Halloween is here. But spooky moments do their work on other days. In the mood of this holiday, I'd like to recount an experience left unexplained.
In 2004, I was roommates with my good friend and now Wood Sugars collaborator, Donny Rodriguez. We lived in a basement in Wicker Park; cheap rent, drafty, rat infested. On one occasion in the dead of winter we were both at a friend's party. Donny decided to leave before me, he said he was either going to his girlfriend's or to the apartment. He wasn't sure. I said okay, see ya later man.
When I got home and unlocked the door, I couldn't open it. I double checked that I had indeed unlocked it. I had. The door handle rotated. As far as the deadbolt, I had in fact turned the key away from the door frame. I heard it click. It still wouldn't open. Thinking maybe he had returned to our apartment, I knocked. No one came to the door. I knocked on his window, to the right of the front door. No answer. I called him. It went to voice mail. Panicked, it was cold out, I threw my body against the door a few times until it gave way.
I found that there was a third lock in place. We had a metal latch similar to what you'd use to close a bathroom stall, where a bolt shaped rod dips into a hole in the door frame, and you rotate the rod up and back, clasping the thumbtack shaped handle into a gap in the metal to hold it in place. We had never, ever used it. A deep gouge had marked the door frame where it had ripped along after I had body checked the door in. I called out to Donny, checked in his room, he wasn't there. If he had in fact come home and locked it, he couldn't have left. We had bars lining across our windows. In the rear of the unit we had a storage room with a little door out from there to a backyard. But there was an accordion style iron grate locked via combination lock from the inside.
Whatever locked that clasp had to have done it from the inside. And no person visible was inside.
Later that summer I was watching a movie during a hot, humid afternoon. We didn't have air conditioning. But I felt a quick cold chill run through my body. Then the kitchen light went out. I got up and checked it out. The light switch had physically been lowered. I was able to turn it back on, it wasn't a burn out situation.
As I mentioned, it was a rat infested shit hole. Quite a few rats had lost their lives in traps. Maybe their rodent spirits never left. Or, this Donny character we're all friends with is indeed a specter still fucking with us.