Spying on the neighbors through the powerful telescope installed on the top of the apartment's balcony, the young writer Roger ate the last slice of the chocolate cake that his mother, Anastasia, had left right next to her typewriter, when suddenly, his eardrums shuddered as he heard the usual "Boom" from Zeca — the corner drug dealer — with his burst echoing through the surrounding buildings at the very beginning of each month.
There was a lot of confusion arising from the Malibu condominium, located right in the center of Goiânia. A development made up of three towers — or rather, a tower that, at first glance, appears to be a single one, but makes three when looking from the side — was mostly occupied by lower-middle-class families.
Behold, for anyone who is looking at the condo from the concierge; the Marechal Teodoro tower is the main tower. Next, twinned in its thick concrete column that rises as far as the eye can see, the other two towers are interconnected, that is, the Pedro Álvares Cabral tower, on the left, and then, the Faria Lima tower, on the right.
Roger's mother warnings were constant, telling him that his strange attitude of spying on the neighbors in search of inspiration to write books would one day end very badly. Very badly! But the young writer never listened. In fact, he also never freed himself from his methodical rite of, after taking a shower, sitting for hours on end while keeping his eyes fixed on the thick lenses of his telescope that turned, and turned, and turned without stopping, extremely eager to absorb the peculiarities of life around, especially those enacted in every bit of the half-open curtain of the front towers.
And, while his mother would tell him: “Stop it now, Roger!” the son’s excuse always remained the same: “Mom, the problem is that I lack inspiration!”
And it was in his notepad on the dresser that his stories were gaining more and more size and shape. For example, after some time spying on the neighbors, he discovered that: Arnaldo was the guy in the apartment upstairs. Nicknamed ‘Mister Vampire’, what was known of the guy was that he was a middle-aged man, who went out to work every night, but at sunrise, he didn't dare step out of the apartment. Discreet and loaded with a certain air of mystery, when Arnaldo was talking to someone, he didn't stop looking at the jugular either.
Nilda, on the other hand, was the gossip woman who lived in apartment 315. If anyone, in any way, wanted to be informed of the ‘latest events’ or the ‘unofficial news’ that occurred in the condominium in question, it was very easy, all it took was inviting her for coffee or tea, or even borrowing a simple cup of sugar.
Apartment nº 316 was the residence of the most beloved elderly couple in the condominium. And, after years traveling around the world working as Red Cross volunteers, finally Mr. Bento and Mrs. Nana were forced to stop volunteering due to health problems.
However, there was one night in particular, when an uproar that started in apartment nº 313 captured the attention of young Roger. From the balcony of his room, he soon realized that the situation in the apartment right in front of his was on fire.
Inside apartment no. 313, there were provocative shouts: “You bastard!”, and in response, “You are a cuckold!”, and even “I’m going to end your life, you fucking bitch!” and so on.
That night, Roger even thought: “I should get some popcorn to watch this horror show.” But then he thought better and gave up. Maybe the time he would take making popcorn could cause him to miss the sequence, which was probably still to come, and he believed it would be worse.
Next, Roger turned off the lights in the room, settled into the comfort of his armchair and, after calibrating the telescope's lenses to bring everything closer from afar, he lit his straw cigarette, an old companion of sleepless nights. After taking two or three long drags, Roger remained silent, with only the tip of the ember waltzing in the darkness.
On the front balcony, the confusion was as follows: Tony, Suzanne's husband, had just caught her red-handed, having sex with her lover.
“Confess your bitch!” Tony yelled from inside. His screams echoed through the condo. “How long have you been fucking this son of a bitch?!”
Suzanne was paralyzed when she saw Tony's enraged face. Only now and then did she reach out to pull the blanket over her — to cover her nudity — but the damn thing still remained all tangled up in the giant lover's body. Soon after, Tony took out a revolver from behind his pants and waltzed it around: sometimes he would aim at the big man's face, at other times he would wave it with great ferocity in the air.
At Metrobus — the name of the bus company that Tony worked for as a conductor — he always started his shift at 6 pm. From there the night went on until the hands of the clock ticked 00:00. His line of work was the one that began in the center of Goiânia, and then circulated throughout the eastern region of the capital.
Sitting there, receiving coins and banknotes from passengers on the old torn leather seat, it was as he turned the turnstile that he would brag that he was a civil servant, and he had a public entrance examination!
Tony was a good person. Very hard worker. There was no one like him!
Not to mention that to supplement the family's income, made up of his wife and two daughters, whenever he took a break, Tony hurried to sell counterfeit watches door to door, and if the date was special — father's day, for example — then he ran to extend the small improvised wooden stall on the sidewalk of the busiest street market in Goiânia. To attract customers, he kept shouting: “Come and see! It's a good and cheap watch!”.
When it came to family, Tony never spared efforts. He would do other things as well: he used to weed a vacant lot on a very sunny or rainy day, he worked as a supermarket delivery man on weekends and holidays, not to mention that, at times, he had to face heavy work on days when his herniated disc bothered him so much.
A good guy! And, systematic as he was, he was never over the limits with female co-workers, nor was he one to enjoy happy hours at the end of the day. As soon as he finished his itinerary, Tony took the three buses that would bring him back home, in order to get to kiss each daughter good night.
Inside the apartment, the confusion was gaining strength.
“Tony,” Suzanne begged, “don't do that! For God's sake, think of your daughters!”
But Tony could feel nothing but anger. As he paced, mulling over confused ideas and waving his revolver in the air, his face was the pure reflection of his pain. Meanwhile, he repeated to himself: “What did I do to deserve this?!” and, “What now? What am I going to do with my life?” and the worst: “I'm going to kill everyone, and then I kill myself!”
To be continued...
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