Bitesize Episode 45 - Pt. 2 of Charlie Chatter on Drama in the Hood

Charlie Baxter

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What's this episode about?

In this bitesize episode, Charlie continues to get personal and shares a dilemma with you that he is currently having with his neighbours, as it had been causing him some distress. Please listen in and then feel free to share your thoughts about the whole situation by sending an email to Charlie. 
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Transcript of Bitesize Ep 045 - Transcript

Hello. Is there anybody out there? Help me. Please help me. I made an enemy out of my neighbour and I haven't been able to leave my apartment for six weeks. I've locked myself in because I'm petrified. I'm petrified. He might attack me if I so much as take a step out of the front door. You! Yes. You down there! Can you can you bring me some tea bags, please? And maybe some toilet roll, too. Oh, what was that? Never mind. I've got to go. I just tried my luck getting some essentials in the apartment as I'm running low since the episode I put out called Bite Size Episode 41: Drama in the Hood Part one. This is my way of telling you to go listen to that one first if you haven't, before you continue listening to this one. So now hopefully I can assume you have listened to part one of Drama in the Hood and now you might make a bit more sense of my strange start to this episode. In summary, though, I've got a neighbour that thinks of himself as a bit of a deejay, enjoys breaking the rules in the car park and effing and jeffing at old ladies in his spare time. And after thinking enough is enough, I try to be the Good Samaritan and help my other neighbours out by standing up for them and their automobile needs. Upon which I was confronted with heavy blows raining down on my front door with accusations being thrown left, right and centre at me.

Oh well. Well, no. Just one accusation that was totally just and correct. Which was the photographic evidence put forward to get this man removed from the premises was clearly taken from my balcony. And after admitting the law abiding tattletale photographer was me, I failed to clearly explain. An attempt to evict him was never the intention of this snitch snapping. So he huffed and puffed, expressed it was none of my business as the van didn't block my car in and that his girlfriend is pregnant. So they really can't deal with being evicted right now. And this is more or less where we left part one of Drama in the Hood: me closing the door to my apartment for, what I didn't fully appreciate in that moment, the last time in a very, very long time. Since then, I've created a reinforced double lock, dusted off my hunting rifle, grown a beard and eaten cold tins of beans three times a day. I tell a lie. At dinnertime I have tins of spaghetti hoops that occasionally come with little sausages in them. So that's me. Sat in a rocking chair with my hunting rifle over my lap, getting Heinz beans sauce down my overgrown beard, not taking my eyes off that reinforced double lock front door.

All right. I'm exaggerating. I told a lie within a bigger lie. What a load of fibs. If you've listened to a few of my episodes by now, you might have guessed that I was joking when I said that I dusted off my hunting rifle. I definitely don't have a hunting rifle to my name. I mean, my my dad did show me where his air rifle was once upon a time when I was a boy. And when they would leave the house, I used to sometimes sneak out to the garage, loaded up with these strange little metal pellets that it shot. And I did target practice with egg shells or eggs, actually. So when I hit it, the yolk would go everywhere. It was very satisfying. Got to be honest, I didn't hit the eggs very often. Seldom did Charlie find his target. But when he did, oh, he thought he was the baddest motherfucker in the village. But yeah, my shooting days are behind me. That air rifle still lies in the village that my parents live in in England. And I'm in Sydney. Air rifle-less, hunting rifle-less. You know, the closest thing I have in this apartment to something that could hunt something is a fishing rod. But that's not such a James Bond move, is it, to sit in the corner of a room waiting for your assassin to come in at night, and instead of a Walther PPK, a pistol, in your hands, you swap it for a fishing rod. I mean, it could it could be dangling over the doorway if I'm adjacent to the door and it swings open and I could try to let the line drop just in time to catch a stray bit of clothing of this assassin or soon to be assassin.

I'm not assuming that my assassin doesn't have experience. But, you know, don't want to assume that he's a cold blooded murderer or she. You know, I don't like to judge people just just because they're coming through my reinforced front door without permission, it doesn't mean I can assume all sorts of them. Either way, I'm reeling him or her in. But no, something inside me says whether they've had experience or not in assassinating humans, I'd have a bullet in the back of my brain before I could say... What do people say when they're fishing? 'We've caught a big one, boys!' Yeah. I'd be dead. I'd be dead. Okay. Okay. I'll get real, at last. I haven't gone insane. Although I sound insane right now. I haven't gone insane since that moment with the neighbour. Or as I like to say, the great confrontation of 2022. But there has been more drama in the hood since that occasion. So let me talk you through it. But before that, for those who did get in touch and tell me your thoughts about my situation in part one of Drama in the Hood, that you should have listened to before this one, then thank you very much. It was very helpful. I really enjoyed reading it. And yeah, as I said, it really helped me. So merci, gracias, Danke, grazie and obrigado. And if you speak a different language, then you get the idea. I'm thanking you. All right, so here we go. Part two of Drama in the Hood.

All right. So my response to the confrontation wasn't as extreme as I previously suggested. I didn't lock myself in side with a fishing rod, just, you know, hovering in front of the front door in case he broke through some newly fitted locks. I didn't do any of that. I did lock the door a bit more. I'd say I had an appropriate level of concern. I thought about it. I thought about the fact that the man downstairs is really angry at me and he's shown an aggressive side to himself. And maybe because his partner is pregnant and they're feeling like they might be chucked out any moment, they're feeling the stresses of life. So I was a bit concerned for my safety and more importantly for Stacey's safety because she didn't do anything wrong and I got her in the mix. So for that reason, I thought about how my partner, Stacey, she stresses about things a bit more than me. Typically she just thinks about them a bit more. I don't think about things as much as she does, and I thought the right thing to do would be to avoid telling her about this whole confrontation. For now. For now. Not. Not forever. I didn't think forever. But for now, at least until it calms down. Maybe I normally tell her absolutely everything. And for the first time I thought, you know what? Maybe, just maybe, she would be better off not knowing that our neighbour wants to throttle me in my sleep. This, however, this however, didn't last long when she started noticing me locking the door a bit more than normal. And as I'm a terrible liar, she managed to get the truth out of me before she needed to get the old water boarding bucket and towel out from under her side of the bed. But once I told her, she laughed the whole thing off and said, You're being silly. Maybe you're thinking this as well. You know all you need to do, Charlie, just leave a note on his door saying you're sorry and forget about it.

So I followed her advice and wrote a sad little apology note and went to stick it on their door, but then realised that the other neighbour might see this, which, I don't know, I didn't like the idea of because it would have seemed a bit two-faced and weak. I know it was weak, but it was a pathetic move. But either way I went to slip this note under their door and 5 minutes later the piece of paper was still on my side of the door and was completely illegible due to the amount of crinkles, scuffs and muck collected on it.

It turns out their door doesn't have a gap under it. I thought every door has a gap under it, but not theirs. And then I looked at mine actually, and it's got a little wind protector thing. So that's a very... I promise you, that's the most boring part of this story, hopefully. But there it is, I couldn't slip a single note under the door. So I went away feeling like I'd hit rock bottom after failing to commit the most basic of cowardly acts. A few days roll by and I start getting over myself, but then a number of other factors come into play that I'd like to tell you about.

The first one is that we had agreed to look after a good friend's dog whilst they went to the UK for a family emergency the following week. Now, upon signing our leasing contract, our landlord said no to us having a pet. So although the dog wasn't a permanent pet, we did agree to have him for ten days, which is long enough to upset the neighbours if the dog was a loud one. And given how the neighbour might have been keen to jump at the chance to get us kicked out. I was wanting to give away no clues as to the inhabitants of our apartment. Fortunately, the dog is not a big barker, but considering he's actually still a puppy, he would get a little lonely at night and liked to pine his way out of his crate and into our bed, which was something I was absolutely adamant to not let happen. But after having to get up every hour throughout the first three nights, my sleep deprivation was getting the better of me. And before I knew it, I had a little Nugget (the dog's name) constantly nudging me away from the centre of the bed all night, and then occasionally jumping up to lick my face when I would dare to fall asleep. Okay, so we had a dog to be concerned about. And then thankfully, thankfully, after this, we had an attempted Grand Theft Auto. Yeah. Grand Theft Auto. And I'll explain why I said thankfully with this illegal behaviour after a little break, or if you're a premium or academy member, then just 5 seconds of music, what some in the industry might call a sting or a jingle. Yeah, just a short bit of music and then we'll be back to the episode.

All right. So picture a nervous wreck of a sleep deprived podcast host looking after a dog who's fearful that he's going to be evicted any day now. To clarify, it's not the dog who's fearful of being evicted. It's me. And then in come the police! The police are outside, Nee-naw Nee-naw! And they're coming to take me away for simply trying to help an old lady get her car parking space back. Don't arrest me, sir! I'm sure it's hard to imagine, but this was not the case. The police were there because the naughty neighbour's van, get this, had been broken into and maybe they would have tried to take it away. Who knows? Could have been an attempted Grand Theft Auto. That's what Grand Theft Auto means, isn't it? I know it's a video game, but the idea of the video game is to steal cars or automobiles. Let me check. When an individual steals a car, motorcycle or any other type of motor vehicle, it is known as Grand Theft Auto. Since automobiles tend to be of a high value, all cases of automobile theft are treated as grand theft. There we go. So it's because it's of great value. Wow. What about the budget cars nowadays or the cars that are just absolutely shit? You know, they're on their last legs. They're worth less than an iPhone. There's loads of cars that are worth less than an iPhone, so they need to update it. You're rambling, Charlie. Come on, get to the point. It's a bite size episode.

So the police were there because of the break in to the vehicle. And I went out and he told me that he'd lost thousands of dollars and all of his medication. That apparently costs just as much, sidetracking the obvious questions that you probably have bubbling up inside of you right now, I asked all of the obvious questions that are caring neighbour would say, and quite genuinely I felt terrible for him, obviously suspicious to have so much cash lying around, but I quite genuinely felt terrible for him and wanted to find a way for him to get his money back and get the justice that he deserved. Was I worried that there was a thief on the loose in the area? Sure. But I wanted to be the hero of the day and and track these crooks down for him so that we could all live happily ever after in our own car parking spaces. So I go back in and talk to Stacey about it and realise that the silver lining here for me, very selfishly is that my neighbour and I had broken the ice by having a non-confrontational conversation and I was thinking that losing thousands of dollars in cash was so much more of an issue for him that our previous chit chat or for me a shit-a-brick chat might not be taking his undivided attention anymore. So I relax a bit.

A week goes by, we've given the puppy back to our friends. And yes, the tension has lessened considerably. And then we have a trip coming up where we were going to drive to Canberra for the long weekend. Canberra is the capital and it's about 3 hours drive and before we went Stacy decided to leave a note on their door - on the neighbours downstairs, the naughty neighbours - saying we won't be needing our parking space for the next three days, so please feel free to use it. Immediately, I thought 'genius'. And then I started thinking about it. And what if he thinks we stole their money and tries to break into our apartment whilst we're away to get it back? Or - Or worse, he steals some of our valuables to get his own back? And then I thought, Charlie, you are officially being irrational. It's a nice gesture that your better half has recommended. Go along with it and shut up. So I bit my tongue and focussed on having a delightful weekend away with my fiancee, which we accomplished. But since I am doubting my ability to stretch the drama out to make a part three on this, I need to finish the story within this episode. So imagine we had a nice trip. Three days later we come back home and after a long drive we roll up into the driveway late in the evening. Pitch black, unpack the car and head inside. It's at this point, I suddenly remember my paranoia of coming back to a smashed up apartment. So I flick the light on to confirm that I was a lunatic. To even imagine that scenario. So I flick it on.

And there I saw. Everything was normal. I breathed a sigh of relief and went over to the window. And it was then that I noticed something rather peculiar. There was a very large smudge of dirt on the window pane. Starting at the thought of my partner having had the dirtiest hands possible to close the window. I went to try and remove it and it was then that I realised that the smudges were on the outside of the window pane. And just like a modern day Sherlock Holmes, I put my iPhone torch on and examined the markings. Hmm. After taking a step back and having a few puffs on my pipe that suddenly appeared out of nowhere, I confidently deduced that this smudge was clearly five fingerprints. Well, one being a thumb. But irrespective of how many finger versus thumb prints there were, we had a sign clear as day. Even though it was Night-Time. There's someone. Someone had either been in our apartment or tried to get in, or we're still in. Imagine that. So, you know, I naturally grabbed my fishing rod, did a thorough once over announcing that I had a fishing rod. I have a fishing rod and I'm not afraid to use it. As I sweeped each room. Um. I mean, I say I sweeped the room, but I made Stacey go in first each time. Not because I was scared of leading the way. No, no, no. It was a tactical manoeuvre that only a few men are capable of doing is you have to be incredibly, incredibly comfortable with your manhood.

Basically, the technique is you let the person who is broken in think that it's just a girl of an average height entering the room. They feel confident going for the female, and then I come from behind and batter them over the head with a carbon fibre fishing rod. I found that most men find this tricky to do because they are afraid that their partner will get harmed in the process. But no, I'm I'm a real feminist through and through. So, you know, we just flip a double headed coin. I shout heads, obviously, and, you know, she loses the bet on who is to be the bait. And in she goes. Simple. Anyway, you didn't need to know all that, did you? After finding out that the apartment was empty, we turn our attention back to the fingerprints, plus one thumbprint. And we can clearly read the trajectory of the smudge, indicating an attempted sliding of the window up to gain access to the room. Now, given that we are at least five, five, maybe six metres above street level, we were perplexed. I mean, I was I was weirdly excited. No, not in a sexual way. But we were subtly playing the roles of the victims in a thriller. And what we needed to do was come up with a way to outsmart our predator.

And so we put our heads together and came up with a genius plan that I can confidently label as that, because it was mainly Stacy who had the stroke of genius. The first thing we wanted to do was find out if the prints belonged to the guy downstairs or not. So she suggested that I go downstairs and say, 'Mate, I think we can help you track down that person who broke into your van because there's a big handprint on our window outside. So I reckon they might have tried to break into our house. And I mean, we've got clear fingerprints from that. So if they have a criminal record, the police will be able to identify them'. And we thought that we would be able to tell from his reaction as to whether he tried to break in or not without it looking like we're pointing the finger at him for breaking and entering and at the same time letting him know that we have a way to show the police that he has tried to do this if it was him. I told you, pure genius. Well done, Stacey. It was the perfect, indirect British way of going about the issue.

So I go downstairs, knock on the door, and he comes out half naked, and I couldn't help but notice that he had really bloodshot eyes. So I start telling him about the fingerprints, and he then stops me halfway and laughs in an embarrassed way and treats me like I'm his best mate. Saying, 'Oh, I'm so sorry, bro. My my missus was up the coast and and I had locked myself out. So I was buzzing everyone in the building, but no one was in for hours. So I then thought maybe I could go through your apartment to just get to my door. I wouldn't have touched anything. Just needed to get into the hallway. But, yeah, sorry for not telling you about that'. Hmm. So, I go along with the story and by the end of the conversation we had both said the words bro and mate more than I would dare to count. But I go back upstairs and retell what had supposedly happened to Stacey.

And this is where I will leave the story at for you. I'd like to add, though, that apart from trying to paint you a picture, I included the symptoms he had of potentially being a bit stoned because I don't think many people are good at thinking on their feet when they are high. I also want to add that he has indeed often buzzed our doorbell to ask to be let in to the building, so he does frequently forget his keys or lock himself out. But there we go. I have laid out all of the facts for you, and now it's up to you to tell me what you think he was trying to do. Is he just an innocent man who likes to get high from time to time and forgets his keys? Or was he trying to gain access to smash our place to bits? Academy members. You all have the ability to get your voice heard as we not only have group speaking classes each week to discuss the specific episode, but we now have native professional teachers marking your writing assignments that you send in. And we also now have advanced grammar in use for all of the episodes in Season one. These grammar lessons are really nice because they are focusing on the language used in the episode. They don't take you into a random grammar topic that you're not seeing day to day. They're incredibly applicable lessons that are worth the attention of an intermediate to advanced English language learner. I'm constantly striving to improve the academy and after getting fantastic feedback with a few delightful suggestions, we are well on the way to building the most effective online space to level up your English as an intermediate or advanced learner. That's all from me today in this not so bite sized episode. My name is Charlie. Thank you for listening to the end of this one and well done for choosing to work on your English today. Remember to get into the active learning process as well at some point today, and I'll see you next week on the British English podcast.

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Podcast host: Charlie:
This will be quite a bit harder for you to understand, as there are a number of accents in the conversation, some poorly delivered at times, as you will notice.

Podcast host: Charlie:
But the aim is to give you a variety of dialects in one conversation and some dialogue to give you native expressions in context. So enter, if you will, to Charlie's pub and his imaginary world.

Character: Mike:
Alright geezer, how's it going?

Character: Chris:
Yes, I'm well thanks. How about you? Have you had a good day?

Character: Mike:
Can't say good mate. No my old man he's been giving me a right old earful for what happened on site last week.

Character: Chris:
Oh that's a pity. Are you back on your dad's building project again?

Character: Mike:
Sad to say mate, but yeah, I am. Couldn't resist this one though. Cash in hand, you know.

Character: Chris:
Oh fair play, hard to resist those I imagine. Oh, here she is.

Character: Emily:
Oh, hi.

Character: Chris:
I was wondering if you're ever going to join us tonight.

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