I don’t think *Buck understands Venetian blinds.
He stands behind them as if they’re the Great Wall of China and rummages in his fridge all but buck naked while I loudly clearly my throat in the universal code of “Hey, I can see you, put some goddamn clothes on”.
Buck is one of my neighbours.
His balcony faces mine from across the courtyard and whenever anyone is in need of a cheap thrill, he emerges from the bowels of his apartment in nothing but his underwear, his fifty odd years, his pasty posterior and a gut that’s not quite home to an infant but which may be obscuring a clear view of his crown jewels.
Today, they’re hidden under a pair of briefs that know nothing about leaving a little to the imagination and I’m just about to lean over the ledge and cough even louder when the sight of a gang of teen Angolan girls sends me scurrying back inside.
I call them ‘The Swim Team.’ Not because they’re particularly good at swimming, more because the other day they showed up at my door demanding the key to the communal pool and I denied having it, even though I was soaking wet and had recently shoved the very things into my boobs.
I’m shoving relatively sharp metal objects between my tits because the swimming pool is closed on Sundays. Strangely situated below a tenant’s balcony, the pool is closed by order of the body corporate to give the apartment owners some reprieve on what is arguably the only day people have free to swim in the first place.
It’s depressing but in a world where Murphy rules supreme, it makes a kind of sick sense so, rabid rule abider that I am, on Sundays, I bribe the guard with Doritos, fried chicken and other wonders so that I can spend a quiet twenty minutes floating around in-between taking awkward selfies before I burn to a crisp and set about walking around like Charcoal Barbie.
Though I don’t say a word and keep out of sight, ‘The Swim Team’ has become suspicious.
The little lady who leads the pack has taken to strolling past my door and muttering things in Portuguese and, on this day in particular, she’s caught me red-handed and with two boob shapes forming on my shirt courtesy of a wet bikini.
The jig is up and we all know it.
Her motley crew sticks out their hips, pops their gum and my best friend who is watching the prelude to fracas from my couch grins in anticipation because he knows that I am the world’s worst liar.
Even more so when evidence of the crime is seeping through my T-shirt, trickling down my back and pooling at my feet.
I lie anyway. I tell them I don’t have the key, I’ve just taken a shower and they look past me into my apartment as if they’re kind of, sort of casing the joint.
About two minutes after I’ve closed my door in their faces, I’m hiding around a corner in the hallway watching them enter the elevator which will take them downstairs where they’ll harass the security guard about the key until the man seriously considers packing it all in to commence his life as a man without blood on his hands.
Given the sixty years it takes the elevator to close, I figure I can outrun it.
My plan is to take the stairs, return the key and run back to my apartment before they start their barrage so the guard can swing the thing in their faces and say: ‘Nobody swims on Sunday’.
I’m not as fast as I think I am.
I take the stairs two at a time, jettison my flip flops on the first floor but I still careen into the lobby just as ‘The Swim Team’ steps out of the elevator and the leader looks at me like she’d like to kick my ass from here till next Sunday. To have some sort of purpose in life, I make up something about needing to sign someone in and I hover around like the Ghost of Christmas Cringe.
I don’t want to admit it but they’ve got me.
This Sunday, they’ve got me.
They can’t broker the same deal because they roll in a pack and every time they make use of the facilities, the surrounding lounge area looks like Noah needs to head over with his ark and everyone within a 1km radius has to accept the fact that they’re going to hear teenage girls screeching for the bad part of a good day.
Me? I’m too old and too tired to do much more than lie there so, for a tasty fee, the security guard has been letting me be. When I tell my best friend about our arrangement he looks at me as if admitted to insider trading and I suppose that on a scale of 1 – Marth, my black market behaviour is a little off the charts.
Back in the lobby with The Swim Team, I’m dripping wet, out of breath and I’m clutching the key in my hand so tight it’s about ten more seconds till blood.
And that’s when God reveals that he exists and he wants me to be great.
One of ‘The Swim Team’s’ phone gets a text message and who ever sent it is so powerful it sends them all running down the hall, giggling, screeching and not looking back.
Naturally, I take the opportunity to shove the key into the security guard’s hand and we both burst out laughing because it’s become clear that together we are utter and irreversible idiots. After promising him a bag of Doritos, I make myself scarce and head back to my apartment where my best friend is shaking his head in a way that says: ‘It’s a good thing you don’t want to be an actress.’
Not one for smug satisfaction that isn’t my own, I barely conceal a giggle, roll my eyes at him and head out to the balcony and that’s when I catch sight of Buck.
He’s rummaging in his fridge again behind the parted Venetian blinds and if you didn’t know any better, you’d probably guess he was just lazing around in his Speedo…maybe having a quick bite before a Sunday swim.
But he’s not.
He’s just ambling around half naked for me, God and anyone with eyes to see.
Because nobody swims on Sundays.