|When my neighbor put me on eBay and tried to sell me as "the loudmouth woman next door," the gauntlet was thrown. The bids weren't high enough to meet the reserve price needed to purchase me, so I stayed put. My neighbor and I had fought about his menacing barking dogs for years. Until now, the feud had consisted of him throwing dog poop over on to my side of the fence, me spitting on his newspaper in the driveway on occasion, nothing too harmful. But now – trying to sell me into slavery, that was just rude.
I needed swift, effective retaliation for the egregious act to which I had been subjected. Being unimaginative by nature, I polled my friends. I got: put his dogs on Ebay; do your business in a bag, set it on fire, and ring his doorbell; steal his credit card number and buy yourself…but nothing really seemed to strike me as perfect, sweet revenge.
The ideal plan came to me in the middle of the night. I stayed awake until morning intricately planning the details. As soon as the sun came up, I headed to Wal–Mart to buy the supplies needed for any good revenge plan: nice stationery and a Spiderman slip and slide.
On the nicest stationery one can buy at Wal–Mart I printed a cleverly worded invitation to my neighbor. It requested his attendance at a pool party I was throwing the next weekend in hopes the hatchet between us could be buried. No response came from his side of the fence for the entire week. I got nervous that he wouldn't show. But then, right as the party hit its peak, with 15 adults and 30 children, in he slid through the broken slat in the gate. He looked awkward, wearing a wide–brimmed hat that had obviously been sat on, and tropical shorts at least size 42. No shirt. Sophistication was oozing from his pores. Actually, that's a lie. No pore could actually be seen because body hair covered most of them, except for where hair should be, on his head. I actually felt a little sorry for him. I had to remind myself that this same tropical mass had posted my person on Ebay in an attempt to rid the neighborhood of me. I walked over to him and extended my hand, "I'm glad you came," I was able to get out without a smirk.
I let him settle into the party and have a few Budweisers. He mingled pretty well with the guests who were unaware of his deplorable past behavior. Then I made my move. I unrolled the three–person Spiderman slip and slide in the grassy area next to the pool. The kids went nuts. They were all over it before I could even get it completely set up. I had planned for this. The adults spent some time watching the kids slip, fall, cry, slip, fall, cry, over and over until the fun dried up and the kids got bored and moved back to the pool. I put my plan into action.
"If someone would please hold my drink," I said to the crowd, "I will show you how slip and sliding should be done." All eyes were on me as I took some warm up slides. Then I performed my 360 I had secretly been practicing all week. I stole quick glances at my neighbor. I could tell he was envious of my slip and sliding ability. Then I went in for the kill. "I would now like to challenge anyone present to a slip and slide race. The person who slides the farthest is the winner!" My friend and plant for this plot immediately stepped forward, as we had covertly rehearsed earlier in the week.
"Ready, set, go!" some drunk person shouted. I slid feet beyond where my friend stopped short. I surprised even myself at my distance. I had overshot the pool at the end of the slip and slid an entire body–length into the grass. I stood and flexed my muscles, taunting all who watched. Finally, my neighbor couldn't stand it anymore.
"Hold my drink," he said to the four–year old next to him and handed over his Bud.
He gave a tug upward on his tropical shorts and lunged into a stretch. He then walked slowly toward the starting line, staring me down the whole way. We took our places. I heard him growl at me. We were side by side, in a sprinter's stance. "You're going down," I said to him under my breath.
"Bring it on," he returned.
"Ready, set, wait, where's my beer?" the drunk starter guy wandered off. A little tension was taken out of the moment.
"Ready, set," someone resumed, "Go!"
You could hear Chariots of Fire music as we bolted from the starting line. If it were in slow motion, you could have seen the determination on both our faces. All the years of frustration and anger had led us to this moment. Both of us knew the loser would not be able to show his face in the neighborhood again. The winner had bragging rights to all who walked their dogs down our street.
We hit the slip and slide, bellies down at the exact same time. I was able to get a slight push off his arm during the slide to propel me only inches past him as we both overshot the pool at the end and slid completely into the grass beyond. Although it was close, I was clearly the victor. My friends rushed to me, put me on their shoulders, and carried me around the yard cheering, "Shan–non! Shan–non!" I was elated. Then I looked over at my defeated neighbor. His beer belly was covered in wet grass blades, and he stood looking at the ground. A wave of guilt hit me. I tried to remind myself of all the malicious things he had done to me over the years, culminating in the Ebay auction. But I couldn't muster up even an ounce of hatred for the poor man. He had been humiliated.
When the commotion died down, the drunks lost interest and headed back to the pool area. I approached him and offered my hand. He took it. "Sorry about that whole Ebay thing," he said.
I was so taken aback I could say nothing. We stood in silence next to each other for a few minutes, both covered head to toe in grass. He finally broke the silence, "You know if you twist out of your 360 earlier, you can add a double twist."
"Huh?" I said.
He walked to the starting line and, despite his size, made a swift take off and performed a delicate and beautiful 360 with a double twist, landing perfectly in the wading pool at the end on Spiderman's face. I was shocked. I would never have thought this ogre living next to me was capable of such grace. I was truly impressed.
"Wow," I said. We had achieved mutual admiration. We talked on into the evening about various slip and slide maneuvers. I found myself laughing and enjoying his company.
It was weeks later, after many mornings of joining him on the slip and slide, that we broached the topic of the dogs. He was amicable, and surprisingly open to my ideas of how to keep his dogs" barking from waking me up.
Now years have passed and we laugh about all this. Sweet revenge was what I had planned, but instead I made a friend, a large, uncouth friend, but he is one hell of a slip and slider.