The Tattooed Man in Apartment 2B

Submitted into Contest #148 in response to: Write a story involving a noise complaint. ... view prompt

6 comments

Funny Fiction Teens & Young Adult

"Mark, I need to file a noise complaint on apartment 2B." I say to the landlord. His name is Mark Lessing and he's been my landlord for three years now. I’ve never had to come to him with any complaint, but today is the day that changes.


He slightly tilts his head down so he's looking at me from over the thick-rimmed glasses that slid down his nose. "Apartment 2B, you say?"


I nodded. "Yes. You know I have to work early in the morning and my lovely neighbor likes to blare his awful, music loudly throughout the night. I've tried to ignore it, but it's affecting my work life and quite frankly my mental state as well."


Mark fixes his glasses and shuffles the papers that lay on top of his desk. "It seems that your lovely neighbor from 2B came in here yesterday to file a complaint about you."


"They did what?" I say irritatingly. "I work all day and I come home, eat dinner, and then sleep. What did they even complain about?"


Mark looked down at one of the papers on his desk. "Apartment 2B spoke with me about the issue concerning a dog in apartment 3B." He looks up at me and I feel nauseous. "Miss. Campbell, I have been meaning to speak with you about this. You know there's a policy. No dogs. No cats."


"Mark, please. I'm sorry. I know I shouldn't have gone behind your back and disregarded the policy as I did, but Craig is everything to me. I-"


"Miss. Campbell. Relax. I know you respect me. You've been here for three years and I've never had an issue with you. You've never been late on rent and you don't bother me with endless drama like everyone else in this God-forsaken place. Just please keep the dog low-key and I'll handle the loud music issue."


I breathed a sigh of relief. "Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Next week I will bake those lemon bars you love and bring them down here for you."


I can't believe the audacity of whoever the hell lives in 2B. I have never seen them. I don't know how they know about my precious Craig. He never barks. I make sure to walk him in the back when no one else is out there. My lovely new neighbor moved in two months ago and I've never once seen them, but I sure as hell hear them throughout the night. I think it's time I pay them a visit.


I arrive at apartment 2B and knock on the door. The always blaring music had me imagining some kind of frat boy, but when the door opens, I am sort of shocked. He's at least 6'0 and towers over my 5'5. He has dark green, almond-shaped eyes and dark black, tousled hair. It was like he just woke up and left his hair the way it is. But somehow he still makes it look appealing. The most noticeable feature, however, is the dark black tattoos that cover both of his slightly toned arms.

I wouldn't mind those arms wrapped arou- NO! I need to snap out of it and quickly. This man almost cost me Craig.


"Can I help you?" He says, his voice groggy as if he just woke up. Good. I'm glad I ruined his little nap. He wakes me out of a goodnight's sleep almost every night.


"As a matter of fact, yes. I know you told on me about Craig. Snitch." I pointed my finger at him accusingly, my face in a scowl.


He puts his arms up. "Woah. I don't even know anyone named Craig and also I don't even know you. You have no right to accuse me of anything."


"Craig is my dog. I know you told Mark about my dog."


"Oh. Right. The dog. Yeah, that was me.” He shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly.


Patience. I need to have patience. I take a deep breath in and back out. “Why would you do that? Craig doesn’t bother anybody.”


He does that nonchalant shrug again and I swear I’m so close to losing it on this rude, tattooed man. “So I can’t snitch, but you can?” He crosses his arms.


“What? How do you know I snitched?” I question him. Maybe this strange man is physic. Maybe it’s time to move.


“I heard you talking to someone on the phone about the rude person next door that is always listening to his music too loud. I know you mentioned telling the landlord about it. I heard you through the wall.”


I glared at him. “You were eavesdropping? Maybe I should go tell Mark about that.”


“Relax. No need to get Mr. Lessing into this. I’ll be mindful of the music. Alright?”


I relaxed my face. “Fine.” I turn to go back into my apartment, but I stopped at the sound of his voice.


“Wait!” I turn and see the seriousness on his face and I wait for his sincere apology. “Your dog’s name is Craig?” He bursts out laughing, slightly bending over and holding his stomach in the process.

My glare returns. I turn back and go into my apartment. I can still hear his stupid laugh in the back of my mind as I close my eyes and drift off to sleep.


I just got back home from work and hook my keys to the keyring on the back of the wooded apartment door. I squat down, arms wide open, and wait for the favorite part of my day. But it never comes. I feel my heart drop. My palms become sweaty and my chest hurts because I can feel my heart pounding against it like a beating drum. I quickly stand back up and search my apartment, but he’s not here. I call out his name, but still nothing.

“Craig!”

“Craig!”

After I’ve scoured my entire apartment and still find no sign of Craig, I start to panic. Has he been stolen? Is he dead? Oh God, please don’t let him be dead. I picture his shaggy brown fur and his big brown eyes. I feel my eyes start to water as I grab my flashlight to go outside to do more searching. It had gotten dark and it made me even more worried.


I had just stepped out of my apartment when I see him walking toward me. A weight of relief lifts off of my shoulders when I look at the man from 2B holding my Craig in his tattooed arms. I practically run to them and take Craig in my own arms, peppering his small head with kisses. “I’m sorry Craig. I’m so sorry. I should have been paying attention when closing the door this morning. You must have snuck through when I wasn’t looking. Please don’t ever do that again.”


I look up to the man from 2B. I should really get his name. “Thank you for bringing him to me. I can’t ever thank you enough for this.”


“There’s no need. I actually don’t mind the little guy. He is almost as adorable as his mom. Although, I still don’t get the name, but to each their own” He reaches over and pets Craig behind his droopy ears.


“You think I’m adorable?” I felt my cheeks get hot.


He smiles and extends his hand towards his apartment door. “Do you and Craig want to come in? I can make us dinner and we can watch a movie. I’ll tell you all about how adorable I think you are and you can tell me why on earth you named your dog Craig.”


“Fine. But don’t think any of this means you can get away with your loud music anymore or I’ll have Mark kick you out.” I smile jokingly at him.


He smirked. “Miss. Julie Campbell, I should let you know that Mark would never kick me out.”


"What do you mean?" I look at him with confusion. "And how do you know my name? I don't even know your name."


He extends his hand out to me and I reluctantly extend mine to shake it, switching Craig over to hold him with the opposite arm.


“My name is Mark Lessing Jr.” 

May 31, 2022 07:41

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6 comments

Kelsey Fish
14:04 Jun 04, 2022

This was an enjoyable read! I found myself also laughing at the dog named Craig. :'D

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14:46 Jun 04, 2022

Thank you so much!! For whatever reason, it was the first name that popped into my mind :’)

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Todd Johnson
06:48 Jun 04, 2022

Shelby, this was a pleasure to read, and a fun twist I didn’t see coming. I find myself wondering: did Julie accidentally let Craig out that morning, or is there something more to this? Perhaps I’m reading to much into it, but I found myself somewhat unsettled by the son of Mark Lessing, and wonder if he had anything to do with Craig not being there to greet Julie when she got home. I’m not sure if this uncertainty was what you intended, but either way I found the story was well-paced, moved along quickly and was a delight to read. Thank yo...

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12:12 Jun 04, 2022

Thank you so much for reading and for your kind words! When I was writing it, I did have the full intentions that Craig escaped by accident. But when I read it back after I was done, I thought the same as you! I saw also how suspicious it did look of the neighbor and I figured I’d leave it that way and let the readers decide if he’s a good guy or bad guy.

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Michał Przywara
23:15 Jun 05, 2022

An enjoyable story :) Noisy neighbours are irritating, but who knows, dealing with the issue can lead to opportunities too. The twist was unexpected, and it looks like a happy ending, in this case. I did notice some issues with tense though, like in the passage: "He shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly. Patience. I need to have patience. I take a deep breath in and back out." We have "he shrugged" but "I take", mixing past and present.

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Piper Ollie
01:57 Jun 05, 2022

Such a great entry! I found the style similar to what I like to write, as well as what I like to read! I liked how you put so much personality into the narrator. I feel like when it comes to short stories, that aspect is lost a lot of the time. However, you managed to keep it while also writing a great story!

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