Northcott Housing Ghetto can be deliciously silent late at night and I can even find the white light in the deepest dark, but mostly it's a dirt opera of cacophonous uproar and I'm awakened from my sleep like the Kraken monster to roar at the bustle breaking in from an uncaring world. Cursula next door makes more noise than ten neighbors from hell put together, she gives off noise like a cow farts methane, calling inanities from her doorstep so I in particular am made to hear every piece of nonsense, "Bawl, do you want cheese on your boots before I lick them? Oh look, there's potato-chip bags blowing in the wind. I want to know how our relationship is going? Are we together or aren't we? You can have desert if you screw me."
Bawl screams back, "How dare you! How dare you suggest I'm here at your bidding, to fuck your sloppy cunt at the snap of your fingers? Do you know what a dumb bitch you are?" Bawl berates her vehemently, as if he's trying to convert her to some radical brand of Christianity. "Oh you don't have to put me down like that after all the stuff I've given you, I'm the one who collects the treasures from the streets that people wastefully chuck away and which you enjoy without any thanks. Do you want a beer with your instant mashed potato?" I have to hear it ALL!!!
Her most stupid carrying-on is when her eldest child comes for a weekend visit, he's 6 and she's given him the dumbest name in history, Capsicum, and she thinks if she bellows his name a thousand times a day at the top of her lungs it will show the world, us poor suffering souls of Northcott, what a good, caring mother she is, when in truth her 2 kids were taken off her because she's a poly-drug abuser and they were in danger of suffocating under the heaps of falling trash she's piled up and then being devoured by the mice. When I hobbled home from work the other day she was out the front, near my door, churning thru cigarettes, her rat's nest of a flat too precious to have smoke mingle with the mounds of garbage. She tells me she's going off to the country and I grumbled, "Good! Stay there! You're driving me crazy with all that "Capsicum" bleating!" "You should stay in the old peoples' home!" she muttered. "You fucking lazy bitch, I'd laugh if THEY cut you off the dole and you had to go begging on the streets!" I said this with such emotional force you'd have thought I'd sprayed cockroach repellent on her, she scurried off down the footpath like a screaming banshee was chasing her.
It was a curse that reverberated badly for three days later I was awakened by wailings and admonishments from next door, she had indeed been cut off the dole and a woeful panic had set in. "I tried all day and they wouldn't give it to me. Perhaps if I ring thru the night then go first thing in the morning they'll give me a counter-check?" "Oh what the fuck are we going to do? I was counting on that money! I need it! I want my money! Oh fuck fuck fuck fuck!!!" Bawl howls like a born-again preacher, he rants, curses, badgers and carps, he's a true scold, tireless in his harangue. Cursula's down on her knees, I imagine, "Something will come thru for us. If I keep hassling, they'll have to give me my payment, I'm entitled to it, it's MY MONEY!!"
They squawk for hours and I don't get any rest that night, I even say a prayer for them and take my curse off the poor cow, and I hear her clitter-clatter out her door at 8 o'clock sharp in the a.m. and later on she clitter-clatters back, yelling from the footpath, "I got it! I got it! They gave me my money Bawl! I got a 100 bucks!!" The wire-screen door creak-creaks for the hundredth time that day, and I hear moans of appreciation from deep inside their cave. Towards evening Bawl latches onto his guitar and plays mellow tunes whilst howling like a wolf, he must have scored some inebriant, and it's rather pleasant to hear real music tinkling in the background instead of some brain-dead's boom-box or their arguing, it makes for a creative atmosphere and I scribble away pretending I'm in an artist's colony. Until she joins in plinking on the piano, trying to sing back-up vocals with a vacuous, flat soprano voice, Dr. Heckle and Mrs. Fried in a retarded love duet, how sweet, hours of it till my patience collapses and I scream thru the thin wall, "Shut it you stupid cow!!" We didn't speak for a week but she's soon scratching at my door, "Toby, are you OK?" She's really fishing for a cigarette, $5 or a Valium, her absurd antics reek of bathos and yet amuse me, I try to be kind to her tho not fill the ever-needy held-out hand too often for then she'd live on my door-step.
During the day I try to sleep to recover from night shift, but the real world screams in on me. I hear out front Old Dolly and Tony the Tooth fairy squabbling yet again, bad mirror magic repeating 1001 times, "Eric the Beserker and what a creature from the deep he is!" He's been at the bins again, even tho They locked most of them up behind barred gates, and he's emptied the slops all over, leaving a trail of shit to his door, and Tony the cleanliness freak is gargling hysterics, declaring, "Let's go put in more complaints, we're off to the front office right now! I'm sick of this!" This has been going on for years, I've gotten Housing Department bureaucrats to come and see for themselves several times the "Bad Boy Bubby" conditions Eric is forcing us all to live with, shit-stained walls and flooded bathroom. He should be getting looked after in a subsidised, open-door Care Hostel, for his extra-loud cackling like a Hyena rips thru my spine 24/7 and robs me of my last shreds of human compassion, on top of which he always loses his keys so he climbs thru his front window seventy times throughout the night, "scramble, scramble, scrape, scrape", "hee ha ha ha ha ha hee hee hee ha ha ha ha ha ha!" Will he ever be taken away?
A few acquaintances have mentioned to me in serious tones, " We should talk over the urban problem of Northcott, I've got a few ideas you might consider?" Like I'm some Housing God who has urban planning powers and can turn piss into fruit juice? I've got no solutions, certainly not vigilante groups going from flat to flat to hunt out and lynch the flakes, addicts and bludgers. I just observe and laugh, bitterly. After all, this monolithic edifice was built in the early '60s as a socialist worker's paradise, Bau Haus functionalism with one's fellow sap sap sapients piled on top for good community communication and communal living, and anyway, I'm just one more of the flakes. "Ha ha ha ha ha ha hee hee hee hee hoowwwwlllllll!!!!!!"