When I was a very young man I lived in a duplex with a friend of mine and we were downright paranoid after someone tried to break into our part of the house one night. We suspected it was someone trying to steal dope from us and later in life I discovered who it was and that was what they were after. But we hadn’t been there very long and we hadn’t been on our own for very long, either.
My roomie had to leave to go to work one day and took my car because his had a flat. He left me a note saying he would be back in a few hours and he’d fix the flat and since I had the day off, he would make sure he got back in time for me to get something done, which meant go to a bar and get loaded. The only thing he forgot was to leave me his keys. He took my keys and his keys and he locked the deadbolt lock. I discovered I was locked into the duplex without means to escape. The windows were an option but they had been painted shut and considering this was January and a bad neighborhood, we thought it wasn’t such a bad idea.
I needed a beer. No, I needed several beers. I didn’t feel like waiting and besides, was I not a man now? It was time for me to use my superior intellect and find a way out of this mess. First, I smoked a joint. An idea was shortly afterwards born of smoke, as the best will be.
In one of the closets I discovered a trap door into the attic. Aha! If this part of the duplex had an attic door perhaps the other side did too! I would just slip into the other apartment and go out their door. It was perfect. What could possibly go wrong?
Now, I had no idea if anyone was home next door but they normally had their television going full blast so if the Great One Eyed God was quiet I felt safe. I lifted my trapdoor, got into the attic, sneaked around until I found their trapdoor and peeked inside. Their trap door opened up in the middle of a hallway. I felt weird. This was like breaking and entering without the breaking. But there were no sounds and no signs of life. I lifted the door up and stuck my head down. Nothing. Hey! This was going to work perfectly. I balanced myself with one hand and jumped down, shutting the trapdoor behind me and landed fairly softly. Perfect! Then I heard a male voice say, “Did you hear something?”
There was a door to my right. I opened the door and discovered it was a closet. I hid in the closet which had enough room for a broom and me and little more.
It was pretty clear I was screwed. I heard heavy footsteps falling…THUMP THUMP THUMP and heard a woman’s voice right next to the closet door, “I ain’t heard nothin’” and then more thumping and silence. A phone rang. It scared the hell out of me but no worries; this was 1980. There were no cell phones. This was someone’s landline. The guy answered it and I heard him say in his best, dying voice, “No, no, I feel too bad to go to the doctor, no, I’ll be okay, I just need to rest coff coff, I’ll see you when you get home, baby” and then he hung up.
So there was some giggling. After some muffled noises and a minute or so there was an unmistakable headboard banging sound that reverberated through the duplex. I opened the closet door softly and closed it behind me. Time for you to go! But the front door was deadbolt locked. I crept back towards the backdoor, checked for more headboard sounds, and then inched towards the backdoor. Shit! It was locked too.
I went back into the closet to think. The headboard sounds stopped and someone went to the bathroom and flushed it. There were kitchen noises. Please dear dog don’t let anyone drop anything, I prayed. The two smoked cigarettes and talked for a while over lunch. She had to go before someone came home, I didn’t catch the name, and he wanted her to stay for one more headboard banging session. I had to pee.
Finally they got dressed and made out near the front door for a while. I really had to pee. Things got very hot and soon they were doing it right there on the floor. I peeked out of the closet then shut it firmly. Big people need love too, but there is a certain level of largeness than doesn’t need to be witnessed. There were fornicating fatties just a few yards from me. I had worse problem because my urge to pee began to get stronger. I felt around in the closet for a bucket but there wasn’t anything of the sort there. The floor humping noises stopped. I held my breath as they stopped panting, got dressed, and lo! They both left.
Without any regard as to when anyone might return I had to pee. I found the bathroom and released the torrent. It was as if the Amazon River had been held back for a decade. I wanted to hurry but the stream kept going and going and going. I tried to listen for the door but it was no use. The Flood of the Century was going on and nothing would stop it now. When the last few gallons stopped I realized I was still alone. It was time to get the hell out of there and fast, too.
He had locked the door behind him but there had to be a key to the dead lock somewhere. I searched and searched but this was akin to burglary. Then I saw it. There was a tallish barstool in the corner. That would work perfectly. In a matter of seconds I could be...but what to do with the stool once I was gone? I was more than willing to leave it in place and let them wonder but there was part of me that still wanted to leave no trace.
That’s when I saw the purse. It was sitting beside the door and I realized it had to be the floor humping headboard banging woman’s purse. She would have to come back for it. They would know the stool hadn’t been there when they left. I was trapped but I knew that sooner or later the women on the phone had to come home or the guy might come home or everyone might come home at once. I had to get the hell out of there.
Wait! I took the purse and went into the bedroom and put it on the other side of the bed tehn went back into the closet. I would have one shot to make this work. Five minutes went by and just as I was about to give up, I heard a car pull up and then another. Great! Now if only…
The man came in and yelled back, “It ain’t there!” and then I heard her yell something to him and she came in fussing about him not being able to find his own nose on his face. They went into the bedroom to find the purse and I very nearly broke for the door. But I would still be locked out! In horror, at the very last second, I realized there was a flaw, a terrible flaw in my plan. Go? Stay? I hesitated. What to do? If I bolted I would be locked out instead of locked in, but hell, that was better than this wasn’t it? I started to open the door but it was too late; the couple returned. They were still amorous. They kissed so close to the door I could hear smacking and sucking noises. It was like listening to an American Bison eating a crème pie. They started undressing in the hallway and I hoped and prayed to all things holy and good they would not, could not, mate within inches of where I hid. What if their corpulent copulation turned one of them into a corpse? Can you imagine starving to death or dying of dehydration while one very large woman was pinned down by one very large man, albeit one with a smile on his face? Surely, if there really is a hell, this is the sort of thing that goes on down there. Worse, imagine the pinned woman, trapped by her massive mate, discovering a voice coming from the closet, and having to deal with the idea that the closet person might die before help arrived? I told you it was good pot, didn’t I? They went into the living room and I could hear the thudding of the sofa against the wall. I was saved.
The sound stilled and I wondered if they did this on a regular basis. As far as I could tell these were the two most horny fat people I had ever known of in my life. With giggles and all manner of noise they decided to take a shower together. I was going to get out. But the man decided to lock the door and once again, I was trapped. I couldn’t find where he was putting the keys.
I pulled the string that went to the overhead light in the closet and discovered there was an iron, an ironing board, a broom, and an extension cord in the closet with me as well as some assorted junk on the shelves. The Plan formed. Very quickly I pulled the stool out, pushed the trapdoor open, then tied the cord of the iron and the extension cord to the stool. Damn, it was too short. I got down, got the guy’s belt, tied it onto the end of the cord and it was perfect. I very silently crawled up into the attic and then pulled the stool up behind me. It banged against the wall once, and I froze. The water stopped running. I could tell they were listening and trying to hear if the noise repeated itself. I slowly pulled the stool up. I got everything up, very softly closed the trap door and waited. The water started again. I took my first deep breath in an hour or so.
I tip toed from beam to beam, trying my hardest to be totally silent and made it back to my trap door. I was home. I slipped inside and dropped to the floor. YES! I was back inside my own apartment and just as trapped as I was when I had left. Damn.
My roomie did return and when I told him what had happened he rolled around on the floor and wailed with laughter. But he had brought beer and that made things better. After a couple of joints we decided it was wrong to keep the iron and the belt, but he really needed an extension cord. Odd sense of ethics, yes, but we were very young and really stoned. We decided to return the ill-gotten stool as well because it was wrong to steal a bar stool. And we sat and rolled joints and plotted to return to the scene of the crime.
The first thing we did was ascertain who lived next door. That would be Large Larry as we called him and his slightly less large wife, we called Loretta. Loretta went to work every morning at seven and Larry usually left after she did. Now, what was interesting is that Larry’s sweetie, we named her Lynn, would come over about ten minutes after Loretta left but never on two days back to back. The smart thing to do would be to wait until all the action was over and simply go over, put the stuff back, and then leave again. But no. We wanted to put things back the way I had found them while Larry and Lynn were at it again.
It was really good pot.
Of course, all of this was predicated on Larry not having a 9 millimeter handgun and putting holes in us if we were caught. Yet we were intrigued with the idea of returning the goods, replacing them exactly as we had found them, and letting Larry wonder how on earth his belt wound up on top of the bar stool where we had planned to leave it. And what a belt this thing was, too! It was one of those seventy’s era white belts that might have been cut from the waist band of Moby Dick himself. The thing must have been five or six feet long! We thought about keeping it for a tow strap or perhaps a runner for the hallway. But no, we wanted to return what I had taken, and so we set in motion The Plan II.
We took a step ladder, a metal thing that was tall enough to get us to the trap door but not so large as to be noisy and we duct taped, and you knew there was going to be duct tape involved in this didn’t you, towels to the legs and to the sides of it so it wouldn’t make any sound if it hit the walls. We took a very long piece of rope with us and we brought the stolen goods. Here’s the part you’ll find the most bizarre; the plan went off without a hitch. The headboard was banging when we slipped down and it was still banging when we left. The obese was a beast. Those two were focused on their fornication vacation; we had to give them that. We were in and out much quicker than they were. Not a single thing had gone wrong.
We were sorely disappointed.
My roomie was as demented as I was and we decided that had been altogether too easy. We wondered how much we could get away with if we tried and we wondered what we could get away with if we tried. We decided to do something really strange the next time those two got together and Plan III was born.
Do you see now why pot should be heavily regulated?
We practiced getting into and out of the attic in total silence for a weekend. By this time we had this thing down to an art. When Loretta left we would push our trapdoor open and get ready to climb. I would stand by the window and when Lynn pulled up we would ascend. We would cross over the attic as she was getting ready to come in and as soon as we heard the headboard pounding we opened their trapdoor and let the ladder down. Roomie pulled the ladder up, just in case, and I went on the mission. Everyone had a cassette deck those days and they were always playing that tears and twang country music from the late seventies that most resembled a small group of would- be musicians getting together to be depressed and playing poorly. I took their tears and twang cassette out and put in a tape we had prepared for the event and pressed play. I went into the hallway, looked up, roomie was there to lower the ladder, I went up, the ladder was pulled up, and away we went. We scampered across the attic like mice, went down the ladder, replaced the trap door and looked at our watches. We had five minutes of blank tape to play out.
Suddenly, at volume ten plus one turn…
Frank Zappa’s “Apostrophe” the middle of it, where the guitars are really screaming, the drummer is pounding it out, and it sounds like someone with great joy got together with some really great musicians, and they jammed.
Ten seconds later the music stopped. We listened at the walls and Larry was really freaked out. We could hear Lynn and Larry whispering but we couldn’t hear what they were saying. Five minutes later Lynn left like her ass was on fire and her head was catching. Larry left fifteen minutes later and we could not stop laughing. But our work was done. We knew better than to push it. We knew if we kept on that sooner or later one of them would figure it out so we vowed to quit.
Had a dog not been killed I would have let it all go. I was really nervous about being in someone else’s house even for a harmless prank. For all we knew Larry was armed. We had a great laugh over it and then we went about our business, content kami of chaos that we were. But then a dog was killed. There was a knock on the door one day and there stood Loretta, in tears, because someone had ran over a stray dog, and she wanted us to help bury it. We dug a hole in their back yard and was about to have a funeral when Larry came home. He raised hell at us for digging a hole in his yard and just as I was about to brain him with the shovel he went back inside, slamming the door behind him. I knew before I said anything what was going to happen and why.
There is nothing more focused than two potheads who feel as if someone has wrongly harshed their buzz. Okay, there must be dozens of things that are more focused; Black Lab puppies and beyond, but you get the idea. We decided that Larry must suffer and you know, you really know, that we were going to arrange for him to get busted during the headboard bang.
We went over as soon as Loretta left and Lynn replaced her. We had cleaned out the better part of an ounce of pot and there were a few hundred seeds in the stuff. We scattered these all over the coffee table, and left a few joints rolled up next to the seeds. Now, the joints weren’t real pot but rather we had rolled up some grass from the yard and made to look good. We left a couple of burned out joints, roaches they are called, in the ashtray. We took a bottle of beer and poured it out on the floor. That hurt, but we had to have that smell going. We left a dozen or so empty beer bottles on the floor. We put in another tape that we had left about fifteen minutes of blank to play before the real music came on. Then we called the fire department, from Larry’s phone, and reported that the duplex was on fire. All of this took less than a minute, mind you. We were Ninjas dressed in bell bottom jeans and tie dyed tee shirts.
We scampered up and over and we took my car and pulled down the street a bit and we waited. Sure enough, about ten minutes later the fire truck comes down the street, the cops are right behind them, and it’s all whistles and bells and red lights flashing. We sat for about a minute then followed the parade.
We pulled up and acted shocked and shaken that our duplex might have been on fire. Why, how scary! Meanwhile, the firemen had knocked hard on Larry’s door and because they were firemen they had to go in and check. Larry tried to talk them out of it. The cops got involved. Suddenly, things went really wrong really fast for poor Larry.
Then, out of nowhere, this started playing:
That was bad enough but it was at volume ten plus one turn. No one was amused. We let the nice firemen into our apartment which was spotless. We went so far as to leave a bible open on our coffee table and I asked one of the policemen if he had heard the good news about our Lord and Savior. This was, and likely still is, the very best way to get some distance between yourself and other people. If you want to try this in real life make sure your subject is someone you never want to see again, because it’s better than pepper spray and pickled beets. Meanwhile, Larry was in cuffs. Lynn was pulled out of the house and she was swearing like, well, a woman just caught screwing a married man. A woman with a clipboard showed up with a cameraman in tow. Like all things that go wrong in a human’s life, this thing began to cascade on Larry and Lynn. We retreated to the safety of our part of the duplex and put on some Pink Floyd.
Loretta came home later in the day and began to move out. We helped her and her brother put her stuff in a truck and we found out that Larry had told the cops that he thought the pot had been planted on him by his wife, and if they let him out he would kill her. Ah, oddly, they decided to keep him. Along with the pot seeds they also discovered that Larry had in his possession some cocaine, which we had not known about. The rolled up grass, they postulated, was Larry buying weed and getting ripped off. By that weekend, Larry had come by to get his stuff and Lynn helped him so we guessed they stayed together.
The next tenant was a single woman with a kid. He was possessed by demons but that is another story altogether.