Thursday, March 30, 2006

The guys in the upstairs apartment announce themselves with every step. They are often barefoot or in sneakers, but it doesn’t soften the sound much. A girl up there in hard shoes sounds like construction work. I picture her on her hands and knees with a patent leather pump in one hand, using the tapered heel to hammer nails or maybe smash roaches.

I never say anything about it. I guess other people would. A guy who’d met me not an hour before at the Red Light and hadn’t been in the door ten minutes took a broom handle to the ceiling.

“Shut the fuck up!” he screamed, and he smashed the ceiling with one, two, three, four perfectly symmetrical indentations. “I’ll come up there and slit your mother fucking throats!” The heedless footsteps went on, crossing and re-crossing the room. “You think I’m kidding? You think this is a joke, motherfuckers?”

BamBamBamBamBamBamBam—he brutalized the ceiling. When he paused for breath, I handed him an opened can of beer, and he took a couple long swallows. More footsteps. “Goddamnit!” He hurled the can shot-put-style into the ceiling, and it fell back hissing and foaming onto the tawny fur of the sofa, about where the cat would have been curled up if I didn’t have company.

“They’re just walking,” I said softly, in awe. I rescued the can and wiped its edge with my jacket, handed it back to him. Another quick swipe at the sofa wicked up the spill, like beer off a duck. Worse things, I promise, have tried to stain that gorgeous beast.



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