My neighbours invoke a feeling of uselessness and terror in the gaping hole between food and bone. At around eight o’clock a haunting sound resonates/permeates through my ceiling. Quickly fills up the spaces of this vacant home. The sound of Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Beck. Coldplay even. What’s left of music hangs and filters through every orifice. The leftovers. Dog fart music.
While I type, eat, type again, auditory torture makes me want to take up arms and butcher but, at the same time, savage hatred brings palpitations. A day overflowing with chattering mammals only makes me yearn for the sound of a universe before creation or after destruction.
I’ve complained about this in the past but my neighbours’ memories are fragile things. They forget that I still live here, that I work, that I need to awake at a certain hour and sleep well so I can face the other music. Dog fart music goes on till one in the morning, pounding it is sometimes, remorseless, like I’ve fucked their mother and killed their father. Forgive my Freudian misunderstanding.
When I can’t sleep I smoke at my favourite chair in the kitchen, contemplate calling the police. But then I see them coming at one in the morning, knocking, looking pissed off, entering, analysing actual decibels, staring at my dressing gown, judging, judging, judging…so I don’t bother. I smoke another cigarette and write some crappy poem instead, then trudge back into bed hoping the monsters upstairs have taken pity on my need to exist.
The punishment doesn’t end at night however. Oh no, some mornings, at say seven, my neighbours decide to make violent love in their creaky motel bed. Their screams and exultations startle my wife and I from our innocent sleep, bringing into question our very sexuality and practices. Do they also hear us when we you know… Do we creak and moan like Michael Douglas in a tacky 80s thriller?
“The neighbours’ sex woke me up, officer. It was brutal.”
I’m sure they’re probably not that bad once you get to know them. Just like the obnoxious loud-mouthed idiots in the train carriage who share their lives and secrets with anyone and everyone, or the wankers who on Sunday mornings overtake on dead quiet streets. I mean imagine a world full of such thoughtless cretins packed into little boxes, little offices, little buses and trains and trams and little cafés, sipping a coffee or watching a game down the pub. Or taking your space in the queue, or taking your job, or stealing your novel. And then slamming the door to their flat, slapping on their favourite CD and hammering their girlfriend.
The answer is not to quiver like a pooch thrown in with tigers or act like Woody Allen in a neurotic overacted menopausal scene. The answer is to take it like a man and have another word with my fellow beast. Or just write a story about it and feel really smug for no apparent reason. I’ll go with the latter.