I almost didn't hear the doorbell ring because of the thump thump thump of the bass from next door. I almost didn't answer it, because between the thick wet heat of the day, and the sleepless, endless nights of noise I was in no fit state to do anything, let alone speak to anyone.
He was short, scruffy, like his clothes had been donated, rather than chosen.
"Odd jobs. Anything you want doing."
"No, thanks." I started to close the door.
"Guttering? Clean your guttering."
"Flat's rented. Landlord's job. Not that he does it, but I'm not about to pay for it."
"Bit of gardening. Must be something you need doing, and I need the money, makes us both winners."
"Sorry," I said, though I wasn't, because this day and this week and this month of incessant noise from the bastard next door made me hate the world and everyone in it. I couldn't think, didn't want to think. "There's nothing I need doing so you're wasting your time. Unless you can shut that bastard up."
I closed the door, wiped the sweat off my face and walked back to the kitchen. The bass rattled my mug on the counter, sending little waves across the surface of the tea.
The music stopped. There was a dull thud that I felt through the floorboards. A small noise, like a cat crying to come in. Then another thud, then another. Then there was just silence. I looked at my tea, and the ripples slowed and it became still.
My doorbell rang.
"Hundred quid," he said. "I'll want it in cash, like."
(more flash fiction here)