I wish I lived on Fascination Street.
Actually, I wished I lived anywhere that didn’t have the problems that are my current neighbours. It would be wrong to say I hate my neighbours. Hate is such a strong word. And the word hate doesn’t properly express the way I loathe, detest, despise and revile the obnoxious bastards.
Obviously, the feelings are reciprocated. Adolf and Eva, as I like to call them, share the same deep-seated animosity for me that I harbour for them. It all started from a simple misunderstanding. Adolf (the one with the toothbrush moustache and the stiff military gait: the female half of our neighbours) called on me as I was rushing out of the front door on an important trek to the tobacconists.
“Your dogs have been barking!” she exclaimed.
“That’s right,” I agreed. “When they start meowing we call them cats.”
“Can you keep them quiet?”
I paused before answering this one, and possibly looked a little retarded as I tried to understand what she meant. It’s probably one of the dumbest questions I’ve ever been asked. For outright stupidity, it ranks alongside the world-class no-brainers like, “Do you want a beer?” or “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”
“Can I keep them quiet?” I repeated.
I was wondering if she thought I released the dogs into the back garden each morning and told them, “Run outside, my pretties! Bark as loud as you can! I adore the sound of shrill yapping on a morning!”
“Of course I can’t keep them quiet,” I said patiently. “That’s why they bark all the time.” I stared at her with an expression that said one of us was incredibly dense. In fairness, I hadn’t yet decided which one of us that might be.
“Well try!” Adolf insisted. And then she slammed the door.
I was tempted to give a Nazi salute but I’m a mature adult and beyond such juvenile reactions. So I just shouted, “Suck my balls, Adolf!” and tried to forget about the incident and go on with my business.
The main problem with neighbours is, as much as you try to ignore them, the bastards are always living next door to you. Adolf and Eva made several attempts to keep the dogs quiet, most notably by shouting, “Stop barking,” whenever the dogs barked. The rationale behind this tactic baffled me. Our dogs bark at a number of things. Helicopters, cars, unexpected noises and people shouting: “Stop barking.” Clearly Adolf and Eva put a lot of faith in the dogs’ intelligence (believing the creatures would understand and obey their command) and very little faith in my intelligence (believing I hadn’t ever thought to tell them, “Stop barking!”)
For amusement I changed the dogs’ names whenever I was within earshot of the neighbours. “Come on in, Himmler!” I’d cry. “Goebels! Mussolini! Fluffy! Stop barking at Adolf and Eva.”
They retaliated with a noisy protest, playing loud Christian music until all hours of the afternoon, disturbing my concentration and generally making me worry that they could be putting the “mental” into Christian Fundamentalism.
I intend to take our neighbourly dispute to the next level once I’ve hooked up loudspeakers to an adjoining wall and can feed the soundtrack from one of my favourite porn movies into their bedroom at an ear-shattering volume.
Not that I’d have any of these problems if I lived on Fascination Street. If I lived on Fascination Street I’d brandish my copy of the Fascination Street Codes of Conduct at my neighbours and simply remind them to obey the rules.
Fascination Street is the latest title from Bridget Midway, author of Adam and E-V-E, C-A-I-N and A-B-E-L, Walls and Suburbia (amongst other titles). Published by Phaze Books, Fascination Street is the everyday story of a young couple, a new house and a host of horny new neighbours.
Grant Valente and Zora Hall move into Fascination Street and, before they’ve finished unpacking, they notice that something about their new location is different. Subtle things give this away, like the blowjob happening on the driveway across the road from them; like a neighbour walking in on them while they’re having sex; like the welcome basket that includes porn DVDs, handcuffs and whipped cream. Grant and Zora finally get the message when they’re invited to a house party and the neighbours begin to raunchily frolic in front of them.
And that’s when the story properly begins.
Without wanting to give too much away, Fascination Street is built on strong foundations of love. Grant and Zora both concede it takes a lot of love for a couple to enjoy the social side of their new address. Their neighbours each seem equally besotted with their own partners – even when they’re engaged with extra-neighbourly activities. And they all acknowledge that it takes a lot of love to forsake the security of monogamy for the sensual pleasures of swinging with the neighbours.
But Fascination Street is more than just a love story.
Bridget Midway plunges Grant and Zora into the trappings of this sublime suburbia and allows them to explore, enjoy and expand as the story develops. Bridget’s sex scenes are exciting and detailed without being salacious. Her characters are fresh and multifaceted. Bridget’s characters have a multicultural diversity that truly makes this novel stand out from many others I’ve read tackling similar themes.
Grant and Zora’s doubts about joining in with the constant party of Fascination Street are credible, and their adventures with their neighbours are explicit, entertaining and distinctively rendered.
If you’re blessed with neighbours as beautiful as those on Fascination Street, and if you’ve ever wondered what sort of things they might enjoy: Fascination Street and its "Codes of Conduct" could provide you with the rules you need to properly enjoy your neighbourhood. If you’re cursed with neighbours like Adolf and Eva next door to me, Fascination Street could give you the insight into how good life might be once you’ve forced them to move house.