In this small apartment complex I call home, I contemplate the fragility of the human mind more than I ever imagined I would. I have a corner apartment on the second floor. Only one wall, my bedroom wall, is shared by the man in 2-E. I lay awake listening to the sounds he makes, idly pondering about everything I hear.
Tobias, my dear neighbor, is quite old. I’m not sure of his exact age. The many times I’ve talked to him have been more than interesting, sometimes even comical. He tells me of his youthful days, his family, the stray cats he feeds because no one else will. However, there’s been an equal amount of conversations that have been quite disconcerting.
The first strange conversation, more a lecture, was about Angels. Not just ordinary Angels, but secret service Angels that ride on the radio waves. He told me how he always has to watch the license plates of cars, because these Angels have special plates. He told me what was on these plates, but I have long forgotten them. The plates, however, aren’t important.
These Angels, he says, take people from their homes, cars, and even out of stores. These Angels, as he has told me many times, are searching for him. They use the radio waves to travel all the way across the country within minutes, looking for him and waiting for him to make a wrong move.
There’s a way to be free of these Angels forever, and he plans to do it as soon as he can. He’s told me about a birdhouse in the woods where he must go. He says it’s safe there, that there are no roads and no radio waves. They would never find him, and he could be free of them. He has never disclosed the location of his birdhouse in the woods, for fear the Angels would detect his voice over the radio waves and come for him.
The second conversation disturbed me in ways I didn’t think possible. So many times he had told me of a bright, happy childhood and adolescence. I’d always thought it a bit odd that there was a stretch of his life he didn’t talk about, from seventeen to twenty-five or so. I wish he wouldn’t have told me of those years.
When he was seventeen, he was sent to a ‘correctional facility’, as he called it. He has never told me what he had done to be sent there, and I have never asked. He told me that at first it wasn’t so bad, there were many nice people and the staff was very courteous. That only lasted until he turned eighteen. He spoke of Electroshock Therapy and ice tubs, his friends in the facility being lobotomized, of how they would beat him and force him to soil himself for days on end.
The worst, he’s said, was the Donkey. That every day they would bring in the Donkey with a forty-two inch appendage that would, in his words, “Fuck me in the ass.” I can’t think of a nicer way to word it. He’s told me that he still fears this Donkey and is also always watching for him.
There are so many more things he’s told me that I would love to share, however, that would be much more than I care to think about at the moment.
I listen to the sounds coming from his apartment, the shouts and yells at people who aren’t actually there. I hear him cry when the people in the apartment above him decide to tease him- They scrape at the floor and will tap on it steadily, one time reaching a record of two hours. Tobias cries and screams because he believes either the Angels or a mystery woman named ‘Kayla’ is digging through the ceiling to get him. His cries pain me to hear. No one should have to suffer so much in their own mind.
The awful sounds of a grown man's crying keep me up at night, yet there’s nothing I can do to console him. I’ve tried, rather unsuccessfully, to get 3-I to stop their bullshit. I’ve tried everything from friendly letters to aggressive letters, face-to-face confrontation, even going so far as to slash the tires of their precious BMW. Still, they continue to torment Tobias.
I don’t know what to do anymore. There’s nothing I can do to help him. I played along with him, which I deeply regret. I can’t bring myself to tell Tobias that 3-I has been empty for a little over a year because something had tried to dig through the floor.
Written by Chronobunny