Another Time I Didn’t Kill My Next-Door Neighbor

Several people have asked me lately whether I killed my next-door neighbor*. This topic of conversation reminds me of a time long ago when I didn’t kill a different neighbor.

My most prized possession.
I was in my senior year of college, and at the time, I drank approximately eight thousand cups of coffee a day. A friend had given me a mug that had “Caffeine” written all over it, and my Caffeine mug soon became my most prized possession (my second most prized possession would have been one of those t-shirts with a picture of a caffeine molecule and the words “better living through chemistry” written on it, if I had in fact possessed one of those, which I didn’t, which is strange, now that I think about it, because that’s exactly the kind of thing I would have worn all the time back then and would wear on occasion now, except I still don’t own one).**

One night I had an extremely vivid dream. In the dream, I lived with my parents in a house on a hill straight out of a Hitchcock movie, next to an old man who lived in a similar house. For some reason, I had to babysit the old man for the evening, which I didn’t feel like doing — so of course I poisoned him, because apparently for the purposes of this dream, I was a psychopath.***

It turns out I’d made several mistakes. I’d assumed my neighbor’s death wouldn’t be investigated because he was old and, hey, old people die. I’d used my Caffeine mug as the murder weapon, which a) could easily be traced to me and b) meant that the police kept it as evidence, so I was deprived of my favorite mug. And I couldn’t just get on with my life, because everyone knew that I like to read murder mysteries, which meant that if I didn’t appear to be fascinated by this case, people would get suspicious.

In the dream, I was terrified that I’d be caught. When I woke up, I felt an overwhelming sense of remorse for what I’d done, until I realized I hadn’t actually done it. It’s hard to describe the feeling of relief that comes from realizing you haven’t murdered your next-door neighbor — it’s similar to the feeling you get when you’ve been walking around in uncomfortable shoes all day and then finally take them off, only more emotional, much more intense, and much less focused on foot pain.

Epilogue: a few days later, I went to one of my classes, and the moment I saw the professor, I realized he was the old man in my dream. You know that sense of panic you get when you run into someone you’ve recently murdered? I’ll never forget it.

*I didn’t. Some background can be found here.

**I’m thinking about entering that sentence in the Bulwer-Lytton contest.

***In real life, I’m not a psychopath. Trust me — I’d totally tell you if I were.

31 thoughts on “Another Time I Didn’t Kill My Next-Door Neighbor

  1. AH HA!
    Laura killed Professor Plum in the kitchen with the caffeine mug!
    (well, it’s either the kitchen or the conservatory, but I’m just going to go with my gut on this one…)

    1. I’m not sure which room it would be. In my dream, I put the poison in the mug in the kitchen, but I gave it to my neighbor in the living room. But in reality, I was in my bedroom while I was dreaming all this. I’m so confused.

    1. The only explanation I can think of is that everyone here lives exactly two houses away from me and wishes I’d take care of the neighbor living between us.

    1. Thanks! I haven’t actually wanted to kill one of my neighbors since the time I rented a room in a condo, and the couple next door had the exact same loud screaming argument at 7am every single Saturday morning.

      In case you’re wondering, I didn’t kill them either.

    1. I haven’t actually killed anyone so far, but I agree that killing someone and writing about it would make for an interesting blog post. I’ll keep it in mind for the next time I run out of ideas.

  2. I think you have not killed too many people to be completely innocent of actually not killing anyone, which in other words means your guilty conscience is forcing you to confess to your non-crimes to make amends for the all your past killings you have conveniently forgotten.

  3. I would wear that caffeine t-shirt that you don’t have, and I don’t own, but it’d be even weirder because I don’t drink coffee, so it makes sense that I don’t own it, but if I did wear it when people ask me, “Oh, so you like coffee?” I could be all, “No, why?” Which is why I need it.

  4. Hi Laura, I’m so pleased that you aren’t a psychopath in real life. Here, have a versatile blogger award… no really, please, have one! It comes with these here rules, but you don’t need to follow them if you don’t want to. Seriously though, I enjoy reading your posts, but don’t think that I say it often enough. Not in a stalker way… I’m not a psychopath either… :S

    1. I left something out of the story — at the time, I was stressing out about the class I mentioned in the epilogue. It was a seminar that was basically a normal math class, except that instead of having the professor do lectures, the students would take turns presenting the material. And I had terrible stage fright. And people kept dropping the class, so my turns to present came more and more frequently (I think there were five of us left at the end). So I think the dream was about that.

  5. Laura, you kill me. I mean that figuratively, of course. I really like how you think, bizarre as it is. And yes, you need to enter that sentence in the Bulwer-Lytton contest. DO. IT.

  6. You know that sense of panic you get when you run into someone you’ve recently murdered?
    No. No, I really don’t…
    It’s more sort of a warm fuzzy feeling…I’ve been told….

  7. I cannot explain to you how much I believe that we are soul-sisters. (Not to be confused with “Soul-Sistahs”.) It’s like, everything that you say, I would say. I once had a dream that I had sex with Gerard Butler, but I didn’t kill him afterward. I did lick him though. Is that the same thing?

      1. If I licked him after my dream, we’d be having a different conversation (more specifically, with my husband and divorce proceedings and/or admissions papers into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.) (Do they even have admissions papers?) Therefore, sadly I licked him in my dream. Except I wasn’t sad in my dream. Quite the opposite.

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