The Apartment

Arian Knops

The Apartment

2 min.
April 13, 2021

October nights are always unpredictable.  October 18th, 1968 was warm, rainy and blustery as my wife of three hours and I left our wedding reception.  We were heading to our old, but cozy apartment on the second floor of an 1880s vintage triplex in south Minneapolis.

As we drove through the capitol city of St. Paul, other drivers, attracted perhaps by the crepe paper decorations taped to the inside of the car windows, honked and waved as we headed through town to start our live together.

New Bride and Groom Meets "Big Green"

When we arrived, I carried my new bride across the threshold, but it was up to her to navigate the steep narrow stairway herself.  The bare 40-watt light bulb dangling from a cord at the top of the stairs was the only light there was.

The stairway walls were painted a light green and the wooden stairs plus all the trim were painted the same green.  When we rented the apartment, which I had occupied for the previous month, we had noticed that nearly everything in the place was some shade of green.  The carpeting was green, the kitchen cabinets were green and even the radiators had been painted green.  Going with the green theme we had nicknamed the place, “Big Green.”

The kitchen was large and green, the living room was large and green, but the bathroom was a tiny affair with a door that opened only about 90 degrees before it collided with the stool.  Anyone using the room had to enter completely and turn around to close the door and use the stool.  In addition to the stool there was a wall mounted sink, a thin small shelf that would hold almost nothing, a towel rack attached to the back of the door and an old claw-foot bathtub.  There was a small window high up on one wall that had been painted over.  Oddly enough, everything in the bathroom had been painted yellow.

The triplex was in one of the tougher areas of town, but the rent was reasonable, and the place was clean but otherwise not all that well maintained.  My brand- new wife and I spent our first night together in that apartment doing what all newlyweds do: we talked the night away.  It was that magic time of month so there wasn’t anything else to do.

Pest Control

About a week into our stay in the apartment there was a warm spell, and we were cursed with an invasion of flies.   My pal Mike came over one evening to help us rid the place of the bugs.  Instead of flyswatters, good old Mike brought a case of beer, a fifth of scotch and two rifle type BB guns.  While my wife was in the kitchen making supper, Mike and I had a few drinks and then started shooting at flies that were landing on the walls.  By the time supper was ready he and I had managed to put about a hundred dents into the green walls but hadn’t managed to kill one fly.  After supper we resorted to rolling up newspaper and swatted flies.  That worked well.

As I awoke one Saturday morning in February, I noticed it was extremely dark in the bedroom and that someone had thrown some sort of heavy covering over me.  Thinking my wife to be the culprit I yelled at her to knock it off.  My voice was reflected right back at me.  It was as if I had my head in a box or a barrel.  My dear wife was lying next to me and when she said something to me it sounded rather muffled.

Gathering my wits, I pushed as hard as I could against the heavy covering and as I did, discovered that the entire wallpaper ceiling had come loose during the night and buried us.  Fortunately, the plaster stayed attached to the ceiling, but there were no less than 14 layers of wallpaper on top of us.  We discussed the possibility that “Big Green” was getting revenge for all the BB holes we had put in the walls.

We managed to roll up the wallpaper and haul it down the stairs and out to the trashcan.  Our task and goal for the rest of that weekend was to find a new place to live.

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Arian Knops

Arian is a short story contributor to the Sentinel & Rural News. Arian has written two full-length thrillers which have received critical and popular acclaim. Arian lives in Bruce, WI, with his charming wife, Arlene.