Right. I'm awake and in a bad mood so I'm going to grumble about one of my neighbours.
Sick Eb I call him. Both because he's something of a hypochondriac but also because there's something weird going on between his ears.
I'm going back about twenty years here and I was still married to the ex. Apart from my photography/model agency business and lecturing in the evenings I was filling in my spare time as a debt collector. 'Trace and collects' they were called. I'd find somebody who owed money and persuade them that they needed to pay their debts. I'd get 20% commission on what I collected so that was alright. Some of them though you'd already know the address so all that was needed was the persuading part.
Eb was one of the latter. He lived in a little house just north of the river and I'd call 'round each Friday to collect my wedge. Just two or three hundred off what he owed but it was worth fifteen minutes of my time. His missus would answer the door and hand it over. I'd only met Eb right at the beginning. He was laying on the sofa just wearing his undershorts and watching the telly with a can of beer balanced on his tummy. He wouldn't take his eyes off the telly.
Turns out he had a magical resurrecting dog too. Judy her name was and she'd be lolloping around on his front lawn when I arrived every week. A golden labrador. She'd gallop up, sniff my groin and I'd make a fuss of her. It's very difficult to be intimidating in that sort of situation.
One week I turned up and Judy was gone. I had some tale from Ebs' missus that Judy had been taken very ill. There were vets fees and finally she had to be put to sleep. It was all very sad. They had no money that week so could I let them off? Well, I'm not completely heartless so I did.
Next week Judy the resurrecting dog was back on the front lawn and she wasn't a stuffed replica on castors. I was well annoyed.
I went into the house and Eb was still lying on the sofa. For all I knew he'd been there for weeks. "You can't make me pay anything" he said "Take me to court, see if I care.". Instead I took the can of beer off his tummy and poured it down the back of his telly. There was a snapping sound and a little flash and the telly went dead. That got his attention alright.
I explained to him that he had three grand of my money and I expected it by next Friday. I left the consequences to his imagination if it wasn't forthcoming.
The next Friday I goes 'round and the house was all dark. Not even Judy on the front lawn. Once I'd jemmied the front door I found that everything had gone. No Eb, No Judy and no missus. No furniture either. Bugger, now I'd have to find him again and start from the beginning.
The next morning, Saturday, I'm off to my car which I'd left in the road when I see a movement out of my left eye. When I look up it's Eb about eight houses away unlocking his van. Our eyes met. The poor sod had moved house to get away from me and ended up living just a few doors away from where I lived. I went back into the house, poured myself a breakfast brandy and collapsed in laughter.
By the time I got the paperwork for his new address Eb had declared bankruptsy so I didn't get my money anyway. I didn't care. It was worth it for the amusement value.
We got to chatting because I used to pass his house on the way to the shops. His wife left him and he used to ask my advice on how to cope. When his mum passed away I went to the wake with him. Then he got so drunk that he forgot his coat and his door keys so I had to jemmy another front door.
I call him sick Eb not just because he's something of a hypochondriac but because his minds' a bit odd. He still watches the telly all the time, soap operas mostly. Last year he rang me up to say that he'd rung the local airport to tell them that the 'planes constantly landing and taking off were interfering with his viewing pleasure and he wanted them to stop. He wanted me to call as well and back him up. I told him that I would and then went back to sleep. It's John Lennon international airport for heavens' sake. They're not going to stop flying 'planes just so that Eb can watch Coronation Street.
Five weeks ago he rings me up to tell me that he'd seen some 'foreigners' downtown and reported them to the police. The police told him that being foreign wasn't actually a criminal offence and they couldn't throw them in the cells for being foreign. Eb was absolutely outraged.
There's some polish family moved into the house across the road from Eb. Since they had a few five or six year old kiddies on the first day and the next day there were nine or ten year olds Eb's convinced they're eastern european paedophiles. He's rearranged his furniture so he can peer out of the window at them when he's watching the telly.
Poor old Eb. Too much time in the slammer when he was young I think. That and too much booze. Today he woke me up to get me to write his will for him......... At one o'clock in the morning.