And so the feud began. Spencer made the next move. He took one of the surround sound speakers and taped it to the ceiling. Every time the upstairs neighbors starting moving furniture, Spencer or Zach were forced to raise the volume on the TV, resulting in the speaker facing directly at the ceiling to get even louder.
When that wasn’t enough to get their message across, the war escalated. Spencer took up a new hobby: acrobat swinging. Bars and curtains were secured to the ceiling all across the apartment. Wherever Spencer went he used the hanging devises. They creaked and the ceiling moaned with Spencer’s weight.
Zach let Spencer handle the war of the floors. He generally took the time to hang out with Clare in her apartment. It was quieter.
When the acrobat training wasn’t enough, Spencer decided to dog-sit for a friend of his. It was tiny Chihuahua named Titan that never stopped barking. Spencer built a fort for the little guy that reached up all the way to the ceiling. Up top was a comfy bed that Titan enjoyed sleeping on. And barking in.
Spencer celebrated with exhaustion as the days continued. The noise from the neighbors continued, as did Titan, but he could feel victory at his feet.
Only it was cut short when the landlord, Mr. Andress, came by to tell him dogs weren’t welcomed in the apartment building. He would have to get rid of the little guy.
“What about the neighbors?” Spencer asked with the dog in his arms yipping at the landlord. “Don’t you hear that?”
“Just living noise,” said Mr. Andress. “Stop bothering them. They are special family. They just want peace and quiet. Your dog too loud.”
Spencer stared back at the landlord with circles under his eyes. “What about my piece and quiet?!”
“Get rid of dog and you might have some,” said Mr. Andress. “Or live somewhere else.”
Mr. Andress left with the final word. Spencer stood in the doorway of his apartment; defeated with only the comfort a tiny dog could offer him.
Then another rush of furniture scrapped across the ceiling. Spencer tensed up. He had to beat them.
One week later and the noise hadn’t stopped.
Zach and Clare stood in the center of the living room looking up at the ceiling.
“It’s been non-stop,” said Zach. “I just don’t understand what they’re doing up there. Why are they constantly moving furniture?”
“Doesn’t matter!” shouted Spencer. He walked into the living room wearing two suction cups taped to his feet. “It’s time they got a taste of their own medicine.”
“Please don’t,” said Zach in his futile attempt to stop his roommate.
Spencer, of course, didn’t listen. He grabbed the broom stick as his usual choice of weapon and walked toward the wall of the apartment.
“They don’t know who they messed with,” said Spencer. Then he took his first step upward onto the wall. His legs shook, but Spencer held steady. After a few steps, he got the feel of the suction shoes and was able to scale the rest of the wall with little difficulty.
“How is this supposed to help?” Clare asked.
“They live on the top floor,” said Spencer. “Which means they don’t know what it’s like to have somebody walk all over them. Until now.”
Then Spencer stepped forward and planted his suction shoe onto the ceiling. With just one more step he was completely upside down.
“I’m going to turn their world upside down,” said Spencer with a smile.
He proceeded to stomp along the ceiling. Each loud footstep secured his shoes onto the surface.
Zach and Clare covered their ears with their hands. Spencer’s only accomplishment so far was adding to the noise filling the room.
“This isn’t working!” Zach yelled.
“Then why are you shouting?!” Spencer yelled back.
Clare nodded. He had a point.
The neighbors above them grew louder. Their movements were harsher, replying in kind to Spencer. Spencer, not to be undone, stomped harder on the ceiling.
Dust shook from the ceiling. Bits of plaster scattered over the couch and chair that Zach usually sat in. Instinctively, he tried to swipe away the debris, but more continued to fall.
“How long are you planning on staying up there?” Zach asked.
Spencer looked over at Zach and Clare. His hair dangled below his rosy red face. “As long as necessary.”
But Spencer didn’t account for one thing. The apartment, itself.
The plaster of the ceiling cracked. And Spencer was dropped hard to the floor.
The crash was the loudest sound yet. Spencer landed right on the carpeted floor of their apartment. The collision was strong enough to rip a section of the carpet and crack some of the floor below them.
Spencer shifted his weight causing a loud creak to exhale.
“Well, that’s another thing we’re going to have to fix,” said Zach.
“No way the landlord will let you fix the floor,” said Clare. “I’m still waiting to hear about approval for my kitchen laminate.”
Spencer climbed up to his feet. The floor creaked and groaned with his every move.
“Great,” said Zach. “Good job.”
“The neighbors have weakened our ceiling,” said Spencer accusingly.
Then a new noise interrupted them. It came from the floor below them. It sounded like a broomstick banging against wood.
“Shut up!” shouted a muffled voice from below.
Zach and Clare looked up and Spencer. He smiled.
“So, if we can hear our lower neighbors, then they can totally hear us up there. Jerks.”
“Sorry!” Zach shouted downward.
“Now what?” Clare asked.
“I’ve got a few more ideas,” said Spencer. “I will break them.”
“This has to stop,” said Zach.
“We’ll go nuclear,” said Spencer. “I want to sleep too. We’ll move to the roof! Start a band! Parties! Ragers! They won’t know what hit them.”
“Have you talked to them?” Clare suggested.
Zach glared at Spencer. “No, I was stopped. Somebody thinks it’s better to fight fire with fire.”
“It’s always darkest before the dawn,” said Spencer.
“I heard the family was handicapped in some way,” said Clare. “They keep to themselves.”
“Handicapped? They’re moving furniture all day!” cried Spencer.
His outburst was answered by the neighbors above. Another loud noise cascaded through the apartment.
“I’m going to talk to them,” said Zach. “This has to stop.”