Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Night has a Thousand Ears

I heard my neighbor yelling last night. It must've been loud, for it was cold, and the windows of both our houses had been closed. I looked at the neon clock. Just past one. So I sat up, craning my head like a dog, trying to catch a little of what he was shouting. But all I could hear was the monotone bass of his voice, and a higher voice, a woman's voice, calling him an idiot. Who was she? It used to be that he'd fight with his wife, the mother of his child, the woman he'd knocked up. But she must've reached her limit with him, because I haven't seen her or the daughter in a couple years. The guy himself was gone awhile, caught breaking into a scuba shop up the coast. These days I rarely see him, except when he's walking quickly past our houses, head studying the pavement. Shame is the hammer that pounds the nails around here.

But I notice him now, his voice cutting through the night, through the cold rain. And the banging, like furniture being flipped over. Suddenly, there are two loud pops which make me jump. If this were the States, I'd assume someone got shot. I sit quietly, waiting for screams, for sirens, for helicopters. But all is still. I roll back to sleep...

On the turntable: Grateful Dead, "American Beauty"
On the nighttable: Lowell Sheppard, "Chasing the Cherry Blossom"

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