i left the apartment to go get crickets. . . without my keys. i called the roommate and she ws 7 or so hours away from returnal. so i elected to try the super. i asked the lady whose window is nexto the bldg's front door to buzz me in.
then i went to talkto pedro, the ukrainian super. i knocked. he came to the door with a scowl. i told him i was locked out. he was watching soccer and insisted that i sit down with him and be quiet. mind you, pedro speaks, ukrainian & a tiny bit of spanish & the most modicumly thimbleful of english. i do not speak those languages. and he doesnt understand french. i dont think he thinks france exists. we share something in the neighborhood of 12 words, mostly in polish, none of which are 'will you let me climb up the fire escape so i can get back into my apartment?'
so he complained abt 'boom boom boom'. his term for weekly band practice. and he touched his heart & told me i am a good man as we sat watching argentina play nederlanden.
he asked if i wld like agua or cafe.
he boiled water. i had instant coffee, instead. he doesnt drink coffee. his corazon.
then 'you, vodka?'
-ok, sure. si.
he messes abt in the kitchen. his esposa returns tomorriow. so he ws all futbol & vodka.
he brought the overlarge shot glasses out and filld em up from his asspocket sizd cold bottle of smirnoff from the freezer.
he pours & pushes the drink sternly across the vinyl tablecloth.
his wife's decor is very strange. above the teevee a 'last supper'.
-DA VINCI!!!! kourva! [this is definitely misspelled profanity.]
-si, da vinci.
there ws a paint by numbers of ponies froclicking on the great plains nexto a mountain range.
-me love caballo. you know caballo. caballo beautiful.
there are a variety of other frames on the walls. some comida oil painting print. and a ton of needlepoint scenes. not two, twelve. various differnt things happening. quaint landscapes. indecipherable action sequences. & a man in a verdant hilly landscape reclines nexto a threadbare rock with his lute.
-that shevchenko. [mumbles].
me: oh, taras shevchenko. si, poeta.
-yes yes poeta. you good man. ukraine mucho trouble. mucho.
-si, mucho trouble. i read the news. [makes universal i read the newspaper sign].
he raises his glass.
-YES nozdrove. how you know nozdrove! nozdrove!
we both sip.
-why you no drink?
-ohhhh you poquito. chiquita. RUSSIAN PEOPLE DRINK!!
-arent you ukraine?
-you good man. [he touches his heart.] pedro good man.
-si, you are a good man pedro. a good man is hard to find.
-amigo, you no so much boom boom boom.
me: never after 9pm
-you musica too much boom boom boom. boom boom boom.
-boom boom boom
-boom boom boom
soccer is on the tv. it's scoreless almost at the end of regulation. extra time looms. i have instant coffee & vodka. abt halfway thru my cup of coffee he offers milk.
all of this needlework is a little creepy. & the ceramic dolphin toothbrush holder in the bano. i use my bathroom break to look for translations for 'let me climb up the fire escape'. none of those words work.
extra time. still no score.
we watch. occasionally we sip.
it is football.
at least no one has to wear a helmet. tho that one guy took an elbow to the kisser.
he shows me the family portrait until he gets frustrated that i cant understand what he is saying. lots of mugging folks at a picnic table in a verdant hilly landscape.
holy moley it's a shootout. the dutch & the argentinoes. he's clearly pro nederlanden & i'm trying to keep my argentinian preference on the DL. b.c why annoy this guy who doesnt speak my language who i have to convince to let me climb up the fire escape via his key to the tall fenced razor wired yard where said fire escape is.
aaaaand, argentina wins the penalty kicks.
frankly, in sport, i'd rather see any game settled in extra time/overtime. but neato.
he takes the glasses.
then i try to convince pedro to let me climb up the fire escape. he is dubious. or he doesnt understand me.
-no no fire escape. sorry.
-no fire escape? how will i get home.
-you drink too much.
after some back & forth & looking a bit dejected he relents.
-you upstairs. arriba. [points up.] me no fire escape.
-si si me climb up. me upstairs.
-ok ok me open yarda.
so we walk out of his apartment, which is directly under mine by difftly laid out. onto the street to the yard btw bldgs.
it takes some communication errors to figure out where the ladder he's telling me about resides. we work thru that and i stand the ladder up and there's a good six feet btw the top of the ladder & the bottom rung of the fire escape. oh moat. oh great deep concrete yard.
i climb to the top of the ladder. i am afraid of heights. i doubt my strength. my tennis elbow injury suddenly flares up to remind me of its existence. i climb down the ladder. i empty my pockets into my backpack and leave the bag on the ground.
-why you no go. [mumble mumble]
i wonder if i have indeed had too much vodka. no. too much fear.
i climb to the top o the ladder… stand on that 'this is not a step' step. reach the highest rung i can reach on a tiny hop & hope and pull myself up til i can monkey my foot into the bottommost rung of the fire escape ladder. [in case you are wondering: the fire escape ladder is just too heavy to drop down from below. smoosh.]
so i monkey my way up and climb up and up til i can cross the railing and climb onto the platform by my apartment.
i snake into the bathroom window. which is harder than roasting an ungreased pig. but not nearly as hard as lifting my self up onto a swaying fire escape ladder i worry might come unstuck at any moment and go paint & heavynessly crashing to gravity.
i get keys & go back out but pedro is gone & doesnt answer the door.