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.
15 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.