by L.D. Brodsky
Apartment 8 E–F: Getting to Know the Neighbors
He used this Halloween as a foolproof excuse to go knocking on the doors of his neighbors, people whom, in twenty-five years, he’d never seen, let alone spoken to, for his routine: leave for work, in the dark; return home, in the dark.
Perhaps his need to introduce himself, albeit two and a half decades later than late, arose from accumulated loneliness, isolation, guilt, a need, before he died (he hadn't been feeling himself), to make amends for his standoffishness, rectify what he suspected might possibly be the residents' perception of him as a recluse, misanthrope, an unneighborly old fart, an On Golden Pond grouch, curmudgeon, asshole. (Truth was, no one had met him, in the flesh.)
Though he tried on the dozen most popular disguises, at Darwin's Costume and Party Favor Rentals (extra-large full-body suits — with all the germane accessories — of Batman, Beetlejuice, SpongeBob SquarePants, a Viking from Monty Python's Spam skit, as well as frighteningly realistic spandex getups of R. Crumb, Robert Mapplethorpe, Vladek Spiegelman, Mammy Nun Jasmine Noxema-Tapioca, Dubya Bush, Darth Vader, King Kong, and Pope Pius XII), he ultimately rejected each as being offensive; after all, "First impressions have a lasting effect." (Hadn’t his long-deceased dad, chief clerk at Fleetwood Abstract & Title, beaten this crucial wisdom into him, since childhood?) Most likely, this would be his one shot at introducing himself.
And so, with the building's temperature in the high eighties, due to a runaway furnace, he set off, last evening, naked, from head to toe to the shriveled bone, two bottles of chilled Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages coursing through his arteries, veins, and brain.
By the time he’d terrified ten apartments, the police had arrived, cuffed his ankles and wrists, hauled him off, in a paddy wagon, and thrown him into a padded cell, for observation.
For days, his neighbors came, to gaze upon him.
Getting to Unknow the Neighbors is a collection of short fictions, by L. D. Brodsky, that presents the reader with one of the strangest casts of misfits in contemporary literature. Many of these characters dwell in an apartment building that seems to be located in a Kafkaesque twilight zone. Getting to Unknow the Neighbors is a true masterpiece of the bizarre.