Pounding on the doors
It's 4:00 AM.
I've now arrived in Dinkytown, in a safe and quiet place that I can write from. It took me an hour to get here, as I left directly after sending my last letter. The image of the door across the hall, to apartment #309, kicked in like that . . . and the pounding, reverberating through the halls.
On my way out, I saw the broken door across the hall. Why is it kicked in? Who would do it? Not the building management--they surely have backup keys. Not the police, I imagine. They could get keys from management. Perhaps someone without a key to that apartment who is nevertheless living there? Perhaps the same person who was pounding on the front door of the building. I don't know the answers.
On my way down the stairs, before I was going to leave through the rear exit, two men standing in the front entrance saw me and started pounding with their bare fists on the glass and door frame. The noise was tremendous--I suspect they woke everyone in the entire building. They'd woken me on the third floor, and had apparently been going from front to back in order to increase their chances of being heard.
I turned and considered them. I felt like Eddie Vedder looked while singing "Masters of War". The part where he asks if the money's that good. Strangely appropriate.
And that cold fury, painted with fear--like an oil slick on an antifreeze spill--gripped me. I took out my cell phone and walked toward the front door. I didn't say anything to the men in the front, but only took their photographs, then turned around and left quietly through the rear exit. They howled and pounded on the door, with absolute disregard for anyone trying to sleep in the building.
Now I'm going to curl up and try to get a couple of hours of sleep.