Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Video Games Are Real: When Ivan Snitched on his Creepy Neigbhor

Now that I am out of my Columbus residence, I feel free to share my suspicions that my neighbor may have been a dangerous murderer with my loyal audience of 3 ; these were long-harbored suspicions that I only previously confined to my Facebook friends (a horrible name for people whose commitment to your life culminates in adding you to their internet loop of complaints, selfies, inspirational quotes and random cat pictures).

I originally wrote the first part below during the 2013 Holiday Season and have updated it here to reflect my friend "Boris" and I actually going to the police station to talk about this peculiar fellar who I lived next to for around two years.


When a serial killer is discovered, one always hears input from neighbors or acquaintances who knew him and now can't believe that this nice guy had heads in his freezer.

This is NOT how I feel about my next door neighbor.

When TV cameras will show up in my driveway I won't be too surprised. Won't be surprised at all, actually.

My only question would be how he got people into his apartment without anyone noticing.

This guy lives alone, I never saw him in the daylight.

As one weird, white male loner to another I can see when a certain line of creepiness has been crossed.

This dude routinely treats me to a series of strange noises and yells. There is wall pounding and chilling wheezing sounds that have etched themselves into my memory.

When I moved in, my landlord advised me that he just gets angry at losing at video games, hence the symphony.

If that's the case then this man needs to turn in his PlayStation and move on to outdoor activities because he is fucking horrible at video games.

The noises I hear seem less along the lines of losing at Mario Brothers and more along the lines of... I don't know... SADOMASOCHISTIC SEX AND DISMEMBERING BODIES.

Well, anyway, just went outside and observed that my two other neighbors have notices on their doors that they are out for the holidays.

So its just me and my noisy friend. I wanted to say Jeffrey Dahmer instead of "noisy friend."

But since I never SAW HIM THE DAYLIGHT to see if there is any RESEMBLANCE, I am not sure if I can make that quip.

Merry Christmas everyone.


Fast forward to three months later...

When I originally posted this on facebook one of my friends replied that a long time ago she remembered her and her friends being freaked out by strange noises coming from their neighbor. Later it turned out that he was a serial rapist. It can happened, she told me.

After living there for so long, I got completely acclimated to this strange symphony. I had a knife hiding underneath the edge of my mattress but I hardly ever thought about it. I mean, serial killers tend not to go for 6 ft 3" Russians. I don't have massive insecurities about the way I look but I am not exactly so irresistibly hot as to embark on a potentially dangerous risk of killing a next door neighbor for a sick sexual thrill.

What bothered me when I heard these noises is the slight possibility that he was not alone; that there was someone confined in there who is taken out only for a sake of some brutal sexual fixation and then brought back into a world of dark isolation. Yeah, I have a rich imagination. And when you hear disturbing muffled noises and yells next door while watching a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode, the contrast between your life and that of an imagined victim becomes somewhat of a moral conundrum.

Here is how I saw it. I like mentally ill people. Mentally ill people are interesting. I have no doubt that my neighbor is mentally ill. When I was living next to a hippie girl in Seattle, the noise of her music bouncing through my thin wall was infinitely less threatening but it bothered me infinitely more. It made ME homicidal. I had a job that I hated and it pissed me off to no end that she had to intrude of my quiet space with her loud, fucking dumb tunes. Anyway, this nut job in Columbus was interesting, his screams and fights with... furniture (or human bodies?) was much more entertaining and less bothersome on account of its sheer weirdness.

I knew that serial killers are extremely rare and so are people being held in basements for months and years. Though it would make literary sense for the novel of my life to include a chapter of living next to a serial killer, the statistical odds were against me.

Basically, as a depressed person myself I empathized with the guy. His broken mental mechanism appeared to periodically trap him in some imaginary word filled with anger. My broken mental mechanism periodically trapped me in a world of quiet mental pain. He was loud. I was not loud. He left me alone and I wanted do the same for him.

But in the infinitesimal possibly that the noises coming out of my wall that reminded me so much of a torture chamber were actually evidence of a real torture chamber, this would mean that I sat watching Curb Your Enthusiasm and feeling sorry for myself while kidnapped schoolgirls next door faced unimaginable pain. And instead of bringing my concerns to the authorities I elected to rationalize my way out of doing anything, assuring myself that it is all good and dandy.

The statistics are against it, boss. 

It might not be, "Leave it to Beaver" over there but it ain't no "Nightmare on Elm Street" either. 

Take a chill pill, imagination. The only thing being dismembered next door is... ahh fuck it, don't even think about it. 

Anyway, after my Facebook friend told me that dangerous people can actually live next to good people (or at least "alright people" in my case), I thought that it might not hurt to swing by a police station and tell them of my listening pleasures.

Yes, there is a 99.9% chance that nothing is going on. But if the probability dice fall on that 0.1%, do I really want to live the rest of my life knowing that I lived next to the butcher of Ohio without making a peep about his strangeness and saving lives?

The cost of such a move are so minuscule and the moral potential is theoretically grandiose. It is a little like playing the moral lottery, the chances of striking it morally rich are remote indeed but no special effort is needed to undertake them. But this is different from being just a moral lottery because here you also get a moral insurance policy. If he does end up as a special on CNN, then I could always sigh and say, "well... I tried to tell them but they wouldn't listen. I didn't know what was going on over there but I didn't like it one bit (though of course I sort of liked for its entertainment value)."

My mind was made up. The nearest police station was a mere five minute ride from my house and I made the decision to go over there and chat a little. Then my car broke down and I remained stranded for months. My resoluteness was again challenged by my rationality (nothing is going on) and my identification with the mentally ill. I didn't want to be one of the villagers chasing the Frankenstein with torches, especially since this Frankenstein appeared to threaten no one and just passed his time being violently noisy in his apartment with closed curtains and broken Venetian blinds on the second floor of his place.

Last week I finally had my car repaired and because I had to vacate my apartment and as I am horrible at cleaning and moving things, I invited my Ukrainian friend Boris (not his real name) to help me out.

Boris came on the Friday before the move and would spend the night at my place so we could dedicate the whole of Friday to cleaning and moving my belongings. Around 10 pm, we heard the screams and shoving next door. Both of us smiled and stayed quiet, a bit like boy scouts around a fire listening to ghost stories except that we were listening to homicidal-level, furniture-flying rage next door.

Boris seemed genuinely disturbed. He told me that he heard the guy yell, "I'm going to fuck you in the ass" (I could rarely make out exact words but that sounded about right) made sure the door was locked and told me that he would get a gun if he lived there.

This reaction from an unaccustomed civilian to the war drums that I now took for granted reignited my dormant police station quest.

I was moving out of the area, my ancient Acura was operational and tomorrow we had time to kill before picking up the rental truck at 1 pm. We knew the police aren't going to do anything but I wanted to buy my moral insurance plan and have a pedestrian adventure before I was plunged back into the monotony of cleaning my bathroom and moving my stuff (Boris mocked me by noting that I had more clothes than the hot American girl he helped to move in the past).

The next morning we made out journey to the neat police station and city hall building of the wealthy Columbus suburb where I resided with my serial killer suspicions.

We parked the car, walked inside, made our way down the empty hall and found the eureka of our snitch adventure - the small police office.

Both of us like to drive at least 10 miles above the prescribed speed limit and on account of this and other minor philosophical disagreements with the laws of the land, tend to avoid police officers to the best of our abilities in the day to day life. This combined with the overall ridiculousness of reporting your neighbor as a potential homicidal maniac, enriched this encounter with a thick layer of awkwardness, I also made it a point in my mind to convey to the officers of the law that Boris and I were not in fact a gay couple and that he was staying overnight just because I needed help moving and he lived in Cincinnati.

"Yes," I began, "hi, this is probably nothing but I just wanted to let you know that I lived in this place next to a loner and the noises coming out of his apartment are disturbing and would sound like domestic abuse if he lived with a girl."

I mumbles like this for a few minutes noting that the landlord said the guy was just upset over video games but the pitch of rage ("I'm going to fuck you in the ass!") seemed disproportional to that description.

A second cop joined the conversation from behind the counter. The video game thing seemed to click with them.

"Yeah, this sounds like Kenny (not the name they used)"

They told us that a while ago they had multiple complaints from neigbhors about a guy making bizzare and thretaning noises. They visited the house and found him living with his eldarly mother who contnued smoking while attached to an oxygen tank.

"He really thinks these video games are real and when a new Medal of Honor came out... Ha, ha... forget about it. He is crazy but not really dangerous to anyone"

I don't know if this was the same guy, because I never knew my neighbors name. I only saw him at night, mostly during creepy encounters at our unlit carport in the back of the building. I guess he moved from his mother's house... is he now keeping her in the basement?

Well, the cops didn't seem to phased so I didn't bring that theory up. They noted the address of his new residence and said they might send some cruisers in that area to keep an eye on things. Whatever, I got my moral insurance and came through my first act of snitching without being too embarrassed.

After a twenty minute conversation we said out goodbyes, Boris and I proceeded to go to Wendy's where I got two fish sandwiches.


When we were done packing my things, I wrote, "Free Crimea" on the dusty hood of my car.

"It could mean different things to different people," I explained to my Ukrainian friend.

"Yeah," he said, "but I know what it means to you."

Later on when I got to Cincinnati, I noticed that he added, "...from Russia." to my dusty proclamation.

All is good.

If this blog is still operational when I see "Kenny" arrested on CNN, I'll be sure to let you guys know.

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