bad eggs

We were talking about difficult neighbours we’d had to put up with over the years.

‘First time we moved to Bristol, we rented a couple of rooms in Bedminster. It was alright, except the bathroom was out on the landing and we had to share it with the flat downstairs. Kind of a bedsit, really, come to think about it. Anyway, the couple downstairs were difficult. They were both drinkers. She was a nervous type – pale and trembly, eyeliner and lipstick all over the place like she’d done it on a trampoline. Her husband was the worst, though. He looked like he was made out of tyres, love and hate on his knuckles, bike chain round his neck. They used to sleep all day, go out, then come back and fight. One night I was in the bathroom getting ready for bed and I heard them come in. She stood at the bottom of the stairs, saw the light on, and screamed: I am NOT using the bucket again.
‘We moved out pretty quick.’
‘I shared a flat with this guy once. Henry. He was lovely. Bit of a stoner. He was a self-employed gardener. An expert on wisteria – so he said, anyway. He used to come home, throw his receipts under the bed, put the Fall on the record player and we’d smoke skunk all night, staring into the fire and laughing. It was lovely. Then he crashed his bike and fell in love with the nurse who stopped to help. She moved in the next week and took over. She had this thing about crocheting bags with string. I came down to breakfast and there were hundreds of little crochet string bags hanging everywhere, a bulb of garlic in one, half a lemon in another. And she really started to freeze me out, too, like she wanted Henry all for herself. I had this nightmare where I got wrapped in a big string bag by a giant spider in a nurse’s uniform. Anyway – in the end they sat me down and had the conversation. Shame. I liked living with Henry.’
‘Yeah? Well – we lived next door to this couple. Young professionals. I can’t remember what he did, but she was something in travel. She was really into magic eggs.’
‘Wha’d’ya mean, magic eggs?’
‘Eggs. You know. Made of crystal. You power them up with psychic energy, and then use them for healing and protection and whatnot. It’s that bullshit thing where you hold out your arm and ask someone to push it down – which they easily do – and then you hold an egg in your hand, and ask them to try again, and they can’t? You get different sizes of egg, depending on the job. I never believed it – although I thought maybe I might benefit from some overflow egg power, because we were living right next door, and the auras aren’t password protected, are they? Anyway, she was nice enough. We went out for drinks a couple of times. It was all good. But a couple of months later we came back and there was this letter waiting for us, pushed under the door. It was written in a real psycho font – y’know? – shaky green sentences, wandering all over.’
‘Saying what?’
‘Saying how she was sorry for thinking all these bad things about me, apologising for all the things she’d done.’
‘Like what?’
‘I couldn’t make it out. But the page was covered in it. And then worst of all, there was a clump of hair in with the letter.’
‘Euch! What did you do?’
‘We went round. It was all dark, so we thought maybe they were out. But we knocked anyway and after a minute he came to the door. We showed him the letter, and said as gently as we could that we were a bit worried about her, and was she okay and everything.’
‘What did he say?’
‘That was the other weird thing. He didn’t seem particularly surprised or phased about it. He just kinda waved it in the air and said: Ah – yeah! The letters! – and that was it. We saw her a couple of times after that and it was like nothing happened. We didn’t bring it up again, and moved a few months later.’
‘Sounds like it might’ve been a regular thing.’
‘Yeah. Bad eggs. Who knows? I never did experience the power myself. But then again, apparently you have to wear a special receiver on your head to really get the benefit.’

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