Note No. 30

December 15, 2009

For the last several weeks now, there has been a steady stream of water coming out of our entry staircase. It comes and goes but almost every day, at some point, there it is, drizzling down the step, onto the street and away toward the basketball court, causing passers-by to look at it with either scorn or curiosity as they step daintily around it.

Sometimes it smells bad. Sometimes it smells awful. Sometimes it does not smell at all.

It always seems to be coming out when the washing machine’s off and everyone’s at the beach, though, so we deduce it is not ours. About a year ago, we had a problem with the neighbor’s laundry run-off putridly mixing with their sewage and squeezing out the badly connected pipe just over our gate, so naturally, because this current leak smells suspiciously similar to that occasion that ended with stitches at the navy hospital, well, we assume it is their problem again. After all, it is coming out directly below that very same pipe, as if it went underground and then reemerged a foot later.

The neighbors, of course, deny this. They do not even live in the house next door; it’s empty and has been for months. Besides, their plumbing goes down and around and out and over and then it rendezvouses with the neighbor’s cat and blah blah blah. Never mind that there are about three or four families (his rent-paying tenants) living above them and that it could be the drainage from their bathing, dish washing and going to the bathroom.

No. Not possible.

So, finally, we conduct a most scientific experiment. We turn on three of our showers and stand in the street, waiting. Staring. Looking like the curb is talking to us.

Then, within about five minutes, there it is: the dry crack starts bubbling as water begins worming its way out.

Shit. Literally. It is ours.

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