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If Walls Could Talk

By Lucas DeanPublished 2 months ago 5 min read

“If walls could talk, we’d both be calling our parents for bail money!” I could hear Jonah laugh as Nick opened the door and flicked on the lights, illuminating the rows of vinyl records pinned around the room. It was nice to have some company, even if they were already blowing clouds of marijuana smoke as they walked in.

In the many years I’ve been standing here, I’ve borne witness to countless hordes of people walking through that same apartment door. Most were students who attended the nearby university and each was different in their own unique way but I haven't met anyone quite like the duo I was going to observe this semester..

There’s a singsong rap on the door and in comes Agu, the tenant from down the hall. As I recall from eavesdropping on an earlier conversation, his family had recently moved here from Nigeria.

“What’s good bro, you gotta have a hit of this!” Nick exclaims, and passes Agu the joint he and Jonah have been sharing. Agu takes a deep hit and strides over to the corner of the room where Nicks’ old guitar is perched up on its three-legged stand. He picks it up, exhales a lung full of smoke and sits down on the couch before strumming a few chords he just learned. I’ve noticed that Agu is a bit shy and doesn’t say much until after he’s been smoking, drinking or both. He speaks with a slight stutter, likely due to his mild social anxiety.

The three of them carry on in light conversation punctuated by the intermittent strum of a guitar chord and a puff of the joint. After a short while everyone is sufficiently high (admittedly, myself included) and the trio moves along with their respective days. Jonah is off to the library to study for his upcoming physics exam, Agu’s shift is about to start at the local drinking hole and Nick begins setting up his shop for the evening.

What happens next, I can only imagine is the reason Jonah made such a comment on my inability to speak. Not that I would have said anything if I could. Snitches get stitches and I was in no position to take on any more of that cheap drywall repair.

I watch quietly as Nick pulls out a large chest and opens the top. Inside is a plethora of bags. Big bags, little bags, full bags and empty bags. He lays out a scale, places a Tupperware container on top and steps into the kitchen to grab a tray of brownies. Although they smell heavenly, they have a strange odor that I can’t quite put my finger on. Definitely not a regular brownie smell, that I am certain of.

With everything meticulously laid out and prepared for efficient re-bagging, Nick tugs the cord to illuminate the repurposed “OPEN” sign hanging near the door. It isn’t visible unless you’re already inside the apartment so it’s utility is minimal but I’ll admit it does add a nice aesthetic touch. He sits down at the table and almost immediately there is a gentle tap at the door.

“Door’s open!” Nick calls out and the 3 younger ladies on the other side gingerly open the door and scurry in, careful to shut the door behind them.

“Nice records” I hear the now obvious ring leader comment as she nods my way.

“Thanks,” Nick replies “I’ve been collecting for a few years now.” I know this to be false as Jonah brought them here and pinned them up himself in the beginning of their tenure here. It’s okay though, I won't tell anyone. I still enjoy the company, even if they smoke like a chimney.

There’s a flurry of pointing, poking and smelling after which Nick grabs a handful of empty bags and fills them with different items from the chest. He delicately places something into the Tupperware on the scale he laid out, looks down at it and adds a little more before dumping it into a bag as well. The visitors rummage through their purses, hand over various wads of cash and collect their new baggies. As they turn to go, Nick stops them and offers a brownie from his tray, packaged neatly inside its own little bag.

“Be careful with that” Nick warns “they aren’t your grandma’s brownies.”

Nick grabs the door and the giggling trio dances into the hall. Standing outside the door is another visitor who only just arrived but was waiting for confirmation it was his turn to enter. Nick motions him in and I recognize him from the other day but can’t recall his name. Not that it matters much, there will be a few dozen more like him before the night is over. Names are hard but faces are easy enough.

As the hands on the clock march relentlessly on, I soak it all in. Soon, the lights will be extinguished and I will be alone once more. Face after face comes discreetly through the door. Most I easily recognize but there are always a few newcomers, usually as a companion to a more regular visitor. I suppose that’s just how these kinds of things work out.

As the night winds down, Nick escorts his last visitor to the door and gives the cord on the “OPEN” sign a gentle tug. I watch as it flickers out, noticing for the first time that there’s a couple bulbs missing in the “O” making it look more like an “UFEN” sign. I chuckle at the ridiculous thought.

Nick packs everything back into the chest and closes the lid before placing a padlock on its latch. He takes the empty brownie tray into the kitchen and whistles a tune as he does the dishes. Such a horrid tune, if you could even call it that. That’s okay though, I don’t mind the company.

Nick makes a quick phone call to order a sandwich, sparks up another joint and flips on the TV. I look forward to this part of the evening, he always picks the most interesting documentaries to watch. Tonight we’re going to learn about the brutality of the Philippines police force and their war on drugs. If caught, a simple marijuana dealer would almost certainly be executed. Nick kicks his feet up on the coffee table and almost immediately there’s another knock on the door. It gives us both a start but it’s only the sandwich he ordered. That was freaky fast. He gives the delivery boy the rest of his joint as a tip.

Not long passes before Jonah jaunts through the door, a fresh tuna poke bowl in hand. Agu should be off work any minute now and he’ll surely come join the party. They’ll pass their joint and blow their smoke and although I find it irritating, I won’t say a word because truth be told, I enjoy the company.

fact or fiction

About the Creator

Lucas Dean

I'm new here

Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

Top insights

  1. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  2. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

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Comments (1)

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  • Donna Foxabout a month ago

    I like the originality of the perspective you chose. It feels very much like a grouchy old man, tired of dealing with the antics of collage kids. But still prefers them to being alone.

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