Insert Chassis Albuquerque: Chapter 7 - The Short Skirt: "Sackball's New Apartment"

Chapter 7 - The Short Skirt: "Sackball's New Apartment"

I was still going to have words with Ethel Sackball.
I'm not blaming her, but I’m definitely holding her responsible for this mess - from just minutes earlier when I was getting rid of Sharnay to fucking her over the kitchen sink by the dish-rack.
I was in deep.
Sharnay wasn’t the kind of girl you could leave, just take a look at her sap husband. He knew all about her and her “affairs” and still wouldn’t divorce her.
So, if she wouldn’t leave, I’d have to.
While Sharnay was grabbing a snack from the fridge, I said I was gonna take a shower and escaped down the fire escape instead. I could hear her shouting all kinds of profanity at me from the window just as I reached the bottom of the fire escape. Wisely, I’d thought to lock the communal bathroom door. Sharnay would have no choice but to leave because she refused to use any ablutionary facilities that were communal.
I banged on her door.
No one answered.
I banged again.
A disheveled-looking man answered, almost slovenly - was this the kind of company Sackball kept…? Hardly a surprise.
“Sackball around?”
“Sackball’s up on top,” the man said and pointed with his finger to the ceiling.
“Since when…?” I said, surprised.
“What are you, the Spanish Inquisition…? Since a few weeks ago already,” he said and closed the door.
So, there’d been a sizable shift in the tenant dynamics. Sackball was now in one of the lofty apartments on the top floor. These had more than one room, their own bathrooms, separate lounge, kitchen - you name it. The top floor, the reserve of power-abusers and, quite often, pimps and drug dealers and other people with money. So, even here in Downtown Tokyo, were these social “power” divides and at the heart of it all: Money.
The lift stopped one floor short of the top floor. You needed a special pass-key if you wanted access via the lift.
I had to take the interior stairs.
Cameras monitored me.
Sackball’s door said: Ethel Sackball - Building Superintendent. There was a small notice, neatly printed: FOR BUILDING-RELATED ISSUES, PLEASE CONSULT AT THE OFFICE DOWNSTAIRS - DURING NORMAL WORKING HOURS.
I banged on her door.
No one answered.
I banged again.
This time a woman answered. She was wearing one of those little bathrobes that hangs just past the hip enough to do the job but not quite enough, because I just caught sight of a little bush between her thighs. Then I looked up, the woman’s hair was long and soft and curled down past her shoulders and all over her pretty face.
“Yes, Broadway…?” Sackball said.
She wasn’t wearing her glasses.
Or underwear.
I hadn’t recognized her, at all. Ethel Sackball was back on the other side of the fence - and goddamn, was she hot!
Momentarily taken aback by her fence-hopping I began mumbling inane things: “Ah, ah, Ethel, I just wanted to talk to you. Uh, I just want to talk with you and tell you about, about a problem upstairs - my wife…?”
“What about your wife, Broadway?” Sackball said; she had a hand on her little robe, holding it closed now but I could still see plenty of thigh and leg.
“My wife…? She’s not my wife.”
“Well, who’s wife is she…? You know there’s no subleasing allowed, Broadway,” Sackball said, suspicious.
“What…? Maybe I should come in, Ethel? Why don’t I come in, it’s cold out here and people are looking for me. Can I come in…? Have you just got out the bath?” I wondered hopefully.
Sackball said: “What…? You’re mumbling. I can’t understand a word you’re saying. Are you drunk, Broadway? There’s no carousing allowed in this building, you know?”
“My wife is upstairs but I’m down here with you. But that’s not my wife - I’m not seeing anybody, at all, Ethel, and if you’re worried about the age difference-” I said.
“Look, you’re not making much sense. Come back later when you’re feeling better. And not to my apartment, downstairs, at the superintendent’s office,” Sackball said, closing her door.
I heard the locks being drawn and bolted from inside.
Then I saw a little bit of her bathrobe poking out, caught between the door.
She’d locked the door on it and was tugging at it from the other side, desperate not to have to open the door to me again.
She groaned.
Then the little bit of bathrobe stopped moving.
So either she was still attached to the bathrobe, and, rather than open the door, was listening and waiting for me to leave.
Or she’d discarded the bathrobe…! Well, this made a lot of sense. Immediately I looked through the peep-hole. I could see her! Sackball…! The view through the peep-hole was very odd but I could see Sackball wafting around her spacious building superintendent’s apartment, naked.
This was phenomenal!
Sackball was some kind of raging closet-beauty able to transform herself from the extraordinarily mundane to the extraordinarily fuckable…! I was just getting into it (my eye-socket was beginning to hurt because of how I was having to press it up against the peep-hole to see her better) when there was a noise behind me, someone clearing their throat.
“What on earth are you doing standing outside of Ethel Sackball’s door like that…?”
“What…?” I say, turning round.
Bobbi-Jean’s shaking her head the way women do when encountering a male specimen they suspected was somehow morally incapacitated in some way. This time she’s in a very, very short, red leather effort, possibly the shortest I’ve ever seen in my life - at what point does a skirt cross the line into underwear?
This is the perfect storm.
But highly, highly dangerous.
“I said what are you doing outside Ethel Sackball’s door like that…?” Bobbi-Jean repeated.
An excellent question and one I am unable to provide a satisfactory answer for.
Unless I lie.
Because, given a chance, some luck and the right information I could always talk my way out of this.
But, caught between the sight of Sackball, naked, and Bobbi-Jean in her very, very incredibly short skirt, immediately my brain abandons me and enters some sort of hyperdimensional porthole. It leaves me with little to defend myself.
“I just wanted to check with Sackball about my wife,” I say.
“Really…? I just saw your wife leaving with a man shouting at her that he was her husband - so you may want to look into that rather than looking in through Ethel’s peephole,” Bobbi-Jean said.
“I was just checking that she was in,” I said.
“By looking through the peephole? Most people just knock,” Bobbi-Jean said.
I knocked.
I watched the bathrobe still caught in the door - fearfully.
It didn’t move.
“Guess she’s not in,” I said.
Bobbi-Jean looked agitated.
She looked at Ethel’s door.
My phone rang in my pocket but I didn’t answer.
I waited it out until Bobbi-Jean left, frustrated.
Clearly she’d had business with Sackball.