My father always said that if you didn’t have at least one story to tell about your neighbour, they weren’t your neighbour at all. The man who lived next door to us when I was growing up used to collect puppets. That’s not the story I have to tell, but looking back I can’t believe my parents used to leave me alone with him. Puppets, for God’s sake.

Well, he used to do this thing where he’d say “I’ve got a real sweet tooth.” And then he’d pull a blackjack out of his mouth and hand it you. You’d think it was some kind of bad joke, but a minute later he’d ask for it back. Then he’d put it in his mouth again. He really was using it as a tooth.

I never understood why. If he was going to use a sweet, why would he choose a blackjack? Why not some kind of milky white chew, or at least a fruit salad? It looked terrible.

Dominic, London.

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