Screams and the sound of repeated impact echoed down the hall. Two men drag a third who is being savagely kicked in the stomach by an accompanying transvestite. It is 2 in the morning and I am tired. I walk by the scene without looking up and find that the parties involved have either chosen to ignore me or are too involved in their own affairs to notice my passing.
I believe that my rent may be significantly more than that of the higher floors in the building because the hall to my apartment is red. A shrill voice screams something profane, there is the sound of a door closing and all is silent again. The girl walking beside me is Kate and we are returning from a party which was burned down by a shovel carrying arsonist.
We watch the news and see reports of a suicider victim in the Mt Vernon district. This is not an isolated incident; people of delicate emotional fabric have been cautioned against entering new relationships because the person committing these suicides seems more merciless than most. I change the channel in favor of lighter fair and we watch horrible sci-fi movies late into the evening, eventually falling asleep only to be awoken by a dull thumping sound.
We exit the apartment in search of the sound source and find ourselves at the floor’s garbage chute. For those not residing on the east coast or that have no idea what this device is; it is a metal shaft that descends from the top floor of a building to the bottom with receptacle points on each floor through which people drop their trash, which is then compacted into a dumpster for transport to the local landfill, garbage dump, etc… Smoke rises from the chute door and upon opening it we hear more clearly that the compactor at the bottom seems to be jammed and is malfunctioning.
We alert the front desk to this and it is eventually discovered that a man fell or was pushed into the trash chute. The event is ultimately deemed to a suicide, as I failed to inform the police of the man being dragged down the hall out of the fear that I would meet a similar fate. Kate stated that it was not her business and to provide this information would be very presumptuous.
It is now 6:30am and I am quite hungry. I exit my apartment building into the raw sewage smelling morning and cross the street to have a continental breakfast in the Holiday Inn. A building fire rages a few blocks down. The smell of burning tar seems to cancel some of the methane odor that was triggering my gag reflex.
Kate has taken the morning and previous night to be an inspiration to leave the city and start life over again. She wants to move to the country and start an organic farm, find nature again, feel dirt, taste sweat, toil, breed, reproduce, grow old, and die in the womb of nature that she though could only exist in the words of Emerson. However, she does none of this and dies in a puddle of drool at age 72 at 11:30am in a bar in Fell’s Point. My coffee tastes surprisingly good.