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A Good Neighbor

By: Samuel Lin

The sun’s glowing rays brightened the blue cloudless sky. Endless fields of vibrant green grass danced gently to the song of the wind. Rooster Joe took a deep breath of the cool, refreshing air.

“Cocka-a-doodle-doo! [What a beautiful day!]” he crowed contentedly from the top of his chicken coop. Suddenly he caught a whiff of a smelly substance that permeated the air. Joe could see the stinky brown waves radiate from a pile of poop on his neighbor’s lawn. He wrinkled his beak in disgust, and muttered to himself, “Bob is such a bad neighbor. He ought to learn to behave like a polite chicken and not leave his poop all over the place.”

Joe took cover from the smell and went into his chicken coop, hoping to eat his morning breakfast from the stash of corn he had collected. To his surprise, the heap of corn was not there. All the corn disappeared, only leaving two chicken footprints on the ground where the corn used to be. That neighbor Bob probably stole my fresh stash of corn I had spent so long collecting. I will make him pay for his transgression. Joe, with fluffed-up feathers, and eyes of wrath, clucked angrily to himself and thought of the horrible things he should do to his neighbor Bob.

Joe pouted and grumbled until the anger left him. He went outside, deciding to forage for his morning breakfast. Strolling out of the coop, he spotted a mouth-watering meal: a moth. He sprinted after the moth, darting, twisting, turning, and jumping into the air. In his pursuit, Joe did not realize he had trespassed into Bob’s territory. Soon, Bob also noticed the moth and decided to chase after it. Just when the moth flew closer to the ground, Joe and Bob simultaneously leaped off the ground and snapped at the moth.

Crash! When Joe opened his eyes, he found himself sprawled out on the ground, Bob lying next to him. He looked up in time to see the moth fluttering away unscathed. In a burst of fury, Joe leapt into a tirade.

“You stinky, nasty, evil, rude, greedy, vulgar thief! YOU stole all my corn from my stash! YOU poop all over your lawn like a detestable rat that brings shame to all chickens! You’re a bad neighbor.”

Bob listened to Joe’s insults, patiently hearing what Joe had to say. Once Joe had finished his speech, all red and out of breath, Bob started to speak in a firm tone. “After reflection, I am sorry for being such a bad neighbor. I will try my best to poop in a more contained area, so the smell does not get to you. However, I did not steal your corn. How about I help you find some corn and rebuild your stash?”

Joe was completely flabbergasted. He staggered backward, mouth gaping. He was not expecting Bob to be this calm and in control. He even offered to help me get my stash of corn back. He’s a good neighbor, after all, Joe thought.

Joe regretted accusing Bob of stealing his corn. He regretted his long speech against Bob. He looked down and realized he had trespassed into Bob’s territory, a felony that Bob could have easily chosen to report to the police, yet Bob did not report it. Joe remembered his faults, how he stole Bob’s collection of corn, and how he pooped on Bob’s lawn by accident. Joe realized he had been blind to his own faults, and Bob’s kindness helped him see his faults.

“I-i-i’m s-o-sorry f-f-for b-b-being s-s-such a-a b-bad n-neighbor.” Joe stuttered. Joe hung his head in shame, his pride lost because he realized he was a bad neighbor. Yet, Joe realized he was doing the right thing by apologizing, so he continued. “I-i-i w-wish I-i didn’t a-acuse y-you o-of s-stealing m-my s-stash o-of c-corn and I-i w-w-ish I-i-i didn’t r-r-un o-onto y-your p-property.”

“It’s alright,” Bob said. “Next time, let’s be good neighbors.”

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