We have the worst neighbors. The father(David) is illiterate, I've never actually seen the mother (Annette)and the 3 boys are troublemakers. (Side note: we know the names of the parents because they are displayed prominently on the back window of their pick-up truck) The oldest is about 15, the middle child is 10 or 11 and the youngest is 8. Brandon is his name and he is the one that we have the most trouble with. I had met Brandon last summer in VBS when I worked with the 1st grade class. He was a year older because he had been held back and was much bigger than the other kids. He was a constant discipline problem, in addition to the fact that he has diabetes that he controls with an insulin pump.
When I realized who he was, my immediate instinct was to forbid Nathan from playing with him. Experience had shown me that Brandon could not be trusted and that he was mean. But Trevor and I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and let him come over to play in our backyard. He wasn't too bad at first...just a few problems with name calling and learning to be gentle when Grace was nearby. But the more we let Nathan play with Brandon, the worse his behavior became until we finally had to tell Nathan that he was not allowed to even talk to Brandon.
Soon after, Brandon and his brothers started ringing our doorbell and running. Trevor spoke to their dad about it and it stopped, but Brandon began to threaten Nathan. Nathan and Kaben were out riding their bikes one afternoon and Brandon told Nathan that he was going to give him a bloody mouth. I don't know what precipitated the threat, but I do know that Nathan is not a fighter and that he knows better than to engage Brandon in conversation. I made the boys come inside for a while until Brandon went away and lost interest.
Later that evening, our family was out front drawing on the driveway with chalk. Brandon rides up on his bike and announces that he wants to play too. My mother bear instinct was still riled up from earlier in the day and I told Brandon in no uncertain terms that he could not threaten to give Nathan a "bloody mouth" earlier and then come over and play like nothing had happened. If he couldn't be nice all of the time, he was not welcome in our yard.
He exploded in a fit of rage and proceeded to his own yard where he took an aluminum bat and smashed a large water gun to smithereens. He then used the bat to destroy the wood railing around the top of the red wagon they had pulled out of our trash pile and had been using. Nathan and Kaben stood wide-eyed and slack jawed in the face of such senseless destruction. I was actually glad to see that sort of reaction from the boys because it showed that they both had respect for their belongings and the idea of behaving in such a way was completely foreign (and repugnant)to them both.
It should have come as no surprise that Brandon's father was just as sneaky and underhanded. Our phone had been out for a few days and Trevor had called the repairman to come out and take a look at the line. I was home yesterday and when the line was repaired, and I received a call from AT&T to confirm that it worked. About two hours later, David knocked (and rang the doorbell at the same time). He told me that his phone was out because the repairman had run over the box. This seemed strange to me since the repairman had been gone for several hours and my phone had been working just fine. He called on his cell and set up an appointment to have the box repaired. (This is why there is no blog for Monday....it knocked the DSL out too)
A little later I went outside to examine the damage and realized with one look that David (or Annette) must have run over the phone box because of the direction that it was laying. Did I mention that he is not very bright? There was no way that anyone parked on the road could have run over the box in such a way that would leave it in that position. When the repairman came today I relayed the story to him and he confirmed that he did not run over the box and that he had the same suspicion that I did about the culprit. He took pictures of it and said that he was going to bill David for the damage.
The point of the story is that a man who would lie over such a small thing that was clearly an accident would most certainly lie about larger issues and therefore cannot be trusted. Brandon's behavior is not surprising in light of this most recent interaction with his father. The real icing on the cake was when I found out that Brandon now rides around on his bike with a BB gun. If there was ever a boy that did not need a gun it has to be this one! So, all we can do is wait. Wait for them to move away, wait for them to destroy the house bit by bit, wait for Brandon to do something requiring police intervention.