Behind Condo Doors

My life is hard.
I’m at the beach this week. Try not to be angry if your locale is much unglier or less pleasant. If it helps, I had to bring the kids with me so it’s not a total vacation.

All week I have listened to the walking upstairs in Condo 302. So much walking. Walking at 1 a.m. Walking at 6 a.m. Always walking. Are they running some sort of ER triage up there? Is it a an all-night zumba class? It has tripped me up many times, because it sounds like the steps are inside my condo. I can’t count the times I’ve sat up in bed after midnight, waiting for a child or a vengeful apparition to enter. But no, it was none of that. It was whoever or whatever is living in Room 302.

All week I have asked myself the question, “Do I really want to know what’s going on up there in Room 302?” I mean, it could be something quite unsavory. Something that puts my life in danger. Something that will put an image in my head I can never get out.

Finally I know the answer to that question.

Yes. I want to know. I HAVE to know about the walking. I don’t even care if it’s weird or sordid or warped or boring or mundane. I HAVE TO KNOW. Are they raising baby donkeys? Is it a meth lab? Why are they always walking?

I’m gonna find out.

While I don’t yet know what’s happening in 302 (to be continued), excepting that me and someone up there are now on the same 3 a.m. bathroom schedule, I can tell you in too much detail what’s been happening in 202. 

We rented a paddleboard and many people expected me to die on it. I think a few even rooted for that. I wish I could tell you a better story about that. I wasn’t as bad at it as I expected. I only fell twice in about 90 minutes of doing it. The second fall was right at the end of a great ride and all I had to do was step off the board and be done. Instead, I hit a breaking wave and fell super awkwardly in knee deep water. I went under. It’s difficult for a person of my size to go under water when the water is knee deep. I came up 9 feet from a pre-teen boy who had the biggest smile on his face I have ever seen. I brought him much joy right then.

We also played with fire. It took a stranger sitting on a wooden beach chair to get anything to light for us. First, the poor man who just wanted time with his family had to help us get a tiny sparkler to light. When one of those finally lit, we used it (per the man’s wise counsel) to light the big NEON sparklers. Neon, my FOOT. Who cares what color they are in the daylight, people. It was dark. There was no neon. They were the same color as any other spark. Sheesh.

We burned through 45 sparklers in less than 7 minutes. Since that had gone so well, we figured, HEY, how about let’s try our hand at Japanese lanterns. Enter Poor Stranger again. The guy just couldn’t get away from us. It took 8 of us and him to get that lantern to take off in the wind. When we looked around after jumping and cheering, half the balconies of our building were filled with silhouettes of people watching and cheering also. Or maybe mocking. Hard to tell in the dark. We named our lanterns. The first one was Jerry Sprinkles McGillicutty. He disappeared fast. The last lantern, also done with the help of our Strange Angel, was Babar Zazu Chimichanga. That one burned for a long time. Chimichangas can do that, you know.

The water is 92 degrees. It is beautiful to look at but rather unpleasant to submerge in. I know. First world vacation problems.

I gotta go. I have business up in 302.

If you never hear from me again, I pass the mystery onto you. Except by then it will be two mysteries: (1) What was happening in 302, and (2) What happened to Missy.

boysatbeach

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These are the strange and frightening mannequins at the paddleboard place.
 

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