Getting to Unknow the Neighbors
Short Fictions

Paperback: 92 pp.
Published: 2010

Price: $14.95



Getting to Unknow the Neighbors is a collection of short fictions, by L. D. Brodsky, that presents the reader with one of the strangest casts of misfits in contemporary literature. Many of these characters dwell in an apartment building that seems to be located in a Kafkaesque twilight zone. Getting to Unknow the Neighbors is a true masterpiece of the bizarre.


Apt. 17P: The Perfect Spot


Admittedly, 17 P had an extraordinarily salutary bad habit: he suffered a raging addiction to Peeping Tomism.
      To be sure, he didn’t spy on his floor neighbors; indeed, in twenty-eight years, he’d never seen anyone living on 17, not even himself, really, since, on first purchasing his apartment, from Father Monahan, he’d removed all mirrors, including the sixty on the ceilings.
      The capacious north view from his bedroom and living room was enlightening, inspiring. He could stare, for hours, days, at the panoramic cityscape, reveling in the urban tableau heightened by a telescope boasting high-power lenses, and never cease being dazzled or lapse into ennui.
      Below him, fortuitously within his comprehensive ken, was a pre-WWII pseudo–Art Deco/Tudor subdivision — a planned community of apartment buildings, interspersed with slate-roofed houses of brick and stone, duplexes, four-family dwellings, along with a now-quaint village of shops and eateries. (The scene reminded him of the Plasticville town he’d built to enhance his O-gauge Lionel layout, in his teenage season, fifty-odd years prior.)
      He lived for his sightings, with the passionate fanaticism of a Captain Ahab pacing some Pequod’s decks, tracking whales plowing the horizon. Thanks to his
Orion 120mm Refractor Apochromatic spyglass, teeming humanity was his for the asking, the focusing-in — all manner of bipedal and quadrupedal activity.
And what a profoundly lucky fellow he was, to be able to magnify the goings-on of myriad others without having to submit to a commitment, navigate the labyrinthine corridors of convoluted relationships, intimacies, infidelities, and every complexity in between, or ever having to leave his humble abode.
      Take, as an example, one dawn’s providential sighting: a young lady entering the formal garden that is her backyard, in her revealing sea-green negligee (after all, none of her neighbors could see over the fence), with a Dalmatian on a leash — a dog fiercely intent on locating the perfect spot to discharge its nocturnal accumulation of waste, a canine oblivious to its owner, tugging her in all directions, as if she were a kite on a string, buffeted in a tornado.
      Oh, what delight, visually eavesdropping on her impatience, gazing upon her erect nipples, her tuft of flaxen pubic hair, witnessing her orgasmic ecstasy as the dog took its dump, contributing yet one more mine to the field through which, every sunrise and sunset, she paraded (sadly, half-naked only once a day).
To say 17 P knew the inner and outer workings of his cosmos was to render redundant an almost universal truth. He knew the schedules of joggers, churchgoers, cyclists, waste-management operators, food-service suppliers, newspaper and mail carriers, lawn-care engineers. The pulse of his world coursed through his veins.
      And thus, he had no pressing justifications for leaving his residence, colliding with the quotidian fray, where he’d have been only one more humdrum entity trying to keep from being spied on, by a vast array of GPS satellites or, more likely, by a voyeur in a nearby high-rise, who just might fashion himself a passionate Captain Ahab, searching the windows, yards, alleys, and streets, for love spouting, evil breaching, from leviathan life.






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