Another Flashback story. This happened about six months ago:
I love where I live. Everybody comes to Hawaii because it’s a dream vacation destination. The landscape is pristine and picturesque. People who live in Hawaii, come up to a particular scenic point to admire the view– this is where people in paradise, come to view paradise. And my apartment is smack dab at the top of what could arguably be the best view of the island. So the drive up to my place is its own natural aphrodisiac of sorts.
My apartment itself is not particularly big. It’s a single bedroom studio with a full bathroom and kitchen, and a loft storage area that can be reached by a ladder. My apartment is joined by one wall to a larger central house where my landlord and his family live; a father and two teenage sons. In addition to being tied into the same electrical and water lines, my apartment shares central AC with the rest of the house.
Why am I telling you all of this? Well any storyteller worth his salt knows it’s important to create a sense of place and setting before telling his story. It’s rude to just dump an audience in the middle of things. And a couple of these facts will come into play in just a minute or two depending on how fast you read.
So, anytime I bring a new friend to my apartment, the first thing she wants to do is climb the ladder and look around the loft. Not sure what it is, but that space up there seems to convert everyone to a simpler time of playing pillow-fort as a kid. When I first moved in I lugged my 30 gallon aquarium up there, along with most of my diving and shooting gear, so there is a lot of cool stuff to poke around at. I also tossed a sleeping bag and an extra pillow up in my loft to add to the whole, secret-grown-up-fort element.
So I have a friend up in my loft, and she’s cooing at my fish, and looking out the skylight, and she sprawls across the sleeping bag and decides this would be a great place for an impromptu game of Backgammon. Awesome. That’s what the sleeping bag is there for, that’s the whole point of bringing a friend back to my place. The problem is, I’ve never played backgammon against this particular opponent.
And. She. Was. Loud.
Every time I would advance my pieces she would grunt and moan. When she made her moves, she was equally as audible. Now I like enthusiasm, and I like encouragement during a rousing game of backgammon, but this was something new entirely. I had unlocked a wailing banshee who puts the pipes of Axel Rose to shame. When the game reached its inevitable conclusion, her voice arose in a cacophony of screams and wails, so much so that I think even my fish were scared. We finished, laying there panting and laughing on my sleeping bag.
And that’s when I started to hear voices. Clear as a bell:
“Did you hear that?”
“Yeah I think they’re done.”
“She must’ve enjoyed it.”
I look above me, and less than a foot above our laying heads is the vent for the central air. Normally these vents are well above any normal activity going on in a room, but with the height of my loft… it put us right at face level to the vents. In fact at one point she was mashed up right against the vent, her fingers interlocking into the grate. I can hear voices, their laughter clear as day, as if they were sitting right across from us. Obviously if we could hear them… they could hear us.