As I explained earlier, the walls are like a piece of paper. On one side of the wall is the parking lot. On the other of the paper lie Steve and Joe. When I was first assigned to this squalor of a complex, I didn’t hear anything. And one night the music started. I can’t even say it began as a low hum and then went up from there. It just started and ended in loud horrendous thumbing bass. It began at 10 pm and went until 10:30. At that time I thought to myself, that it was a one-off thing and it can’t surely be a normal thing. Until it started again at 3:30 AM! As much as I wanted to scream and bang on the wall I had to remember that I am on assignment. It doesn’t pay to bring attention to yourself. So, I let it go.
Two days later when I was sitting at my laptop, having my morning cappuccino and it began. Thumping. It was 10:30 AM!! Who in the hell is even home to listen to anything like that in the morning? I thought to myself that if I’m a “regular person” living here what’s unusual about a “regular person” knocking on the door of ones neighbor and asking politely to please turn the music down? So I did. What met me at the door was a thin dead-eyed young man who looked to be no more than 20 standing there with no shirt, dirty wrinkly khaki walking shorts hanging at least 6 inches below his underwear. Good Lord.
I tried to take a quick look around. I could make out a large bed and the kitchen. I’m not sure how he managed it but, the place was absolutely pitch black. How did he get it to be this dark at this time of the morning? It was June and sunny as hell outside. Somewhere, in the dark of night in the day time, I heard someone say “who is it?”
That was Joe. How did I know it was Joe? Because Steve said, “How the hell do I know Joe?”
I said, “Hi, my name is Brad.” I think Brad is a nice fake name. It’s simple and easy to remember.
Steve said, “I’m Steve”
I said, “I just moved in next door. Do you think you could please turn your bass down, just a wee bit?”
With his signature dead-eyed expression, Steve said “ugghh sure.”
I said, with a big smile and overly enthusiastic neighborly, “Thanks so much. And if you ever hear my tv turned up too loud, please feel free to let me know!”
Steve said, “ugghh sure.” With that, the door closed in my face. I felt successful in my pretense of being a “regular person” that all went well.
Part of my career training was on body language and facial expressions. From Steve’s bored as hell expression I knew damn well that wasn’t the end. But, I was busy keeping a low profile and learning how to get in and out of where I needed to be in a week’s time.
Two evenings later I had just gotten back from surveillance. I was standing outside of my horrible rental when a pretty girl walked by and said “Hi”
I said, “Hi. My name is Brad and I’m new in town. Do you know of anywhere to get something good to eat? I’m feeling like something different. No burgers or anything like that.”
She said, “Nice to meet you, Brad. My name’s Carmel. There’s a good Turkish place on Broadway. It’s called, ‘Taste of Kofte’. I love Turkish food. I may be going to Turkey to teach English in a few months.”
I said, “Thank you, Carmel. As I said I just moved into this town and complex. I know it’s not nice to say but, I didn’t think there was any actual culture or good food.
Carmel said, “I know. The place is a bit of ummm well. It’s a place. Some of the people are actually very nice. Then there are the others. I live in number 37 and the two guys next to me are just creepy and loud.”
I said, “I live in number 35. I had the pleasure of meeting both Steve and Joe.”
Carmel said, “I’m sorry. I keep thinking they’ll leave. But, they never do. Anyway, I’ll leave you alone to go and have dinner. It was nice to meet you, Brad.”
I said, “It was nice to meet you to Carmel. Hopefully, Steve and Joe will leave and it’ll be nice and quiet for us both.”
That week came and went. During that week I saw Carmel a few times as well. She looked tired and sad. She said that the noise had gotten her down from next door. I had to knock on Joe and Steve’s front door at least four times. They stopped coming to the door by the fourth time. I then took to banging on the wall. I hate Steve and Joe more than I thought I could actually hate two people that live next door. I realized by the third time I banged on the front door and heard the whispering, as the music went down and then up again, that this was a game.
During this time, I also completed my assignment, expertly of course. I didn’t leave town. That would look too obvious. When certain assignments are completed it’s best to stay in the area. There tends to be a lockdown. No coming and no going.
Since I had some down time I decided that maybe I’ve been alone too long. Maybe, it’s time for me to, at least, meet a nice girl. Smart, kind, funny.