Don’t Talk to Strangers. Or, Maybe Just Strange People.

“Do you live here??”

My apartment door is next to the mailboxes in my building. This upsets Doppler. Doppler is protective and likes to alert me to noises in the hallway. People sometimes like to retrieve their mail. I’ve explained this to Doppler numerous times. He forgets.

I come home late on a random Friday night and find a woman leaning (slouching, swaying, stumbling a bit.) against the end of the row of mailboxes, partially obstructing my front door. Upon approach, I realize I’ve met her before.

As I’d recalled, this creature is unstable under normal conditions. There was an incident a few months back which involved a break-in, bloody doorknobs, and general disarray. Events such as this tend to unite residents in such close quarters. She had come galloping up to me in a gossipy fury, ranting about the apartment manager, about his refusal to believe anything she said, and how I needed to report this, because he hated her, and threw her sister out, and it was one great big conspiracy. Nodding and smiling I cautiously tiptoed back behind my door, closing it quietly, still smiling as not to alarm her.

Thus I am justifiably alarmed yet curious as I arrive home exhausted at 2 a.m. to find this woman in a gelatinous (albeit vertical) heap against my apartment door.

“Do you live here?”

“…Yes. Yes. I live here.”

Maniacal grin. And laugh. “You’re in big trouble then!”

For an odd moment I thought she was flirting with me.

“Excuse me, I need to open my door.”

Her eyes, which I now notice, are dilated to 200x that of what is considered typical for the normal human eye, dart furtively as she covers her mouth. “No! You can’t go in there…”

“Um, yes. Yes, I believe I can.”

“NO! There’s someone in there…I heard them.”

“One. There’s a dog in there. Two. If there were someone in there, he would have taken their head off by now, and you would be hearing nothing. Excuse me…I need to take aforementioned dog out now…”

She sidles to the right to block my entrance. “Hey! Hey hey hey heeeeyyyyyy…um…you have to stay out here. The cops are coming.”

Sigh. I hate people who are high in real life. Burning Man, parties, I can handle. In the hallway outside my apartment, I am not in the headspace to be a babysitter.

“Did you call them?”

“No.”

“Who did?”

“I don’t know.”

“Then how do you know they’re coming?”

“Someone told me.”

“Who?”

“I don’t know.”

This is going fucking nowhere. I shove her out of the way. She grabs my hand. “WAIT! Why are you wearing gloves!?!?”

“It’s cold out.”

Her glazed eyes widen as she stares at my menacing hands.

“That’s – really, wierd…”

“Is it.”

She stares at me, as a look of realization comes over her face. “You’re, like, a perpetrator, aren’t you…”

Sigh. “Yes. I’m a perpetrator. We all wear black North Face glove liners. I’m wanted in twelve states.”

“YOU broke into your apartment!” She points a chipped French-manicured finger at me.

I unlock my door and walk in. Doppler runs up, wagging his tail, grateful that I’ve finally opened the door, no doubt wondering what’s taken me so long to do so. “Look,” I say. “I need to walk my dog and go to bed.”

“OOOOOH!” She begins clapping her hands and bouncing excitedly. Doppler reciprocates. “Can I come with you?”

This is where a critical decision must be made. Either I say yes, and tolerate her erratic behavior for five more minutes, or say no, and risk unpredictable behavior for an unknown number of minutes. I opt for the former.

I look down. “You have no shoes on.” I am hoping this revelation will get me out of my forced dog-walking company.

“OH! My apartment’s right down here! C’mere!!” Fail.

I follow her down the hall and debate whether entering her apartment is really the safest choice at this point. I opt for hanging cautiously in the hallway. I peer in.

There is virtually no furniture to speak of. There are, however, about fifteen pairs of shoes littering the floor (so we have that issue solved), a disassembled cell phone, various outfits strewn about, emptied bottles of alcohol, and Jimmy Hoffa’s corpse.

(Ok, so I lied on the last bit.)

It ironically took her several minutes to find a goddamn pair of shoes.

“Ok!” She squealed, after finding a pair of red, patent-leather pumps. “I’m ready to walk the dog!”

Sigh. At least it matched her velour jogging outfit.

We retrieve the dog, at which point, she resumes her squealing and bouncing (in four-inch heels, I’m impressed), which gets Doppler all excited, and he starts barking and bouncing. I am neither barking nor squealing nor bouncing. Nor wearing heels. It is now 2:50 a.m.

“If you are going to join me, you need to keep him calm, please. Not only that, but people are sleeping…”

She raises her head to look at me, her dilated eyes ready to well up with tears.

Oh for fuck’s sake. Really?? I turn to walk out the door. She follows.

I’m walking the dog.

She’s going on again about the crime in the building and how the manager never tells anyone and the police are coming and there’s (still) someone in my apartment and am I sure I’m not a perpetrator? And she can’t believe he threw her sister out (boing boing squeal)and –

“Shh!”

Oh yeah sorry and I really like your dog we should be friends but they might arrest you because you have gloves and ew your dog is pooping –

Sigh.

Doppler mercifully finishes. We head back into the building. I inform her I am going to bed. There is no welling of tears this time. The crazy bitch starts full-on bawling at me. At my front door. It’s 3:00 a.m.

And I wonder why I’m not the one calling the police.

I de-leash the dog and secure him inside. I turn back to her.

“Look. I’m sorry. But – ”

“Do you have any drugs?” She’s stopped crying now.

“No. I do not have any drugs.”

“Because if the police come they’re going to look for drugs you know.”

“Right.”

“If you have drugs they’ll arrest you.”

I peer into her silver dollar pupils and say, “Reeeeally?”, grinning like an idiot.

Suddenly a door opens across the hall. A neighbor I’ve never met before, a young-ish guy, maybe late 20’s, emerges. She turns and exclaims excitedly:

“SEE!!” and points to me again. “I told you she broke in!”

Now, I can tell from this poor guy’s face that, a. he’s never seen her before in his life and thus, b. has NO idea what she’s talking about. He looks to me for help. I throw my hands up helplessly and shake my head. Cracked-Out Girl starts in again.

“She came home and was wearing gloves and I BUSTED her! And she has DRUGS!”

At this point I confess that I wish I did. Or at least a good Merlot.

As she was turned away, I mouthed “sorry…” at the guy and quietly snuck into my apartment, breathing a sigh of relief that she was now someone else’s problem.

Changed into my sweats, prepared for bed. Knock at the door. Holy hell.

Peephole.

Seattle’s finest. At my door. At 3:30 a.m.

Goddammit. I’m paying too much rent for this shit.

I open the door, bright smile on my face. “Well, good morning. And what can I do for you today?”

“Sorry to bother you, we were told someone broke in – ”

“Oh yes. I did.” (I thought, fuck it. I was done with this situation. What were they going to do, arrest me for having a sense of humor?)

“Ma’am?”

“Oh, yes. According to the girl on acid at the end of the hall, wearing black gloves makes me a perpetrator, and thus I broke into my own apartment. Luckily I had a key, so I didn’t have to bust the lock or break the door down.”

Officer #2 starts laughing hysterically. Apparently Cracked-Out Girl was quite enchanting on the phone so they were expecting something like this when they arrived.

After some more conversation, they apologized, said they needed my name and information for the report, asked for my account of the evening.

Thet tipped their hats and left.

Bed.

Crash

“I DONT NEED TO TAKE CARE OF ME!! YOU NEED TO TAKE CARE OF YOU!!!”

I run to the peephole to catch to officers walking past, shaking their heads and laughing at the words of advice being screamed at them down the hallway.

4:00 a.m.

Bed.

Voulez-voulez-vous drugs are bad, mmmkay?

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