We have been in our apartment for a month. In that time we have come to realize that our upstairs neighbors Tony and Bonnie never sit down or sleep in their apartment. They are walking around constantly. I've hypothesized that occasionally they come home and in true Mr. Rodgers fashion, take off their sneakers and put on loafers which happened to be made from steel belted radial tires with shoelaces attached.In their bedroom, there is an empty bowl and in their living room there is a fishbowl full of plain brown M&M’s. When they get home they put their radial tire shoes on and began the arduous process of moving the M&M’s from the living room to the bedroom, one M at a time.
Of course, this is all conjecture.
One night last week, I was studying late for my Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) exam in the silence of the apartment when all of a sudden I heard.
“FUCK!”It came from upstairs. Someone was moving quickly across the floor followed by the sound of their glass door sliding open and hitting the door stop.
I asked Sam if she heard that. She didn’t and I left it at that and went back to studying. The next day I got up and started off to work for my exam. On the sidewalk in front of our apartment were two dirty black socks. I thought nothing of it except our neighbors were dirty assholes.
“Did you see them?”
“Yeah. Maybe we should find the owners.” I said facetiously.
“Why bother, they are burned. Dante went to sniff them and when I kicked them away from him they broke apart like ashes.”Suddenly a scene played out in my head, Tony is asleep in his apartment. He wakes up and smells something burning. Quickly he gets up supporting himself on the arm of his couch. The hallway had smoke in it. He's woken up from these alcohol induced catnaps in the past and wonders for a moment if he left something on the stove. He crosses the room and looks down the hallway, the smoke was not coming from the kitchen.
“FUCK!” He says. He knew where it was coming from. The large oscillating parabolic radiant heater was on fire. (The one he told me to get because it will keep me from getting an electric bill of FOUR HUNDRED AND ELEVEN DOLLARS.) The one that warms your house "like a motherfucker." But why was it on fire? He did not have time to think, he ran over to the heater.
But, the heater itself wasn’t on fire - something on the heater was on fire. As he grabbed the articles off it the fire started to climb up his arm. He asked himself - Bonnie, what did that woman do this time? He quickly ran back into the living room slid the door back forcefully. Then cast them out into the night, they flew into the air like twin small phoenixes burning gleefully in the cold darkness. They landed on the sidewalk, smoldering. He looked at his hand noting the singed hand and arm hair. His feet were bare. They were his socks, his favorites: the black ones with the gold toes. He had put them on the heater to dry them out.
As he closed the sliding door he started to think less about the tragic immolation of his favorite pair of black socks with the gold toes and more about the danger surrounding what just happened. Wood Floors, drywall, a wood frame apartment, the place could have gone up like a tinderbox. Collapsing the apartment building and killing those nice newlyweds downstairs: Samantha the Nurse and Tom his new business partner, that would have been tragic.“I really should be more careful.” Tony says to himself as he locks his sliding glass door behind him.
Of course, this is all conjecture.
I became ACLS certified. Meaning, if your heart stopped on a deserted island and it was just me, you , and fully stocked code cart and a fully charged defibrillator I could try and resurrect you.