This is the thirteenth part of a fiction serial, in 801 words.
One day I held the main door open for a bloke struggling in with pots of paint and a small step-ladder. As the door closed behind him, he launched into an uninvited monologue. Seems he had rented Possible’s old flat, and was having to do lots of work inside to make it bearable to live in. I wasn’t surprised to hear that Possible had probably never done so much as one day of cleaning since he lived there, and had never bothered to decorate past the original builder’s finish. But it was difficult to concentrate on what this guy was saying, because he had very unusual eyes.
To say they were bulging eyes doesn’t even begin to describe just how bulgy they were. Bigger than ping-pong balls, they rolled around in the sockets as if he had no control over them whatsoever. Even as I presumed he was looking at me whilst speaking, the eyes seemed to decide where they wanted to look instead, and operated independently of each other too. When one was glancing at the ceiling, the other was gazing idly in the general direction of the lift. I could see the red veins on the whites of them, and his pupils were a sickly washed our brown colour, like when you rinse out a bowl that has had chocolate ice cream in it.
He was unable to string a sentence together without using an ‘F’. ‘F-ing paint’, ‘F-ing previous tenant’, and so on. I was wondering if the removal of swear words would render him almost mute, but found myself distracted by a spider-web tattoo that went from under his right ear, across most of that side of his neck. At least it was a diversion from being fixated on his eyes. But his foul breath snapped me back in the moment. Even at the distance of four feet and increasing as I backed away, his horrible wet mouth was giving off a smell that was hard to identify. Something like stale tobacco mixed with aniseed, and not in a good way, I assure you. If there is even a good way for that.
I really wanted this awful person to just vacate my space, so when the lift arrived, I told him to take it, and walked up all the stairs to my flat.
It will come as no surprise if I tell you that the new guy was immediately christened ‘Bulgy Eyes’.
It was quite a few weeks before Turkish Bloke’s flat got a new tenant. Disappointingly, it was another couple who seemed to be more than a little Turkish, but this time they had no kids. I decided to call them The Ayslum Seekers, as they were as quiet as mice, and looked shit-scared all the time. When I eventually found out they were from Afghanistan, I was a little surprised, but not too much. The woman was attractive, and dressed in modest western clothes. But her husband fitted the bill, as he looked much like I had imagined a 30 year-old Mujahideen to be.
Once the two flats were occupied, Teacher Lady swapped spaces in the car park, for the sporty hatchback. The Asylum Seekers had no car, but Bulgy Eyes did. He had blocked off his space with the old Peugeot 206 he ran around in, forcing Middle Aged Biker Man to hurry down to move his wife’s car, shifting it to Turkish Bloke’s old space. It was looking like musical chairs that night in the car park, and I couldn’t help but wonder when the next parking explosion would ignite.
But the rest of the year was pretty quiet. The only thing of note was that I found out what Frizzy-Haired Sexy Girl did for a living. We walked into the block together one evening, and I decided to just ask her, in a chatty way. “Oh, by the way I never did ask. What job do you do? Tell me it’s not my business if you want”. I was going to ask her name too, but decided to wait until she told me it.
She never did tell me it.
However, she did tell me that she was a croupier, at a private Casino in Mayfair. She produced a card from her bag, and told me to flash it if I ever wanted to visit her Casino and not have to join as a member. Like I had the money to piss away on Roulette, or whatever. There was no indication that she wanted me to go there for any other reason. I thanked her anyway.
On the thirty-first of December, I stood on the balcony wrapped up in a parka, and watched the fireworks at midnight, warmed up inside by some Remy Martin VSOP.
I was so bored. Next year had to be better, surely?