He makes a left and continues down the street, straddling the little strip of nature between the sidewalk and the curb. As cars zoom by he's reminded of the Doppler effect, which in turn reminds him of his high school physics class, which reminds him of his friend Andy who helped him out sometimes and moved away but who was supposed to keep in touch, which got him a little more depressed and as all this was remembered he walks back into his building.
The first door, apartment A, is occupied by an older woman, she seems to be an old 50, like someone who has lived far too much life too quickly and was now, simply worn out. Her hair is a slightly graying blonde which probably isn't even its real color anymore. Her name is Janice. Pete couldn't stand the sound of that name. It seems like the kind of name you would give to a daughter you despised for being born. He doesn't know anything about Janice's personal life, but he assumes it was filled with pain and heart-ache and children who now despise her. Pete would have time for this when he grew a bit older.
Apartment B. First floor just to the left as you enter. Pete hates the fact that A was to the right of B. It didn't make sense. In English we read from left to right, why is his apartment building any different? Perhaps the person who put the letters on he doors was from a culture with a language that read right to left, maybe that person simply did not care and nailed any old letter on any old door. Apartment B was the residence of a woman he knew only as Erika. She often has parties on the weekends and Pete throws most of his get-togethers just to show her that he has a life as well. He is in a desperate struggle to not appear desperate to Erika. He doesn't even know if she does spell it with a k, he just assumes she does because she seems like that kind of girl.
She has a floor mat outside her door that has “Welcome” spelled out in a weird mix of Gothic and cursive lettering that is bordering on unreadable. Again he assumes it says Welcome, what else could it say? Her rain boots stand next to her door at attention. She calls them galoshes and he finds that incredibly endearing. They stand there as if she were raptured up, right on the spot and her boots were the only part of her left behind. If the rapture did happen, Pete was pretty sure he wasn't in that select group that would be taken. And if he was, well, he would probably wind up getting drunk and hitting on Mary Magdalene or beating up Jesus or some other unforgivable faux pas that would get him banished to hell for the rest of time.
Erika's muffled voice sounds from the other side of the door. It sounds like an argument. “...well just tell him that...” Pete stands there dumbfounded, enjoying that slightly nasal voice traveling through a door and into his ear. “...I know! She is such a bitch for doing that, I really can't believe...” Pete considers his position and decides to stop eavesdropping before one of his neighbors finds him. Although, what could they say? “Hey, stop standing around in the hallway of the building in which you live?” They would probably use a less awkward construction, now that he thinks about it. And they probably wouldn't say anything to that effect at all, now that he thinks about it more. His stomach grumbles to remind him of his mission. Self-preservation comes before reproduction! Plus, Erika just hung up what sounded like an old fashioned telephone. Why would she have one of those? He can't help but imagine her entire apartment is decorated in a gaudy, roaring 20's style.
Pete raises a leg and his foot lands on the first step leading to the second floor. As he reaches the top he notices his neighbor from across the floor has left his door ajar. His name is Cy. Pete is pretty sure it is short for Cyrus and he has no idea where he is from. “Cy, you there? Buddy?” Pete pushes the door open an inch wider and sees Cy cooking a gigantic omelette in a wok while listening to his iPod. “Yo! Cy!” Cy spins around, clearly startled, with his right arm cocked, ready to fling burning hot egg in the faces of his attackers. Pete dodges back behind the door and yells, “It's me! Pete! Your neighbor?” He rips an earbud out of his right ear and says, “Peter! You scared me the hell out of me, you little shit!” Pete peaks out from behind the door and Cy approaches with a hand out stretched to greet him.
“Get in here, Pete, I was just cooking an omelette, would you care for some?” Pete looks at the wok and what must have been a dozen eggs frying inside it. The eggs are covered in peppers, onions, tomatoes and a few other items. “Mmm, yeah, sure, cut me in on that.” Cy grabs two paper plates and divides the eggs onto them. He gives Pete about two or three eggs' worth, while he shovels the rest of it onto his own. “How can you eat that much? Where do you put it?” Cy's eyes glisten with a knowing twinkle and he whispers in hushed tones, “You should see my B.M.s. Simply glorious.”
“I really don't need to hear about your bodily functions before eating.” Cy smiles and reaches for his camera, “Are you sure? I've got my greatest hits on this thing.” He starts thumbing through the functions and his eyes grow wide when he finds a certain photo. “Check this one out, I named it the boa constrictor.” He flips the camera to face Pete and suddenly a chunk of egg is sucked into Pete's windpipe. The sight is indescribable. The longest and largest contiguous piece of feces Pete has ever seen is being displayed on a 3.8” screen on his neighbor's digital camera. Pete sputters and coughs while Cy pulls back his camera to his chest and dejectedly looks at Pete. “I... *cough* What is that? I mean... *cough* That... Why would you show me that?!” His eyes water as he tries to force more words out, but decides against it. “You really shouldn't be so sensitive. It's natural.” Pete swallows hard and says, “There is nothing natural about that.”
Cy sighs and puts his camera back on the shelf next to him. “Whatever, the guys on the message boards are gonna love this.” Pete starts thinking about what kind of internet communities Cy is a part of and before getting too far he refocuses on his eggs. “You washed your hands before making this right?” Now Cy looks genuinely hurt. “Listen, you barge in here, I offer you a delicious omelette and you question my personal hygiene? I have to say, I'm pretty offended.” “So you did wash your hands, right?” Cy looks to his sink and says, “Yeah, I did.” They sit quietly, picking apart their eggs. Pete remembers that he doesn't remember what happened last night. “Cy, what did we do last night?” Cy looks at him questioningly, “I haven't seen you in like three days. How much did you drink last night?” Pete sits in silence, poking at the eggs, mentally poking at the big gap in his memory. “Not sure.”
Cy tries to change the subject, “So it looks like the thing on the Mexican border are heating up again.” Pete perks up, “Yeah? The thing with the drug lords?” “It's not just drug lords anymore, from what I hear it's human trafficking, sex slavery, all that good stuff. There's a lot of money to be made buying and selling people.” “Hmph, I bet.” “Yeah, I mean some people are already calling it genocide.” “They're killing civilians?” Cy leans in, “Where have you been man? They're razing entire villages! People are dying trying to cross the border into the U.S. and if the desert doesn't get them, bullets from both sides tend to find them.” Pete looks out the window, the sun is shining through light clouds and creating that effect where you feel like you can see individual rays. Like god's fingers, slender and bright, are reaching down to warm the cheek of a little girl skipping down the street. He would prefer to think about beauty and innocence. Pete stands up and thanks Cy for the breakfast. “Any time, Petey.”
He walks across the hall and inserts a key into his already unlocked door. It opens and swings lazily, stopping short of hitting the wall. He hears a buzzing he recognizes as his phone ringing. He runs over to his phone and grabs it just after it falls silent. Missed call from Anjela. “Who the hell is Anjela?” The phone buzzes again and a voice mail notification pops up. He stands there, combing the recesses of his mind, trying to locate this girl. He thumbs trough his phone and finds a message from her with a photo included. Apparently, Anjela likes to send extremely suggestive photos of herself to other people's phones. “What are you doing tonight?” The message is dated April 14, 1:32 PM. That was yesterday. Now Pete tried to recall the day before or the day before that. Every memory is vague and random and absolutely soaked in alcohol.