A Neighbourly Request

‘Sorry, but we really don’t need any more cookies,’ I started, reluctantly opening the door. ‘Oh.’

         A smiling man stood in front of me, decidedly not the young girl in a beret I’d been expecting.

         ‘Sorry, we’re being hounded by a particularly pushy… salesperson,’ I frowned. ‘How can I help you?’

         ‘My name is Reginald,’ the man grinned, fingers hooked into denim overalls as he rocked back on the balls of his feet. ‘And have you ever considered installing a residential battery storage system in your house?’

         ‘Uh…’

         ‘Your property looks perfect for it!’ he beamed at me.

         ‘Look, buddy–’

         ‘We got it just the other month!’ he cut me off. ‘It’s changed our world!

         ‘Good for you,’ I smiled dryly. ‘Unfortunately, we’re not in a position to consider–’

         ‘Tonnes of people are getting residential solar systems installed near Melbourne,’ he pressed me, smile slipping slightly. ‘You’d be joining a movement!’

         ‘I have to get my kid ready for her music lesson,’ I lied, inventing a child. ‘So if you don’t mind…’

         The man jumped forward as the door swung closed, a hand slapping out to grab it. His smile vanished and a sheen of sweat appeared on his forehead as he leaned in to me.

         ‘Listen,’ he whispered hoarsely. ‘We’re the only ones on the street who’ve done it.’

         ‘What?’

         Solar, man!’

         ‘So wha– wait, you’re not with some power company?’

         ‘No!’ he scoffed. ‘But we thought it would be smart!’

         ‘Was it?’

         ‘Oh yeah,’ he nodded, grin briefly returned. It quickly disappeared again. ‘But we’re being hounded by the property association.’

         ‘Who… Marge?’ I frowned. ‘She’s lovely!’

         ‘Only if you haven’t got any neighbourhood destroying solar panels strapped to your roof!’ he hissed, looking around nervously like Marge was hiding in my wife’s rose bushes.

         ‘So… what?’ I asked. ‘You want me to get in trouble too?’

         ‘Solidarity, man!’ he smiled slyly at me. ‘We can’t all get kicked out of the neighbourhood! We have to stand up to her!’

         ‘Riiiiight…’ I nodded. ‘And how many other people are on board?’

         ‘Uh…’ he faltered. ‘Just you guys?’

         I smiled as the door swung softly closed.