There is nothing like the sound of cop radios erupting outside of your apartment in the building’s hallway during the middle of the night! Lifting my head off the pillow, I can hear the mutant like monotone of electronic spittle echoing in tandem with footsteps as some unknown brigade of policemen walk by my room’s front door. Hurriedly on their way to the apartment at the end of the hall no doubt, where that really angry sweaty guy has been building something twenty four hours a day for the last few weeks.
Knock! Knock! Hello sweaty dude! This is your wake-up call!
Only sweaty dude hasn’t slept once in the four months since he moved in, so a wake-up call it isn’t and as usual they’ll just tell him to stop building that spaceship or those gallows or whatever the hell it is that he’s been working on all nonstop and overly energetic like. And then they’ll retreat back down the hall to the elevator and their radio static will start to fade with it abruptly ending as the elevator’s doors close shut and they ride downstairs and recoil into the safe sensibility of their black and white patrol cars.
Its three AM and I don’t even hear sweaty dude’s makita cordless screw gun any more. It sorta went the way of the freeway noise when I lived on the other side of the building. After a few weeks you get used to it, kinda start to like it, almost crave it in order to get to sleep and then one day when you can hear yourself think you realize that sweaty dude’s either run out of speed and hopefully catching a few well needed Z’s or he’s dead and curled up in a fetal position on the floor with the needle still stuck in his arm never to torque another two inch self taping philips-head screw again.
Must a been someone new that just moved in and wasn’t used to being serenaded with a radial-arm saw after midnight that called the cops on sweaty. Certainly wasn’t my immediate next door neighbor, who I’ve never even once seen. But now that I’m awake I can hear her crying like I usually do on those nights when I’m laying in bed staring at the ceiling around three fifteen in the morning. Sobbing in relinquent anguish and obviously just on the other side of the thin communal wall that our bedrooms share and whatever it is that she weeps about has been haunting her well before the first night that I occupied this apartment. Her nocturnal routine however never seems to vary or subside. Always in the dead of the night she cries and moans, and no she isn’t having sex as there is no pleasure or lust in her voice. It is just the sounds of regret and a certain tone of loss that I can hear.
Depressing as she is, I’d rather have her on both sides sniffling away on the late night schedule than what I’ve got now for a neighbor across on the other side of the room. Too many mornings I’ve been woken up way too early by the over-amplified sounds of George Benson loudly playing “On Broadway” as the books in my shelves rustle and vibrate and what’s worse, when Mister Benson hits those tonal high notes as he bends that G minor my neighbor sings along in a tone deaf conspiracy!
Yesterday I couldn’t take it any more. I had been “On Broadway” every morning now for the past two weeks. So at six in that morning before I left for work I pulled out the Sex Pistols CD, punched up the stereo’s volume and with the speakers pressed firmly against our mutual wall I pushed play and then repeat, which it will then do until I push stop, and left for the day. When I returned some twelve hours later I think I heard a whispered thank you through the wall as I turned the reverberating stereo off and opened my blinds to the setting sun and the sweet murmur of rush hour traffic on the streets below.