What is it with this fellow upstairs? Five evenings now I have been sitting here, outside my holiday apartment sipping...no...guzzling my Sangria and savouring my Olives, head buried in a novel.
Somewhere above (it's difficult to tell exactly where, the way the sound bounces off the walls) there seems to be a man holding conversations with himself. At least that what it sounds like, as I only hear the one voice.
Well...that's not strictly true. I can hear a few voices but they are mere murmurs really. As loud as he is, I haven't a clue what he talks about because his accent is so strong. Clearly Scottish, but more specific I cannot be. I do recognise one word in particular though, which he uses frequently. This is a word you wouldn't want to use with your mother and he doesn't even seem to be using it in anger or for emphasis.
Disappointingly to me, his conversational style appears to be successful since the other voices are all female.
Tonight, I cannot sleep. It's so hot. I know turning over repeatedly just makes it worse so I lie still, wondering if it's time for the "clack-clack" of high-heels as their owners stagger back to nearby rooms.
Eventually, I must have dropped off; otherwise I would have recognised the sound. Instead, all I heard was something like 'Ughff', which sounds easier than it spells.
I listened for any follow up. It came. A kind of groaning just outside my window. Looking out, I saw the human form stretched out. At first I decided he was just drunk and I should go back to bed, but hey, I couldn't sleep anyway, so I ventured outside to check.
He was mumbling something and pointing upwards... "B... con... ee"
Good God! I thought. He's fallen from his balcony! I ran to Reception. Fortunately Paco was on duty tonight. He spoke a little English and immediately he dialled the emergency number. I ran back...but hang on. Have I taken a wrong turning somewhere? No, that's my door there. But where has he gone?
I heard sniggering from above.
"Oh, very funny" I say, realising I'd been had. I went back to Paco to tell him to cancel. He is clearly puzzled, but he makes the call.
The following night is even hotter and I stay up reading until late. Finally I feel sleepy, but the moment that I lay down on my bed is the moment the heat assaults me again and I am wide-awake. This time I heard it properly but it still doesn't spell well. Something like "WH---OO---OO--LFF!"
I cannot believe it. They have to be kidding, right? The groan followed. But you have to look don't you? It's like looking for your car keys. You know you have searched everywhere and you know you already looked in that drawer. But you look again, don't you? Just in case. So I looked again. Just in case.
His foot was facing the wrong way. You can't fake that, so I was off to Paco again. But this time he came to check before phoning. On the way I had a sudden feeling of dread. I remembered a boy at school who was able to make both feet face behind him. This joker could obviously do that too, because he'd gone again.
Embarrassed, I pointed up, but Paco was already walking away mumbling something about 'ooligan Inglese'
I am unable to face going past Paco on his next shift so I stay in. Fortunately I have a newspaper and crossword to occupy me as well as reading and writing.
It's cooler tonight. Maybe I'll sleep.
I did. Until the familiar 'clack-clack' and the off-key singing. They giggled as I heard their repeated attempts to unlock their door. Eventually they made it in and all was quiet again. Until.. "WH---OO---OO--LFF!"
Then the groaning. I stayed put, but the groaning continued. And got louder. I remembered my ear-plugs and I was back in dreamland in no time.
Next morning I was up early for a boat trip. I wasn't ready to face Paco yet and I knew his shift hadn't ended, so closing my door quietly; I headed the other way, vaulting over a wall to get outside the apartment block.
That evening, I am again sloshing down my Sangria and munching my Olives when I suddenly notice the absence of that irritating voice. I do a quick calculation. Tonight is my eighth night. He was only here for a week. Or his second week was my first. Rejoice! I am so happy at the prospect of a week's peace (relatively speaking) and I look forward to another spectacular sunset tonight. I even decide to leave via Reception where I know Paco will be. Bygones.
Something is going on. The Police are there. Paco explains they found the body of "the Scotchman" from the room above mine. Opinion was he'd fallen from his balcony. Paco wondered how I had 'foreseen' this.
As I watched the sun drop into the sea, I wondered about the boy who cried "WHOOOOLFF!!"
With thanks to my editor, LadyCibelle. Everyone should have one.