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Brian Evankovich

Annoying Neighbors, or: How George W. Bush Can Beat John Kerry
By Brian Evankovich
Feb 11, 2004 - 1:14:00 AM

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Some people deserve to be shot, and one of my neighbors is at the top of the list.

Last week I was getting ready for a night out on the town, and needed to clear all of the bird droppings off of my car in order to make a good impression on the person I was going out with (yes, it was a girl). Where I live, the birds use cars as target practice. Early in the morning, after I returned from working my graveyard shift, I hustled out to the car with a jug of warm water and a rag. I had removed several of the bird spots when another car pulled into the slot next to mine. A man and his wife were inside. The wife climbed out and said a friendly hello. The husband, on the other hand, said much more, and barely escaped with his life.

“All that stuff’s gone come back, you know,” the husband said.

He kind of looked like Homer Simpson.

“Yeah,” I said, “but I gotta get it off.”

“It’ll all come back, you know,” he said.

“Well, I can’t leave it here.”

He wouldn’t stop. “It’ll all come back, trust me.”

I was really close to saying: “You want I should leave the crap here and mess up my paint job?”

Substitute another word for mess.

Or something like: “You like this stuff so much, why don’t I rinse the rag out on your hood?”

Or maybe: “Why don’t we wait a week and see who has more stuff and whoever wins gets to - ”
Well, never mind – that one was a little dirty.

Gritting my teeth, I said something diplomatic, and Homer waddled off. Probably to go drink beer. Mmmmmmm. Beeeeeeeer.

There was another such encounter Sunday morning at church, although this one much nicer. I bumped into a friend I see, maybe, once or twice a year. She was a little grumpy. Hadn’t had her coffee yet, she said. While we caught up (and she found some coffee), I mentioned hearing about her upcoming mission trip to Kenya (where our church has an orphanage). She admitted being a little nervous. Kenya is a little unstable, as you may know; lots of armed rebels and all that who’d love to take a group of Americans hostage. I did my best to pump her spirits up, throwing in a few of my favorite self-defense tips:

“Carry a sharp pencil. Stick ‘em in the eye or side of the neck.”

She said: “What if they have a machete?”


She didn’t laugh.

I added: “I know some of those guys carry AK-47s, and you’ll find the safety lever on the right side. Push down, pull trigger, and hose.”

“Like Rambo,” she said.

She was learning.

She said: “You learn all this in the army or something?”

I sensed some sarcasm in her voice.

“No,” I said. “Public school.”


Do you ever check out Readers Digest? I’ve been picking up at the store lately, God help me. They’ve got some good stuff in there. One little nugget I found in the most recent issue concerns an Iraqi couple who just had a baby.

They named the child George Bush. His full name is George Bush Abdul Kader Faris Abed El-Hussein. He was born on July 11th, 2003, at a healthy seven pounds, 11 ounces.

Seems Baby Bush’s parents were so excited to be free from Saddam they named their child after our president. In tribute.

Bush can use that in the campaign.

John Kerry won’t have a chance.


Hostile Witness by Rebecca Forster belongs on your nightstand.

Was a California Supreme Court Justice who died in a house fire the victim of a homicide? That’s what the cops think and they have his step-granddaughter in custody. Attorney Josie Baylor-Bates is hired by the girl’s mother to help, and she unlocks a family secret and a cover-up that is, unfortunately, all too believable.

Hostile Witness is one of those thrillers that you shouldn’t read late at night, especially if you have to go to work the next day. You won’t be able to put it down. There is not a dull page to be found. The conflict and tension will leave you bug-eyed even after reading a couple of pages. Warn your friends/relatives/coworkers not to break your concentration while reading otherwise you won’t be responsible for the four-letter words that fly out of your mouth.

Somebody put John Grisham on notice. There's a new kid in town doing great books about lawyers.

You can pick up Hostile Witness by Rebecca Forster at or your local independent bookstore.

Brian Evankovich lives in California. Alone. Contact This week’s essay was brought to you by the letter 2 and the number L.

Hostile Witness, by Rebecca Forster
Hostile Witness, by Rebecca Forster. 384 pages. Paperback. Buy from

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