Friday, January 23, 2004

squeek!: two more plot twists

Links to the first and second, and third "squeek" posts here.

Okay, so this story has got even more strange. Recall that, shortly after moving into his new (quadplex) apartment, my friend "J." found a "Dear New Person:" note left under his door asking him to switch his bedroom to the other room of his two bedroom apartment because of noise. When he knocked on his neighbor's door to ask if she had left the note, she denied it, so he concluded that it must have been the 75+ish older woman downstairs who left the note. Then, after he showed the scanned copy of the note to his landlord, he got word back that the handwriting was not that of the downstairs neighbor but that of the next-door neighbor.

So, about a week ago, "J." gets out of his car on a quite cold night and hears these shouts from behind the building. He walks around the building and sees his next-door neighbor and another woman standing on the balcony of her apartment. Apparently they had gone out to the balcony to have a cigarette and let the door close behind them and were locked out. They had been out there for awhile, and "J." has no idea what they would have done had he not come home. Anyway, the woman's front door was unlocked, so "J." is able to go into the neighbor's apartment to liberate them from the balcony. This is his first view into the neighbor's apartment. At this point, I need to draw a diagram of the back half of the two apartments in order to explain what "J." discovers:

"J." had assumed that the apartment next door was laid out basically like his, only the other way around: so that the woman's bedroom was Freak Room A and she had an office or whatever in Freak Room B. That their bedrooms shared a wall was what he presumed was the source of the problem.

Instead, what he discovers is that the woman's bedroom was Freak Room B, while Freak Room A was practically empty, except for this pillow and cushion looking sort of thing on the floor, like maybe somebody had slept there. The pillow was right up against the wall separating Freak Room A from J's bedroom, as if you could not possibly choose a more apt sleeping position if nothing quite lulled you to sleep so well as every little noise emanating from your neighbor's apartment.

When he let the women in, the one who wasn't his neighbor introduced herself as being the neighbor's daughter "Crystal" (or whichever of its manifold spellings). Crystal looked 18 or so, although "J." is not very good at telling ages. So, then, he imagines two scenarios:

1. The neighbor left the note, then for whatever reason denied doing it, and once she realized out that "J." was not going to switch his bedroom and office around, she switched her bedroom from Freak Room A to Freak Room B.

2. Crystal had been sleeping on the floor and then left the note without her mother knowing about it.

"J." remembered vaguely the landlord saying something about how the neighbor next door sometimes had someone staying with her, and thought this might be Crystal, through who knows what complicated familial housing scenario. Crystal was the only time he saw some other woman at the quadplex who was not one of the known resisdents.

Fast forward to tonight. "J." pulls into his driveway and see his neighbor looking out her window, as if she wanted to know who it was pulling in. When "J." bounds up the stairs to his apartment, the neighbor has a green Post-It pad and pen in her hand. She says that she was just leaving a note for "J." The neighbor says that the woman who had been staying with her had left the note and the neighbor had known nothing about it, which is why she said she hadn't left it when "J." asked her. She said the woman staying with her had moved out and went on at some length about how strange and presumptious she thought it was that the woman would have asked "J." to switch his bedroom and office around. The neighbor also repeated a few times that she had no noise problems, in a tone suggesting she was irritated at the woman for leaving the note.

So what's going on? At no point did the neighbor say that the woman staying with her was "Crystal" or was "her daughter," so maybe Crystal and the woman staying on the floor were two different women. If true, "J." never saw the second woman who was sleeping with her head against his wall. But why did the landlord say it was his neighbor's handwriting? And why was his neighbor writing a note when presumably she had just seen him in the driveway so knew he was coming?

Any ideas? "J." is baffled.

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