This one time at Writer's Camp…
The War Has Just Begun
A declaration of war is a big thing, something one does not declare without considering the ramifications.
The decision took me about seventeen seconds this morning.
I have really bad neighbors who live above me. They’re two college girls who have lots of parties, smoke wayyy too much and seem to be running a brothel out of one of their bedrooms. They also have a dog who, despite all things, is rather well-trained and pretty decently behaved. I’ve learned, living beneath them, that two barks from him means “Gotta pee!”
Unfortunately for the dog (and for me), the girls are usually too drunk or hungover to actually be bothered with taking him out to pee in the morning. They’ve let him suffer for hours before letting him go out onto the balcony, where he pees all over the place (I don’t blame him. I totally understand) and it leaks down onto my porch. I’ve talked with the office quite a few times but until I “catch them in the act” (which I suppose means recording the dog peeing on the balcony while standing under it… asstards) there’s nothing they can do.
My noise complaints also have gone unheeded. I’m okay with partying (really, I am. I’m not that damn old) but partying until 7 AM on a Monday morning? Really? The office says I need to have the compliance officer (an off-duty cop who lives here) catch them in the act. Again, not sure how to do this, since the noise seems to come in waves and is totally random. A steady thrum of noise would be survivable, but the random scream or laughter or dropping of dead body onto the kitchen floor gets annoying quick.
So today was the final straw. Poor dog barked for three hours before they let him out. They were still partying when I got home from work. Someone dropped an ashtray onto my porch. I decided it was time for a little payback.
You see, one thing that is nice about my complex is that from the hours of 6AM until 10PM, you can be fairly noisy. “Fairly” noisy, so long as nobody’s getting killed or abused. And I like to listen to music. Random music. Music that can, if unprepared for it, can startle you. At random intervals. And make your ears bleed when played at the right volume.
So enter my collection playlists containing 16 hours of Scottish bagpipes. Preferably, the 42 Highland Regimental Pipes and Drums. Direct speakers upwards, crank volume up to about, oh, MAX, and then I let ’em have it. They lasted about two minutes before I could hear them shouting “turn it down” and “what the hell is that noise”.
The bagpipes played. Scots worldwide cheered. The groaning of college dimwits grew louder. “I’m going to call the office!” I hear one shout. I smile. I wait.
The average response time from the compliance officer is about eight minutes, faster in the mornings. I’ve timed it. Oh yes, precious, I’ve timed it well.
Five minutes, thirty-six seconds. I cut the bagpipes. Six minutes, compliance officer walks by. He stands outside my porch (I can see through my blinds) and looks around before he leaves. I wait three minutes to ensure he doesn’t come back.
42nd Regimental at full volume. This time I give it nine minutes. By now the girls upstairs are screaming at each other (and their boyfriends) to “do something about it”. Boyfriends leave. Yeah, they “did something about it”, you skanky, disease-ridden sweethearts: they left, leaving you all alone with an individual who practiced psychological warfare in the Navy as a hobby.
I have a new hobby. It involves… music. And insanity.
I cut the pipes. Compliance officer walks by not twenty seconds later. I cut that one a little close, but a message needed to be sent. Compliance officer knocks on… my neighbors door. No answer before the dude and his wife both work in the day. Compliance officer walks around some more, knocks on my door. I open it.
Me: Oh, hi.
CO (after introducing himself, not realizing I already know who he is): Have you heard anything strange?
Me: Well, yeah. I think those girls upstairs are going on about their boyfriends or something.
CO: Oh. Them again.
Me (trying not to laugh): Other than that, and their dog barking, I haven’t heard anything. Why?
CO: Well, they’ve been complaining about this screeching sound…
Me: Odd. They sound like screeching harpies but, other than that…
CO: Sorry to bother you.
Me: It’s okay. It’s time for me to get up anyway.
I close the door and wait. He’s hovering around the building and I think that he’s on to me. I wait ten, fifteen minutes. He finally leaves. Pipes come back on. Door upstairs slams and the girls flee their apartment, get into their respective cars, and tear out of the parking lot.
Compliance officer returns. Nothing. I think the’s starting to get pissed off at the girls who keep calling (who, at this point, aren’t home any longer).
Tomorrow morning: the 1812 Overture, Cannonade edition.
War has been declared, the battle has been joined.