stories I hear over the hedge. Here I was just pondering what kind of mind set one of my characters would need to indulge casually in crime and then Scruffy Boyfriend moves in next door.  Suddenly, I have a case study of how to do a drug deal one lawn over. This is fascinating stuff. Not to mention the fact that Scruffy Boyfriend is actually forcing Neighbor Girl into home maintenance. Up until recently, she’d simply been tossing bags of garbage over the back fence to pile by the garage door.  Upon discovering this he freaked out and insisted she clean up because he assumed (correctly) that it was only a matter of time before a neighbor got annoyed and turned them in – can’t have city officials visiting your place of illegal business.

But there are moral considerations at stake. Like, is it wrong to turn him in once I’ve learned all I need for my story? Is it wrong to rename my wireless network FBI Surveillance Van to mess with their heads?  Is it ok to not turn in Scruffy Boyfriend because I don’t think I can take Neighbor Girl’s dating anymore?  If only I could skip to the end like a Choose Your Own Adventure to see how things turn out.

Bethany Maines is the author of the Carrie Mae Mystery Series (Bulletproof Mascara, Compact With the Devil and Supporting the Girls) and the Tales From the City of Destiny Series. Catch up with her at or check out the new Carrie Mae youtube video.


  1. Bethany, if he's dealing pot and hash, it's a minor problem. Especially if he's trying to keep it down so the neighbors don't complain.

    If he's dealing crack and coke and other hard drugs, turn him in and get him out of there. Violence usually follows those.

    This from the woman who lives where the SWAT team blocked the head of the street on Tuesday last week. Wednesday, we had a drive-by shooting five houses down from that. Thursday, another drive-by at the same house. Friday, an exchange of shots that moved into the street and up it several houses. Saturday, what sounded like a full-fledged war zone at the Epicurean Lounge back up at the head of the block for about ten minutes of rapid gunfire back and forth, followed by women screaming and crying for about twenty minutes. Sirens and police helicopters every night.

  2. Eeeee! That all sounds scary! I don't like your end of the choose your own adventure.

  3. At times we have the helicopter flying overhead. We call it the ghetto bird. Within our fence, we are a beautiful community - outside not always so nice. I say, get all your usable information, and then call the police. Cause from what I know, pot does not come in a nugget.

  4. Too scary. I'd call the cops and at least discuss it with them. They may already be watching the place.

  5. And I thought someone stealing the pins off our trailer was annoying. Mostly we have an occasional case of ding-dong ditch. I live in a very dangerous neighborhood. :P

  6. I like renaming your network to FBI Surveillance Van. That's the sort of passive-aggressive attack that appeals to my cowardly nature. Since I moved out of Trenton I haven't come cheek-by-jowl with crime that I know of, although sad little addicts die of overdoses here in Lambertville from time to time, so somebody is dealing.