The Neighbor Upstairs

Marie Mayer
2 min readJan 13, 2024

Our next encounter

Sean Foster on Unsplash

I got up with an insufferable ache in my temples.

Thanks wine. I rubbed my head. Or perhaps it was the tequila shots to blame. But I knew deep down, in the words of Jimmy Buffett, “It’s my own damn fault.”

Time to take out the trash. I stretched and dragged myself from bed. All I could think about was an omelet, preferably loaded with spices and perhaps a side of kielbasa. I knew this fantasy would have to wait. I went to the kitchen, finding the counter sticky and covered in crumbs, business cards, old napkins, forks, rags and a slimy substance I could not identify. The sink was loaded with dishes and the trash almost spilled over the top.

I began a vigorous wipe down of the counter, wiping away last night’s grime. I wrestled the heavy trash bag out and twisted the ties tight. I grabbed a sweater, my boots and pulled a black winter cap over my head.

In the supply closet, I found my trusty hammer. I grabbed the tool, then the garbage bag and headed out into the -2-degree weather. It was still early, no sign of anyone yet. The morning sun glimmered on the six-inch pile of snow. Beginning my trudge, within a few steps, the snow toppled into my unlaced boots, my bare hands were already aching from the cold.