Winner of The Good Neighbor Fiction Writing Prompt Contest!

Photo of a white picket fence in front of a house

We hoped everyone enjoyed last week’s writing contest titled, The Good Neighbor. We loved reading all of your wonderful entries! The winner this week took our feuding neighbors to a whole new level! Congratulations goes out to Marissa LaPorte!

Check out last week’s prompt and the winning entry below!


We never did find out what sparked the feud between old Jimmy McQuate and Mrs. Esther Myers. Maybe he was foolish enough to park in her parking spot. Maybe she was caught taking clippings from his prized hydrangeas. Or maybe they had known each in a past life, before they had been forced to abandoned their large homes in the country for our small, affordable apartment complex. Whatever the cause may have been, it certainly couldn’t have prepared us for how it all would end.

You have 800 words to write a story about these two feuding neighbors. You don’t have to use the entire prompt word-for-word in your story, however, you do need to touch upon the topic in some way.


The Good Neighbor

by Marissa LaPorte

Mrs. Esther sounded like an ankle biting dog when she was angry. The sound of her yip yip yip yip carried through our open window while we sat on the tiled kitchen floor, fanning ourselves. Damn, it was hot. I was already pissed off, and Roger was about to send me over the edge.

“Katie, dear, do you hear the hellhounds? It’s so fucking hot out here that they’ve decided to migrate from Hell.”

“Roger! She’s just an angry old hag. She lives a miserable, hopeless life. Don’t you feel bad for her?”
My fiancé’s eyebrows hike up in surprise.

“I think she loves giving old Jimmy a hard time. Behind that wrinkly scowl she gives him is a wicked grin for how much she’s enjoying it. There’s nothing else for her to do after she finishes watering her plants. You know, I think she’d be a cat lady, but living in an apartment complex has turned her into a plant lady.”

Roger snickers at his own joke and by the time I try to hold back a smile it’s already spread across my face.

“She couldn’t be a cat lady. All her yapping would terrify the poor bastards.”

I remember the day I was walking home from work and Mrs. Esther was standing in front of Jimmy’s door, armed with a dustpan and a broom. She yipped away at the door until Jimmy opened it. Mrs. Esther held out the broom, handle first, and poked it at Jimmy’s chest when she wanted to emphasize a particular word in her jumbled sentences. Jimmy took a couple steps back and Mrs. Esther emptied the dustpan onto his cleanly swept floor.

Roger and I eventually came to the conclusion that every absurd thing those two old bats do is out of boredom. They are just having too much fun pestering each other to form a conventional friendship. When Roger and I first moved in to the complex they were more of a nuisance than anything else, but now watching them is absolutely hilarious.

“What do you think the old boy did now, Katie?”

Mrs. Esther was the instigator. She found every excuse to hobble over to Jimmy’s front door and give him a piece of her mind.

“From the sound of it, Mrs. Esther seems to believe Jimmy has been sneaking into her house and pissing on her plants because they’ve been wilting more than usual lately.”

Even though Mrs. Esther cherished her plants, as if they were her own children, she couldn’t keep one alive for more than a week. It was just too hot for her poor plants, but she never stopped trying to keep the damn things alive when they didn’t have a chance.

That night Roger and I woke up to the sound of sirens. We were both aggravated, but curiosity overpowered our irritability. We approached the window facing the street and what we saw below shocked us both. Mrs. Esther was in handcuffs. Her ugly, maroon eveningwear was clearly visible from our room on the second floor of the apartment complex. Her frail little feet shuffled toward the police car as its flashing lights cast strange shadows on her face. Mrs. Esther wore the expression of someone who had planned to get away with a wicked plan.

“Jesus, Katie. Do you think she tried to kill Jimmy?”

I shook my head. “No way.”

We watched in silence as she was helped into the car by the police officer escorting her. Roger and I were still staring even after Mrs. Esther was taken away.

Word got out about Mrs. Esther soon enough. Everyone in town was talking about what she did. There were different versions of the story, but they all included one key detail. Mrs. Esther asked the teenage boy she hired to do her grocery shopping to set fire to the apartment complex. He must have thought it was a joke at first, dropped to the ground holding his ribs for fear that they would bust open from his laughter. Maybe he made a joke after his laughing fit. Something like:
“Sure, sure, Mrs. Esther I’ll burn down the apartment complex so you can finally build up the nerve to move out.”

Mrs. Esther wasn’t joking, and she held out a wad of cash with a shaky hand that didn’t quiver from anxiety, but from the determination of an old lady with a plan. Mrs. Esther was angry and ambitious. What seemed like an innocent feud between two senior citizens became deadly. Her plants kept dying. It was hot as Hell. It only seemed appropriate to burn the damn place down.

Roger only had one last thing to say about Mrs. Esther. “That crazy old bitch, she wants us all to burn.”


About the Author: Marissa LaPorte is an 18-year-old senior in high school who loves to write realistic fiction. Marissa occasionally writes in the horror genre when she isn’t mixing her two preferred genres into one piece. She has lived in Upper Michigan all of her life and plans to broaden her horizons after graduating high school with hopes of studying abroad in Australia. While she is dedicated to her education she still finds time to write because it is her passion. She has received multiple awards for local writing contests, writing contests in other states, and online contests.

For more of Marissa’s work you can connect with her on Facebook or read her stories at


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