9. Satellites, Ants, Caskets

Dear Neighbor, Sounds like you had a few (!!) friends over last night! I'm always glad to hear people have a good time, but in the future could you please ask your visitors to TAKE OFF THEIR BOOTS and not stomp up and down so much!? Your downstairs neighbor(s) would appreciate it very much. Thank You.

Drew peeled the note off the door. In the future I'll please ask my visitor(s) to stick their boot(s) as deep up my neighbor(s)'s—

The key turned without resistance; the door wasn't locked.

So already, after only a few days here, she was throwing parties on his poker nights and leaving the door unlocked all day!

The extra set of keys were lying on the counter.

Her things were still in the extra room. Her ragged sleeping bag, her backpack, socks, a bra, a belt. In her canvas bag there were drawings—

He went and locked the apartment door. Removed his jackets, loosened his suspenders. Put out fresh food, water, and milk for Volley, who was nowhere to be seen. Asshole cat. Looked in despair at the sinkful of dishes. Ran the water till it was steaming hot, washed one butter-knife, and then returned, as if by chance, to the spare room, Miranda's room.

He hadn't realized she could draw. His idea of art school was that you learned how to mix paints, sketch nudes, and draft straight lines. These were not the drawings of an art school student.

They were not realistic. Everything in them was slightly skewed or misshapen, but precise in detail, as if some architect or engineer had been trying to recreate the physical world through the doodles of a four-year-old. Half the time he did not know what he was looking at, what it was these dark, smudged shapes were suggesting. But they suggested something.

He liked them, but they disturbed him. If they had not been drawn by Miranda, he could perhaps have enjoyed them without uneasiness.

Among the recognizable objects, her favorites seemed to be satellite dishes; ant-like aliens bristling with feelers; and nude, reclining women whose chests opened, on hinges, like the lids of caskets.

He unlocked the apartment door again before he went to bed, thinking: If I don't sleep well it'll be her fault.

Perhaps it was time to call Sheila.