I was just looking to make some chicken. Nothing difficult, nothing interesting, just some chicken. I walked from my apartment to the Stop’n’Shop over on 234th and Broadway, grabbed my chicken and some seasoning and some broccoli to cook as well. Now, I had intended on getting some lemon sauce while I was at it, you know? Make a dessert out of it. Completely forgot it, it just completely slipped my mind.
So, after I got to my apartment, I set my stuff inside. I started getting things set up and started, and, while the chicken was starting to cook in the pan, I went across the hall to my neighbor.
Linda makes her own lemon sauce, completely hand makes it. She always has a few jars or some such hanging around. I figured I’d ask to borrow some, if she had any.
I knock on the door, she answered. She was very sweet and was happy to oblige when I asked her about getting some of her homemade lemon sauce. I’d met Linda a few times around the building, the laundry room and the back resting area. I’d also seen her a few times at Van Cortland while out on my jogs. She was a spritely old woman, silver hair, one of the best power walkers I’ve ever seen. I knew that she had a single studio apartment and I could always tell, based on the few glimpses into her home that I usually got, that her apartment was absolutely piled with stuff.
She stepped away from the door and the door got caught on the rug, so it just hung open.
I glanced inside her apartment. There was a floral-decorated couch in various shades of brown. There was a long rip across the bottom of the couch and plastic wrap that covered the enter thing. A red armchair sat in the furthest corner of the apartment, the stuffing was spilling out of it and it seemed that it had been completely torn apart by a dog of some sort. There was a foot rest, but all the wooden legs were snapped and of different heights. A massive fish tank filled the back wall, and it was nearly bubbling over with water. But it was, otherwise, completely empty. Not a single decoration or fish in that tank. Four lamps stood in the center of the room, all completely shattered bowls around the bulbs. The counter tops in the kitchens were piled high with pots and pans. Linda was busy looking through the cabinets, the wood all scratched and chipped away. Her bed stood on the far wall. There were slinkies and marbles and various cannibalized electronics around the bed. The mattress was the cleanest, most unbroken thing in the apartment. There was an old, naked, hairy, thrashing man on the bed, chained to the head and foot rest of the bed. Not handcuffed, completely chained. His hair almost entirely clothed him, almost. He was just leaping off the bed, trying to break the chains. He was howling and snarling and screaming at me as he stared at me from between his legs.
Linda suddenly reappeared at the door, reaching into her purse.
I’m afraid I don’t have any very fresh jaws made now, she was saying. She pulled a mason jar about half full of lemon sauce from her purse and told me I could have it. I thanked her, but I admittedly could not take my eyes from the man, who had now angled his head in such a way to starts biting and ripping wooden chunks out of the headboard behind him.
Don’t mind him, Linda said, I hope I see at the park again! And shut the door on me. I could no longer hear the man.