our halloween-related program activities have been pretty pathetic this year. the word on the street is that there's a pumpkin shortage (there's a fungus among us), and the ones i've seen on eighth avenue are going for $25 apiece; i can't go for that.* our rubber bats, jenna and barbara, are buried somewhere in my mammoth pile of craft supplies, and i'm too lazy to dig them out. and joe? joe doesn't do halloween. like i said, pathetic.

in the absence of inhabitant-generated holiday flava, the apartment itself has stepped up: it smells like death. the stank began a few days ago as the occasional rancid zephyr, and we thought someone had thrown garbage into the alley next to our building. on wednesday, it had become an assy wave that crested at the bedroom door, so i yanked everything out from under the bed in search of cat...i don't know. it wasn't the cats' fault, or under the bed. by last night, when it had ripened into an open-handed slap to the soul, we realized that it actually was death. something expired in the ceiling and, reheated by the radiator pipe that runs along my side of the bed, has been calling to us through loose plaster around the top edge of the pipe.

people, it isn't good. our building is 125 years old, and ripping out the ceiling to extract whatever the hell is up there (aside from being totally hypothetical, since our super would never materialize to do it) would take forever and probably flatten us all. the corpse isn't coming out, and it's going to kill us softly instead, odor receptor by odor receptor. happy halloween to you, too, apartment.

*(no can do)


Maggie said...

I usually just lurk, but feel compelled to comment on this post. I am *so* sorry about the apartment smell and its cause. Sometimes living in New York sucks.

--Maggie Lange

enjelani said...

um. and i don't suppose you can hope for desiccation to come to your rescue anytime soon, what with rain & snow & all.

my condolences. the vivid wordage was highly entertaining, though!

sara said...

uh, one time, there was a rat that died in the wall of my bedroom when i was living in aliso viejo. it was a smell i won't soon forget, and it's been over 7 years. i hope yours isn't the case, but man, if you your super won't take care of it, can't you call osha or somethin'? i'm on your side, lady!

lauren said...

thanks for the condolences, ladies. maggie, baby, de-lurk any time!

the plot thickens: an exterminator showed up this morning (he knocks on everyone's doors periodically - he's the one service guy who does come on a regular basis, bless him), so we asked him in to describe the ruckus, as it were. he said that he doesn't think it's a dead thing after all (and he knows his vermin, one would assume), and seconded the original garbage theory. the air seems alright when we pop our heads out of the bedroom window, though, and the wind is still mightiest at the pipe, so we're back at square one.

glad to hear that we might not be working with an ex-beast, though. to date, my only plan on that front was to shoot a bunch of ants up there, aboriginal blow dart style, and hope they ate whatever was taking the dirt nap.

wabes said...

just to say that i feel for you both -- this happened, also, in our basement at home in So. IL, and i believe my mother christened it "the mouse mausoleum." because it was a wall-and-baseboard problem and not a ceiling problem, i think she had to...take care of it somehow. but maybe instead of ants or desiccation, you could try baking soda to work on the stench?

sara said...

hey, i've got it! invite a rap artist (includes entourage of at least 10 "friends") to record in your bedroom. if you leave them unattended, i can almost assure you they will out-smoke any stench. of course, that means they'll be replacing it with something other than then smell of death. pick your poison.
(based on real life events at The Studio)