Welcome to The Spot Writers. May’s prompt is to write a story about a character playing a prank on another. This week’s story comes from Chiara De Giorgi. Chiara dreams, reads, edits texts, translates, and occasionally writes in two languages. She also has lot of fun.
My elderly upstairs neighbor is very cute, but quite deaf.
She’s also lonely, especially at night. Her small flat suddenly becomes too big, the emptiness of it filling every inch. And she can’t sleep if she’s alone. So she turns on the TV while she lays in bed, waiting for sweet slumber and hopefully some happy dreams.
This is all very moving, and I feel sorry for her. That is, until at 2.00 am she turns in her sleep and accidentally presses all the buttons in the remote and the volume goes up and a crazy zapping starts, right over my head. Which happens more often than seems reasonable, especially at 2.00 am.
I tried banging on her door once, but of course she couldn’t hear me. She slept on, while people in China could hear her TV proudly announcing Germany’s Next Top Model. So I bought myself some earplugs, which I keep next to my bed, just in case RTL jingle brutally and suspiciously intrudes into my dreams at some ungodly hour.
Once I thought, why doesn’t she goes to sleep with a book, for goodness’s sake! And right there and then, an idea was born.
The first book I left in her mailbox was an ancient and pretty copy of Jane Eyre. She disregarded it completely, as I could easily tell the following nights.
So I tried slipping a slim Agatha Christie mystery under her door. Again, no luck.
Desperation and insomnia were gripping me, so I tried leaving the whole Modern Herbalism Collection (seven hardbound tomes) on her doormat. No success. My elderly neighbor was happily and unwittingly spending her nights lulled by the worst possible TV programs, while I was going crazy for lack of sleep. My eyes were bloodshot, my skin was grey, I put the car keys into the fridge and tried starting my car with a ham slice… I needed a new idea.
One morning, I went down to the basement by mistake (I was basically sleep walking and missed the front door of the building while going to work) and a brilliant idea stroke me.
That night, around 10.00 pm, when I heard my neighbor turn the TV on, I tiptoed down to the basement, reached the fuse box, and removed the one that granted power to the sweet old lady’s flat. And There Was Silence.
I slept like a baby, woke up happy, and went to work with a renewed spirit. Before leaving the building, I put the fuse back. Let her call Maintenance!
Which she did, after a week of me removing-and-replacing the fuse, but no one ever found what was wrong with the TV, or the cables, or anything.
My elderly neighbor finally started reading the books I had anonymously given her. I’ve been dropping a new book in her mailbox every week since then, and we’ve both been sleeping peacefully ever since.
I keep removing the fuse at night and putting it back at morning, though. You can never be too safe.
Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/
Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/
Phil Yeats: https://alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com
Chiara De Giorgi: https://chiaradegiorgi.blogspot.com/