Lucy sent Juan to the hospital last weekend. I fear I may never see my elderly, next door neighbor again. While he was still at home, I stopped in to check on him. His feet were swollen and he was bent over in a stupor.
“Hi Juan! Do you remember me?” I asked, bending down low so that he could see my face. He grabbed my hand and I squeezed his. Using what little strength he had, Juan squeezed my index finger. I nearly wanted to cry, remembering how painful the Zyprexa was after it was forced upon me in a psychiatric ward more than ten years ago.
Psychotropic drugs, in particular, those that “treat” Alzheimer’s do more harm than good. Juan was fine prior to the day, two weeks ago, when Lucy called the police. My lover B hogged the view through the peep hole as he watched the drama unfold–
“Juan was screaming, ‘But I don’t want to go’,” B explained, “And then, the moment they took him out of here on a stretcher, Lucy casually walked back inside their apartment. She didn’t even bother walking downstairs to see him off. Yes, she wants him gone. I swear I saw her smile the moment she shut the door.”
“I refuse to answer the door when she knocks,” I told my lover. “She knocked three times yesterday. She claimed she needed help reading her cable bill. She pointed out that there were charges on her bill that she did not make, as if somehow, our remote, here on the other side of the hallway was to blame. They were pay per view charges for porn. How much do you want to bet she’s the one renting that porn? Every time I’m over there, she insists on rubbing my chest—freaky whore! You should have seen her coming home after the Puerto Rican Day Parade—she had fish nets on and that big belly was sticking out under one of her tight shirts. She wasn’t thinking of Juan at all, as a matter of fact, she seems quite happy.”
“I told you,” B replied, “she called the cops on him to get rid of him. Women do that kind of thing all the time. Men do too.”
Late yesterday afternoon, just after we had finished eating fried chicken and were napping upon our bed, we heard the scream of fire alarms nearby. All the apartments in our building have fire alarms. Ours has gone off while I was making toast. They are quite sensitive and we pay little attention to them.
Moments later, we heard Lucy screaming—she was shouting something in Spanish and English. The only English she used was “Oh My God!” as she banged on our door.
“Don’t answer it,” I said to my lover.
“But I think it’s a real fire.”
“Oh, dear, it is,” I said, looking through the peep hole. Smoke was everywhere and I could see flames inside of Lucy and Juan’s apartment.
By the time I had my flip flops on, other neighbors had gathered outside of Lucy’s door, despite the heavy smoke that was coming out her door.
I immediately ran to the third floor and grabbed a fire extinguisher. I was prepared to work like a Colorado home owner keeping the wildfires at bay with a garden hose. By the time I had reached Lucy’s door, a teenage boy put the fire out by removing his shirt and beating the grease fire upon the stove with it.
The thought did occur to me to grab my Morton salt as I ran out the door, but the container is brand new and there was no way in hell I was stepping inside that witch’s apartment. Juan must be going into the light by now—his half ghost was what started that fire. I hate to think of what might happen to poor old Lucy when don Juan finally goes all the way into the light.
“Come and rub my back again,” my lover insisted, after finally leaving the peep hole and watching the fire men come and go.