The Screamers.

So, I get it that my neighbors could certainly be worse. In New York City, you’re basically lucky if you don’t live in the same building as one of the perps from “Law and Order: SVU” who is, like, dehydrating and storing the bodies of little children in his/her broom closet to use as visually interesting decorative art, fun sex toys for exploring his/her wilder side, or maybe to make jerky out of. But I’m starting to feel like that wouldn’t even be so bad, because hey, dead people are quiet, and whatever, everyone has a hobby.

My neighbors across the alley are probably not murderers, but they absolutely ARE aliens (No, not the kind from Mexico or Poland, silly. The kind from Mars.). My roommate and I call them “the screamers.” In case you can’t guess, it’s because they spend every waking hour screaming at each other. Again, not that special. EXCEPT that they are, by all accounts, yelling at each other in an extraterrestrial non-language, and their apartment (which is the same size as mine) is small enough that an inside voice will suffice to communicate between parties unless one of those parties is deaf or wearing earmuffs. With the screamers, anything is possible.

A study of the screamers has yielded the below information:

The screamers keep their shades drawn closed, except in their kitchen/lair, where they go down to about 1 1/2 feet above the windowsill. That 1 1/2 feet reveals the following:

1. They collect newspapers and magazines

2. They have a whimsical cardboard cat in the window

3. They are probably squidbillies.


4. They own a laptop and only use it to play solitaire (all the time. always. never ceasing)

5. There are between 2 and 10 of them

6. They never sleep. Or they sleep in the daytime while we are at work (and if the latter is the case, they can tell when one of us is home, and it makes them scream).

7. They might be mentally retarded, which makes me feel sad and not want to make fun of them. But they seem more insane than anything else. Also, whatever they are ruining my peace and quiet.

One time, I saw one. Just one. The old man (?). He had a wife beater on and was crouching by the window we can’t usually see into. He waited until I walked in front of my window and then he aimed a high-power flashlight beam on me.

This is actually a true story. I know you think it isn’t, but it is.

That’s right. He waited in the darkness, and then he spotlighted me.

I hit the deck. And stayed on it for a pretty long time, just sort of whimpering. I eventually crawled to safety.

I now sometimes lay awake hoping that the screamers aren’t physically fit enough to invade our apartment by jumping or swinging on a very short rope across the alley and into our kitchen window.

The one who spotlighted me looked exactly how I imagined they looked, which is roughly like this:

my neighbor

and to some extent this:

my neighbors, some fan art

I wonder what they are screaming about. What are they saying? What are they thinking? Are they thinking of me? There are no answers. With the screamers, down is up and in is out. For now I’ll just keep sleeping with my fan on as loud as it can go, with a blunt object next to my bed, dreaming Brooklyn dreams.


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