I haven’t posted in a while because life. But this post became a top priority after a brief 5-minute conversation with my neighbor. It seems someone stole his sunflowers.

And I’m afraid it could cost me my life.

You see, a lot of strange things seem to happen only to my neighbor—let’s call him Joe—and when these things happen, he asks me if I’ve seen anything “odd.” Yes, that’s what neighbors do. But there’s a subtext here. Under each question is the unspoken suspicion, bordering on accusation: Isn’t it “odd” that these things are only happening to me?

Joe is a good guy. I’ve had many nice conversations with Joe. He let my son clamber all over his beautiful spotless boat, he gave me a lift to the train once in his beautiful spotless SUV (I think I tracked mud in it—which is something I do), and I’ve got standing offers to see the slot-car track in his basement and go for a ride in his boat. Joe even tolerates the disgusting mess known as the outside of my house.

But every once in a while he’ll catch me on my way to toss the garbage or something and go all NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH on me. Speaking in a steely monotone.

“Hey Jeff, have you noticed anything odd lately?” Speak . . . wisely.

“No. I haven’t.” Unless it’s how 2/3 of my kids hate to be smiled upon.

“Yeah, because someone stole my sunflowers.”  I’m listening very carefully. I hear what you don’t say.

“Your what? Your sunflowers?” Your what?!

OhyouslimysonofabitchISEEYOURSOUL! “Yeah. Five of ‘em.”

He so thinks I took them. “Maybe a squirrel took them.” Great that came off sounding defensive.

Pretty defensive there, flower thief. WHAT THE HELL DO YOU WANT WITH MY FLOWERS, FLOWERTHEIF?! “Nah. They wouldn’t cut them so clean.” IS THAT HOW YOU GET YOUR SICK ROCKS OFF?! “Oh well, let me know if you see anything . . . suspicious.” I’m on to you. And your pack of feral children. And your beady goddamn eyes. Why are your eyes so beady, Jeff? So GODDAMNED BEADY!

Similar scenes played out when someone stole the GPS out of his unlocked SUV, the  plumbing in his house backed up, someone parked in front of his house, and the mechanics broke his boat.

To be fair, I didn’t feel the same scrutiny with those last two things. Even in a paranoid fever dream, there’s no way I could be even indirectly responsible for the mechanics breaking his boat—though I got the full scoop on that—or the parking situation. But when he alerted me to the vehicle break-in, the subtext was there: Hmm . . . curious that nothing was taken out of your car, Jeffffffff.

And when his sewer backed up: We share a sewage line, Jeff [actually, we don’t] so somehow this is your fault. AND. I. WILL. FIND. YOU. OUT.

The stories have gotten stranger and the discussions have grown more tense. So when I was outside in my pajama bottoms at noon and he saw me and the Ballad of Monotone Joe and the Great Sunflower Heist of Twenty Aught Thirteen was spoken at me, I knew I needed to make this post. I absolutely must have the truth out there. I swear I didn’t take the sunflowers or the GPS or do anything to adversely affect Joe, other than lower the property value of the entire neighborhood.

But still I worry for my safety. Because Joe is suspicious and that makes me defensive. I am a horrible liar and I can’t even tell the truth convincingly. When things keep happening only to him and he questions me, I get more defensive with NO answers. I just look at him with an open mouth like a fish on a hook.

What Joe might not understand is that I’m always in my goddamned house when I’m not in the goddamned office. If Hulk Hogan carried a Smart Car down my street and beat Corey Feldman to death with it, I probably wouldn’t notice. Because I’m in the house. With my three children. Being tortured. So he shouldn’t be suspicious if I can’t offer anything other than a surprised “Really?!”

But he is.

If anything happens to me, look closely at my neighbor.

Monotone Joe.




  1. Do you know anything about my missing scissors, Jefffff? Funny that yours didn’t disappear.

    • jeffandjill

      10/01/2013 at 10:00 pm

      Shit! She’s on to me! No, don’t type that! You idiot, she’ll just read it! Well what the hell can I do? I already typed it! Just run you fool! RUN!

  2. He’s onto you bro. Better start covering your tracks ; )

    • jeffandjill

      10/02/2013 at 3:59 pm

      I’ve replaced the sunflowers with cleverly painted dinner plates mounted on broom sticks. He’ll never know.

  3. I took the sunflowers. Sorry.

  4. Oh, now that you mention it, I too have a missing sunflower…. Plus I KNOW who took my rock. I only suspect the sunflowerthief. (until now)

    Very funny Jeff. I do have work to do. now I will have to spend all my spare minutes poking around here to see what else I can find. This was my first visit. I enjoyed it so much I may smile upon 2/3rds of your children.

    PS..I am always looking outside…

    • jeffandjill

      10/02/2013 at 4:02 pm

      I alternate among my offspring so that I don’t smile on all of them all the time.

  5. I’m starting to think you stole my clown head. That perhaps you and my neighbor Hugh are in cahoots. And that you’ve got an even bigger evil plot brewing. Joe and I are keeping a sharp eye on your house, Jeff. (I said that last line in a whisper with squinty eyes.)

    • jeffandjill

      10/03/2014 at 10:57 am

      The only thing Hugh and I are working on together is “Tragic Terry,” a spin-off movie in the “Magic Mike” series. That’s it, I SWEAR. And while it is true that at one point in the movie I wear a clown pinata head and a sunflower bra, it’s entirely coincidental.

  6. If I were you I’d buy some sunflowers and put them in a vase in my front window, just to mess with him.

    • jeffandjill

      10/03/2014 at 3:39 pm

      I thought of cutting my lawn wearing a grass skirt and a sunflower bra. But Jill told me that’s an indoor outfit.

  7. hahaha, you sound like you’re just as shitty a neighbor as I am. We’re “those” people on the cul de sac. Oh well.

    Who will he ask about seeing anything suspicious should you come up missing or dead? I suppose he’ll assume it was suicide even though he will clearly have killed you as evidenced by the sunflower plant protruding from your ass. Lol.

    • jeffandjill

      10/03/2014 at 5:48 pm

      Hahaha! Though my wife might testify that the sunflower was there for other reasons.

      Yeah, I SUCK as a neighbor. I don’t blame my neighbors for hating me. I hate me.

  8. When I was a kid, my Mom would blame anything strange on the Russians. I do not know why. When our American flag was stolen from the front of our house, it was clearly the work of the Russians. When there was too much rain, it was the Russians secretly seeding our clouds. Any strange phenomenon in the news could be explained away by the Russians. My mother is an otherwise sane person. I’m not sure if she read too many Cold War novels or what — but you can be SURE if she heard about Monotone Joe’s missing sunflowers — the RUSSIANS are definitely involved!

    • jeffandjill

      10/03/2014 at 10:25 pm

      Your mom knows the score. I have no doubt that a bare-chested Putin rode a polar bear to Monotone Joe’s house and stole his sunflowers to create animosity among neighbors. It totally makes sense as a KGB plot–to turn neighbor against neighbor and destroy America from within.

  9. Hey, Jeff. I just noticed that my swimming pool is missing. I think you’d better give it back before I call the cops. NO BUTS! I KNOW YOU HAVE IT! Make sure it’s one of those heated kinds.

  10. I have never befire been grateful for my nosey, constantly looking out the window neighbors. Well, except for the time they called us on vacation to tell us they watched a kid steal our car. (The kids saw them see them and they brought the car back.)
    But also? Since the dad is ALWAYS mowing or otherwise taking care of the lawn, they can see we wouldn’t take any of their crapola. We have too much of our own. I hope ole Joe gets justice for his murdered sunflowers.

  11. This reminds me of that time my neighbor was all “hey, why is there water leaking through my roof?” and I was all “THAT’S CRAZY I HAVE NO IDEA,” when really I had overflowed the shower with clods of my William Wallace hair and only owned two towels so whatever wasn’t sopped up was left to just dribble down into the floor below.

    All that to say… I’m sure you didn’t do it. *wink*

    • jeffandjill

      10/06/2014 at 9:11 am

      I swear to GILGAMESH I didn’t do it. Though I have considered abandoning my defensive posture and painting half my face blue and standing on my front lawn in a kilt to convince my neighbor that his passive-aggression will not stand, man.

      Shit, now I’m mixing up my movies.

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