There was something weird about the man who lived upstairs. Day and night he was at it. The sound of power tools, from drills to circular saws, axes to hammers, led us to believe he was up to something. Quite likely, something sinister.
We had never seen him, and so we had been forced to speculate just what he might be doing up there in the dead of night. All of the most plausible suggestions were rejected by the expert panel of demented daring do that I live with.
The silence of the peaceful night was shattered by an electric saw, working tirelessly to cut through something seemingly uncuttable. This was followed by a power drill, and then a hand saw. After a few moments of silence there came the sound of an axe, crushing through something not meant to be axed, and then hammering. It would go on for hours. We would sit and listen. “You should go up there and see what he’s doing”., my wife said “And tell him to stop.”
“You understand he has weapons of slash destruction.”, I replied.
My daughter was convinced that he was some sort of serial killer, torturing the poor souls he regularly abducted. Another daughter suggested that we simply go up and ask. It didn’t matter to me. He had, at his disposal saws and axes, and there was no way that I planned to knock on his door and find out what he was doing up there.
My daughter revealed that she has heard weird noises coming from upstairs. Not just the power tools, but moaning and other strange sounds. My wife decided that we must do something, She called building security. “Let them go see what he’s doing up there.”
45 minutes later, the noises were still ringing out. “I don’t know why security hasn’t been up there yet?”, she muttered.
“Perhaps they did go”, I offered
“I’m calling security again”, she replied..
The news from security was not what she expected. A guard did attend the unit. They will dispatch another guard.
There was a silent, but visible “Oh hell” frozen on everyone’s face. “He killed the security guy”, my daughter mumbled. “Probably cut him up in little pieces”.
“I can’t take it anymore.”, my wife said, “it goes on all night”.
We had all agreed that something horrific was going on upstairs. We had to find out. The next day my wife called the property manager and described the situation. As luck would have it, while on the phone with property management, the sawing and drilling began, and was clearly heard by the property manager. He promised to investigate at once.
“If this doesn’t stop”, my wife stated, “we’re moving. I can’t live like this!”
Several days passed, and we heard nothing from property management. “Doesn’t anybody care that there’s a lunatic living up there?”. my wife queried.
“I will go up and see.”, I told her. Putting on my brave face, and grabbing a baseball bat, I bid farewell to my family, and headed out. I stood before the door that might have hidden secrets of the criminally insane. I could hear the whirr of a chain saw as I knocked. There was no response, so I knocked again. I had my bat on my shoulder, ready to swing. The sawing stopped. From behind the door, a voice called out. It was hard, and gruff, cold, as if devoid of all feeling. “Who is it?” I wasn’t about to tell him. I really had no idea what to say.
I returned home several minutes later. “So”, my wife spoke out, “What did you find out?”
I sat down on the couch, and presented my wife with a hammer. “I found out that I could borrow the hammer for a few days.” I took a deep breath. “I have no intention of taking it back. We may as well start packing now.”
By the end of the week, the sounds had stopped, No sawing, no drilling, and no chopping. It was eerily quiet. The police had been around a few days after I borrowed the hammer, and the noises stopped.
“They probably arrested him”, a daughter said. “for murder or something.”
“Maybe he just moved.”, I suggested.
“Yeah. To prison.”, she added.
“You know,” another daughter chimed in, “there might be blood or something on that hammer. I wonder if the police will come looking for it, or for you.”
We never did find out what the man who lived upstairs was doing, but I got a pretty nice hammer out of that experience.