My cold-water flat was getting claustrophobic. Despite having a huge window, the room was oddly airless. Smells seemed to ‘dig’ into the room, refusing to leave no matter how much you ‘aired’ it out.
The final straw came when a girlfriend, after a particularly amorous night, threw up a horrible mixture of Yukon Jack and cheese savouries on my duvet. This momentous event occurred while I was in my communal toilet and she struggled to reach the sink which was an arm’s length away.
Our relationship sort of cooled after that night though the memory of it remained. I was reminded of it every time I entered the flat. Despite air fresheners and freezing the room out by leaving the window wide open in the winter, the smell lingered. Even the duvet’s chemical smell from the dry cleaners didn’t mask the rooms pong.
As I went to pay my monthly rent to the landlady, I noticed someone was moving from a huge ground floor flat. I inquired about it and Lady Luck was on my side. No one else had even looked at the flat yet, so I transferred my deposit from my tiny flat to the new huge one. I was able to move my things the same day.
The new flat was an old shop, I don’t remember what type of shop it had been, but, it still had the full window street footage in front. A giant floor length curtain covered the room sized window and it was separated from the rest of the flat by a ‘false’ wall.
My front door was a glass ‘French’ door. As you walked in the flat if you looked immediately to the right you could see another door that led into another flat. This door, though permanently locked, was very thin and let a lot of sound through. One night my ‘neighbour’ had two local ladies in for entertainment.
They were very vocal about their obvious enjoyment of my neighbour’s love-making techniques. When the noise began to mimic the ‘When Harry Met Sally‘ moment in the diner, I banged on the door.
“Hey!”, I said. “Either keep it down or invite me in!”
There was a startled silence followed by muffled whispering. I did not receive an invite, but they did lower the decibel levels of their appreciation. I took a couple of cold showers and was finally able to go sleep.
Back at the front door, if you looked to the left you had the sleeping area and a door leading to a short hallway. The hallway when entered from my end had a shower room to the right and a little further down from the shower room was the toilet.
The toilet was a small windowless room with a door that was hard to close. The door itself had ‘bolt’ lock on it. The ‘bolt’ lock was as hard to use, old and a bit rusty, you had to really shove the damn thing to lock the door.
At the other end of the hallway was the other flat that I shared the shower and toilet with. He was a nice enough chap who had a lot of fondness for drink. I can honestly say, I don’t ever remember seeing him sober.
He was a very amiable ‘drunk’ who liked to laugh and loved getting ‘massages’ from the local working girls which he paid for in steaks bought from the USAF commissary for a couple of dollars that would have cost a fortune if purchased down town.
One day I came home from work and really needed to use the toilet. Rushing in, I ran for the littlest room in the flat only to find it closed and locked. Peeved, I went back to my flat and waited for a minute or two.
Nature was dying to take it’s course and I soon rushed back to the toilet door. Trying the door again, I found it was still closed tight and locked. I tapped on the door.
“Frank? Dude, I really need the toilet. Can you hurry up?”
Silence. I knocked louder.
I was worried now. What if my drunken neighbour had passed out in there? What if he had died in there.
This time I kicked the door. Hard.
Panicked now, I pushed myself back against the narrow hall’s outside wall and shoulder down slammed against the toilet door. I had to do this two or three times before the door smashed open.
The door rebounded off the inside wall and something tinkled on the floor.
The room was empty. There was no slumped body on the actual toilet or on the floor. The only thing in the toilet was the door frame bracket for the bolt lock. Looking at the inside of the door, I saw that the bolt lock tongue was protruding.
The door had been locked and the only way to lock it was from the inside.
It was impossible to lock the door from the outside.
So who in the hell had locked it? Or more accurately, what had locked it.
After I was finally able to answer my ‘call of nature’ I got a screwdriver and re-attached the bolt lock’s end bracket to the frame. I went to the pub and promptly forgot all about it.
One week later, I came home from work and went through the little hall to use the toilet. The door was hanging forlornly off of one hinge. I drug the door closed and paid my compliments to Mother Nature. As I came out, Frank exited his room and faced me in the hallway.
“Hey Holmes (Frank called everybody Holmes) I got home today and I really needed to use the toilet. I come in here and the door’s closed and locked.” He pointed to the door. “I thought that you were in there and I left. You know? Then when things got a little more urgent, I decided to knock and ask you to hurry up. You know? But you didn’t answer Holmes, cause you weren’t in there. But I didn’t know that. I thought that you were like, passed out or had a heart attack or somethin’. So I kicked the friggin door open? And Holmes? There wasn’t any body in there!”
He looked at me, clearly puzzled. “Holmes? How did that damn door lock itself?”
Shaking my head, I recounted my bathroom adventures from the week before. We both decided that we’d better fix the door back on its hinges and not tell the landlady that we were trying to destroy her property.
The door went back on the hinges no problem, but the bolt lock bracket was a little worse off. It hung loosely on the door frame and the bolt that slid into it was very wobbly.
Exactly one week later, I returned home to find the door closed and ‘locked’ again with no one inside. This time, however, it was very easy to force the door open. I told the landlady about the ‘self locking’ door when I moved.
Everyone I told about the door said the same thing. “The place must be haunted.” My ‘new’ girlfriend, after looking at the door and the room, said the same. “There is no way ‘humanly’ possible to lock that door from the outside. It’s definitely a ghost or poltergeist or something.”
I never did find out what had locked that door, but I did move. I had a mate at work who had rented a huge house in the country and wanted someone to split the rent with him. He asked me if I was interested.
I said yes and then moved into a house that was more haunted than the flat I’d just moved from.
- An Arkansas Razorback in Queen Elizabeth Country 2 (mikesfilmtalk.com)
- An Arkansas Razorback in Queen Elizabeth Country (mikesfilmtalk.com)