by Thomas Tomlinson

Greg was not a neighbor you would want to have. He would always play loud music. The neighbors were always asking him to shut it off. He would crank it up the very next day. Sometimes the old lady next door would offer him food to shut the music off. She was 88 years old and her house was for sale. She had had enough. Greg was drunk one night and rolled her house. She knew he did it. Another time he put a firecracker in her mailbox and it destroyed it. He was always up to no good.
One time his German shepherd attacked a kid. They sued him and he paid a large settlement. He had a lot of character defects. Rumors had spread that he was seeing a psychiatrist for post traumatic stress disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder.

Greg lived with his son. His son was 17 and a good student. He liked to hang out at coffee shops and do his homework. He was nothing like his dad. Sometimes his dad would tell him he was going to beat him but he never did.

Greg was a hoarder. He loved having things. Any kind of tool or gardening equipment he had.

He loved fishing. A boat was in the driveway and all kinds of tackle boxes and fishing poles were in the Garage. He liked to paint to. Everywhere were pictures and paintings on the walls. He was a voracious reader and had a bedroom with nothing but books. His obsession was owning whatever he could. He was greedy and competitive. Instead of the saying been there done that it was more like you don’t have it but I do. He had a loft in one of his bedrooms with nothing but sports memorabilia. He had a Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, and Joe DiMaggio baseball card collection. He had shoe boxes filled with baseball cards. He had more sports equipment than one can imagine. He also had saved all his receipts and paycheck stubs. The house was arranged in a neat order because of his OCD. He had bedrooms filled with junk.

One day his son came home from school while Greg was working on a weed eater he garbage picked. He let his dad talk about how he was going to change. Greg felt bad the neighbor was moving because of him. He said she made good food. His son finally said nicely that he needed to change.

His son insisted on no more loud music, drinking, firecrackers, and especially garbage picking. Greg said he shouldn’t be doing these things at his age. His son got through to him and told him he knew a good psychiatrist. Greg didn’t like the idea of medication for his OCD or PTSD. He

said he didn’t know if he could quit garbage picking. Greg liked to fix things that’s where the hoarding mostly came from. His son told him no more garbage picking, thrift stores, garage sales, or pawn shops. Greg said he didn’t know if he could quit drinking. Greg said he tried Alcoholics Anonymous before and he didn’t like the idea of having a sponsor. His son told him to just take one day at a time, and that they weren’t going to get rid of everything. Greg was thinking of selling his things on the computer and was excited about all the money he was going to make which would go to the bills.

Greg was thinking of apologizing to the neighbor. He decided no more drinking no matter what happens. No more loud music. No more firecrackers or rolling houses. He would keep the German shepherd in the backyard. Greg even thought about going back to the church he went to as a kid.

His son wasn’t sure if his dad really wanted to change. He wondered if the medication would help him get rid of some of his junk. The real motif for change was he didn’t want the lady next door to move. She made really good apple pie and cheesecake. He sat on the crowded porch smoking cigarettes and thinking what he was going to fix and sell. He drank some water and contemplated about changing mostly for his son.