I always knew my neighbor was a villain. Not a criminal, but a villain. He didn’t break any laws when he yelled at people for walking on the sidewalk in front of his house or driving too slowly down the street, but I think he thought someone was spying on him. All the time. I often read books as I walked home from school and didn’t realize I was in front of his house until I heard the squeak of his front door opening, but by then it was too late. There was no running or hurrying when he already had the screen door opening.
One day, I decided maybe I should kill him with kindness. I had baked cookies with my grandmother the night before because my mom had to work late and she had insisted we make oatmeal raisin even though I didn’t have the heart to tell her I didn’t like oatmeal or raisins. After I choked down a few and she took some for her knitting group, I decided I should take some over to Mr. Sherwood. I put on a brave face and my favorite shirt and marched to Mr. Sherwood’s front door. Though I made sure I marched my way down to the sidewalk and didn’t step on an inch of his grass. No reason to start the trip off on the wrong foot.
I knocked on the front door and waited anxiously for Mr. Sherwood to answer. He came to the front door with a head full of steam, then blinked at me as if he didn’t know what to say. He took the plate of cookies, looked at me again and then shut the door. Later that afternoon, I noticed the plate sitting on his front steps, clean and devoid of cookies. I smiled as I ran up and grabbed the plate. Maybe next week, more cookies. The more baked goods I took to Mr. Sherwood, the less shouting there seemed to be. All the neighbors started talking about how pleasant the street was becoming now we didn’t have such a grouchy neighbor, but no one could figure out why.
I think my parents knew what was going on, obviously, since they were all at once buying baking supplies for someone who had never had an interest in baking before, but they didn’t seem to mind. I think they also enjoyed not being yelled at for dawdling down the sidewalk. The day Mr. Sherwood invited me into his house to enjoy the cookies with him was a day I would never forget. It was the day I found out why he was considered the villain of the street and I couldn’t decide if I should be scared or continue my plan of killing him with kindness. When the children on the street slowly started getting sick, I knew what I had to do.