Today, we are proud to present “Two Kinds of Neighborhoods” by Neil Cooney. Cooney placed second in our Summer Flash Fiction Contest with this story about a fight that breaks out in the narrator’s neighborhood. But is his neighborhood the kind of neighborhood where fights occur, or is it another kind?
I suppose there are two kinds of neighborhoods: those in which fights are common and those in which they are not. Our neighborhood is the second kind.
Mr. Sierakowski and Mr. Edwards are fighting in the street. Mr. Edwards is winning. From the window I see blood dripping out of Mr. Sierakowski’s nose, and other blood on his face I don’t know where from. Mr. Edwards is older and a little fat, so it’s surprising to see him doing so well. I don’t know if the other people watching (I can see a few) are surprised by this or are too surprised by the fighting to be surprised by anything else.
I don’t think there has ever been a fight in our neighborhood. (They are struggling; there are not, after all, many punches; a lot of feinting and grabbing arms and dodging blows that aren’t even coming, as if each man feels the other’s hands to be wrapped in something more dangerous than skin.) I suppose there are two kinds of neighborhoods: those in which fights are common and those in which they are not. Our neighborhood is the second kind.