Story – The Neighbor

Yesterday was pretty terrible.

It all started when i woke up late for work. Traffic was insane and I almost got into a fist fight at a red light with a blue Beetle that refused to stop tailgating me. I spent the entire day at the office trying to mend relations with one of our most important client over a colleague’s stupid mistake. The printer kept eating my forms while I had no time to get lunch. Lucky printer. I had to stay late and if that wasn’t enough, my apartment almost burned down because I decided it would be a great idea to try to finish the chapter of my book at the kitchen table while frying some fish at 2 in the morning. I have anosmia (Don’t ever let your kids play with fireworks)so I didn’t catch the burning smell and had no clue anything was wrong until the fire alarm and 3 foot flames gave me a very slight hint that I should maybe get up and do something. The other tenants in the building were not amused. Okay, maybe i shouldn’t have been running around the kitchen with a fire extinguisher screaming my head off and sending things flying everywhere. But, what can I say? I might have panicked a little. My next door neighbor was beside himself, like usual, cursing and screaming at me through our shared wall. I could faintly hear all his birds in the background having a fit in their cages. Don’t get me started about that guy. He’s a real piece of work. A crotchety old man with, I’m pretty sure, a dozen birds (canaries, budgies, finches and i’m almost certain I once saw a pigeon and a big freaking red parrot in there). He gets into a blind rage anytime anybody makes the faintest noise! I dropped my keys once on my way out the door and he banged on the wall and yelled at me from inside his apartment until I left the building. I’m pretty sure he was still going at it when I got into my car but I couldn’t hear him anymore. This time, the screaming match lasted for an hour so you can understand why i’m pretty tired today at work. If this keeps going, i’m probably going to have to break my lease and move again.

 

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Neighbor update. The landlord’s guys came in today while I was at work to repair the damage to the kitchen. The cute british guy downstairs let me know when I came back from work that the old man pretty much cursed them out from his apartment until they we were done. He seems pretty fed up by the situation as well and is considering moving out. He seems nice enough though. A bit old for my taste but you never know! He invited me over for a drink but we had to move to the nearby pub when, you guessed it, my neighbor took offense to the volume of our conversation.

 

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I’m starting to think my neighbor might be mentally ill. This week, I’m pretty sure I didn’t even make a sound before he started berating me through our shared wall while I was reading a magazine. I nearly had a heart attack, this is getting ridiculous.

 

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The british guy moved out today. I’m sad to see him go but we are going to keep in touch online. The old man cursed out the movers and i’m pretty sure that burly mexican guy was a second away from kicking down his door and going lucha libre on his bony ass. It’s getting pretty quiet in this building now. Well, except for the daily screaming.

 

***

 

I’m moving out. I’m going to need years of therapy to undo all of this.

Got woken up at 7 in the morning by more cursing from my neighbor. I couldn’t take it anymore. I felt like an abused wife walking on eggshells in my own home. Nothing I did stopped the screaming.

So I called the police.

I greeted the 2 officers at the entrance of the building and we went up the stairs together followed closely by the exasperated landlord in his bathrobe. They heard the old man loudly rambling as soon as they came in and one of the officer frowned as we got to my floor. He knocked and announced himself. The screaming intensified. He kept yelling for us to stop it. The officer repeated himself more firmly and asked for him to open the door.

“Sir, this is the police. We would like to talk to you. Please open this door”

“STOP IT! STOP IT! STOP IT!”, he yelled.

He asked for a third time and was met with the same answer. They asked the landlord for the key as they believed the old man might be in mental distress and needed help. They opened the door and all reeled back at almost the same time, like a invisible wave had slapped them in the face. Confused, I looked inside.

The living room was dark but we could clearly see a form slumped in a recliner chair in front of a television next to a row of seemingly empty bird cages. Then it dawned on me. We were looking at a dozen dead birds and the rotting half eaten corpse of the old man. A big and very dirty red parrot on his shoulder was screaming a string of profanities at us in his voice.

“STOP IT! STOP IT! STOP IT! I’M NOT DEAD YET!”, it yelled.

 

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