Zach pushed the button to raise the volume on his television set several times. The sound was blasting, but it still wasn’t enough to allow him to enjoy one of his favorite programs: Cause of Survival. It was an episodic documentary, exploring the hundreds of ways people have survived natural disasters and extraordinary events over history from alien invasions to the zigzags of the time line.
Every few moments a loud scraping noise from the apartment above his would roar through the ceiling. Its irritating sound cut through the volume of the current episode blurring away whatever information it was previewing.
“What are you doing?” asked Spencer’s roommate, Zach. He walked into the living room from the kitchen with his hands covering his ears.
“I can’t hear my show!” Zach yelled from the couch.
“So turning it up into garbled screams is working then?” Spencer yelled back.
Zach groaned. He could watch it later, but by then the message boards would have spoiled it. He muted the television set. The noise of the TV was quickly replaced with the sound of heavy objects sliding across the floor of the apartment above them.
Spencer’s attention followed the sound across the room. Then another soon followed. It was nonstop.
“What are they doing up there?” Spencer wondered. “It’s been like this since they moved in.”
“I don’t know but they’re insanely loud,” said Zach.
“I’ll handle this,” said Spencer. He climbed up to the top of the couch Zach was sitting on. With the ceiling only a foot away from his head, Spencer pounded his fist against the ceiling of his apartment.
Satisfied his message got through; Spencer plopped back down onto the couch.
“Problem solved!” Spencer asked pointing toward the ceiling just as another surge of noise from above boomed through the apartment. “Curses! They heard me. I know they did.”
“We should go talk to them. Not pound on the ceiling,” said Zach.
“It’s quicker,” said Spencer.
“It also damages our ceiling,” said Zach. “I’d like the deposit back some day.”
“Oh, we’re not getting that back,” said Spencer.
“The fourth bookshelf,” said Spencer, now pointing to a mostly empty bookshelf behind him, awkwardly placed between the entrance to the kitchen and a painting hanging on the wall. “It’s covering a hole in the wall.”
“You said that was for future books,” said Zach.
“That was four years ago,” said Spencer. “I thought you would have figured it out by now.”
“So we’re not getting our deposit back?”
“No way,” said Spencer. “So the ceiling is fair game.”
Then their conversation was cut short for the moment as another rush of sound echoed through the apartment. Zach grimaced with his eyes glued to the ceiling. Even Spencer frowned with the noise now brought to his attention.
“What are they doing up there?” Zach wondered.
Spencer jumped to his feet. He stood on top of the couch once again and pounded the ceiling. Their upstairs neighbors replied in kind. Three harsh stomps on the floor above them shook dust into Spencer’s face.
“I’m starting to think they don’t care,” said Spencer.