I slept well in the new apartment, as did Lucas. (Little did I know that it would be my first and last time of sleeping well for the next week and a half.)
At 5:45 a.m., I hear some noise coming from the kitchen.
The way the apartment is laid out, so you have an idea, is as follows: the kitchen, living, and dining area are all near the entrance; then, a door near the dining room gives way to the three bedrooms.
Now, at 5:45 a.m., someone (or something) is moving in the kitchen. My first two thoughts are: someone has broken in, or it’s an iguana. Theoretically, an iguana could have entered the lobby unnoticed, hitched a ride on one of the two elevators, gotten off on my floor and then…broken the lock to what?
No. The iguana is now discarded.
Did I leave the balcony door open and now there is a water spout convention in the apartment?
Lucas is already standing on the bed and growling at the door. I put my hand on him, and he calms down a bit. I just need to listen. I remember that I made sure to close the balcony door last night at 2 a.m., when I got up to drink water.
The water distiller machine starts making a clicking sound. SHIT, someone has broken in and is actually serving himself (herself?) a glass of water from the refrigerator’s water dispenser. A small bang, then I hear the morning news.
WHAT THE FUCK?
I can’t believe it. Karma really has it in for me. I must have been a pretty shitty person in my past life.
And just last night Lucas was finally wagging his stubby tail after months of schnauzer moroseness.
I get out of bed, put my hair up in a bun (I don’t want the person pulling me by the hair), and search for my glasses.
Shit, now it sounds like someone has taken a bat to the kitchen.
Lucas starts barking, and I notice that my arms are shaking. I find my glasses tucked underneath the pillow.
It’s time to take down this B-52.
I get my pepper spray and a stun gun. I take the pepper spray in my right hand, and the stun gun in my left. I open the bedroom door slightly and listen.
It sounds like the person hasn’t made his way to the bedroom area. Good. I jump into the hallway and place my ear on the door that leads to the kitchen/living area. I hear feet shuffling and the morning news. It sounds like a radio. I didn’t see a radio anywhere last night.
For a moment I consider the element of using nudity as surprise.
I had read somewhere that a general in Africa would make his men take off their clothes and attack naked. A brilliant tactic since the victims were more frightened by the collective nakedness than by the fact the soldiers had guns. As a result, no guns were ever fired, because the victims would just be standing there with their mouths open.
No, no nakedness. I decide I’m just going to open door, run toward the guy, and spray him squarely in the eyes. Then, I’ll stun him on the neck, near the jugular.
I check the pepper spray bottle and make sure the nozzle is pointing outward. I’ve managed to spray myself not once but twice with pepper spray. Neither time was on purpose. I turn on the stun gun, see the little red light indicating it’s on.
Then I decide I’m going to rush out, screaming. The screaming will not only surprise the intruder, but also remind me that I have a voice through all this.
I grip my weapons, open the door, and run out into the kitchen, screaming:
The man has his back to me; he’s washing dishes at the sink. PERFECT. As he is turning toward the screaming, I grip the pepper spray, point, and push the button.
The spray hits him perfectly in the eyes. Awesome!
Only, that he’s wearing glasses.
Oh no, I had not considered that the burglar might be wearing glasses.
Still, that spray is a mofo.
“¿Qué carajo? ¡Carajo!” He puts his hands to his eyes, and I step back. He’s six feet, shit. I was hoping he would be smaller. He also looks familiar, oh shit.
“Tell me who you are or I’ll destroy you!” I scream. I have now switched the stun gun to my right hand.
“Pola! It’s me! Paco!”
Paco, the man who had given me the keys to the apartment yesterday.
“What are you doing here?” I scream.
“I house-sit, goddammit. I house-sit this apartment every day.”
“Lisa’s father pays me to house-sit every day, Monday through Friday, from 6 a.m. til 3 p.m.”
He can’t talk because he can’t stop coughing. Lucas is barking from the bedroom like a deranged German Shepherd.
Paco can’t talk because he’s too busy dying in front of me. I pay no attention to this, so I press the stun gun’s button, and the thing makes its loud crackling noise. He jumps.
“You hear that?” I hear myself say. “You know what that is.”
“…fuck…” I hear him swear.
“I’m going to call my friend and confirm this!” I yell at him and run back into the bedroom area and lock the hallway door. Then, I rush into my bedroom, lock the door, and push an armchair against it. I get my cell phone and call my friend. Hopefully she’s up.
She IS up.
“Hey! Good morning! What’s up?” she says chirply.
“Man in the kitchen, man in the kitchen.” That’s all I can get out.
“Man with the keys in your kitchen. Man from yesterday.”
“Yeah, Paco. What is he doing here?”
“Oh! I forgot to tell you. Shit, sorry. He comes in every single day, Monday through Friday and stays there from 6 a.m. til 3 p.m. Dad pays him to keep the apartment clean and make sure no one gets in.”
“Oh shit oh shit oh shit.”
“Why, what happened?”
“I just attacked him with pepper spray.”
“You did what?”
“I thought he was a burglar, and I just pepper sprayed him. I’m so sorry.”
“Get him on the phone,” she says. She sounds pissed. She hates me now and will boot me from her apartment. I’m going to be living in my car in the parking lot of the Presbyterian hospital after all. Never trust happiness.
I run out, still with the pepper spray, and find the guy sitting in the living room, coughing, his eyes are red and tears are coming down his face.
“Here,” I say. “It’s Lisa. Sorry.” I hand him the cell phone.
He takes it. “Oh my God, Lisa. Your friend is crazy.” And then, “Oh, I forgot to tell her that I come here every day…yeah…yeah…sorry, right. Ok, bye.” He hands me back the cell.
“He should have told you. I should have told you. I’m so sorry,” my friend says apologetically. “I can’t believe you just pepper sprayed him. He has diabetes.”
“Oh no. I’m sorry,” I say to her. Then to him, “I’m sorry Paco, I didn’t know that this was your job.”
He just shakes his head.
“Think of him as extra security,” she says. “I have to go to the gym now, but we’ll talk later. Make him coffee or something so he feels better. And remind him to take his pill; otherwise his sugar gets too high.”
I hang up. Lucas has now run toward Paco and is meticulously peeing on him.
“What the fuck?” Paco screams. “I thought he was housebroken.”
“He is, but he’s been trained to attack.” Then, “Would you like coffee?” I look for a Dove chocolate in my purse and run back out. I peel off the wrapping, which says: “Draw yourself a bath.” I offer him the chocolate. He shakes his head. “Just give me a moment.”
“Ok,” I pop the Dove in my mouth and start making coffee.