How do I say this delicately?
Let me try.
Upstairs neighbors, would you kindly stop being such inconsiderate fucks?
Would you stop clomping around in concrete boots at night? Would you stop clunking dead bodies across the kitchen floor, dismembering them in the living room, dragging them from there to the first bedroom, stuffing them into the too-small drawers of an antique armoire, and then clambering back and forth throughout the entire apartment to pick up any errant chunks that may have fallen in your haste?
As you send your victims off to The Big Sleep, you’re disrupting my regular one.
Since I moved into this apartment, almost a year ago, I have been forced, by dint of my upstairs neighbors’s rudeness, to seek an outlet for my frustration. And because I am not a fan of passive-aggression (or is that passive-aggressiveness?) (or passion-aggression?) (or arroz con pollo?) and prefer to deal directly with the source (and here, for whatever reason, I picture myself atop a mountain on the brightest and bluest-sky’d of days, holding a bottle alongside a glacier to catch the run-off, collecting my bottled water directly from, yes, the source), that outlet has been the idiots who are making all the racket.
Twice I’ve gone up to the offending apartment, in my robe, to inquire, with all the politeness I could muster given the severity of the circumstances, not only why its occupants had to drag corpses across the floor when modern technology exists to make the transport much easier on their backs and on my ears, but why they had to do it in high heels. This apartment, 14B, is on the thirteenth floor of this building, but because 13 is a bad bad bad bad bad number, this building refuses to acknowledge its existence. What this building does not realize is that a rose by any other name still gives me a fucking headache, and that its attempt to disguise the 13th floor as the 14th is at best slightly charming in an old-fashioned tea-sipping-lace-wearing-biscuit-nibbling way and at worst just plain old stupid.
(Aside: Now you know my apartment number, which means you are one step closer to knowing my precise address. Look for me to reveal that sometime around the year 2525 [if man is still alive].)
Each time I’ve gone up, I’ve been told that that apartment is not the source of the clamor. “It’s not me!” the woman said the second time, coming to the door in her stockingfeet. This, in shuffly contrast to the spiky high heel clack that I’d heard abovehead moments before. She also wore reading glasses and carried a dusty tome the size of two Bibles and The Physicians Desk Reference combined, open, to further indicate a quiet evenin’ o’ readin’. “It’s not me!” she insisted, as “Another Saturday night, and I ain’t got nobody” escaped from a back room, in gentle counterpoint to the bass-laden cacophony that had been invading my apartment through my ceiling.
At least the second time she answered the door. The first time, which was probably a month earlier, I rang the bell, but was not treated to a face-to-face encounter. Instead, only her muffled voice and that of a man seeped out from under the door. When I asked why they felt it was necessary to shove furniture across the floor at such an unforgiveable hour, they refused to admit they were doing it. (Tip: When confronting the potentially psychopathic, do as I do, and take special care not to let them know you are onto them. For example, I did not mention the murder and dismemberment, but instead substituted the word “furniture” for “hacked corpse”.) When I got back to my apartment after that unsatisfactory trip, the ruckus had stopped. Shocking!
I’ve since come to realize what’s really going on. And that is this. There is a secret 13th floor. This floor was in existence when the building was put up (notice how I avoided using the word “erected”) (until now) in the 1920s. And as we all know (or should know), that was the decade of The Prohibition. So what the clever boozehounds of that era did was somehow magically seal off the entire 13th floor, render it completely inaccessible by either elevator or staircase, and create a speakeasy that remains, in all its high-steppin’ splendor and glory, to this day. And within that speakeasy are contained the young partygoers of the ’20s, still in flapper gear and Zoot suits, still drinkin’ the illegal stuff, still doin’ the Charleston and whoopin’ it up like there was no tomorrow and certainly no one living on the 12th floor to complain. But if, somehow, someone discovers how to gain access to the decades old speakeasy and opens its door, everyone within instantaneously ages 80-some years and turns to dust. The merriment comes to an instant end. The party’s over.
I’d like to say that I am satisfied enough with this explanation that whenever the noise returns (and it does, almost every night), I just chuckle and wish I could join the party (I’d look smashing in a flapper dress), but I’m not. I prefer to think that someone’s being murdered up there. And plan how to murder the murderers.