Thy Neighbour's Goods

Across the street from thy house, the mouth of thy neighbour’s garage yawneth open, revealing the full measure of thy neighbour’s goods. Thy neighbor doth labor singly, lading a white U-Haul pickup truck. His wife hath driven him out of his home on account of his sin.

Behold, these are the goods which are unto thy neighbour:

A Weber Performer Platinum 22 1/2-inch Charcoal Grill, the best and most expensive charcoal grill that Home Depot doth sell. It was over hamburgers and hot dogs roasted upon the fire kindled therein that thy wife and thou first did meet thy neighbour and his own wife. Thou hadst only then entered into this suburb of milk and honey, the green lawns spreading from door to street in gay uniformity along thy tree-lined avenue.

And thy neighbour’s goods include a TREK Custom Superfly FS 9.9 SL SRAM mountain bike, unspoilt, never ridden beyond the tree-lined lanes of thy suburban neighbourhood but for one occasion upon which thy neighbour attempted to show how he could skill to ride the bicycle up the steep embankment by the railroad tracks whence it followed that he pitched to the side and sprained his wrist and scraped the skin upon his left thigh. Thy neighbour’s wife decried his foolishness while thou cleanedst his wounds with hydrogen peroxide and didst drive him to the urgent care clinic. And on that occasion thou wonderedst whether there was any signification in the way that his hand glanced against thy breast as thou assistedest him from thy automobile.

And thy neighbour’s goods include a Powerblock Classic 50 Plus dumbbell set, purchased as a means—beyond thy neighbour’s daily workouts at the 24-Hour Fitness—to strengthen thy neighbour’s arms and maintain the firm curves of his biceps, making them strong like a weaver’s beam. And he did on many an occasion roll up his sleeve and ask thee to feel his muscles and thou didst feel his arms and thereafter did feel a strange stirring of thy loins.

And thy neighbour’s goods include a framed poster of the offensive line of the 1985 Super Bowl–winning Chicago Bears team, posed wearing black porkpie hats and dark sunglasses, below the caption, “The Black-N-Blues Brothers.” This poster is signed by all nine athletes pictured therein, which inscription doth make it valuable by the testimony of thy neighbour. Thou expressedest that thou did find comely the physique of Stefan Humphries in his #75 jersey and thy neighbour was in accord. Thy neighbour’s wife admired not this poster and banished it to the basement rec room where she did oft reposition the floor lamp with the large lampshade so as to hide it from view.

And thy neighbour’s goods include the floor lamp with the large lampshade.

And thy neighbour’s goods include divers boxes overflowing with Robert Graham button-down shirts, khakis by Dockers, coordinated workout clothes by Under Armour and socks and underwear of a mystery brand. Thou art well-acquainted with thy neighbour’s underwear from those times when ye did set yourselves with loins ungirt in the men’s locker room at the 24-Hour Fitness. While thou didst not care for the exertion entailed in striving with weights at thy neighbour’s side, thou didst enjoy how thy neighbour’s high-cut briefs accentuated the shape of his buttocks.

And thy neighbour’s goods include three small boxes of CDs compassing the whole span of music from Aerosmith to Van Halen. Thou dost recall how thy neighbour played Foreigner’s Agent Provocateur so as to demonstrate the awesome power of his newly purchased thundering subwoofer. And when thou camest to his side, thou didst trip, dropping as a honeycomb until he caught thee in his arms. And for what seemed everlasting but was only a moment, thy neighbour held thee.

And thy neighbour’s goods include an Harman Kardon Home Audio System with 5.1 surround sound. When you did listen to music played through this sound system—David Lee Roth singing “Hot for Teacher”—thou didst kiss thy neighbour for the first time, tentatively at the start, then with increased passion like a burning fire as thy neighbour returned the kiss, thy body clasped close to his.

And thy neighbour’s goods include a statue of Saint John the Apostle, made of plaster of Paris, garbed in a cloak of red and green with flesh painted an uncanny pink. This same statue was not unto thy neighbour but rather was the goods of thy neighbour’s wife. Thou canst only imagine the fierce countenance of thy neighbour’s wife, standing in the living room, curbing her anger, as thy neighbour walked past her carrying out the statue, not from any care or devotion but as a thief. And thy neighbour’s wife would have stopped her husband as Laban did stop Jacob, but for the advice of her lawyer to turn her cheek against any such spiteful action. Thy neighbour’s wife wanted naught more than that her husband become as dead to her. For it was she who discovered the two of you locked in an embrace like a lion that is greedy of its prey, your loins ungirt, your nakedness uncovered, as ye lay under the lifeless gaze of the statue of the saint.

And thy neighbour hath now girt his loins. Thy neighbour hath covered his nakedness. Thy neighbour hath completed the lading of the pickup truck with his goods. Thy neighbour does drive from thy neighbourhood to the Motel 6 next to the interstate. As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth thee to go forth with thy neighbour. Yet thou hast verily been banned from following him; he has poured thee out like milk and curdled thee like cheese.

Thou rememberest the commandment, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.” But thou dost not covet thy neighbour’s goods nor his wife nor his manservant nor his maidservant nor his ox. Thou covestest thy neighbour himself. And woe unto thee, thine heart is grindeth like the dust for thy neighbour covets thee no more.

"Thy Neighbour's Goods" originally appeared in Spring 2014 (Vol. VIII, No. 1).

D. A. Hosek spends his days as a cog in the machinery of corporate America and his evenings and weekends as a writer, husband and father. He has an MFA from the University of Tampa. His fiction and poetry have been published in Westerly, Meniscus, Masque & Spectacle, Flash Flash Click and elsewhere. His story "Our Lady of the Freeway" won the 2016 Headlands Prize. "Thy Neighbour's Goods" was his first published short story.