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[13 | Tripper] Download or Read PDF
“Gaawwwwwddddd!!! That fucking noise. Why won’t it stop? I just want to sleep! PLEASE, for the love of God, LET ME SLEEP!”
(a few seconds pass)
BOOM-BOOM-BOOM – BANG
BOOM-BOOM-BOOM – BANG
“What the hell happened last night? I feel like I was pummeled with a sack of potatoes. At least I am still at home. I hate waking up in strange places. I think it’s time for me to get my shit together. Maybe even start hitting the gym. I’d like to learn more about that woman anyway—see if she may be the upstairs neighbor making all the racket.”
James had been rudely awoken, and the continuous thuds prevent him from falling back asleep. He is too exhausted to do anything about it, so he lays in the bed and endures the irritating noise.
The sound continues for close to an hour before he can fall back asleep.
Just as his eyes close and he slips back into a slumber, CRACK! A loud crashing sound reminiscent of someone dropping a heavy weight on the floor snaps him right out of it. The sound does not continue, so he is unaware that it had woken him. He falls back asleep.
Thump-thump thump-thump. Thump-thump thump-thump. Piddle-piddle-thump-thump, piddle-piddle-thump-thump.
A series of what sounds like repetitive light thwacks and wallops radiates from the ceiling, waking James yet again. The patterned racket continues endlessly. He lays on the bed staring at the ceiling. He fantasizes about sliding a long carving knife deep into the heart of whoever is responsible for the sound. (I’d like to watch the life leave their fucking eyes as I plunge a freshly sharpened twelve-inch blade through their chest plate, puncturing the heart. I wouldn’t want to hit an artery; I want it to be slow so they can suffer for hours the way they are making me suffer. It sounds like someone sprinting back-and-forth. What is wrong with this person or people or whoever the fuck they are.)
He becomes overly frustrated trying to make sense of the situation, wondering what he did in his past to deserve such karma. The pattern reminds him of a plyometric cardio exercise routine.
About 2-hours later
James wants to get up, and hullabaloo to the management but is too exhausted. He cannot even muster up enough strength to use the bathroom. It’s as if he is strapped to the bed and unable to leave it.
The exercise routine had gone on for an hour, and then another one started – lasting about the same amount of time. After it stopped, he fell back asleep and quickly entered into a deep dream state.
He is dreaming about teaching a physics class and the research he has been working on. He fantasizes about a beautiful girl falling in love with him while he lectures. Perhaps one of his students, a petite young one.
The girl he manifests comes to his office after class and begins flirting with him. She slides her chair up close to his while he explains her homework problems to her. She intentionally presses her leg against his leg, and then she looks for movement under the fabric of his pants. She is happy to see a developing lump. She then nonchalantly moves her hand up his thigh while they both examine the homework. He feels her begin to massage his crotch. Then she unzips him and slips her hand in. The feeling of her cold hand gripping him excites him further. He looks at the top of her thighs popping out from a crimped pink skirt and cannot resist himself. He turns her chair towards his, puts his hands on each of her kneecaps, and spreads her legs. The separation forces her skirt to pull back to the hips, and the disengagement exposes light pink panties that match her dress. There is a single white rose printed on the center of them. The image rests on the fabric like printing on a pillow cushioned by the pressed hairs beneath. He slides his hands along her thighs and props her up, cupping her derriere with the palms of his hands. She is so petite that she fits perfectly in them. He pulls her towards him and then sits her upon his lap while repositioning her knees, so her shins are resting on the sides of his thighs. She then grabs him and feels him throb as she firmly grips his shaft. She pulls the rose to the side and presses him to her moisture. The instant he feels her warmth, he is shot awake.
James is pulled from his fantasy. The rapid sequence of poundings is so intense, the lights in his ceiling rattle, sending dust sprinkling into the air.
At this point, he can no longer focus on sleep. He grows frustrated with the noise and decides to do something to try and take his mind off of it, but it just cannot be ignored. He moves to his rocking chair and listens to the excessive movement in his ceiling. (Who the hell moves this much? I mean seriously. This is ridiculous. How can someone move around their home all day long like this? Don’t they own a TV or have a job or something?)
[13.1 | Over the weeks]
Since he finished the semester, J.F. has been awoken every morning like clockwork to what sounds like excessive exercise. He has also been disturbed all throughout the day. He keeps track of the sound schedule and takes tabs on a few of his neighbor’s activities. He becomes confident that the sound’s primary source is coming from someone exercising and makes plans to prove it or end it.
When he again reaches out to the building’s management, he gets nothing more than a circumventing response. The first time he mentions it to Lena, she says, “I don’t think so. No one works out that much in a day. It is likely something else.”
J.F. is one to agree with someone, even if he thinks they are wrong, so he decides to take matters into his own hands and investigate the building and tenants. He has been trying to work and rest, but every time he lays down or picks up a pencil, the pounding begins. This consistent distraction is too much to bear. He concludes the only options are to move or fix the situation.
J.F. finds it uncanny that he could be sitting in his rocking chair doing nothing for hours, and the instant he starts to work, the pounding also starts. It isn’t just coincidental. It’s an enigma. He even began changing the times he would attempt to work on his research or when he napped. Didn’t matter if he grabbed a pencil at 1:00 pm, 1:05 pm or 9:13 am. It just didn’t matter; the pounding would start within minutes of beginning his work.
One day, he became so frustrated by the sounds, he jumped around his tiny condo-like an upset child throwing a temper tantrum. He then began smashing the walls with his fists and screaming at the top of his lungs, “For the love of God, would you please stop moving. Jesus! Who the fuck moves this much. STOP FUCKING MOVING, YOU FUCKING PSYCHOS!!! Just stop!!! Give me a moment of peace!”
After exploding and putting holes in the walls, J.F. became unhinged. He has had countless days of sleepless nights and made no accomplishments with his research. He grows ever more frustrated with the staff and condo board. He has numerous emails documenting the sounds and has reached out by letter to potential neighbors that could be the source but with no response. The management’s only solution was and is to keep insisting that he records the sounds.
He recalls one of his conversations with Lena: “Look, Lena, someone is exercising in this building non-stop, and it is like their unit is connected to mine like two tin cans and a string.” “Well, I just don’t see how you could hear the people above you, and I talked to them, and they are hardly ever home.” “I am not talking about the people above me. How am I going to hear them through a foot of solid concrete? I am talking about some sort of connection between the pipes or walls or something. It just has to stop. I am going insane.” “Oh. Well, that is why I have a house. I would never live in a place like this, sharing walls.” (Great. How the fuck does that help me – knowing that you wouldn’t live here.)
One would think that the sound comes from the neighbor upstairs, but the building is constructed out of solid concrete, so someone could drop a bowling ball on their floor, and the person below them wouldn’t hear it. Because of this, the staff and the condo board doesn’t take J.F.’s complaints seriously. He got the impression that they thought of his case as, “If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, did it make a noise?” The lack of respect he received frustrated him since he is a doctorate in physics. That doesn’t seem to matter to them. For some reason, they think of J.F. as a less than worthy tenant.
12/20/16 Journal- There is something off about the people that live in this building. It is like they are children playing the “I know you are but what am I.” game. Or they are incapable of seeing any point-of-view other than the one they already know. I don’t get it.
One-night, J.F. lost his temper, and in a physically belligerent rage, he began ripping the walls down. He put his hands into the holes he punched in a few weeks earlier and tore the drywall from the screws. He then tossed fragments of sheetrock across his condo, slamming into the other walls. His logic is that if he removes the median the sound travels through, it will have nothing to emit from—like removing the drum’s batter head.
After tearing down about twenty percent of the wall, he learns that the sheetrock had been bolted to a metal cage that encompasses his unit.
(This is the same design as a Faraday cage. Why would anyone want to build a home in a metal cage? I mean, this is like a prison cell lined with the luxury of sheetrock. I am surrounded by metal and concrete. Well, that explains how the sound is traveling. These cages must be interconnected throughout the building. How bizarre.)
After J.F. learns of the infrastructure, he returns to explain this to the staff, but they still keep telling him to record the sound. He recalls another conversation: “How is recording the sound going to get these people to stop exercising?” “Let’s just start by recording it just to be sure that is what you are hearing.” “I don’t understand why you need a recording. I cannot stay another day in that place if these people are going to continue. Do you understand that I have not slept more than two hours straight in weeks? I am being tortured.” “Well, get a recording, and then we will see what we can do.”
December 27th, 2016
A few days go by, and J.F. hasn’t heard any pounding. He wakes up on his mattress, finally feeling refreshed. He is expected on campus soon and needs to prepare for the spring semester. He makes himself some coffee and sits in his rocking chair. (Finally, I can get some work done. I hope my complaints made it to the neighbors, and they will stop exercising. I think I know who it is now.)
12/27/16 Journal- Dr. James Francis Quasar. I am still getting used to my new title. I wonder who my assistants and coworkers will be for spring. Also, how many students will be in my class. I think that this will be an exciting year for me.
I am contemplating a relationship, but the mere thought of having to be held responsible for someone else’s needs sends me running. Besides, I don’t think I have ever met someone that I truly click with or can tolerate or who can tolerate me, for that matter. I don’t know. I will just let the universe decide that for me. Just happy to be finished with school and not have to worry so much about bills and studying. Now I can focus all my energy on my research. I have made a recent discovery, which I call ‘The God Function.’ I think it may be the key to unifying relativity and quantum mechanics. I will be focusing a lot of time and energy on this. Hopefully, there is someone that will understand it on the level I do at the campus.
Most of the professors I meet are just like religious people. They don’t believe anything that wasn’t written in a book. I swear some of the stupidest people I have ever met hold Ph.D.’s in Math or Physics.
I don’t care much for the view out the window of my condo. I just see a sea of bricks—the brick forest, if you will. Nothing but ugly buildings lined with bricks. The place is small and doesn’t have a patio. I am tucked up right next to the window with it open. The design of the building seems to prevent any airflow into the unit. It was all I could afford. Well, I am off to work.
James sets his notebook on the windowsill and pushes himself up and out of the rocking chair to head out. He walks down the unnecessarily long hallway, a part of his condo that takes up over twenty percent of the square footage. It begins to irritate him. (Why did they slice up 500 square feet into a bedroom, living room, hallway, bathroom, and what appears to be the world’s smallest dining room fit for a single barstool. Idiots designed this building. Why did I move here again? ‘I don’t know.’)
(Jesus fucking Christ! These mother fucking pieces of fucking shit mother fucking cock sucking bitches. I just want them to fucking die. Just fucking die DIE DIE DIE. Why does this keep happening to me? Why the fuck do I have to be the one to constantly be exposed to this animalistically endowed humanoid piece of fucking shit garbage. I swear I wouldn’t lose an ounce of sleep if I saw whoever’s making these noises heads smashed under a steamroller. Goddam fucking cunts.)
“One second.” Said James with the politest mannerism. He lost track of his hateful thoughts towards the neighbors. The ones he thinks are making all the racket in his ceiling. He walks to the door and skips looking through the peephole due to his distracted state-of-mind. He finds an ax sitting against the hallway wall across from the doorway when he opens it, but no one is there. Under the ax is a note addressed to J.F.
J.F. picks up the ax and envelope and brings them into his condo. When he opens the envelope, he finds a small torn off piece of a newspaper article.
UW Journal of the Prestige
December 27, 1930 – Madison, WI
Dr. James Francis Quasar had been selected to work at the local university—the University of Wisconsin-Madison—as an assistant professor of physics teaching Hypothetical Physics. A subject that he founded during his graduate dissertation. The topic led to groundbreaking discoveries in time-displacement.
During his professorship from 1910-1929, he accomplished more than most could dream of.
(What is this? Some kind of a joke?)
J.F. decides to throw in the towel and give up his attempts at accomplishing any work from home. Instead, he walks the halls to escape the endless parade of footsteps in his ceiling. While walking, he makes sure to pass the exercise room. He theorizes that the people making the noise must also frequent the gym. His plan is to cross-check the people’s schedules in the gym and when he hears sounds in his unit.
One night he glances into the workout room from a mirror across the hall. The reflection he sees startles him. He thinks he must be half asleep when the mirror reflects the image of a skeleton draped in yoga pants and a hoody sweatshirt. J.F. gets a look at her face through another reflection. It is almost all bone as if the flesh had been scraped from it, but when he looks in through the door window, he sees nothing more than an anorexic young woman addicted to running.
(I have seen this girl before. She is on that treadmill for hours. Could she also be exercising in her unit? Maybe she does the workout videos at home and then comes here for the treadmills?)
J.F. goes home and sits in his place for a little while, not hearing any noise. After an hour of silence, he hears sounds in the ceiling. It sounds like someone pacing across their floor – back-and-forth – walking non-stop. He quickly leaves to go and see if the woman is still in the workout room, and she is not.
(This person could be the one making the noise. Let’s check tomorrow and log the times we see her in the gym.)
[13.2 | Jack]
J.F.’s whole routine has changed based on the pounding. He has to make sure he falls asleep by 11:00 pm and wakes refreshed by 7:00 am to avoid the neighbor’s OCD activities. He was initially upset about this, but it has helped him regulate his schedule, which will be helpful when he returns to work. He made the decision to put his research aside until he can get back to campus. He was unable to find a suitable place to study, and every time he tries in his condo, the pounding begins, so he decides to take up exercising to look further into the neighbor’s routines.
J.F.’s life has become orientated around learning everything about his neighbor’s daily activities. He is determined to locate the one that never stops moving. He starts his day by walking up-and-down the floor where the gym is located. He takes mental notes of who goes in and out and what time they do. He then goes back to his unit to see if he hears anything when they are there and not. He eventually narrows it down to the girl that excessively runs on the treadmill. He then begins exercising himself to investigate further.
The boney one is always there – like clockwork – every day. She spends hours bouncing between the elliptical and treadmill. J.F. feels there is something off about her. He remembers the skeletal structure of her backend from the reflections in the mirror. She becomes known as “The running skeleton.”
Another man, around J.F.’s age, also goes to the gym every day. He is a local therapist by the name of Dr. Tripper, who J.F. immediately refers to as Jack even though that is not his name. He had pinned Jack as one of those guys who keeps everything about themselves a secret. He imagines he is either doing strange things in his free time or simply just insecure.
Over the weeks, Jack and J.F. became acquainted, sharing many conversations. It has been a long time since J.F. has had someone he can call a friend. Most people avoid him, and he avoids most people. However, there is some underlying connection between him and Jack, as if they knew one another in another life. He finds it peculiar that Jack practices therapy. It turns out that Jack has a background in engineering and mathematics. Probably why he and J.F. hit it off. Later in life, Jack became a medical doctor and simultaneously trained in psychology. But he really struck J.F. as a businessman.
It becomes a daily routine for them to meet at the Gym and converse. A common topic of theirs was the issue with the noise in J.F.’s walls. Dr. Tripper has been living in the building for over a decade, and he has never heard anyone complain about such noises. This makes him question what J.F.’s real motives are. J.F. could sense this, so he invites Dr. Tripper to come over and spend some time at his place to witness. Unfortunately, the two of them cannot find an agreeable time. Whatever time J.F. suggests always seems to conflict with Dr. Tripper’s schedule. (Dr. Tripper. Dr. Jack Tripper. Dr. Jack T. Ripper. I bet he is out slaying women on the streets of Madison every night.)
J.F. learns a lot about Dr. Tripper’s personality. The man is an expert on social interactions and human relations, but he doesn’t have the sixth sense about people J.F. has.
Throughout J.F.’s life, he had become overly honest, which led him to see the truth about everyone else’s dishonesty. Dr. Tripper wasn’t so much a liar as he was an information withholder. A tactic to keep the upper hand in relationships. A move commonly used in trade.
J.F. doesn’t really care so much. He had met many people like this throughout his years. They eventually start coming clean about their lives, or they just alienate everyone. Even still, J.F. wants to know more about the man. He thinks Dr. Tripper may help him with his noise issue, especially now that J.F. has jokingly coined him: ‘Doctor Jack T. Ripper.’
A horrible night to remember
After weeks of trying to hunt down the neighbors responsible for the noise, J.F. breaks down and returns to the bottle. He figures the semester is starting up soon, so he might as well have some fun since he cannot get any work done.
Like magic, just as he wants to drink, he finds a bottle of Tanqueray gin tucked under the sink. (I must have stuck this here for emergencies. Well, this seems like one if no other.) He twists and cracks the seal and pours himself a couple ounces straight up in a glass tumbler. He doesn’t recall anything else after. About ten hours later, he is awoken from a blackout sleep.
POLICE – OPEN UP!
James Quasar. Open Up!
J.F. flew out of bed, thinking the building is on fire. He looks through the peephole and sees three police officers—two male and one female – all of which look to be ten or more years younger than him. J.F. has only a pair of boxer shorts on when he opens the door and asks, “What’s going on, officers?” Without warning, the two male officers grab his arm and rip him out of the condo. They then proceed to handcuff him, locking his wrists together behind his back. One officer stays in the hall, securing J.F. while the others ransacked his apartment.
After finding nothing in his home, the police begin patting him down. J.F. is confused as to why they would pat down a flimsy pair of underwear. He asks with a confused tone-of-voice, “What the hell is going on?” and then one of the male officers asks, “Where are the weapons and drugs? Do you have any on you? Knives – needles?” “Dude – I am in my fucking underwear; what do you think? Now, what the hell are you people doing here?” The officers ignore him.
J.F. is distraught and distressed by the rude awakening and still very drunk. After they finished searching his place, they shut his door.
J.F. asks, “Now, can you please tell me what you are doing?”, and one of the male officers responds, “We received a call that you are drunk and planning to commit suicide.” J.F. laughs and says, “Well, that is ridiculous; I was sleeping officer as you can clearly see.” “Have you been drinking this evening?” “Yes, I had some drinks earlier, and then I went to bed.” The moment J.F. said he had drinks, the officers began hauling him down the hall. They would no longer speak to him other they are placing him in protective custody for his own safety.
“Excuse me. You cannot just handcuff me, enter my home, and then lock me up; I have rights.” The female officer then says, “If someone says you are suicidal, and you have had a drink, you have no rights.” “Wait a second. So, if I have a drink and someone calls the police and tells them they think I am suicidal regardless of whether I am or not, you can do this?” “That is correct. The law in Wisconsin states verbatim: ‘Whether or not the individual is suicidal—that is, if someone claims the person in question is suicidal, and said person has alcohol in their system, we are then required to detain them until the alcohol leaves their system. They must also receive a psychiatric evaluation at their expense.”
J.F. responds, “That is the most fucked up shit I have ever heard. This sounds like a lawsuit to me.”, and then doesn’t say another word. Being the accepting and relaxed guy J.F. is, he didn’t fight and just went with the police officers. He figures at least he can get some sleep away from the pounding for the night.
J.F. is escorted half-naked through the lobby right past JIM. While being hauled off, he looks and examines the female officer and tells her she has a nice body, and asks, “Didn’t I see you on Tinder?” She instantly blushes and turns her head away. The two male officers give each other an odd look implying, “I wonder if she is looking to hook up? Maybe after we drop this guy off, we could use his cuffs and tag team her.”
J.F. can see the power control hungry spirit within the two males. He can also tell that the female officer knows there is something wrong with what they are doing. He just goes along with them, knowing that fighting with an officer is not smart, and his best bet for a safe return home is to just go along with whatever they plan.
After forcefully escorting J.F. through the lobby, the officers open the doors to the vestibule and push him outside, landing his bare feet in the untouched snow.