Ich habe sie geliebt PART 2.
I haven’t yet figured out the book’s mysterious provenance. Neither, I must admit, have I applied myself diligently to the task. I have begun to read, however. Piecemeal, at breakfast, or whenever I’ve had the luxury of eating in a leisure way, unconstrained by jobs and job interviews and appointments with the vassals of Belgian officialdom. Beside the book, more mystery has come my way. Turns out I’ve merely scratched the surface, however itchy that’s gotten of late…
A couple of weeks ago coming home I found the door separating entrance hall and living room closed, even though I never close it. I don’t even touch it, and never has a draft or unworldly forces budged it. And yet. One day I came home and found it, unmistakably, defiantly shut. Of course, the building contractor has yet to fix a window, and their serfs have come to take measure, I thought. For this reason, and at their request, I’d tendered my house key. Of course.
And yet, something gnawed awkward. “When will you fix that window?” and “Could I perhaps have my key back?” I asked, but left it at that when the site manager proffered it be soon, and that I could have the key back, but that I’d need to hand it in again to install the new window. Fine, I thought. No problem. Until yesterday. Roughly four square centimeters of bathtub finish has gone missing over the course of the day. It was there in the morning when I took a shower, and somewhat less so when I enter the bathroom to brush my teeth in preparation of a night out. Pummeled. Splintered by a hammer impact, it seems.
I check the ceiling to see if missing concrete there can account for the damaged tub. Nothing. Perhaps a glass Fa deo stick has tumbled down –somehow roughly at the speed of sound- shattering the varnish, and without my noticing. Nope. My deodorants haven’t shifted, nor can any trace of impact be found there. Perhaps the shower water’s too hot then? Or too cold? Maybe I’m sleep-showering on stiletto heels? Every angle of approach offers more questions than answers.
I attempt some careful hammering myself, in various spots to see if I can dislodge anything. Maybe a rotten apple has dodged quality control in bathtub city… It yields not. So what the hell? Either I’m completely losing it, or someone, has applied great force on a surface conforming roughly to that of a hammerhead. Splinters surround the crater.
What the fuck? You may rightly ask. Indeed. What the fuck? It is a question that I’ve indulged in with increasing alacrity over the past twenty-four hours. Why would anyone do this? Once again, nothing’s missing. Not the computer. Not the stereo. Not the camera. Nuffing. Just this; a single, shattering blow to the bath tub. Have I, barely two months in the country, managed, unwittingly, to make an enemy? A singularly resourceful one at that, however absurd in his or her choice of target. Could I be dealing with the enigmatic book-owner, irked by my failure to return his/her prized possession? Vexed by my failure to finish it, and extrude the message I’m intended, for whatever reason, to find within its pages. Have I incurred, in other words, the wrath of a psychopath booklover? Or worse, a German psychopath booklover?
Failing this, the only reasonable theory I’ve come up with is indeed not very reasonable at all. But Ockham’s razor compels me to give this more than a cursory glance. Right, here goes; COPASEC is a company in the business of selling outlandishly expensive security doors, and our brand new building recently found itself in the vortex of their marketing apparatus. MECOP Falcon : 1650 EURO excl. VAT Fichet Forges G371: € 1.850, 00 excl. VAT Fichet Forges G372: € 2.163, 00 excl. VAT Fichet Forges G375: € 3.095, 00 excl. VAT Discounts are offered if more than eight people sign up. I haven’t. I’m on the third floor. There’s a decent door at the building entrance. I got one at the entrance of the apartment. And I got people waltzing in and out without as much as picked lock. Go figure. Is someone trying to scare me/us into buying safety doors? Are these people colluding with the building contractor? Two nights ago a garbage pile was set alight on the street.
I woke up at four in the morning doubting very much that my lack of cooking skills had deteriorated to account for wafts of burnt plastic roughly eight hours after a steak and potatoes extravaganza. The owners of the ground floor apartment together with a security detail of the Fortis Bank across the street had found nothing better than to douse the flames with bags of potting soil.
There mightn’t be any connection between all of the above. There might be a connection between some of the above. I dunno. I called the police anyway. A cruiser showed up. A tall Flemish dude and a short French speaker. They scratched their heads, and left. “Did you use any corrosive products perhaps?” You mean, apart from the nitric acid I employ to bleach my armpit hair? They could only ‘take note’ as the saying goes, in case something else occurs.
“I’d be careful about who you give your key to,” the short one proffered. My theory of the armored doors people did not impress much. “If I wanted to intimidate someone, I’d have used your shaving cream and written something mean on the bathroom mirror,” the Flem said.
Well, no. That would have been a pretty clear-cut case, right? No. This one actually got me doubting my own sanity for a short while. Nicking the bathtub is a subtle thing. Inconsequential almost. You look silly reporting a thing like that. I almost didn’t.
Tomorrow I’m retrieving my key from the contractor. I’ll drag him upstairs to look at the bathtub too. I’ll be gauging his mien. Then again, he’s got half a dozen people working in that office. Any one of them could be reaping a nifty percentage of those doors. Perhaps they’ll cut me in if I keep mum. How does five percent sound?