41: “What a way to go”

Miles hated his and Iggy’s upstairs neighbours. They had a very tumultuous relationship. They would get into screaming matches every other night, which were immediately followed by incredibly loud make-up sex. On the nights that they weren’t hurling verbal abuse at one another at an incredible volume, they were having even longer, more drawn-out, boring sex. Miles knew it was boring because the ceiling was so thin that it sounded like it was occurring in his own bedroom. He almost wanted to leave them a note encouraging them to try having sex in more exciting places, like their living room or some public space far from his bed, but he was fairly certain that would lead to a restraining order at the very least so he refrained.

“I can’t listen to it anymore,” Miles complained to his friends over beers at Ramsay, Oscar, and Frank’s apartment. Miles wasn’t sure why their apartment had been chosen as their designated meeting place or why in fact they seemed to have so many parties there because it was unbelievably warm. Plus, the fruit flies were out of control. They had returned with a vengeance for the summer and Miles was beginning to understand why Oscar hated them as much as he did. Three of them flew up Miles’ nose within the first fifteen minutes of his arrival.

“Can’t you just ask them to stop?” Dick returned, clearly not understanding the issue. Miles turned to him like he was insane, vindicated to find that he wasn’t the only one doing the same. Robin and Frank were also giving him strange looks and Bear had even looked over in mild confusion.Oscar hadn’t reacted, mostly because he was too lazy to lift his head off where it was resting on the living room floor and too busy swatting fruit flies away from his face anyway.

“Ask them to stop having sex?” Robin checked, one eyebrow raised. Dick shrugged.

“No, to have sex more quietly,” he corrected. Frank and Robin continued to look at him skeptically.

“You want him to ask strangers to have sex more quietly?” Frank returned, frowning. Dick shrugged again.

“See, you spend your workdays watching other people have sex so you don’t realize how fucking weird that is,” Miles told him. Frank’s eyebrows shot toward his hairline and Robin choked on his beer.

“Now feels like a good time to explain that I’m a freelance video editor,” Dick told the room wryly. “And that I work mostly with porn studios.”

There was a long silence.

“I’m not sure that makes any difference,” Robin said eventually. “You said it like it would, but I’m not sure it actually did.”

“It definitely doesn’t,” Frank agreed, nodding at Robin.

“Well, it makes some difference,” Oscar piped up from the floor. “He’s not, like, a pervert.”

Miles marvelled at how they had gotten so far off topic from his issue.

The next time the upstairs neighbours had a screaming fight and then aggressively loud make-up sex, Miles and Iggy laid awake in their bed below, praying for a swift end.

“I just want them to at least have no stamina,” Iggy complained, hiking the comforter up around her chin so that Miles’ feet were exposed at the bottom of the bed. He sighed and tucked his feet up to the side so that he was lying on a weird angle.

“They must have incredible endurance,” he replied. “They could be Olympians. Their heart health is impeccable.”

“Or maybe it isn’t,” Iggy returned, suddenly excited. “Maybe they actually have shitty hearts and one day, hopefully soon, their relentless sex will kill one of them.”

“What a way to go,” Miles said, trying to determine whether or not it would be amazing. It seemed like it would be amazing, but it would undoubtedly be embarrassing. Although, he’d be dead so what would he care what people thought of him? He said as much to Oscar and Ramsay the following morning at work while he was drinking his second tea. It was only eight. Ramsay stared at him for a long time, expression mostly blank, but still definitely judgemental.

“That would be unbelievably traumatic for the person you were having sex with,” he pointed out flatly, kind of like he felt he shouldn’t needed to have said it at all. Miles supposed he shouldn’t have.

“Unless that had been their intention all along,” Oscar piped up darkly from his chair. He wasn’t even looking at them. Ramsay looked over at him for a moment.

“What the hell is wrong with you people?” He demanded after a minute. It was a fair question. Miles didn’t have an answer, but still.

The first time Miles saw their upstairs neighbours, he was stunned. For so long, they had been disembodied entities keeping him up at night with terrible communication skills and the endurance of long-distance runners. He didn’t realize that he preferred it that way until he’d seen them and it was too late. The three of them had been getting their mail from the bank of mailboxes in the lobby at the time and Miles only realized who they were when he heard Mr. Upstairs speak and recognized his voice. Normally he heard him grunting and moaning and letting out a litany of enthusiastic “fuck yeahs” so it was somewhat jarring to hear him calmly asking Mrs. Upstairs what they were having for dinner. Apparently, pork chops.

If Miles had to guess, he would say that Mr. Upstairs was forty-five and some sort of insurance professional. He was wearing a beige golf shirt that was at least two sizes too big and a pair of pleated khakis. He blended into the taupe paint in the lobby so well that he almost looked like an independently floating head. He was ginger, though balding, and he had silver wire-framed oval glasses. They were bifocals; Miles could see the line where the lenses transitioned. Mrs. Upstairs was wearing a turquoise sweater set; a mock turtleneck under a cardigan even though it was the end of May. On the bottom, she was wearing a pair of mom jeans that were so inherently “mom jean” Miles was sure they were the original mom jean. And she was wearing turquoise Crocs to match her sweater set.

Miles bolted to his apartment to tell Iggy about Mr. and Mrs. Upstairs so quickly that he was out of breath when he burst into their living room. Iggy, who was watching something on her laptop on the couch, looked up at him in shock.

“Mr. and Mrs. Upstairs are old!” Miles exclaimed, clutching at his chest while he heaved to get air. He was a little ashamed to think that Mr. Upstairs, the balding forty-five year old in pleated khakis, had more stamina than he did.

“What?” Iggy asked, still trying to catch up.

“Mr. and Mrs. Upstairs are old,” Miles repeated urgently. “Mr. Upstairs is balding and Mrs. Upstairs was wearing turquoise Crocs.”

“No,” Iggy returned immediately.

“Yes,” Miles nodded frantically.

“No,” Iggy said again, shaking her head vehemently. “No one in Crocs has ever had that much sex.”

“Mrs. Upstairs has!” Miles crowed in response.

That night, while they laid awake listening to Mr. and Mrs. Upstairs have sex, all Miles could think about was their discarded pants on the bedroom floor, tossed aside with wild abandon in a heated moment following their argument about the correct temperature at which to cook pork.


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