Well, that was quite a surprise. I had never been visited by a policeman before. I invited the officer in. We sat in my front room as I gave my explanation of what had happened. I told him that I definitely had issues with the barking dog but I had no intention of harming it, and that I had made no threat.
He laughed and told me not to sweat it; that he had already talked to Frank and felt that he was kind of odd, but when they receive a complaint they have to investigate it. He said he would go back to Frank and convince him that I had no intention of harming his dog.
One thing I should note. There was no puppy dog in Frank’s yard when I returned from the store or when the policeman came to my house. Frank may have been crazy but he wasn’t stupid! I told myself that if the dog had been out the policeman probably would have asked me why I hadn’t already done the dirty deed!
Months went by without further incident. I continued my self-imposed daytime imprisonment. I never went onto my patio. I spent no time in my yard. Other than leaving the house on errands I never went out the door in the daytime except to pick up the morning papers or to check my mailbox.
But one evening about 9 o’clock I decided to walk to the supermarket. I’m not the typical American who has to drive everywhere. The supermarket is about a half-mile from my house, less than a ten minute walk. Unless I was going to get a lot of groceries that I couldn’t carry I wouldn’t consider driving. And walking is good exercise.
Wouldn’t you just know it – Frank was in his driveway when I passed. I didn’t even notice him. But I heard: “Does the dog barking still bother you?” I stopped and turned to face him and answered: “Yes.” I swear – that is all I said – one word. His response: “Fuck you!” Well, I’d heard that before. I just turned and continued on to the store.
Yup! Around 10:30 PM- a ringing doorbell and a Pembroke Pines policeman at my door – same complaint. I just laughed and invited him in. I repeated the current incident verbatim; that ten words had been uttered, nine by Frank and one from me; that no threat had been made. I then told him of the previous incident. I admitted that the dog was driving me nuts but I had no intention of harming it and that I had never threatened to do so. I told him that it was quite ironic- if either of us were justified to make a formal complaint against the other it would be me, and yet I was the one receiving the visit from the police.
The officer said that he thought it would be helpful for the three of us to get together right now and talk it out and see if we couldn’t reach an understanding. We went outdoors to my driveway and he asked me to wait there while he got Frank. A few minutes later there we were, like two eight year olds brought together by the teacher to discuss a scuffle during recess, except the “teacher” was young enough to be my grandson or Frank’s son.
The cop asked me to make my case to Frank. Whereupon, I calmly told Frank that I hated his dog; its barking had made me feel like a prisoner in my own home; that I was unable to enjoy my yard and patio; that I had already told him all that; that I felt he should be concerned if his animal was disturbing his neighbors and should get treatment for the dog; but that I had never threatened to harm the dog and he well knew that; and that I would never consider harming the dog.
The policeman asked Frank if he accepted my explanation. Frank said: “Yeah.” He then asked Frank if he was satisfied that Ed was not going to harm his dog. Frank replied: “Yeah.”
“Well,” the young officer then said, “I think we have resolved this problem.” Frank headed back to his house. The policeman got into his cruiser and drove away. I went back inside. We didn’t resolve anything.
Frank worried me. I felt that he was emotionally unstable. There was no doubt that he disliked me intensely. And I knew that he owned guns – back before the incident with the fence, when we were still talking, he had bragged to me about owning guns and how good he was with them. I had the nagging fear that Frank would someday decide to shoot me. He was the “neighbor from hell”.
Life went on. There were no more confrontations over the dog. The dog’s lungs and larynx continued to be in excellent condition. I continued to basically hide out in my house in the daytime and made it a point to avoid Frank.
But that was not the end of our affair. And since I’m already over 850 words in this post I’m going to stop and continue in a new post tomorrow.