A Strange Chicago Neighbor
Late last summer I was sitting on my porch enjoying a glass of beer when I had to move over and make room for a coffin to get by.
That’s right, emerging from the front door of my apartment building was a silver and black casket carried by two muscular, yet feminine-looking boys wearing daisy duke shorts. Now ordinarily you might think this is strange. But not when you live where I do. Not when your neighbor on the third floor of your three-flat is Ms. Weregun.
The boys loaded the coffin in a truck and said goodbye to Ms. Weregun, who was now standing behind me.
“Hey Larry, I got something for you,” she said.
“You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.”
Ms. Weregun was middle-aged with long straight black hair – it nearly went down to her ass. She looked like a really pale American Indian. She was unkempt although not in a homeless way.
I first met Ms. Weregun while visiting my upstairs neighbors on the second floor, the Bristol girls. Katie Bristol studies at the University of Chicago and is a rower. Her older sister Emma works in public relations.
I was having a beer with Katie, Emma, and Emma’s girlfriend when there was a knock on the door. It was Ms. Weregun.
She wanted to borrow an ice tray from the girls. Katie politely told her they didn’t have an empty one available. During their brief conversation at the door Ms. Weregun was straining to get a look at me sitting in the kitchen.
“Who’s that asshole,” I heard her say.
“That’s the new tenant downstairs Ms. Weregun,” Katie said. “Liffey. He’s really cool.”
“Well I don’t want him coming upstairs to my place.”
The Bristol girls moved in not long before I did. They didn’t know Ms. Weregun that well, only that she occasionally stopped by with strange requests (one single match, an empty aspirin bottle, a red T-shirt, a mirror).
My second encounter with Ms. Weregun came the following Saturday morning when I awoke from my couch under the open front window. She was kneeling in front of the screen, staring at me.
“Jesus,” I said.
“Good morning Larry. I was just clipping your bushes here. I hope I didn’t wake you.”
“No, and it’s Liffey.”
“Did you sleep well?” Is that couch comfortable? You looked hot and I was going to spray some water on you.”
“That’s OK, thanks,” I said.
“I have some friends coming over later and I don’t want you to concern yourself with it.”
I wasn’t sure how to reply to that but before I could she was gone.
A day later I was unlocking my door to get in when she suddenly appeared behind me.
“Larry when you use the bathroom in my place I have to insist you sit down.”
“I’ll remember that,” I said, recalling she didn’t want me up there anyway. And why would I? I might never get out.
The following night myself, Aidan, Johnny and Chicago reclusive author Clive Javanski were heading to the Bristol apartment for a card game and a few beers. Ms. Weregun came down the stairs.
“Larry I want you to give this broom to the lesbians.”
I gave it to the Katie, telling her Ms. Weregun was giving her the broom back.
“We never loaned her a broom. This isn’t ours.”
“Your neighbor is fucked up,” Aidan said.
The next morning as I was leaving for a run I ran into Clive walking down the stairs. Apparently he never left the building last night. But he didn’t stay in my place, nor the Bristols’.
“She’s not that bad,” he said.
I looked upstairs at a smiling Ms. Weregun. Then she started doing a dance that involved her crotch sticking out.
She Stole My Pants
Our three apartments shared a laundry room in the building. Some of my clothes went missing. Maybe Katie, who I was developing a slight crush on, was doing something with them. Weird, but interesting. But no. It was Ms. Weregun. Just weird.
I figured it out when one of her Boystown boys came knocking on my door – wearing my jeans.
“Hi, are you Larry? Ms. Weregun wanted you to have this witchetty grub she made. It’s Australian.”
“It’s Liffey. Where did you get those jeans?”
He smiled and left.
I looked in the box and it was some kind of larvae worm-looking thing. I gave it to Clive.
Then came the coffin incident. And then a few weeks later Ms. Weregun was gone. The landlord said she had another place in the city and that “she might be back.” He was going to sublet the apartment.
The next morning there was a carefully wrapped box at my door. It was from Ms. Weregun. Although she had my name right this time I still refused to open it without gloves and a long stick. When I did it was filled with old records she wanted me to store for her. As I went through them I found several nude pictures of her. Some were even taken on our porch.
I still had my gloves on when I gave them to Clive.