Saturday, January 28, 2012

This is the police

Early Friday morning, in the darkness before dawn, the police rammed-in the door of our upstairs neighbour. We heard a shout, a scamper, a faint tinkling, then what sounded like a large dumbbell being dropped to the floor.

A shouted command: This is the police; if there is anybody else in flat 7, come to the front of the building.

I poked my head out the window and looked to the street below. They had cuffed our neighbour and were guiding him into a waiting van. I saw a member of the Special Operations team holding a machine gun and shield. I saw another policeman standing guard at the end of our street. He saw me and muttered something to his lapel; I withdrew my head in consideration of what this might be.

Our upstairs neighbour had caused us some trouble in the past. We did not share the same needs. For example, he did not need to sleep, whereas we did. He did not need to work, whereas we did. As a man of presumable means, he was living the charmed life.

He was a great lover of music and indulged this passion at every convenience. He owned a stereo (with a formidable capacity for Johnny Cash) which he often played into the early hours of morning. When afforded the opportunity to learn violin, he grabbed it and refused to let go, improvising folk melodies with stereo backing from The Man in Black. Several times I had knocked on his door or rung on his buzzer to request silence, with only a 50 percent success rate.

After bundling him into the van, the police spent several hours making noise in his flat. Stamping, shifting, scraping, dropping, drilling, scuffing. Scrabbling. And I thought this to myself: He's not coming back. I considered catching up on some lost sleep then and there.

                                                                  *           *           *

So here I sit, Friday evening, gleefully writing this epitaph, when I hear footsteps upstairs. From beyond the grave, as it were. He's back. I know it's not the police, because I hear the stereo spring to life and a song blare through the ceiling. You might wonder: after a pre-dawn raid, arrest, jailing, lawyering, bailing and whatever else-ing, what is the first song you play? It's this.

And it makes me very happy. Because I know as it plays he must be sipping whisky neat and casting a thousand-yard stare out the window.

1 comment:

Sweet Olive Press | Helen said...

It's completely wrong to be listening to this and laughing at the same time.

You have (inadvertently?) messed with my emotions, and my overdeveloped sense of justice.