When my husband and I were newly married we lived in an apartment a few streets up from famous Hollywood Blvd. We were young and poor and the apartment complex was owned by a friend, so it was just the right price for two very young and naive
newlyweds trying to make it on their own.
A cast of characters lived there as well.
There was the mother and daughter who lived in separate apartments and communicated by yelling at each other out their windows.
The mother lived in one corner of the apartment complex and the
daughter lived below my husband and I, not particularly close or within reasonable hearing range. The daughter had a voice that sounded like screeching tires and the mother sounded like she smoked in her sleep. I still remember the daughter yelling for her kids to come home. They were most likely blocks away but could hear her with their attuned spidey senses and would come running. The mother would yell out useful information sometimes. She
would yell when she wanted to let her daughter know the laundry
room was available. I would hear at least five doors open and slam
as everyone at home made a mad dash for the laundry room.
I went in the laundry room once and never went back.
The laundry room was where Hagrid, from Harry Potter lived before he became famous. He was the "plus one" living in our apartment building. There was nothing magical or friendly about
this guy. He was scary. The laundry room was a carved out cave of
sorts under the building. Hagrid the homeless guy lived there. I went in one time and was about to place my laundry in the washing machine when I heard a strange noise coming from the dark underbelly of the laundry cave.
It was Hagrid.
He was growling.
I may or may not have screamed when I saw him emerge from the depths. I grabbed my clothes and ran. Never to return. I took my laundry home to mama after that encounter.
There was a single guy who lived in the building. Every single time we crossed paths he would look at me and ask me the same question. "Are you a runner?" And then follow with, " If you aren't, it's not natural to be that skinny." If single guy saw me today he
would not ask me that question. I think it was the Dolphin brand shorts I wore with a matching tank top that had him convinced I was an Olympic athlete. Imagine Bruce Jenner, if he was a skinny girl...
There were plenty of other characters living on Franklin Ave. A few of Hagrid's friends lived in the alleyway between our apartment complex and the one above us. Our bedroom window happened to face that alleyway. My husband was completely convinced that a
certain serial killer on the loose the year we lived there was lurking in the bushes or hanging out in the space between our building and the next, waiting for the right moment to get him. We were both quite the scaredy cats and not the best combo when it came to convincing each other it wasn't going to happen. Did I mention how young and silly we were?
One night after watching a particularly spooky news program that proclaimed said Serial Killer was thought to be hiding out in our neighborhood, my husband freaked out. We locked all our rusty windows and bolted our balsa wood front door and shivering like it was the dead of Winter went to bed. It was not Winter. It was "hotter than Hades" Summer! I got up in the middle of the night to get some water. I came back to our room and my husband, who was prone to walking and talking in his sleep, sat bolt upright in bed and pointed behind me. He threw out a few guttural shrieks for emphasis as well. I thought this was it. I thought my husband's worst fear had come to light and the Serial Killer was behind me. I was frozen in fear. I let out a few shrieks of my own. A contest of sorts took place. I screamed and he screamed. Both of us completely out of control, with me screaming over and over, "Is he behind me?" My husband thought I said, "He's behind you!" in his half awake state and came unglued. He lurched from the bed and grabbed me. I was scared senseless at this point worried that he was about to toss me into the Serial Killer's arms. Our neighbors, who shared a bedroom wall with us, and were the apartment managers, yelled through the wall and banged on our door. They didn't speak English very well. I thought a gang of marauders was coming through the door. A back-up of sorts for the Serial Killer if we tried to escape. By this time we were both out of our minds with fear and adrenalin. In my hysterical haze I heard my husband ask me where he (the Serial Killer) was. I remember thinking, "What? Isn't he behind me? I shrieked, "Isn't he behind me?" and my husband responded with, " I thought he was behind me!" Our neighbors were breaking down our door at this point. Not hard to do. A poke with a pinkie finger would open the door even if it was latched.
But let's get back to the Serial Killer.
Logically if he was behind my husband that would mean he was in our bed - lying right next to him - because our bed was pushed up against the window where he could reach in and get us if he was so inclined. It made more sense - if we had any at all - which we clearly did not - that he would be behind me as I came back to our room. Our neighbors coming through our door distracted us from our hysteria and we realized our mistake after both of us recanted our side of the story. By this time my husband was fully awake and doing his best to calm me down.
The Serial Killer wasn't anywhere near either of us. He was caught soon after and is spending his life in jail in Northern California which makes my husband feel very safe. But that night we both had the scare of our lives. My husband, our neighbors, and me. They were probably very happy to hear we were moving soon after this evening. It wasn't the right place for two newlyweds who weren't made for the big city life.