Was it Just Yesterday?

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"Turn your music down! Do you hear me! For the last time! TURN IT DOWN!"

It was too hot to sleep. It was always too hot to sleep in the summer and the small apartment felt like it was sitting on the top of a furnace, making everything worse. All the rain was doing was adding to the stifling humidity. The only time he found any relief was when he stuck his head out into the downpour to yell at his neighbours across the courtyard to turn down their music. Considering how hard the rain was coming down, he shouldn't have been able to hear it. How loud was it, that it wasn't muffled out? Looking down, he considered how horrifying it would be if he fell out of his window mid yell. He was eight stories up. Eight stories he had to walk every night due to the elevator being broken. He couldn't actually remember a time when it had worked.

"How am I supposed to get any sleep with that infernal racket? How am I to keep my sanity?"

He knew that yelling out his window wasn't going to solve the issue. All it was doing was annoying the neighbours on this side of the courtyard. If only he could figure out which apartment was blasting the music every night. All of the apartments were dark on the other side. Could he be imagining the noise? Shaking his head, he sat back into his bed, causing it's old worn out springs to complain.

Attempting to keep cool, he would dip his handkerchief into a bowl of water next to his bed. All of the ice chips had melted and it was now tepid. He didn't dare chip away at any more of the ice in the icebox it might be the only thing keeping it cold. A new icebox was desperately needed, but considering the amount of rent he paid each week, it was unlikely his landlady would give him another one.

Laying back down, he once again attempted sleep, hoping the cotton he had stuffed into his ears would help to block out some of the music and other nightly sounds. At least he'd gotten used to the flashing neon, that painted his walls in hues of pink, yellow and green.

He began breathing deeply, attempting to calm himself, hoping to relax enough to drift off for at least a few hours. It never worked, but he refused to give up. His mind was just as noisy as the streets below him. How? How did someone who was once so successful, end up in a one room apartment, in the worst part of town? How had he fallen so far? It only felt like yesterday, when everything was different. When everything he touched turned to gold.

When things felt at their worst, with eyes closed tight, the memories would begin to pour in. Sometimes so fast, his heart would be set off into palpitations.

'Dancing. Dancing to the beautiful sounds of Benny Goodman or Duke Ellington, holding my Penelope so close to me. Closer than an unmarried couple should be. We would have been married soon. So soon. She was so patient with me, more patient than anyone could be. More patient than I deserved. I realize now, I was a monster. I must have been. If I wasn't, things wouldn't have ended up this way. Eventually, like everyone else, I also drove my dear Penelope away. My research was so much more important to me. It's what destroyed me. I know that now, but it feels like it's too late. No... now I'm stuck here in this awful, dank room, pretending to be someone I'm not. Hiding.'

As he drifted further and further into dreamy memories, he could see her face, her smile turning to tears, her tears to fear. The shadow behind her grew larger and larger as her terror turned to screams. He needed to stop her screams. He couldn't stand her screams!

The sounds of several car horns blasting woke him. It was daylight again. Though he still felt exhausted, he was happy that he had finally fallen asleep. He moved himself from a lying position to sitting on the edge of the bed, staring at the little kitchenette across the room, hoping that the tin of coffee still had some grounds in it. He could no longer function without his morning caffeine fix. Something still weighed upon him, he couldn't quite shake it off. Was it one of his dreams? He momentarily had feelings of regret and heart-break churning in his stomach.

As he stumbled his way to the other side of the room, passing his Zenith, he turned it on to listen to the latest news. It seemed the announcer could only blather on about the new Chrysler building and how he couldn't wait to be one of the first people to get a tour of it. Annoyed by the sounds of the announcer's squeaking voice and only wanting to hear some soothing music, he abruptly turned the radio off, making a clucking noise with his tongue as he did.

"Why must there always be so much garbage on the radio these days? Why can't they just play nice music and talk less."

The whistling of the kettle snapped him out of his mood momentarily, the task of making his coffee took his mind off of his schedule for the day. How could it possibly be Monday already?

As if the worlds lined up, the phone rang. It startled him, causing him to spill some of the boiling water onto his undergarments. Jumping back from the pain, he slammed the kettle back down onto the burner, causing it to spit out some steam and a high pitched whistle.

"Damn it. Who is calling me so early in the morning?"

Hoping if he ignored it, the caller would hang-up, but to his dismay, it continued on. Staring angrily at the phone, it appeared to be dancing up and down off the hook each time it rang. How was it doing that? Finally having enough of it, he picked up the receiver!

"Yes! Who is this?"

"Now, now Doctor. There is no sense in being testy. Is there?"

"Who is this?"

"You will find out soon enough. Don't forget our one o'clock appointment. I'd be very disappointed if you did."

"How? How did you get my home number?"

"Oh, it wasn't that hard. When you need to find something bad enough, you can."

The doctor recognized the voice, but couldn't quite place it.

"Again, who are you? How did you find me?"

"Oh not to worry my fine doctor. All of those questions and more will be answered soon enough. Don't forget, one o'clock sharp. Make sure you get that annoying girl's appointment over on time."

"Annoying girl... how... who..."

The caller hung up leaving the Doctor in a state of confusion. How could he have possibly known I had an earlier than normal appointment with Janie? Another relationship emergency it seems. The Doctor felt his heart racing. He started to breath deeply again, hoping to calm himself. Too afraid to go into the office, he knew he had no other choice. If that person could find his home number, he most certainly, could find his address. His fear turned to curiosity, then remembering the appointment with Janie, annoyance. One o'clock couldn't come soon enough.

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