It was a beautiful summer night when I discovered how creepy and crazy my neighbors were. It was just after nine o'clock when I got home from work. I had spoken to my boyfriend at the time and he was going to finish his workout at the gym and then
come over. I had been living in this apartment building for four years and felt very safe in my surroundings. (This was before all of my panties were stolen - see "Had To Go Commando" for the full story) Most of my neighbors were either retirees, or professionals
who travelled and were hardly home. The building was quiet and all of the tenants were very friendly.
Since I was so comfortable there I left the solid door open with only the screen door closed. I went into my bedroom to change into my sweats,
and when I came back into the living room I saw my neighbor from from the floor above me, John, outside of my door. He was on the other side of the screen, but was looking in to see if I was there. It startled me, but once I recognized my neighbor I smiled
and went to the door. Until this point my interaction with my neighbor John and his wife was a courteous hello, or friendly small talk while passing each other on the side walk.
"Hi John." I said poking my head out the
door. He was a short, thin, man possibly in his 40s. It was obvious that years of drinking and whatever else had aged him harshly.
He seemed surprised and awkward that I caught him looking into my apartment. He didn't say much
so I continued. "I heard some cats getting into a scuffle a few minutes ago, are you looking for Frankie, is she okay?" I asked, thinking maybe his cat got out and that had prompted him to go door to door.
"No, no I think
s-she's fine." He slurred out. He was obviously drunk. In fact he was swaying as I spoke to him.
"Okay, have a good night." I said trying to end this interaction quickly since he was now acting strange.
He waved and I closed the door and walked over to my desk to read while I waited for my boyfriend to come over. My desk was in the corner of the living room against the front window. My blinds were mostly closed, but there was maybe six inches on the
bottom that was open.
I didn't even get through one page of my book when I heard a woman call out my name, "Becky!"
I sprung up to the door and when I got to the outside I saw Lori Ann, John's wife,
holding him tightly by shirt. He was trying to get away but her grip was to strong. Lori Ann is a short round woman with frizzy black hair as crazy as she is.
"What is my husband doing outside of your window?" She shouted at me
in an accusatory tone.
I was bewildered, as far as I knew he had gone after I went back into my home.
"I didn't know he was there." I defended myself. As I was speaking to her John, who must have
been in a panic, wriggled his way out out of his shirt that she was holding and took off running.
She dropped the shirt to the ground and continued to interrogate me. "How long has this been going on?" The mere suggestion that
I might be up to something scandalous with my neighbor was astounding to me, and repulsive.
"What are you talking about?" I ask, utterly offended, and frankly disgusted.
"That's my book," she exclaimed,
"what are you doing with my book?"
I looked down at my hand and realized that I was still holding the book I was reading. It was A Million Little Pieces, by James Frey,
which at the time was in the Oprah book club. I think it sold more than 15 million copies at the time, so I'm pretty certain that it, was a 100 percent possible, for us to have our own copies.
"This is my book." I shouted back.
(I wanted to add "you crazy bitch," but I refrained). I opened the cover to show that it was indeed a Christmas gift that I had received from my sister.
"I want to know what is going on?" She insisted again.
I told her the whole story about how I got home, saw him outside my door, I said hello, then came back inside, assumed he left, started reading my book, and then heard her call my name. I had no idea he was outside my window, and I was still
trying to wrap my head around what is happening.
Unsatisfied with my responses she grabbed my arm and started pulling me out of my doorway insisting that I need to come up to their apartment so we can talk about this. A huge
red flag starts waving around in my brain. This seems like a prelude to a horror movie..... I could see the headlines: Young girl lured by neighbor into apartment. Body found chopped up in teeny-tiny pieces being served to their cat.
"I'm not going to go to your apartment." I said while freeing my arm.
She started to walk away motioning for me, and urging me, to follow her. I ducked back into my own apartment and locked the door
and the deadbolt. My hands were shaking from the adrenaline. I, for the first time, felt very unsafe. My neighbors were crazy, alcoholics who displayed similar characteristics to the Manson Family. My mother lived next door to me and I felt I needed to even
the odds in case one, or both, of them came back.
She came over and as I was attempting to explain what had just happened there was a knock at my door. It was Lori Ann again. Now my mother could see the craziness first hand. She
was clutching a bag tightly to her chest and she was sobbing. She attempted to barge in, but my mother and I stood as a united front to keep crazy outside.
She began to tell us how she went out to look for him, because she was
worried, and then she saw him bent down so he could look into my window and he had his hands in his lap (that little detail still makes my stomach turn). She continued to tell me that she was worried for me and worried for herself. He was in a "dark place"
she said. She began urging me to call the police on him.
Honestly, I wanted to call the police on both of them.
Then her sobbing and concern shifted back into suspicion. She asked me for my phone number
so that she could search his phone to see if we had been calling each other. Again, the suggestion that something was going on with him makes me throw up in my mouth. My mother stood fast that I should not give her my phone number. Though I agreed with my
mother, I just wanted to get this psychopath off my front step at this point.
So I said to my mother, "I feel like this is the only way I can get rid of her." Lori Ann looked wounded that I said that, but did not
care, I did not want this brand of insanity around me anymore. I then turned to Lori Ann and said, "I will give you my phone number, but if you ever call me I will change my number immediately. Do you understand?" She nodded yes, I gave her my number,
and I shut the door.
My mother and I started to dissect what had just happened. That's when my boyfriend finally showed up. In my distress I shouted at him, "Where have you been?" I knew it wasn't his fault, but it would have
been helpful if he had been there.
I did call the police to let them know what had happened and they agreed to do extra patrol around our building.
A year later when my undies were stolen out of my
apartment, naturally I pointed out to the police that I had been previously peeped on by a crazy, drunk, neighbor.
He definitely fit the suspect list for a panty thief. Unfortunately, all of the evidence
came back inconclusive, so I don't know for sure if he was the thief or not, but it didn't make him any less creepy. I found out after the fact that he had some disturbing obsession with me. A different neighbor had informed me that John had some
crazy fantasy about me and that he felt he had to watch over me, or protect me. Apparently, he was concerned I had a stalker. Ironically, it seems he was self diagnosing.