Soul Tempting
Soul Tempting

Shoe soles were the first thing I saw when I stepped into the hallway from the elevator lobby; peeking out from under a pair of jeans that led upward to fine threads of shining hair that had fallen haphazardly across her face.  It was my very drunk and slumbering neighbor.  Her head rested against her apartment door frame, the contents of her purse decorated the floor.


I poked her lightly with the tip of my boot to test for vital signs.  She barely stirred but that equated to a definite sign of life for me.  I tested her door handle, locked.  I studied her strewn belongings, no key but sliding her purse to the left I spied at least two hundred dollars pinched in the center by a paper clip, such a tempting discovery.  My mind flashed through a debate of ethics and conscience.

  • Who’d know?  No CCTV, the hall is empty.  You need cash.
  • She’s shit-faced, she’d get worse if passed out in the alley.  You need cash.
  • You need cash.

In the end I admonished myself out loud.  Surprised by the swift shift from Good Samaritan to opportunistic thief, I literally shook my head to punctuate my refusal of the scheme then smirked openly as I realized I’d swiveled my foot – as if to crush a tiny devil into the ground in order to end the debate and move on.

cyber_durden15 minutes after locking my door behind me I heard a rattle, and then once again.  Passing the front door on reconnaissance, I saw the handle twist and the door vibrated within the frame as something hit it, hard.  My heart beat furiously against my chest.  I crept to the peephole and spied a fishbowl version of the hall; my inebriated next-door neighbor (apparently she’d come-to) attempting to force her way into my apartment.

Vituperations and a mea culpa were exchanged through the door.
Finally she begged-off and slinked back to her own door where she repeatedly knock and mumbled tearful whines for entry.

An hour passed before she found a miracle; I heard the door open then slam shut.  Silence fell across the 5th floor and I shuffled off to bed wondering if she’ll ever realize how close she came to getting pick-pocketed and what a difficult temptation she had offered that morning.



    1. No Mette, I just struggled with the idea of stealing the cash that had fallen from her purse.
      Don’t pass out near my doorway.

  1. What a tempting situation…you could easily have taken the money and run. But then you’d have to live with yourself and your actions. You’d always think of yourself as that kind of person who would take advantage of someone like that. I remember once when I was a little kid and I took another kid’s baseball card. It was awful for me to do, but I got away with it. Except it made me feel really bad.

    Way to go though. You resisted the temptation. You should feel good about yourself for doing the right thing.

    1. Steve, thanks for the vote of confidence – it was a challenge especially since I was unemployed at the time. That said, I did leave her in the hallway. :-/

  2. Your story made me think of a quote; “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching”. Not proud to admit it, but I was once the drunk idiot on the floor (in NOLA) and the passer-by who encountered me was not so nice.

    1. Oh Chad, say it isn’t so.
      Well I didn’t take her $ and I tried to search for her key but then I did leave her in the hallway. :-/
      Guess I chose the lesser of all evils.
      May you never pass out in a public or semi-public space again and may you find $ on the street this week! :-)

  3. Hilarious stuff. Boozing hard almost never pays dividends. Don’t think the $200 would have made a difference for either of you in the big scheme of things, still probably best that your inner ethical self resisted the temptation. :-)

    1. Thanks Mike. It was like a multiple choice test that morning.
      You neighbor is passed out drunk at her door. Do you,
      A) Try to help her into her apt
      B) Rob her and hope she doesn’t wake
      C) Take the drunk into your place
      D) Leave her to sleep it off, after all she’s indoors

  4. Your neighbor makes me feel better about my own new years’ antics! Haha. I would have been tempted too, but the guilt would have been terrible…

  5. Ooh… A tough decision although I’m hoping I would have done the same thing. Although I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from giggling.

    1. Erica, I think you’d have done the same but you’d probably have dressed her up with a party hat and posed w/her before taking your photos.
      *laugh, snort, laugh*

  6. wow… I’m beginning to think that your apartment building is some kind of 90s sitcom waiting to happen. But a sitcom that can only be shown on cable. lol

    Happy New Year! Here’s to lucky 13!

    1. Hiya Justin, I know… reality TV at it’s finest!
      When not moving XC for a job, I’ll move Xtown for cheaper rent (unabashed rent-chaser) which places me in a revolving door of ‘interesting’ neighbors and situations. When did you last move – perhaps 13 will be your time for a change?

      1. heather and i just moved to seattle a year and a half ago. and since we just bought a house, we’re not going anywhere anytime soon. lol but who knows… 2013 may be a time for change!

        1. In that case I suggest you and Heather start a surveillance campaign – you’ll be amazed and bemused by your neighbors’ behavior. :-)

          1. I secretly think our neighbors to the south are inter-dimensional beings set on world domination… but that’s only conjecture. I will have proof… eventually…

            1. You mean Portlanders?
              Aren’t they too laid-back to effectively organize such an undertaking?
              Their speed limit is 55.
              *wink* *laugh*

  7. I admire your honesty! Who hasn’t had similar thoughts at some time? But it’s hard to admit it, even to ourselves. Interesting story & storytelling.

    1. Cathy, thanks but don’t build my pedestal too high – I did leave her in the hallway, after all. :-/ Would you have let her in? Taken the cash? It is a tough one and so I thought it the perfect post to start a new year with – dilemma and resolution, giving and taking and not taking.

  8. Cool one, Maria. Nice read! You’ve got so much material right there–where you live. Do you and this neighbor ever speak to each other?

    1. Lisa, thanks for dropping by. She and her husband moved a few months later and I never knew them well enough to keep in touch. This neighbor was always a bit aloof/shy – never figured out which.

      I think we all have adventures just beyond our doorstep but don’t see them as such. Being temporarily grounded (new job, no time off accrued yet) I’ve turned my attention to the “backyard” and find it’s fascinating; a crash course in cultural anthropology.

      Looking forward to another mystery game on your site – bet there’s something from your recent trip to Indonesia you could stump us with!

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