I have been terrified a lot lately, and it irritates me.

Almost every night, late late, (after midnight but before three) someone comes to our door and knocks the “shave and a haircut” knock that I use. Sometimes they pound it, sometimes it’s more polite. The unexpected thundering echo in the concrete hallway jolts me from whatever I’m doing, and I briefly wait, frozen like a rabbit. Who is knocking on my door when the world is asleep?

When I finally get my stones together enough to put on my fight or flight clothes and creep silently to the door, whoever knocked is gone.

This has been going on since I arrived, and I wish I were hallucinating it. It shakes up my entire evening. I wait, for hours afterward, wondering when I’m going to hear the shattering of glass when whoever it is finally decides that they’re going to break in.

I loathe feeling like this, weak and frightened. There’s only one point in and out of my apartment–the windows open seven feet off the ground, and there’s no way I could lift myself up high enough to get over and lower myself down. I can’t even reach them to close them. I have no cell phone yet, and Alicia sleeps like a fucking log.

My back plans, then, in the event of an emergency, are limited.

It happened again tonight. Not just the usual once, either. Twice. After the second time I woke Alicia, to make sure that Aaron wasn’t supposed to have been coming up. He wasn’t. And of course, Aaron would be far too considerate to do that without calling first.

It just freaks me out.

Jessie, however, posed a theory that makes it make sense. She postulates that it’s pretty likely, given Dundee’s drug problem, that the person who lived here before Alicia and I was a drug dealer, and that the people who keeping coming by and knocking late at night are trying to buy drugs. That very neatly explains why the special knock keeps getting repeated, and why it’s always in the same time window. It also explains an incident from a week or so ago, when Alicia and I were home in the middle of the day. I was waiting for a package, and someone knocked using the “shave and a haircut” knock. I opened the door without looking to see who it was first, because I assumed it was the parcel delivery dude.

The man at the door was not delivering a package, and he most certainly was tweaking out of his mind. He was twitching and jittering and jerking his head to one side. He asked for someone who wasn’t there, and when I told him that there was no one here by that name, he left.

That was the day I learned the very valuable lesson; never, never, EVER open the door without looking to see who it is first.

I do not like to be afraid. It futzes with my image of myself as fearless. I am tired of living in a place where this is even a problem. I think my Romantic fascination with slums has died a horrible death. But I feel better having a plausible explanation to the knocking that is not that I am insane and having full blown indistinguishable auditory hallucinations, or that the building is haunted, or that Alicia and I are being specifically harassed.

Because if Jessie’s theory is correct (and I feel strongly that it is), it is highly unlikely that anyone will break in. After all, if the previous tenant/dealer was dealing stuff as hard as I think he was (judging by the tweaker), then he’d have to be a scary motherfucker to manage all of the junkies. Since it is highly unlikely that a junkie would want to piss of his dealer, I think that for the time being the misconception actually protects us somewhat.

I will just not open the door, and leave them with their misconceptions.


One thought on “Knocking

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