Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Amongst the dead and the sleepy

last night during the indeterminate time between sleep and slumber I lay on my back in my small bed. A unnatural white light softly streamed through yellowed and dusty venusian blinds from the streetlight that illuminates the back courtyard of my building. Rednecks used to play horseshoes back there when I first moved in. I miss the clang of the shoes and the drunken laughter that always ended at 11 pm because if they didn't end at 11 the old softball team captain, with her salt and pepper hair and square jaw, that lived on the third floor would call the police. Like an occasionally occuring dream I see one of the former horseshoe players on their infrequent visits to another long-term resident of my complex. One of them even moved back once after he caught his old lady scromping another guy. When he recounted the event it gave me a perverse pleasure to be on friendly terms with someone who could truthfully utter the words "I went and loaded up my shotgun and told him to get the fuck out of my house or I'd kill 'im."

The orange cat enters my room and moves destructively onto the chair and then onto the folding table that stands in for a desk. He pushes material off the desk with the meticulous deliberation of an artist until I snarl and make it obvious to him that I am getting out of bed. Only then will he stop and run out of the room, his tail in the air like a middle finger. I then hear him tackle the black and white cat, claws tear into carpet as fur-exhuding felines change directions. The black and white cat protests like a baby being drowned, two taut bodies crash into the front door, more carpet tears. Then silence.

Then the crazy lady upstairs turns her water on and lets it run. I will be asleep before the water stops running. I believe she is running water in her tub. I do not want to know what is going on up there. She lives on the third floor and the second floor apartment that is a buffer between us is vacant. In the last couple of years since a long-time female resident moved out she has succesfully driven two pairs of male roommates out of the second-floor apartment due to constant complaining on her part. The two guys that recently moved to another building in the complex were so paranoid after weekly calls to the police that they were afraid to play music or watch television at a normal volume. The alpha male of the two admitted to me that he was afraid to light up while watching television because he never knew whether or not the police would come a-knocking.

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