I hated Jack. Ever since I first saw him, there was something about Jack that fuelled a crazy ire. Jack collected garbage for a living and was my neighbour. Of course, Jack always had his garbage out promptly at the scheduled time.
Wendy would look out the window and see just that. "Hey, Jack's putting out their garbage."
I'd look up from my crossword and pretend not to hear. It wouldn't matter.
"Shouldn't you put ours out?"
Begrudgingly, yes, I put out the garbage.
Rubbish!, I thought, it did not have to be put out just that instant.
Likewise, Jack mowed the lawn. Every second Saturday at 6:00am, Wendy would be awakenned to the sound of Jack's four stroke monster of a power mower. Which he was able to sit on and smugly drive around upon.
"Hey, honey", she'd say, "if you get up and cut the lawn now, we can get an early start on shopping!"
Thanks, Jack! So, at 6:30am I'd be be walking around behind our push mower and Jack would come driving by reminding me with a hearty wave that we don't recycle pizza boxes.
And then he'd be off again to water Jack's garden or wash Jack's car or feed Jack's rescued bird. Jack!
I was at a loss. This man had become my nemesis! How could someone who picked up people's spat up chicken for a living be such a thorn in my side?
It was one uneventful Wednesday while eating some of Wendy's famous lasagna that it occured to me. Jack had never mentioned his wife to me. Something gnawed at me and I pulled on the cord of inspiration before grabbing the phone.
"Honey,", I yelled, "We should have Jack and his wife over for dinner"
"That's a splendid idea!"
"Hello, Jack? Yes, it's me, Wendy and I were thinking of having a little potluck, perhaps you and yours would..."
It was done. Two days later, at my request, Wendy made her notorious Paella with a Chicken Caesar. At precisely 6:05, there was a knock at the door. And there stood Jack with his wife, a notoriously bland affair.
"Come on in, Jack!"
"This is Vonya," Jack motioned his hand to the woman beside him.
"Well, nice to meet you! Come on in, let me take that from you"
Jack boasted that what was in my hands was likely the best macaroni and cheese I had ever tried. I insisted it very likely was!
Vonya sat close to Jack. Wendy poured out Cabernet. I was on the other side of the table, beaming. There was the salad and small talk. Vonya boasted about recipes to Wendy and Wendy politely encouraged her.
That's when the paella came out, and the macaroni and cheese. I need not mention that at one time Wendy ran her own bistro.
Vonya's face shrank as everyone dug into the paella, and took a surprisingly small amount of her macaroni and cheese. Hey, I honestly tried to be polite about it! I told her how good it was.
At precisely 6:54 pm, Vonya excused her and Jack in what seemed to be a rush.
"Shall we do it again next week?", I was calling at their backs.
"Sounds good!", It was Jack
Surprisingly, in two weeks they had moved.