Detectives were in the lobby while Kranepool’s mangled physical form waited to be removed by the medical examiner. The elevator rang, I walked across the beautiful marble tiles and checked to see what floor had buzzed. The number 17 was indicated. Keith Hernandez wore number seventeen. In ‘86 he had 171 hits, 13 home runs, 83 runs batted in but only stole two bases. When I got to the seventeenth floor the elevator door opened and it was Mr. Moseley.
“Hey Rainer,” he said, holding a medium sized box that had Elder’s Things written on it.
“How are you?”
“I’m alright, Mr. Moseley. How’s things?”
“Copacetic,” he said, with a sideways nod of the head.
“I heard someone in the building committed suicide. Who was it?”
“Kranepool. He jumped from his window.”
“Goddamn son of a bitch beat me to it.”
I didn’t say anything. Mr. Moseley smiled.
“I’m just joking, Rainer. That’s terrible news. I liked the man. Sydney is probably a pig in shit right about now.”
“Who knows? She’s away on vacation.”
“She got herself an alibi. Nice.”
We reached the first floor. Mr. Moseley walked out of the elevator and then exited the building, telling me to have a good weekend and to have a beer for him. He waved goodbye.
There was melancholy in that man. He was doing his best to tough it out but I supposed we all were.
Tenants in the building toss garbage down the chute and they place recyclables on the floor underneath. Some garbage found its way into the pail. Some tenants placed the trash in neat piles and others seem to shoot theirs out of a fucking cannon. Some don’t care, some are thoughtless and inconsiderate and the rest relish in it. They enjoy the idea of you on your hands and knees cleaning up their shit. On a porter shift, you collect whatever is discarded and then mop the floors and stairs. Vacuum if necessary, very few communal halls were carpeted. I preferred to listen to music on my iPod while on my garbage runs but some tenants will complain if they see headphones. They wont complain to you, they will complain to Sugar via phone call or long winded email. I liked to work my way down, from the penthouse to the basement where I then properly sorted it out. I’d use my box cutter to open up things. Some days the elevator is top to bottom trash and some days it’s very light. I was on the Moseley’s floor, in the back hall by the garbage chute and I thought I heard someone calling my name. I had a stack of magazines in my arm, the New Yorker, Architectural Digest, Vanity Fair and a bunch of other monthly publications that I would put aside for Gerry. I pressed pause on Poison The Well’s Lazzaro. You say I need you, but how about the demons in my head. I heard arguing, it emanated from the back door of the Moseley’s apartment.
“Of all the guys you had to fuck that piece of shit. I fucking knew it. I knew that shit. It felt wrong, something about you felt off.”
“I’m not happy that it happened, Elder. But it did and it was only once.”
“Did it need to happen? You must have wanted it to happen.”
“It happened. That’s it. Can we just get past this? It was just sex. It was nothing.”
“That’s strange. It doesn’t feel like nothing to me. It feels like I drank poison. I can’t believe you gave yourself to that scumbag. My stomach is fucking turning.”
“We have to accept it and move on.”
“Do we? Well, I don’t think so. No big deal. Nothing special. Nothing to bother about?”
“What’s special, Elder? Nothing is special.” Maybe Mrs. Moseley was right.
“If I learned anything this evening, it’s that. You’re right. When you’re right, you’re right. Nothing is special, Susanna. And I feel foolish for thinking the contrary.”
“Where are you going?”
“Anywhere but fucking here. This place is cursed. You’ve poisoned us. List the fucking apartment or keep it, do whatever you want with it. I don’t give a fuck. From now on we only communicate through lawyers.”
“You can’t be serious?”
“I’m Das Efx’s first album.”
I was in complete shock when the back door opened and he stepped out and saw me standing there like an idiot holding magazines that he had read and highlighted passages he enjoyed and tossed. Mr. Moseley was a cool guy. He traveled around the world parachuting out of planes and rock climbing in crazy locales. He was a small, fit man. Plain t-shirt and jeans kind of guy.
Every holiday he brought me down whatever dish he prepared, lamb chops on Easter and turkey on Thanksgiving. I wouldn’t be getting any delicious food from him this year or ever again. Mrs. Moseley was like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, always on the go, and perpetually traveling for work. Conversations with her were terse but with Mr. Moseley it was cooler. He was more personable, he kicked it with the staff, bullshiting about anything. I liked them both, they seemed like good people, they seemed to be in love but how things are and how they seem can vary. I felt bad that his eyes were glossy and his voice quivered when he spoke to me. He was torn up.
“You got all of that, huh?” He asked, rubbing the back of his head.
I was going to lie at first. “I’m sorry. I won’t say anything. I mean I didn’t hear anything. You alright?”
“Rainer, in marriage, or any relationship really, there are questions you might have. Don’t ask those questions if you know in your frail puny little dumb fucking heart you won’t be able to handle the answers. If you feel like you have a burning reason to ask a specific question, odds are, you already know the answer.”
“Sound advice,” I said.
“Oh, and don’t get married. The truest love will one day become false. Guys like me and you don’t stand a fucking chance.” Understood.
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