He’s Asking For It
“Your landscaping is horrible,” the note began. The rest of it had him fuming. Crumpling the paper, he turned toward his neighbor’s house.
He’d never been one to hold grudges or act on impulse. But his neighbor had been asking for it. He’d teach him a lesson he’d never forget.
A New Start
But for war vet William Hartley, this was supposed to be a new start. After decades spent on the front lines, serving his country, he’d finally retired to a picturesque neighborhood in Rochester, Minnesota.
A man used to the blaring sounds of firearms going off, landmines blowing, and war machines roaring, William was grateful to finally find a place quiet enough to enjoy the rest of his life. He had no idea what the hell he’d just stepped into.
You see, in the peaceful suburban neighborhood that William called home lived a seemingly harmless man named Mr. Jonathan Anderson.
From a glance, Jonathan was your everyday suburban dad who led a normal life. He had a regular job, a loving wife, and two beautiful and equally delightful kids. But underneath this veneer was an ugly monster that would soon set its eyes on William.
William never thought he’d find himself locked in an escalating feud with his immediate neighbor. After all he’d been through, he expected the rest of his life to be quiet and peaceful.
When Jonathan started giving him sleepless nights, he thought it would come to an abrupt end. But he’d soon find out that this war had no end in sight. It would push him to do the worst to a fellow countryman.
The issue started with the two men’s lawns. One side of the coin was Jonathan’s yard, a perfectly manicured lawn that gave the man an immense sense of pride in his home and surroundings.
It was a perfect piece of land, green and immaculate. But adjacent to it was William’s yard, which despite its overgrown nature, came with a rugged charm. But William should have known that ruggedness was never the way to go for Jonathan.
No Problems Here
William had never had a problem with Jonathan before this feud started. He’d actually liked seeing how the man’s lawn and backyard were always in good condition.
The grass was always mowed, with no blade out of place. His garbage was diligently separated into three bins, ensuring it never overflowed and dirtied the place.
The pine trees surrounding his property were young and exotic, meticulously trimmed to maintain their elegant shape. But he didn’t stop there.
The Angel’s In The Details
Like clockwork, he’d spend the start of each summer applying a fresh coat of paint to his house’s walls, ensuring it was the envy of their neighborhood.
He even took time every Saturday morning to pressure wash his driveway, keeping it gleaming in the Rochester sunlight. To him, perfection had transcended being a preference. It was a way of life.
On William’s end, the grass was rarely cut. The pines around his property were wild and tall, providing a needed shield against the wind for the whole neighborhood.
Although he led a quiet life, most of his neighbors adored him. They knew of his sacrifices to their country, one of which was evidenced by the prosthetic limb he wore, a reminder of the battles he had fought to keep America safe. But none of this would matter to Jonathan.
A Kind Heart
William had long been a kind-hearted man. Decades of war had shown him that underneath our skin and different ways of life, everyone was just flesh, blood, and air.
He was always willing to lend a hand to anyone who needed it. However, this would all come to an abrupt stop because of the constant interference of his perfection-driven neighbor.
The Neighborhood Watchdog
William had always heard talk of Jonathan taking it upon himself to be the neighborhood watchdog. The man was known to meticulously inspect people’s properties to see if they were up to par with the perfection he embodied.
But he’d never gone to their doors to tell them to mow their lawns or prune their bushes. But with William, he’d find himself doing just that.
A Bright Morning
It all began with a simple visit one Saturday morning. William was coming home from his morning walk when he spotted Jonathan washing his driveway.
William waved at him, smiling, hoping that would suffice. But his brows drew up as Jonathan quickly discarded his hose and ran over, screaming about wanting a quick chat.
Invite Him Over
With his smile still standing, William welcomed him over to his property. But he couldn’t help but notice the look of pure disdain trying to fight through the fake smile Jonathan was shooting at him.
He did not acknowledge the look, thinking that Jonathan might be having a bad morning and was only going through the motions. If only he knew what had gotten the man so worked up.
A Little Conversation
“Busy morning, I see,” William said with a smile as he took off his shoes, ready to head inside. “Yeah,” Jonathan nodded. He rubbed his nape with a fake laugh before coming closer.
“I wanted to talk to you about your front and backyard, just a little conversation to pass the time.” “Of course,” William said. “What is it?”
Leaves And Lawn Clippings
“Well, I don’t want to sound like a bad neighbor or anything, but over the past month, I’ve noticed leaves and lawn clippings coming from your yard into mine.”
“Oh, sorry to hear that,” William exclaimed. He’d been working hard to keep his yard clean. But despite his efforts, the winds would blow a small portion of his leaves into Jonathan’s perfect lawn.
The leaves weren’t much, and William had thought his neighbor wouldn’t mind. If only he knew what a terrible war would sprout from all this.
The Battle Line
“I was hoping you could stop it,” Jonathan said with a vein ticking on his forehead. His eyes narrowed, his smile fading away as the grimace he’d been holding off all this while finally shone through.
“Stop it,” he stepped back away from William, still holding eyesight until he reached his yard. William grinned all this while, thinking his neighbor was joking. He should have known that Jonathan had just drawn the battle line.
Going To Work
William didn’t think much of his interaction with Jonathan. Still, he decided to make sure that no leaves crossed over to his neighbor’s yard.
He could understand the man’s passion and actually appreciated how committed Jonathan was to keeping his place pristine. William had no idea that this same commitment would be what would fuel this feud.
William brought in a few specialists to help with his yard. He got his grass cut and the leaves and branches from his wild pine trees pruned. He even power-washed his driveway, all in a bid to show Jonathan he was trying.
But a resounding knock took his door the following Saturday, pulling him from his peaceful morning. He’d soon find out that this was war.
It Didn’t Work
Despite William’s best efforts to keep his property clean, Jonathan seemed unsatisfied. This was evidenced by the strongly worded letter the man left on the vet’s doorstep.
“I woke up to more leaves on my lawn this morning,” the letter began. “You also left your trash cans open, and the wind blew everything onto my grass.” William ate back a curse, hurrying outside.
William thought the effort he’d made would show Jonathan that he respected him as a man and as a neighbor. But the note showed him otherwise.
He’d never meant to disrespect the man and was ready to go over and apologize. He could only imagine how much trash the wind had blown onto his neighbor’s lawn. But what he’d find would show him that this was a different ball game.
Where’s The Rest Of The Trash?
William exited his house, finding only two empty grocery bags lying on his neighbor’s lawn. He recognized them immediately, knowing they were from his trash can.
But he’d expected to find a lot more and wondered if he’d put his neighbor through the hell of picking dirty containers and leftover food from his pristine grass. With a heavy heart, he walked over to Jonathan’s door.
Off The Grass
William didn’t need to knock because Jonathan ran out of the house. “No, no,” he screamed. “Get out of the grass!”
“What, why?” William answered, alarmed. Was something wrong? “I just mowed it not too long ago,” Jonathan lamented, and William couldn’t believe it. Still, he got ready to apologize for the leaves and trash. But he’d never get the chance to do so.
Get Them Out Of My Sight!
Jonathan looked at him. Then his sight lowered to the dirty grocery bags in his hand. “You still have those?” he cried out, telling William that he immediately wanted them out of sight.
He was vulgar about it, which William didn’t like. But the vet’s anger started simmering when Jonathan revealed that the two bags were the only pieces of his garbage that had gotten on his lawn.
“And you couldn’t just remove them?” William said with gritted teeth. Was this something to write a whole note about?
He didn’t say anything else, only walked away knowing his neighbor was one of those insufferable perfectionists. But the man would live to regret crossing a war veteran.
What To Do Now
Although William was infuriated by his neighbor’s behavior, he chose to let it slide. But the following weekend, he woke up to another note informing him that some leaves from his pine trees had blown over to Jonathan’s yard.
When he went to check, he only found a handful of leaves, none of which were ruining the yard’s clean look. But this was only the start.
More Leaves, More Notes
The next few weeks saw several leaves blowing over to Jonathan’s lawn. It didn’t matter if the decaying foliage came from the other houses around or if they came from the vet’s yard.
He’d leave barrage after barrage of notes on William’s doorstep, expressing his frustration and discontent about the situation. But he failed to mention one crucial fact in his terrible written temper tantrum.
Jonathan conveniently forgot to mention that the wild pine trees surrounding William’s house were among the only things keeping forest leaves from invading his place.
You see, a swath of woods surrounded the neighborhood the two lived in. With the region’s strong winds, leaves blew from the forest onto the community. Jonathan never stopped to think about what his actions would lead to.
At The Brink Of Patience
He continued sending notes to the vet’s house, even calling the police on occasion. By now, the two had become enemies, with William barely looking his way whenever they saw each other outside their houses.
For an entire year, the conflict escalated. Jonathan’s nagging and harassment weakened William’s patience, pushing him to the brink of retaliation. What he’d do would more than settle the score.
Settling The Score
It was during tension fuelled time that William devised a plan, a final act that he knew would show Jonathan he was done playing.
One day, William intentionally planted clover throughout his lawn, patiently waiting for it to bloom and spread its seeds.
Simultaneously, he boldly decided to cut down the grand pine trees that had been a windbreaker for so long, protecting Jonathan’s lawn from the forest’s onslaught.
He also stopped cutting his grass low, returning to his past rugged look. It wasn’t long before the clover started blossoming.
The clover blossoms danced through the air as the winds grew stronger, finding their way onto Jonathan’s pristine lawn. Additionally, the forest sent its forces, thousands of dead leaves to invade the man’s property.
Your Move, Neighbor
Like a carpet of defiance, the tiny clover leaves began to populate every inch of Jonathan’s meticulously maintained grass. No matter how often he tried to eradicate them, they returned.
He stared wide-mouthed at his once beautiful yard, now tainted by the persistent clover and dirtied by dead forest leaves. A realization washed over him. He would rather die than let the vet win.
Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.