The Grim Reaper’s Neighbor

20 10 2008

Growing up, I had a myriad of strange neighbors. From the angry magician with the shotgun (he’d do a magic trick for you then run you off his property),to the family that didn’t speak English (I almost blew my hand off with a firecracker at their house), and to the typical recluse with too many cats (he’d only venture out to spook children that would ding-dong-ditch him), we had everyone in our neighborhood.

We even had the Grim Reaper.

He wasn’t the recluse with too many cats and he wasn’t the angry magician, he was just my next-door neighbor. A man fun to ding-dong-ditch and the one who always gave out the best candy on Halloween. He was nice, in an aloof sort of way, but he was odd. Almost in a creepy way, when I think back on it.

 He was always there whenever something happened. My mom can tell dozens of stories of him walking me home when I was hurt or just after I’d gotten into trouble.

And that’s the creepy part about him and everything else. Whenever I was hurt, no matter where I was in the neighborhood, he was there. For no reason at all; he was just there.

It wasn’t until I was older and I had moved away that I began to refer to my neighbor as the Grim Reaper. Or rather, my friend suggested the idea when I told her about him.

See, there was this one time when I was out in the woods (behind my friend’s house) by myself. I had gone to work on our tree-house, which hadn’t taken the last thunderstorm too well. It was wet and humid and no one knew were I was exactly. Mom thought I was with my friend, and my friend thought I was with my Mom. No big deal. I was 8, I could handle myself.

That is, until one of the floorboards (which had rotted out over the years) gave out on me and I fell. Now, I’d fallen millions of times – that was part of being a kid. But I’d never fallen out of our tree-house, which was pretty high up, through a dozen little branches (which all snapped when I hit them) and landed on my shoulder (nearly my neck/head).

It hurt. I mean, it hurt bad. I couldn’t even breath it’d hurt so much. I couldn’t move either, which will freak anyone out (especially an 8-year-old kid).

This is where the story gets strange. The fall had dislocated my shoulder and my position was jamming it back up into my neck. There’s a couple of more technical things which had happened but I don’t remember them. The point is, the way I was laying and because of the state and position of my shoulder, I was strangling myself. (Or something to that effect.)

I don’t remember much, just a lot of burning pain in my throat, shoulder, and hungs. My head was wozzy too, and my nose felt like water had gone up it.

And then he, my neighbor, the Grim Reaper, was there. Out of nowhere, for no reason, he was just there. I hadn’t screamed, remember I couldn’t even breath, and no one knew I was out there…but he was there. He rolled me around, jostled my shoulder rather painfully, and then picked me up. (Obviously Death wasn’t a Medic, or he wouldn’t’ve done that).

I obviously hadn’t died but the doctor, at the ER, said I had come damn close to. But why was my neighbor there? The treehouse was in the woods behind my friends house, which is clear across the neighborhood from his house. And I wasn’t on the edge of the woods but a good ways in – you couldn’t see the house from the treehouse. I hadn’t screamed, because I couldn’t. And he’s wasn’t exactly out hiking in my friend’s backyard…

I hadn’t thought about it until my friend brought it up, but it was creepy. Who was this neighbor? Why did he find me that night? How did he find me? And why was he always there, just watching me? I can’t remember a time when I didn’t get hurt outside that he wasn’t there.

Maybe he was a guardian angel or maybe he was Death. But guardian angels aren’t supposed to be creepy and look like skeletons (he was really tall and skinny). But Death’s not supposed to protect you from dying…

Or maybe I just have nine lives. Whatever the reason, my neighbor looked like the Grim Reaper and, according to my friends (and me, I guess), acted oddly (almost like a confused Grim Reaper). Maybe he just liked me, he did always give me candy corn and none of my friend…

I don’t know though but I do know I had some odd neighbors. Everyone does, right?

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One response

21 10 2008
Mel Odom

LOL. The scary part is when you BECOME the odd neighbor!

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