VERY DISAPPOINTING • by Susanne Chapman

Somebody has dumped two hundred and eighty bricks, a lorry load of sand and a tarpaulin in my front garden.

There must be some mistake. Sand is always useful in a garden, for seeds and so on, and I suppose a brick or two could be used to raise a water butt off the ground, if you had one. But the quantities delivered here are quite unreasonable and I shall have to ask whoever brought them to take them away again as soon as possible.

I have been next door to see if they were intended for Mr Snell, but got very little satisfaction out of him.

“Ah,” he said, before I had a chance to get a word out. “I’m glad you’ve come round. I wanted a word about your tree.”

“My tree?” I said.

“Something will have to be done about the roots of your plum tree. They’ve come under my fence.”

“All trees have roots,” I retorted.

“Not on my side of the fence.”

“If they only had roots on one side then they’d fall over. Listen though,” I continued. “I’ve got two hundred and eighty bricks.”

“What on earth do you expect me to do about them, build a wall to keep them out of my garden?”

“They’re not my bricks,” I said, trying to keep my patience.

“I don’t see what you’re driving at,” he said, “If you won’t do anything about your tree roots, then I will.”

“Hang on, if you’re being like that, then there’s a branch of your apple tree that hangs over my fence by a good eight feet,” I said.

“What about it?” he said. “It’s doing no harm.”

“That’s for me to say though,” I said. “If I want an apple tree in my garden then I’ll plant one myself.”

“Go ahead,” he replied. “Only mind you keep the roots on your side.”

“Roots, branches!” I said. “I didn’t come round to talk about roots and branches and apple trees. The point is that there’s a great heap of bricks and sand in my garden…”

“I know,” he said. “Very unsightly, but I’m making no complaint, that’s your affair, after all, it’s your garden.”

“It’s not my affair though, is it?” I said, getting irritated. “I keep telling you, they’re not mine. I know nothing about them. I simply came round to say that if they are yours…”

“Hold on!” Mr Snell spat out at me. “Let’s get this clear, are you accusing me of dumping a ton of stuff in your garden?”

“I’m accusing you of nothing,” I said. “You seem to be very on edge this morning.”

“I’m not surprised, having you on my doorstep, what with your roots, and branches, and now all this stuff in your garden; clear off, before I call the police!”

The postman interrupted us, and I thought it best to leave.

Having got no help from Mr Snell, I decided to try the house opposite, though as the people had only just moved here we’re not even on nodding terms just yet — nor likely to be, as it turned out.

“I’m sorry to trouble you,” I began to a woman in red trousers and gold top who opened the door, “but I’ve got two hundred and eighty bricks…”

“Not this morning, thank you,” she said briskly and shut the door.

It’s no good getting upset about these misunderstandings nowadays, so I rang the doorbell again and used the knocker for good measure. The door opened again and a man asked me what I was doing disturbing them.

“Listen, I’m at No. 36 — ”

“No you’re not,” he shouted back at me, “that’s over the road,” and he promptly shut the door again.

I had to knock a hundred times before the door finally opened again.

“Clear off,” he said between gritted teeth, “before I call the police.”

I was relieved, therefore, when I stepped through my own gate again, to see a man with a clipboard standing beside the pile of bricks.

“Ah!” I announced. “You’ve come about this stuff, I expect?”

“I have,” he said. “May I see your permit?”

“Permit, what permit?”

“Permit to build,” he said, sighing.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said. “Build what? I’m not building.”

“Then what’s all these bricks for, then?” he asked.

“That’s what I want to know,” I said. “They’re not mine.”

“They’re on your premises,” he very kindly pointed out to me.

“Maybe they are,” I said. “I didn’t put them there. They got here without any instructions or help from me.” I was beginning to shout.

“There’s something very funny going on here,” he said, taking out his phone. “You needn’t start shouting at me, just because you didn’t realise you needed a permit to build.”

I don’t know why that annoyed me so much, but it did. Something snapped in my head and I went inside and phoned the police.

“What’s that?” said the Sergeant. “Number 34 Hanover Street! Why we’ve just had three calls from that street concerning your house. What’s going on up there?”

“That’s what I want to know,” I said irritably. “I’ve got a ton of stuff dumped in my front yard, right in front of my house, creating all sorts of problems, not to mention causing an obstruction. What are you going to do about it?”

“Well now, sir,” the Sergeant replied, “I think you’d best move that obstruction straight away. I’ve had all manner of complaints this morning about you. If you’re going to have building work done then you must get on with it, sir, and quietly too.”

At that point I gave up.

I started work straight away on building a very nice porch onto the front of my house. I am pleased with my efforts and if anyone turns up wanting their bricks and sand back then they will be very disappointed.

Susanne Chapman is passionate and excited about writing. She hopes it shows. As a part time fundraiser she tries to make a difference; she’s a housewife too, and lives near the Humber Bridge. She’s a member of a great little writing group which inspires and helps her create her characters.

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Every Day Fiction