The trick with this serial fiction thing is to publish at intervals, with enough time between to keep the audience titillated, but not so much that they lose interest and go off to get a ham sandwich just when you’re about to reveal the thrilling climax of the entire story.
Just to recap, this is, of course, ROOM WITH A VEW OF A PENIS, my serialized story of one very bad neighbor. If you haven’t yet, please navigate your way through the first three chapters via the following links:
Chapter Four: The NYPD
I opened the door ten minutes later to find two, fully-uniformed police officers standing outside. They strode into the apartment and stood in my living room. The shorter of the two, who was clearly the more talkative of the pair (and will be hereafter referred to as “Officer Talky”), started asking questions.
“Now, you said there’s a man harassing you, is that right?”
“Harassing? Well… pretty much, yeah, that sums it up.”
“And where is he?”
“In the building out back.”
“He’s in another building?” Officer Talky looked at his partner, who furrowed his brow and looked confused. Clearly, there had been some sort of communication breakdown between my 311 operator and the NYPD.
“He’s in the apartment that faces mine,” I said, “And he’s standing in his window, and he’s naked.”
Office Talky gave me a stern look which I took to mean, The NYPD has more important issues to deal with than a freaked-out dizzy white girl who accidentally saw her neighbor’s ass. I realized that I needed to step up the explanation.
“He’s naked on purpose,” I said urgently, giving Officer Talky a look that I hoped would convey my level-headedness. He looked confused.
“What do you mean, ‘on purpose’?”
“I mean, he’s in his window, naked, and…” –I couldn’t say “masturbating” to a police officer – “you know, he’s… doing things.”
“Ma’am, I’m not really follo—“
Something inside of me came unhinged.
“For Christ’s sake, he’s flogging it! He has his dick in his hand and he is FLOGGING IT, Officer, and it’s gross, and the 311 lady said that he’s not allowed!!!”
There was a moment of silence. Officer Talky and his friend appeared to be biting the insides of their cheeks to keep from laughing, and it dawned on me that perhaps the source of the “confusion” hadn’t been so much a breakdown of communication between 311 and the NYPD as a desire, on the part of the police, to make me say the word “dick”.
Officer Talky took a deep breath.
“Alright. Is he over there now, ma’am?”
“I think so.”
“Ok, we want you to turn out all your lights, and we’re going over there, and we’ll have a little talk with him. What does he look like?”
“He’s tall and thin, with short hair,” I said.
“And he’s got a pencil moustache, I think.”
“He’s all the way across the alley, I can’t see his face that well.”
“Can you tell us anything else about him?”
"He’s naked and smacking his junk against the windowpane?”
Officer Talky gave me the stern look again.
“Well, he was,” I said.
Officer Non-Talky made a gurgling, tee hee hee sort of noise.
“Alright, ma’am,” said Officer Talky. The two of them trooped out of my apartment and down the stairs. I went back into the living room and began switching off lights.
Della, who had been sitting in her room, poked her head out.
“Um,” she said, “you could have just said that he’s ‘touching himself’.”
“No way,” I said. “That makes it sound all new-agey and sensitive.”
(Come back tomorrow, for the exciting conclusion!)