If you ask the super, who lives in the basement, he'll tell you that Suresh is a model tenant. Pays his rent a day early every week. Keeps his place clean. Didn't even bitch about all that shit his father left in there.

If you ask him about the screaming he will glare at you and ask if you are a cop.

If you say no, he will shut the door. If you say yes, he will tell you he doesn't talk to cops without warrants and then he will shut the door.


If you ask the old lady in 111, she will tell you she's not racist or homophobic or anything like that, but (it will be a weighty loaded word that tells the aware listener to disregard the previous statements) she doesn't approve of that. Not two men. And certainly not two men of such different backgrounds.

If you ask her what exactly that is she will scowl and bite her bottom lip.

You know, she will say. That. What's going on in that apartment. She will say she has the right not to agree with it.

If you ask again what, precisely, that means she will shift her weight uncomfortably and then find a reason to shut the door.


If you ask the man in 214 he will tell you it involves the Devil. The man in 214 thinks everything involves the Devil.


If you ask the little girl in 311 her mother will shout from the living room and tell her to get her bony ass back inside and stop talking to strangers.

If you ask the little girl in 311 while her mother is out, she will tell you that you're right,there is a man upstairs. She will go on to say, with childish certainly, that Suresh is hiding him from CIA agents sent to assassinate them, and (it will be a frantic word slightly desperate in it's speaker desire for extended attention) she's seen them, snooping around the building pretending to be repairmen. Or building inspectors. Or maybe the guy in 214. The story will change, depending on the day and the amount of cop dramas that have been on television the night before, but the stories told will always be dramatic, romantic and told with a finality that make any further questioning pointless.


The woman in 415 will not answer the door. Not for you. Not for anyone.


If you ask Suresh, the model tenant, he will blink at you in well-rehearsed confusion. If you explain further, if you mention the screaming or the thick antiseptic smell that sometimes seeps from under his door, he will smile pleasantly, and say in a firm, well-mannered voice that he doesn't know what you're talking about, but he really has to go, now, and perhaps you can discuss this with him later.


If you ask the man upstairs, the man with the dark haunted eyes, he won't hear you. If you slap him, eventually he might wake up and if he can focus, if he can blink past the drugs and see you, not the nightmares of his mind, he will talk.

He will tell you a wild, rabid, impossible story. He will talk about talent, about ability. He will say that he is special (forming the word as though it were a sacred name of God). He'll show you the track marks on his arm, his proof, and when you recoil he will tell you to look,to see, the swollen, untreated wounds turning to scars on the back of his neck, his thighs. This is where Suresh takes blood. Here spinal fluid. There bone marrow. For testing. Lab rat, he'll spit, reduced to a pea pod. He will grip your wrist as well as he can with the shackles in place and beg, in harsh, hissing syllables. Help. Please help, please help, please. Pull out the IV, the key is on the table, there. Do it and he'll show you. He will promise to show you all the things he can do.

If I were you, I wouldn't believe a word he says.