added by: Hazel Kampen ; email: firstname.lastname@example.org ip: 81.82.*..*
Intro: One of the cons of multi-family residence...
The stench hits my face like an elderly woman's oversized purse. I know what it is, but I'm not so sure why. Perhaps it reminds me of the odor of dead animals in the woods where I played as a child.
And he's dead.
The rank scent is emanating from his apartment, and I quickly realize why he hasn't barged into my place since last Saturday. I stuff the mail under my arm and pull my shirt over my nose as I approach the door. I knock loudly three times and futilely shout his name.
Then I turn away and head toward my own apartment, unlock the door, set the mail by the television and sit on the sofa. After several minutes, I finally work up the nerve to do what I know I should. I dial 911. It's the first time I've dialed those numbers without it being a childish (yet ever hilarious) prank. The operator answers and I apologize for not knowing the non-emergency number. Then I explain that I'm quite certain that my neighbor is rotting in his home. She tells me that someone is on his way and should arrive shortly.
I hang up and walk into the kitchen. Molecules from the fetid air in the hall must still cling to the inner walls of my nostrils, or perhaps I'm only imagining that the stink is still with me. I pour a glass of juice and empty it in just two large gulps, but even the sweet citrus aroma cannot disguise the flavor of rotten flesh.
I wipe my mouth and make my way back into the corridor, grabbing the key to Garrett's apartment from my desk drawer. Again, I knock, hoping that he might wake from his sleep and come to the door. He doesn't, so I slide the key into the lock and turn it slowly, and then I twist the knob and push.
The smell grows profoundly in just a second's time. I start to gag and stumble back into the hallway, but not before looking up and seeing Garrett. He stares right at me, but with only one eye, because the other has been eaten by the maggots covering half of his face.
When the officers arrive, I'm sitting on the top step smoking a joint. I don't notice their presence until they're standing over me and one of them taps my side with his foot. I look up and jump back into reality. I put it out and throw it down the stairwell, and then apologize and explain that I've never seen anything like what awaits them in the apartment. One cop chuckles and tells me it's alright. I show them to the door, but I cannot go in. The pungent smell is too much for me.
As the police enter the apartment, my living neighbors begin to appear in the hallway and ask questions. As the group outside Garrett's door expands, I feel increasingly insignificant and disappear unnoticed into my apartment.
Two days later, I answer the door and am met by a detective and two officers in uniform. When I notice the bloody butcher knife in the plastic bag the detective is holding, I suddenly remember last Saturday.
He would never knock; just came right in, as if he lived there. I always asked that he show some respect for my privacy, but he never listened.
And then Saturday, he did it again. But I was with one of my students - both of us quite drunk - and she was so very young. I pushed her off of my lap, but Garrett had already seen enough. He turned and went back to his apartment, but I went to the kitchen, snatched a knife from the block and followed him. The argument was short.
And then, Garrett was dead.