Meet the Fuc**rs
Meet the Fuc**rs
I live in a first floor flat on a steep hill where I have a beautiful view of the setting sun every evening, spilling over the sky as shimmering shades of red, orange and yellow. The sunset gives way to an indigo night; untroubled skies glittering with stars.
I also share a soundtrack that belongs to the inside of the building. There are creaks I have come to know, rushing pipes, footfalls heavy on the stairs and the heaving wheeze of the electric door to the garage beneath me. I am fortunate in that I have no neighbours below me, nor directly next to me thanks to the advent of a staircase and the garage. Above me is a man I know only as ‘Sausage Boy’. I know this because I opened a hand-delivered card not long after I moved in. I was pleased with the green envelope and assumed it was a housewarming card from a friend who lives nearby. It wasn’t a housewarming card. Inside it read: Sausage Boy can’t wait to ‘meat’ up with you again! x. At the time I smiled to myself and fixed the torn envelope with sticky tape and scribbled a note of apology on the back of the envelope with a stubby pencil.
Sausage Boy seems to live alone, but has a girlfriend that visits often, usually at weekends. Over the last few months they have found a rhythm that works for them. It’s a routine that had I a clock, I could keep time by.
Friday nights they fight.
Sunday nights they fuck.
Saturday seems to be an armistice for the clamour of battle falls deathly quiet.
I imagine a coffee-table no-man’s land of overflowing ashtrays smouldering and empty bottles abandoned, final slow drips from each neck soaking into the table.
Fridays have a soundtrack of loud noise, on repeat. I have heard broken crockery skittering across what sounds like laminate flooring. I have heard flesh hitting flesh. Now and then there is a scream, hers mostly. Often I hear the sound of an empty wine glass hitting a wall (it’s a different sound when they have wine in and far harder to throw). Furniture sounds as though it is overturned. There is a lot of shouting and I can hear both of them very clearly. Perhaps they shout lying down close to the floor. He is aggressive in retaliation. She is tearful and scathing. Her comments are sharper than the shards of broken wine glass. I can almost hear his skin slice as they fit home. The arguments last for hours and every performance has one or two intervals given over to sobbing.
There are times when I think they have argued themselves to the point of exhaustion and I breathe a sigh of relief and turn my music down a touch. But then a stray spark of misunderstanding or a lit criticism causes a new combustion. Each Friday always ends with her leaving. Sometimes they will have a final skirmish on the staircase, a salvo of insults and recrimination showering the hallway with spiteful shrapnel. Then the front door slams, rattling the glass in its frame. I hear the tyres of her car squeal and spin and she is away into the night. Some Fridays I hear him weeping to himself for the rest of the night.
Sundays also come with a loud soundtrack. There is no warning, no gradual build-up of volume. Silence gives way to sound when I least expect it. It begins with her. It starts with a far away yelping sound, like a terrier trapped in a shed – but precise, like a trapped terrier on a timer switch. Sundays also have overturned furniture and smashed crockery. I find myself wondering what they eat off. I have never seen her, I know her only through her screaming, crying and yelping. In time the terrier yelping gives way to more of a seal bark. It is around this point he joins in with a deep grunting; like removal men loading a van. If you could mute her volume, his noises would sound like the World’s Strongest Man Contest. Occasionally the sounds become distressed, agitated, even pained and I wonder if perhaps it’s one of their birthdays. I cannot criticise either of them for their stamina for these Sunday sounds last a long, long time. Last week there was a thudding conclusion that made the light bulb in my lounge blink. Other Sundays I have feared for the pictures hanging on my walls.
At this point, I should make it clear I don’t willingly listen to the Fuckers but cannot block out the sounds as I go about my business. In time, these sounds will become like all the others in the building; they will become another strand in the comforting tapestry of sound I have grown accustomed to. The tapestry that mutes the deafening sound of silence.
That’s the Fuckers. They live fully, they live passionately but above all else, they live loudly.