By John Wiswell
They had to be newlyweds or serial killers. Cheryl preferred them to be newlyweds, two kids who had never experienced the carnal and found it extremely to their liking. When they finished, she'd knock and ask them to please move the bed six inches away from the wall. She couldn’t nap with all that unnecessary shared thumping on her bedroom wall.
An hour of unnecessary shared thumping later, she wondered if it was a couple at all. Perhaps there was a washing machine up against that wall, one that squeaked like two pairs of panting lungs. She turned up her surround sound and attempted to lose herself in a blockbuster movie of swords and stubbled men.
Two hours of unnecessary shared thumping later, she questioned how many washing machines had such a long cycle. What kind of stains would require that kind of intensity?
Three hours of unnecessary shared thumping later, Cheryl had a mindful of stains that might require that intensity. She clutched her aching back and banged on the wall with a broom. Unsurprisingly, they didn’t seem to hear.
She banged on their door. The bedsprings were audible from the hallway. They didn’t cease. The next door down opened and wrinkled Mr. Parkins squinted out, glaring like he didn’t want her to ruin this stereophonic delight for him. Mr. Parkins was a widower, and the only one who buzzed her up when she forgot her keys.
She hung her keys on one of the coat hooks. They bounced to her new neighbors’ tempo. Cheryl stared until she considered calling Mike. See what he was up to tonight.
Or who he was up to. No, she wouldn’t give in to that son of a bitch. He owed her the apology. Besides, her back was killing her. She rubbed at the pinched nerves.
Halfway into The Two Towers, Cheryl wondered if they weren’t escapees from a nymphomania clinic. Around when Gimli said to toss him but not to tell “the elf,” she thought better of it. No, given how many hours it had been, she doubted they could have mustered the will to run this far before crumpling to the grass and rutting.
Around when Ian McKellen saved the day, there was a minor miracle. She realized she was more annoyed at the idea of the inconsiderate lovers than the noise. In fact, it fit very nicely into the beats of the soundtrack. It was as good as white noise.
So she did something stupid. Something Mike would have called stupid, but he was the sort to get caught in the dish room with a waitress. Bracing her back for the pain, she pushed her bedposts flush against the drywall. It commenced trepidation immediately. The mattress felt like a hundred vibrating fingers under her aching spine.
It was the best sleep of her adult life, and the next morning her neighbors were whisper-quiet. Either that or she’d built up a tolerance.
John Wiswell writes humor, horror and anything that fits in-between. He has been published at Weird Tales, Flash Fiction Online, Enchanted Conversation and Untied Shoelaces of the Mind. He writes daily for http://johnwiswell.blogspot.com and is currently seeking representation for his first fantasy novel.