Above us live some curious people. Our previous upstairs neighbors had a hyperactive child who would tear through the apartment in hobnailed boots between the hours of 10PM and 5AM. I presume he spent the rest of the day’s hours sleeping it off. They also had a younger child they were fond of taking with them into the laundry room on the second floor. The laundry room on the second floor has the breakers for all the apartments in this building. There the happy child would, I have no doubt, pretend the bank of breakers were the controls of a space ship and would throw enough switches to send said space ship clean out of the galaxy.
But they left, and their replacement has been curious. What is peculiar about these people involves two things. One is a great sound of stretched rubber, as if they own a pet hippopotamus with four peg legs ending in rubber balls that is fond of pirouetting on a tile floor, you know? I wondered at one point if they had somebody—of more than copious girth—in a wheel chair up there and that was making the sound. The trouble is, if their apartment is anything like any of the rest of ours, it is carpeted and cannot really produce the sound of rubber being turned on a smooth floor at enormous pressure. It may just be the joists protesting. Maybe grandma lives with them and grandma weighs a solid 800 lbs. Interesting to speculate, but hard to tell. The second great sound is the sound of a great bed, bought in a garage sale during the reign of Asshur Banipal, no doubt, and since given to one bed-wetting child after another who has faithfully bathed the springs lo these two thousand and six hundred years without fail. Such treatment is surely the only explanation why the bed squeaks prodigiously. Nay, the sounds cannot be called squeakings but mighty cries of rust encrusted protestations and appeals. Sometimes I lie there wondering if the sounds are not echoes of the crowds calling to Ishtar in Nineveh of old, thundered pagan invocations recorded there and conveyed by this arcane technology from the Levant to the apartment above mine.
Of course, there might be another less recondite explanation. It might be the 800 lb grandma once went fishing and from the briny depths reeled up a bed on which a great treasure had become encrusted. And every night she plunges upon the bed, which she has removed to an apartment above mine because nobody would suspect a treasure there, in order to shake loose a shower of rusty, ochre flakes among which can be seen glimmering bits of gold, small jewels and silver wire which she pawns to feed the thronging, copious family whose sole pastime is to build ambulatory human pyramids—which would account for the sounds we hear.