Welcome to TackyTown, U.S.A.
Population: 3? 4?
Apartment 3F. Oh yes, Apartment 3F. What can I say?
I can say it’s nice. One bedroom, nicely appointed kitchen and bath. Dark hardwood floors, high ceilings, spacious (by Manhattan standards).
I can say it’s expensive.
I can say the guy who used to live there seemed like a really decent sort. Quiet. Polite. Sociable enough to offer a smile and a greeting whenever we met in the hallway. The sort of neighbor anyone would be thrilled to have.
I can say that the few times I managed to peek inside his apartment during our brief chats in the hallway, I liked what I saw. He seemed to have decent taste.
I can say I wish he’d move back. Pronto.
You see … the new neighbors … Well, just look at what they’re using for a welcome mat. Look. Yes, that’s right. It’s a carpet remnant. But not just any old carpet remnant. A poorly cut, filthy, hey-I-just-vomited-a-can-of-creamed-spinach green carpet remnant, left over from the garbage that they actually installed over the beautiful hardwood floors when they moved in this past May.
I knew something was wrong with these new tenants before I ever laid eyes on them or they ever laid down the carpet. I knew something was wrong as soon as I peeked in during their move (I’m such a yenta) and saw the ornate gold-gilt chairs with pea-green cushions. I knew something was wrong when every piece that was brought in was more hideous than the one before it.
I expressed my sense of foreboding to the DOG.
“I don’t know,” I said. “I’m scared. I just saw the new people’s stuff. It’s objectionable. Shit that even my grandparents would consider hideous. I’m worried. Why the hell did S have to move out?”
Well, as it turns out, I wasn’t just paranoid. As it turns out, I had every right to be scared. You see, my new neighbors are not what they told the landlord they were. They are not an interior decorator and her one lovely child. They are a psychic and her two or three obnoxious children.
Yes, a psychic. A palm-reader. A palm-reader who advertises that her services are $5.00. And that “walk-ins are welcome”. Yes, walk-ins are welcome into a five-story building that houses only six units. Walk-ins willing to part with the lofty sum of $5.00, walk-ins with the intelligence to believe in the advice of a palm-reader, walk-ins fresh off of Broadway are welcome to just roam around the halls of a doormanless, rather high-rent building.
And how do I know about her advertising? Well, I know because it was all laid out in blue and white on a large two-sided sandwich-board sign that she placed just outside the front of the building when she first moved in.
Yes, nothing says, “This is a really classy joint” than a cheesy sign advertising cheesy services for the price of a block of cheese.
Well, that just didn’t sit well with me and the DOG. And apparently it didn’t sit well with the other neighbors or the building manager/landlord (whatever he is), because the next morning the sign was gone. However, she and her two (three?) screaming brats are still in 3F, as is the hideous furniture, and the pervasive, invasive smell of boiled macaroni and particularly odoriferous onions.
But what’s a girl of impeccable taste and steadfast impatience to do about the filthy, unsightly carpet remnant? Is it so wrong for me to seriously consider accidentally dropping an open ten-gallon drum of acid, motor oil, or spaghetti sauce onto it? Is it so wrong for me to actually consider creeping down 35 steps at 3:00 a.m. and sneaking the vile thing back up to my apartment, stuffing it into a big trashbag, and then disposing of it in a Dumpster about a block and a half away?
But … then again … what if Madame 3F really is a psychic? Then she knows I’ve been considering these alternatives ever since the carpet remnant first appeared about three weeks ago. She knows, so that means she’ll be peering through her peephole at 3:00 a.m., waiting for me to make my move.
The real question, though, I suppose, is this: Is she really a psychic? Or am I just psycho? Further, do I even have a big enough trashbag?