The Prowler - October 27, 2008

(Reconditioning Batteries)

I was in bed with my girlfriend when we were woken up by a loud thumping noise and muffled screaming. It was 3 a.m. on Monday morning. At first it sounded like there was some kind of domestic dispute in the apartment upstairs, but after the grogginess of Sunday night football beers and a few hours of sleep wore off, we realized there was somebody outside trying to gain entrance to our apartment building. Every 20 seconds or so, the thumping and screaming would start and stop in a new location; on the front porch, on a window, on the vinyl siding on the side of the building, almost like James Bond rapping on a bookcase to find the secret passage behind it, but with less style.



I jokingly concluded that it was some kind of cat burglar's drunken intern, stumbling around after taking down a suitcase full of PBR tallboys in an attempt to steal my dirty dishes or the gold colored table runner on the back of my couch that I pass off as a decorative blanket. I live on the first floor of the building, making mine and one other apartment that shared our front porch the ones most accessible to prowlers, even ones that were shitfaced. The more I thought about how easy it was for me to break into my own apartment once when I was wasted over the summer, the less I laughed at my own joke. Finally, I jumped out of bed, grabbed a large, slippery kitchen knife out of the sink and side-stepped to the window to find out what was going on while the girlfriend fell back asleep. She lives in South Boston and deals with that kind of shit all the time. I, the paranoid, sleep deprived writer, do not and can not.



My eyes adjusted as I scanned the unlit parking lot from the kitchen window, clutching a Faberware chopping blade covered in what I could only imagine was marinara sauce. After seeing neither a suspicious looking person nor vehicle, I realized that I was standing naked in a window and I should either throw some clothes on or pull a shade. I imagined having to wrestle down some shadowy figure with my cock flopping all over the place as I put the knife back in the sink, checked the door locks and crept back into the bedroom to peek through the slats of my blinds. As the minutes passed, I could see lights go on in the houses that line my street. I barely breathed so I could focus on the voice of the intruder. I couldn't understand what the person was saying, but after a few minutes I could tell the voice was female.


"Ungh...was that your front door, Mike?!"

I felt more at ease knowing that Debo from Friday wasn't taking a sledgehammer to my hinges, but my girlfriend was right -- my door was definitely being pounded on by whoever was outside. The blackness of suburban New Hampshire was pierced by more and more lights flicking on down the street, shortly followed by the silhouettes of curious heads popping out of windows and doors. I still couldn't understand what the woman was saying, but I could somehow hear a booming male voice down the street bellow an unmistakable "CUT THE FUCKING SHIT ALREADY!" As I knew others were awake to witness the injustice being forced upon us all, my fear slowly steeped into a slow-cooking, sleepy anger. By this time it was 3:30 a.m. and I while I was genuinely impressed with her determination; I was ready to shove the woman's head through the slats of the front stair's banister and beat her unconscious with a pillow case filled with barbecue utensils.

"I'm fucking going outside and telling this drunk bitch to shut the fuck up." I yawn-whispered to my girlfriend while sliding on a pair of crumpled up jeans blindly yanked from the bottom of a dirty laundry pile.


"Don't, babe. If she keeps it up for another 10 minutes, call the cops."


As I reached for my cell phone, three Portsmouth Police cruisers filed into the driveway and aimed their spotlights on the front porch, flooding my entire apartment with intrusive, yellow light. I hiked up my jeans and stood by the drawn blind, listening to the heavy footsteps of a policeman slowly clop up the rickety front stairs. His voice was baritone and seemed to make my windows vibrate, but was just as muffled as the whore playing Blue Man Group on my walls was.

"Roorooroobity rissarrrrghhh."


"Rrahahkjhjkkkj ma'am, what seems to be the problem here?"


All at once, the situation began making sense to me. Last week, as I was enjoying a beer on my front porch with my best friend Tim, I saw my neighbor -- a severely underweight, 25 year old chain smoker with the kind of clothes and hair that scream "I'm way into horses" - pull into the parking lot. The girl made it a point to tell me she ended things with her boyfriend as she walked in to her place with an empty cardboard box, which was off-putting because I never really spoke with her other to make a passing comment about the weather or how our landlord never fixes anything. Even Tim, who never met her before that night, said he got a weird vibe from her. Finally, the Hellraiser box started solving itself and the big picture groggily surfaced for me as the conversation continued between my neighbor and the officer.

"Ma'am, do you know what time it is? You're really inconveniencing your neighbors right now."


"Ma'am, calm down. I'll call your boyfriend up and see if he'll quickly let you in. What's his number?"

The cop put his Nextel on speakerphone, which was almost louder than my neighbor's attempts to wake up New England with her cock washer and dick beaters.

*Oh man, I'm sorry, officer. She's fucking crazy. I'm not even home right now; I'm spending the night at a friend's house.*

The officer hung up the phone and there was silence for a few seconds before he started in again.

"Ma'am, you heard what I heard. It looks like your boyfriend - er, ex-boyfriend isn't home."


"Ma'am, that's illegal. I can't do that. What is it that you want to get exactly?"

A five second lull in dialog kept me and my girlfriend, who was now completely awake, holding onto the windowsill in anticipation. The way my neighbor was going on, I was starting to think this was drug related. Rent is cheap at my decrepit apartment building, with its cracked windows and paint peeling all over. The old beams supporting the porch's roof sag so much the Victorian looks like a gingerbread house an hour after a glass of water was poured on it. Dozens of disheveled looking young people walk in and out of their place at all hours of the night for God knows what reason. I could very well be living in one of Marlo Stanfield's stash houses and not even know it. I thought to myself, please tell me she's not trying get a fix of heroin or something. I can't afford to move right now. It can't be drugs. What could she possibly want? I mean, it could have been drugs to feed an addiction or a pet or a wallet or a live baby stuck in an icemaker; something dire. I mean, it had to be. What else could it be that demanded an hour's worth of this frantic immediacy?


My neighbor wasn't on drugs. She wasn't even drunk. This girl drove back to her old apartment a week after she split up with her boyfriend at three in the morning, screamed at the top of her lungs and dented every panel of siding she could reach, knocked on every door and rapped on every window for over an hour, roused everyone in the neighborhood within 500 feet of our building, managed to get the police called on her and had the audacity to demand the officer shatter a window pane so she could crawl in when she realized her ex-boyfriend wasn't even home. It wasn't to rescue a pet or a wallet or an infant lodged between Kenmore's generous cubed and crushed options -- it was all for a $29.99 piece of plastic used to play a video game.

My girlfriend and I looked at each other and laughed so hard that it was impossible for the cop and the girl to not have heard us. My girlfriend laughed at the absurdity of the situation that just took place and curled back up in bed. I laughed because I thought about all the hard working lunatics that happily devoted their entire lives to preaching Armageddon wearing "The End is Nigh" sandwich signs since time began, and how hilarious it was that my lazy, useless, Guitar Hero saturated generation would be the one to finally get front row seats for the end of the world.

Posted by KungFu Mike at 5:59 AM

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The funniest part about this...was that you have a girlfriend? HAHA how does that happen?

Posted by: Miss L A at October 27, 2008 08:37 AM

as usual, f'ing hilarious! Good to hear from you!

Posted by: goats at October 27, 2008 08:49 AM

What in the world?

Posted by: Wayland at October 28, 2008 12:01 AM

haha yeah that's the first thing i thought... mike has a girlfriend!?

Posted by: haha at October 28, 2008 01:10 PM

Everyone is more excited about the girlfriend thing than you posting again.

Put a picture of her up! We judgemental strangers must know!

Posted by: Taephit at October 29, 2008 10:48 AM

Glad you're back into posting again. Really enjoy your stories. Hope your book writing is going well.

Posted by: fUNKY at October 29, 2008 01:19 PM

Love this one, fucking amazing.

Posted by: caterpillory at October 30, 2008 01:42 AM

wow your still alive? i was begining to doubt we would get another post, its been so long

Posted by: Barks at November 10, 2008 03:43 PM

Wow. One hell of a story, good alternating tense and comic relief sessions.
For some reason, I want this to happen in my neighborhood too.

Posted by: Anonymous at February 22, 2009 08:02 PM

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