Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: NEIGHBOR (06/01/17)
- TITLE: Keeping Up With The Joneses
By Karen Emmer
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“Yup.” Ed’s chest puffed up as he smiled. “Makes it a breeze to store in the shed.”
Greg had been researching them online. “I was thinking of getting one myself, but my wife wants the new Troy Bilt Hydro Rider mower, like the Joneses got last week. It’s a beaut, but our lawn’s the size of a postage stamp. The Joneses have almost a quarter of an acre.” The Joneses had the largest lot and the largest house on the block.
Every few years Greg longed for a better job, a nicer car, maybe a small camper that he and Carole could run away together in for months at a time like the Joneses. Why didn’t he have more to show for all his years of hard work?
Both men ogled their neighbor’s precision cut hedges. Flowers of red, white and blue adorned the walkway for the 4th of July. Old Glory hung stately from a 20 foot pole where a small flood light kept it lit during the night.
“Oh, what I’d give to have a yard like theirs with all the trimmings.” Ed sighed, matching Greg’s sentiments.
“Then you’d better get yourself a gardener like they do,” Greg said, reminding him of the cost for such yearnings, and added, “Except for the lawn. Howard likes to keep the grass like a golf course fairway, and I have yet to see him practice his swing.”
The two of them chuckled and gazed at the leafless manicured lawn. Greg wanted better things for him and his wife, but they never seemed to have the money. Every penny, nickel and dime paid for their kids’ college educations, and their future retirement.
“My wife wants a motorhome like the Joneses.” Ed shook his head. “She took the tour a few weeks ago and has been hinting at me ever since. I don’t think she realizes how expensive they are. We’d have to mortgage the house then rent it out to pay for the fuel. They get lousy gas mileage.”
“That they do.” Greg concurred sinking into that covetous pit. All he had to show for his years of hard work was a second mortgage and two ten-year-old cars. “I know the Bible says, ‘Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass….
“Nor his motorhome, nor his mower,” Ed tacked on.
“’Nor any thing that is thy neighbor's’. End quote. But sometimes I really struggle.”
Both men startled when a door slammed at the Joneses house. The Missus stomped out of the house to her Audi Q5 dragging a suitcase and her Yorkshire terrier. She stuffed them both in the car then went back into the house. Seconds later she slammed the door again and hauled two larger pieces of luggage, tearing right through the red, white and blue flowers and down the driveway. She struggled to lift them into the back of the SUV, grunting and complaining at how heavy they were. Neither man wanted to come to her rescue for fear of getting caught in the middle of something. She slammed that door too then got into the driver’s seat and squealed the tires as she fled the neighborhood.
When she disappeared around the corner, Greg surveyed his tiny patch of lawn. “I guess all the trimmings don’t guarantee happiness. I’ll just stick with my push mower and popup tent.”
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