the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Here in the Three Two Three

Jon and I spent the entire day yesterday helping our neighbors move their two-bedroom apartment into a storage space, a storage space on the second floor of a winding storage building with elevators operational only with 10 digit access codes. What we thought was going to be a two-hour rush of heavy wooden objects and boxes turned into an eight-hour dust and pinball machine? and why-is-this-not-in-a-box? fest.

We love our neighbors and their wonderfully insane dog who happens to be Chuck’s best friend. Once, when Jon and I went out of town for the weekend they had to spell C-H-U-C-K whenever they talked about us, otherwise their dog would think Chuck was outside and he’d start doing that dog pacing thing, where the dog walks from window to window with a terribly worried wrinkle creasing his forehead, as if he’s got to decide whether or not to take Grandpa off life support.

So they’re gone, these neighbors, just up and gone, and it’s incredibly sad. Chuck counted on at least three play sessions a day with their dog, and I counted on at least three good gossip sessions with the dog’s mother, a publicist in the fashion industry who has given me delicious scoops on everyone from Ben Stiller (a total meany) to Christian Slater (a total worry wart) to Martin Sheen (who sings spiritedly! at Church on Sundays).

But they had to move, and the reason they had to move is good reason for us to move. You see, there’s this neighbor, and this neighbor is an evil neighbor, and this evil neighbor once told our lovely friends that if they didn’t watch out, he’d “fucking kill” their dog and cat.

This evil neighbor often used phrases like “you’re going to get what’s coming to you” and “watch your bitch or I’ll come after her” and “if that bitch does that again I’ll stick a fucking bullet in her head.”

And I’m sure the evil neighbor is really a lovely man who just has a few issues with, I don’t know, sanity. And maybe he just needs a hug or a really intense session of hopscotch, but if someone as large and thuggish as this evil neighbor were to threaten my dog, let alone my bitch, I wouldn’t stick around and try to kill him with kindness. That motherfucker would kill me with weapons.

And it’s not that I’m a coward, or that our friends are cowards either. They called the cops and they filed complaints with the proper authorities, and every law-enforcement official who heard their story said that unless the evil neighbor physically assaulted them, they couldn’t do a damn thing, except live in fear and horror and ongoing hell.

And I’m not one for the ongoing hell part of living. That part really sucks. So we gave our friends what we could give them, our backs and legs and Jon’s superbly anal box-arranging capabilities. And we’re thinking, yeah, it’s time to leave. Los Angeles isn’t the safe place it used to be.

  • SX70

    2002/11/12 at 9:03 am

    back in college when i was trying to impress some church-going girl, i did have the experience of seeing martin sheen singing spiritedly! at Church. anyway, having said all that, los angles is filled with violent people like that, but apparently not as many as vancouver, if you believe these canadians.

  • Kelly

    2002/11/12 at 9:08 am

    Damn. I’d hate to think of the unholy rage that would be unleashed from within if anyone ever threatened my dogs.

    Yep. Time to move.

  • Beerzie Boy

    2002/11/12 at 9:16 am

    I don’t much like L.A., but remember: Assholes are EVERYWHERE.

  • heather

    2002/11/12 at 9:26 am

    My last year at the dorms, we had a flock of idiots living below us. Wild, loud parties in the middle of the week until 4am. My roommate once awoke to one of them having sex, because both the evil neighbor and her had their windows open.

    My favorite, though, is when they decided to make phosphorus bombs in 20oz Coca-Cola bottles and drop them 5 stories out their window. Thankfully, they were too stupid to make them correctly, and I was staying at a friend’s house.

    You don’t need evil neighbors.

  • Bastherself

    2002/11/12 at 9:32 am

    I think Dooce needs to sic her war donkey on her evil neighbor. Perhaps atop the donkey is a war hamster.

  • jess

    2002/11/12 at 10:16 am

    perhaps atop the war hamster atop the war donkey is a war frog. all three will tear the evil neighbour limb from limb, the frog, of course, eating the evil neighbour’s eyes for brunch.

    people who threaten other peoples pets are scum. but as beerzie boy said, assholes are everywhere. unfortunately.

  • Heather #2

    2002/11/12 at 10:18 am

    And, just what do you want the war hamster to do???

  • Mark

    2002/11/12 at 10:22 am

    “On the internet, nobody knows you’re an asshole.” No, wait, that’s not it…

  • Krotchbat

    2002/11/12 at 10:27 am

    Even if you’re leaving that gold-plated turd called LA, you should get that guy before you leave. Anonymously, of course. I’m thinking of the “adolescent” joke of ringing his doorbell, to which he answers, and finds a bag of C-H-U-C-K dogshit on fire, on which he will stomp out and be covered in feces. Or maybe pull some Amelie shenanigans and leave the psycho letters signed sincerely by the neighbors’ dog who just left. I dunno, sometimes you have to enact karma on your own.


    2002/11/12 at 10:33 am

    I agree with the move.
    And tonight on FM Nation:
    Episode 107 – Salt Lake City, UT
    4 High School graduates and friends go out for one of their last nights before leaving for college, 3 girlfriends go to a Warrant show at the local bowling alley, and a devout Mormon guy gets up his nerve to ask a girl he likes if she’d go to the upcoming Cher concert with him.

  • the propagandist

    2002/11/12 at 10:35 am

    oh yeah. like there aren’t assholes in utah.

    they just call them “bishops” there. and they’re probably better armed.

    just move up to the northeast (L.A., that is). we’re armed AND nice up here.

  • Ex-liontamer

    2002/11/12 at 10:37 am

    I can relate to the annoying wa some folks prepare a move. Once I was moving friends out of their apartment. I was literally standing over them waiting to be handed a freshly-loaded hefty bag full of random crap. BIG FUN! As far as the L.A. thing, I reckon it’s not fun anymore if the “local color” starts to fade. Sic Semper Asshous!

  • ismat

    2002/11/12 at 10:37 am

    I can see Martin Sheen singing, but Ben is a total meany? Really?

  • deadking

    2002/11/12 at 10:55 am

    so your going to let a jerk run you off??


  • April

    2002/11/12 at 11:12 am

    Synchronicity. I just moved this weekend (and still) from the seven six zero to the seven one four, and while I didn’t have unboxed pinball machines, I did have unboxed computer monitors. Yes, plural. Both places were second-story, with no elevator, so don’t complain. By the way, you should really use those newly grown eyebrows on the evil neighbor. Seriously.

  • Bastherself

    2002/11/12 at 11:42 am

    Well Heather #2, I think the War Donkey would step on evil neighbor’s toes one by one starting with the little ones. And he would turn around and using his back legs, kick the jack ass down.
    Then the war hamster would jump down and nibble all the hair of his head.
    Followed by the war frog depositing fly gunk on his forehead.
    How’s that evil neighbor who threatens animals.

  • dooce

    2002/11/12 at 11:46 am

    ismat: Ben is really a total meany, so meany in fact that he made my publicist friend’s other publicist friend totally cry on the telephone. and then he told her to ìjust stop crying already.î it totally made me sad, like when i found out there really wasn’t a tooth fairy.

  • ShamFrancisco?

    2002/11/12 at 11:50 am

    People can be arrested for verbal threats in San Francisco–and I think that’s a fuckin great thing! Another reason SF kicks LA’s stoopid ass.

  • Anna

    2002/11/12 at 11:59 am

    I would not be able to tolerate someone threatening the life of my dog, and I don’t blame your neighbors for moving. That is most definately “time to move.”

  • Sarah B.

    2002/11/12 at 12:07 pm

    Martin Sheen was in town recently and was just mean, cruel even, to my friend Tony, the nicest person ever, who was taping him for some charity event. Also, he has really whistly false teeth.

  • ismat

    2002/11/12 at 12:59 pm

    Sarah, that hurts. I mean, that Martin/Charlie Sheen commercial is just damn funny. But I think I remember Tony. And maybe Ben was just having a bad day?

  • cicada

    2002/11/12 at 1:08 pm

    Dooce, I suggest that you and DJ Blurb practice the ritual spelling-of-names thing (substitute name of toy, candy, and so on, ad nauseum). When that baby you’re wanting gets a little older, you’ll be so glad that you did!

  • Jerry Brito

    2002/11/12 at 1:35 pm

    First semester law student here and I was shocked to learn in torts class how little duty to protect police have toward humans, let alone dogs. One of the cases we read was about a woman who’s rejected suitor stalked her and threatened that if he couldn’t have her, no one would. She complained to the police plenty, but they said they couldn’t do anything. And they did nothing until the guy had someone throw lye in her face when she got engaged to someone else. She sued the cops and the court found, like plenty of other courts have done, that the cops werenít liable. So, yeah, moving was their best option.

  • Paul Gutman

    2002/11/12 at 1:43 pm

    To Jerry et Dooce…

    There is a tort here, called intentional infliction of emotional distress, but it’s only an action at civil law, not at criminal. So no, there’s nothing the cops can do, but if you had the resources, you might be able to bring a law suit.

    That said, it’s over a year since torts for me, so I may be missing some material element here.

    So just light EN on fire.

  • Naaman

    2002/11/12 at 1:46 pm

    That whole “why-is-this-not-in-a-box” thing is unbelievably annoying. We helped move a friend that had stacks — like, three feet tall — of paper not in boxes.

  • little miss s

    2002/11/12 at 2:17 pm

    vancouver violent? i don’t think so…11,000 deaths by handguns in the US…261 in Canada for the same year. yup we’re pretty peace-lovin’ folks up here…except when Axl doesn’t show up for a concert.

  • joe

    2002/11/12 at 3:17 pm

    move, but don’t leave la =)

  • Robyn

    2002/11/12 at 3:50 pm

    I think moving away is the safest option. That’s crazy that the cops can’t do anything about threats. Even if you have concrete evidence? The system forces us to take the law into our own hands.

  • Keith

    2002/11/12 at 4:11 pm

    Friend of a friend is Ben Stiller’s assistant, and it’s been told to me many times that Ben is a screamer. Things need to be just so with Ben, or else. I’ve also heard that the Dawson’s kids all vehemently hate each other, Cameron Diaz has a bad acne problem in real life, and I heard a nasty tale about how Keanu Reeves got his big break, but it’d be a little gauche of me to just drop it in the midst of your comments section.

  • ME

    2002/11/12 at 5:26 pm

    Wait, Jon has an anal box? what the..! Oh, anal box arranging capabilities. Sorry, I have a short attention span and didn’t read everything. My bad.

  • Sarah B.

    2002/11/12 at 5:54 pm

    Keith, didn’t you hear? Gauche is the new black. Spill!

  • Spike

    2002/11/12 at 6:01 pm

    Talk to Sham Francisco — he may be able to arrange for you to borrow some killer dogs, then buy the evil neighbor some nice musk cologne as a peace offering, but make sure you yell, “Who let the dogs out!”

  • rzan

    2002/11/12 at 6:36 pm

    Wow, that sucks ass.

    We had a neighbor like that when I was a kid. He used to set his dogs on us kids! Just because we were trespassing on his garbage heap.(it was a really cool garbage heap, all overgrown with blackberries and full of nifty old junk like a sleigh, ancient bottles and shotgun shells). He hated us so bad he even aimed his shotgun at us and fired into the trees where we were hiding. I can only hope he was jest tryin’ ta put the fear of gawd into us…

  • Ching

    2002/11/12 at 7:34 pm

    LA hasn’t been safe since Armstrong walked on the moon.. Your “evil neighbor” dude reminds me of Jack Nicholas in As Good As It Gets, only worse ~ because he’s not pretending.

  • Ching (again)

    2002/11/12 at 7:46 pm

    TO KEITH: Do you write for a tabloid or something? You’ve got juicy stuff. It’s amazing different celebs can be from their true selves.. Cameron Diaz, an acne problem? Kudos to her makeup people. I couldn’t tell at all. BTW, this site is not for kids (or so says the tagline) ~ feel free to dish the dirt. That is, if the site-owner doesn’t mind.

  • jess

    2002/11/12 at 8:04 pm

    the war hamster would hold the war frog steady. you know, so he wouldn’t slip and bite off the evil neighbour’s nose instead.

  • dclay

    2002/11/12 at 8:10 pm

    a) I think your neighbor is probably horrible.
    b) I think you are trying to justify moving to Utah by any means necessary.
    c) I wish I could post my problems on my Web site
    d) I would love to have hundreds (?) of people read it and try and help.

    Sleep tight. I’ve got your back.

  • d-girls must die

    2002/11/12 at 9:49 pm

    at least your neighbor isn’t a d-girl along with all his friends who shriek like… d-girls.

  • Glen

    2002/11/13 at 4:04 am

    Clay, what’s stopping you from posting your problems on your website?
    Ching, I think you have Jack Nicholas / Jack Nicholson confusion.
    Dooce, I hope your ex-neighbors cooked you a lovely dinner or at least took you out to thank you for a hard day’s work.

  • matty

    2002/11/13 at 4:29 am

    does anyone else remember when 323 wasn’t an area code? hell i remember when we had to switch from 213 to 818, what a big deal THAT was. now ther’re a million area codes out there. it’s no better now i’m in new york, but yeesh, with the area codes already.


    2002/11/13 at 4:53 am

    Dooce – there’s no tooth fairy!?!?!

  • ismat

    2002/11/13 at 5:25 am

    I’m with Sarah. Keith, bring on the dirty business with Keanu. Inquiring minds want to know.

  • statia

    2002/11/13 at 5:36 am

    I worry about my dog getting hurt more than me. No one could fathom the sheer rage that would come from my 5’3″ 112lb body if they were to hurt my dog. Think Tony Soprano killing Ralphie with his bare hands.

  • Sabina

    2002/11/13 at 5:51 am

    Kick his ass dooce, wif ya butter knife.

  • Kerry

    2002/11/13 at 5:52 am

    Before you guys leave, I think you should unleash some payback on your evil neighbor, not just for you, but for your cool neighbors as well. You should start be leaving human shit in a Taco Bell cup (because I seriously can’t think of anything more unsettling than that) on your evil neighbor’s front porch with cryptic, threatening notes, telling of his own demise and letting him know that the time for karmic retribution has come. Write the notes in red ink on top of newspaper clippings about people that have died in bizarre ways, like that guy who died in a vat of chocolate.

    Meanwhile, raise up a few ant farms, preferably those big fat gross ants . Then trim his windows, doors, and the bottom lining of his house with honey, and release all the ants. Oh, and don’t forget to spread rumours about him to all the neighborhood kids, especially the bullies, so that they will throw rocks at him everytime they see him.

  • Vera

    2002/11/13 at 6:04 am

    “Another reason SF kicks LA’s stoopid ass.”

    Oh my God? I never thought about it that way before. Really.

  • Joshie

    2002/11/13 at 6:52 am


  • one for one

    2002/11/13 at 6:57 am

    Read Civil Harassment Order. You can, by law make him move.

  • Cindi

    2002/11/13 at 8:26 am

    Last night’s FM nation made me cringe with embarassment for living in SLC. Dooce, you must come help me spice things up a bit! SLC is THAT bad…is it?

  • Zeek

    2002/11/13 at 8:54 am

    I’d LOVE to read all about Kerry’s karmic retribution plan in action – I think it would be a wonderful exercise in vicarious living.
    I actually had a room mate once who killed my other roommate’s cat.
    Yes, psychopaths are allowed to walk freely everywhere. It’s a scary life. Cut your losses and move.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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