May 19th, 2007


The Lurker at the Threshold

My apartment building has a small vestibule when you enter that lies between the front door and an inside door. When I got home tonight, I noticed two plastic shopping bags in the vestibule filled with all sorts of junk. Not unusual, I thought, because my 80-year-old landlord lives on the third floor and sometimes leaves stuff there so he doesn't have to schlep it up and down the stairs.

I opened the inside door and stepped into the first floor hallway. Standing in the shadows behind the stairs was a man I'd never seen before. He was older, had a beard and the stub of an unlit cigarette hanging out of his mouth, and the general scruffiness all New Yorkers immediately peg as a sign of being either homeless or a wino, or both.

"Hello," I said warily.

He said something that I think might have been "hi."

I eyed him for a bit, then went upstairs to my apartment and double locked my door. Moments later, I heard him exit the building and watched from my window to make sure he was leaving. Later I went downstairs and saw the plastic bags were gone. I guess they were his. I went over to where he was standing in the hallway and searched for poop or pee on the floor, but I didn't find any. The door to the back yard was shut, but I did notice the door to the cellar was open. Having seen plenty of horror movies, I did not investigate further.

Weird, weird shit.