Hits 2045 | Created 2006-03-27 | Modified 2007-05-19
There was a buzz on the intercom and then a mysterious invitation to a meeting later that night.
'I don't like surprises, K,' I said, 'What's this about?'
'About your neighbours. It's in your best interest to hear what I have to say.' He crackles.
So I go, later, prepared for the worst.
He explains that he is a manic-depressive, but on good medication. He goes on to explain that because of his condition he has a unique insight into personality disorders. And because he is a (industry) contractor he is also an officer of the law.
I look confused at this and he tells me that all jobs ending with 'or' are officers of the law. I think of the rhyme, 'Soldier, Sailor, Tinker, Tailor', hang on, I think, what about a machine operator?
He goes on... and because he has this insight and authority (he comes to the point):
'L (another neighbour), is a psychopath, and I think he wants to harm me and my family.'
I consider this. L is a mild mannered young man who looks like a vegetarian Buddhist. I find it hard to believe that he is a psychopath.
He provides examples that are, perhaps, a bit of a stretch.
I let is pass and promise that I'll be careful. We move on to the recycling bins that he has recently thrown away (all of the building's). He justifies this firstly by saying that it is messy when they are left outside, then by saying that recycling is worthless and most of it ends off on the normal landfill anyway, and then finally by getting out a sealed envelope containing a lurid magazine calendar featuring gimp outfits and naughty nurses. It is, however, not obscene, merely rude and slightly disturbing.
He found this in the recycling, and this could fall into the hands of a five year old.
'So,' he says, 'what are a few bean tins compared to the corruption of a five year old?'
I have no answer for this. 'It's not my magazine,' I point out, 'and my recycling doesn't contain anything corrupting.'
'But I just told you, recycling is pointless!'
I don't feel included to argue. I make excuses, but he has something else to tell me.
'I want to offer you some advice, and you should take it, because I'm old and I'm an officer of the law...' (etc, loop) he goes on, 'when you see a little girl in the street, you must ignore her. Don't even look at her. Because she belongs to the father. And when you see a little boy, you must do the same, except you may look into his eyes for a few seconds before looking away. Because I saw you saying hello to that baby girl the other day. You mustn't do that.'
I splutter, 'Why on earth are you telling me this? What baby? What, our neighbour's baby? I didn't even know it was a girl K! I've only even seen it once in passing!'
'She was wearing pink when you saw her,' he says, as if that ends the argument.
'Fine, fine, I say.' Getting up.
'Ah, you're a sensible lad, taking my advice.'
'K,' I say, 'believe me, I'd rather get on with you than not. Anything for an easy life.'
He erupts! 'An easy life! For evil to triumph all that must happen is for good men to stand idly by! This world is full of fucking evil!' Tears are forming in his eyes. He shakes with rage.
I shake his hand and say goodbye.
'I've done my public duty!' He shouts as I leave.
Back in my flat I lock the door securely. Very securely.