I had the hardest time concentrating. Whenever I found a seemingly quiet place to brainstorm, there was always someone around to distract me, women with wrinkled dresses and hairstyles flattened from spending the night over, men with their ties loosened and thrown over their shoulders, always drunk, sometimes laughing. It was as if they followed me, found something to admire in each room I visited--mumbling in groups over a particular painting, then shuffling to the couches to lounge and smile. I had to keep moving. I found the library, where I’d been with Maddie at the party we’d crashed, and thought it was empty, closing the door behind me, sinking gratefully into one of the chairs. But before I could even get my notebook out, the middle-aged man with bottle-cap glasses appeared suddenly from behind a shelf of books and said: ‘The hum? Do you hear the hum?’ I asked him what he was doing there and he said he was hiding from his wife, trying to sober up before he saw her again. ‘Still?’ I asked him, since it had been several days since the party, but he only shook his head and told me he’d been all over the house. I stood, shrugged and left.
Sometimes I’ll open a door and see something crazy. I saw a little girl stacking empty beer bottles all the way to the ceiling once and when she noticed me she put her finger to her mouth to signal I should be quiet and I closed the door. I saw a puddle of blood at the foot of a bed, but when I blinked it was gone. I saw a man wearing some sort of furry animal costume and one of those plain white-plastic masks having sex doggy style with a woman wearing fairy wings. It’s a strange house. I don’t know sometimes if I’m hallucinating or really seeing some of this stuff. It’s like I said: I haven’t been sleeping well. Okay, actually, I haven’t been sleeping at all really. Everything feels surreal when you’re tired enough.