...and welcome back, once again to ROOM WITH A VIEW OF A PENIS, my little experiment in serial, trivial, genital nonfiction. Last Friday, I brought you, the reader, to an apartment in Harlem that would become the scene of unspeakable, penile horror. Yesterday, I introduced you to my neighbor-out-back, a man of few words, fewer inhibitions, and no pants.
Thanks for coming back today, for...
Chapter Three: The Penis Returns
The next night, I walked into the bedroom looking for a book. Without turning on the light, I peered out the window and across the back alley.
The window of the opposite apartment was dark. I flipped the light switch.
Out back, the lights came on, Mr. D-in the-W threw aside a curtain, and ran headlong at the window with penis in hand.
“Jesus Christ!” I yelled, knocking the lamp to the ground. It went out. Mr. D-in-the-W hovered in the window, looking uncertain. He gave a few furtive taps to the glass, peering into the dark.
Della came back down the hall.
“Is he back?”
“What are you going to do?”
“I don’t know, I don’t even know if he’s, like, allowed to do this or not! There should be some kind of penis exposure information line or something.”
Della brightened up.
“What about 311?”
A second later, I was on the phone.
“Hello, thank you for calling 311,” said the operator.
“Hi there,” I said. “I, uh, need to know if something is illegal?”
“Ok,” said the operator.
“Yeah,” I said, "Ok."
"Ok?" said the operator.
"Yeah," I said, unsure where to begin. "So... there’s this guy? He’s in an apartment across the alley from me?”
“And, um,” I stammered. Tricky conversations with phone strangers make me nervous. I tried again. “He’s… like, you know, doing something in his window. You know what I mean?”
“I mean, he’s not wearing any clothes.”
There was a snorting sound.
“Ok, ma’am, hang on one second.” I heard the sound of pages flipping, probably while the operator turned to the index and scanned for Man, naked. “Ma’am?”
“Now, this man is in the apartment behind yours?”
“And he’s in the window? How far away is it?”
“I don’t know, forty feet, maybe?”
“Ok. Now, when he does this thing, can he see you?”
“And does he know that you can see him?”
I thought of Mr. D-in-the-W jumping up and down with glee as Della and I tried unsuccessfully to shame him into putting some pants on.
“Er, yes. Yes, he knows I can see him.”
“Ok, and one last thing, what he’s doing, is it something that you would describe as ‘a lewd act’?”
“What?! Yes!” I practically shouted. “He’s… he’s… he’s flogging it!!! He's banging it against the windowpane! I can hear it hitting the glass!!!”
There was a long pause.
"Wow," said the operator.
“Sorry,” I said, “It’s just… I mean, is he allowed to be doing this?”
“No, of course he’s not,” she said. “I’m connecting you to the police now.”
Chapter 4 is coming tomorrow. Cheers!