To Find A Thief

I find the empty Amazon box when I opened the old & squeaky gate o the elevator in my apartment building. Only about 15 minutes before I had gotten a text saying that my package was delivered, so when it wasn’t in the foyer I knew without looking that this was mine. A quick check confirmed it – my name, my apartment number on the box that someone else had gutted, calling the desk lamp that I had ordered for better light to make chainmaille by their own. They stole my goddamn light.

Packages meant for myself and others who live here have disappeared on occasion, but I’d never actually found the empty box before, and never having proof that it wasn’t just a lazy delivery person (usually made clear by the delivery note – like a desk chair or 40lb bag of dog food that was “left in mailbox” Really?) – but for the first time, I had proof. Someone fucking stole from me, someone in the building, and while I could suspect all I want, usually I just let it go and called Amazon, who rock at making things right – but finding the box it came in triggered something that I didn’t expect to find inside of me. And I wanted that damn light.

Carrying the box I dropped Ruby off in my apartment and went upstairs. There are two apartments that the people who *don’t* rip people off & I suspect when we cross paths & talk, and one is apartment 46 – directly above me. While usually I loathe confrontation and with the exception of someone fucking with a friend of mine, will do most anything to avoid it, I realized that all I would do is sit in my apartment and seethe with what I *should* have done. At least, that’s what I’ve usually done in the past – but things are changing in my life, and this needed to be one of them.

I knocked on the door & when Rick answered – a meek looking guy with a bad leg, maybe a few years older than me with thinning hair and a few inches shorter,  I held out the empty box. “Know anything about this?”
In a voice with feigned surprise ‘well gosh, how on earth did *that* happen?’  he says “No, I don’t.”
“You sure?” The look in my eyes and accusatory note in my voice obviously not believing him.
“I swear. I don’t know anything about it. Really. I’m sorry that it happened to you, that sucks.”

Really? Bullshit. Anyone else would have asked what I meant, would have asked what I was talking about when all I showed them was an empty box – but not having much recourse I turned and didn’t say a word as I walked back down the hall with him continuing to apologize.

Then it was to the other of the two suspected apartments. No answer when I knocked on the door, no sound from behind it. Maybe they just aren’t answering. I went down to the gate buzzer & punched his code in, waiting for someone to answer. It was still ringing as I shut the gate behind me and walked back inside. For the second time, I went up to Rick’s. I wasn’t letting this go. I knew it would eat away at me if I did, without doing everything I could within reason to settle it. As he answered the door again I told him that he wouldn’t mind if I took just a quick look around to set my mind at ease – at which point he turned to his guest and started apologizing profusely, saying that he swore he didn’t know anything about it and he’ll give it back right now, sorry, sorry, sorry etc. – and his guest handed me my lamp, still in its box.

Conjuring up what I’ve seen in movies, I told him “Don’t be under the impression that this is in any way resolved with something so trivial as a pathetic little apology. You fucking STOLE from me, and even if it wasn’t you, it was your guest, your responsibility, and the blame comes down on you for every package that has gone missing or will in the future, so if I were you I would make an extra effort to make absolutely certain that this never. Fucking. Happens. Again. Your thieving, piece of shit guest stole from me in my home, and you better fucking believe that I’m taking it personally. This is far from over.”

Or at least that’s what I should have said, and will when I see him again – I swear – but I was kind of amazed at myself right then, and ecstatic that I had actually taken action and gotten my lamp back, so – I said something,  I know I did, but it definitely wasn’t as good as that. I think I said something about “While I’m here, keep it down. The floors are thin & I can hear everything above a normal footstep downstairs.” – which doesn’t really carry the weight of the other. Hell, I’ve always been better at writing than talking anyway, and I swear, if I could have just had him wait while I wrote something, man, that would have REALLY ripped him apart.

I’ll save that perfect response for the next time I see him, as inevitably I will, and then, summoning the perfect movie line make it excruciatingly clear to him – but in the meantime, I *have* noticed that there’s much less noise coming through the ceiling in the past couple of days.

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