The Bug and I
I did not know his actual name. He used a graffiti "tag" that referred to an insect. I cannot mention which, though years have passed and said bug may be dead, such was the fear he inspired. On the other hand I don't think he'd be much of a reader.
The Bug dealt drugs and had an ear for music, a very big ear: the woofers and tweeters blasting havoc from his ground floor lair in another tenement towards my third floor studio walk-up must have been ensconced in refrigerator-sized loudspeakers. And the show began after midnight.
I changed my routine, hanging out in neighborhood watering holes until closing time--irrigating myself towards oblivion--hoping that by then he'd have gotten all DJing out of his system or that I'd be too besotted to care. This altered schedule resulted only in numerous hangovers and some ill-advised couplings.
I tried bathtub as bed, cushioned with down comforter and pillows, curving myself against the porcelain, bruising limbs on its unyielding surface. The sonic booms penetrated the chamber. Next brainstorm: nailing my small raggedy Oriental rug over the large window facing his building; a dismal approach to decorating but I had no other soundproofing material.
Calling the police generally proved futile. Ultimately, I decided to take matters into my own hands. After all, I was a reasonable person who could make a persuasive argument. Surely my neighbor would hear me out. I marched around the corner to the source of my misery and knocked on his pulsating door. It was easy to find; I was a musically-trained drug-sniffing dog.
Sesame opened and there he was. A female silhouette loomed as background, the din absolutely stunning. I recited: "Excuse me, Sir, but if you would be so kind as to lower your music--" He grabbed my arm, hard. "This is my neighborhood and I do what I want!" he said, his remarks concluding with a death threat. I ran home, a blur. Why didn't his poor neighbors complain? I wondered. Were they illegal immigrants? Afraid? Deaf? I telephoned the police one last time. This scofflaw assaulted me--my life was now officially in danger! The response: "Our hands are tied."
So, I did what I could: I moved to Germany, where bugs were Volkswagens.