Those days, you lived in a shoebox. You often thought about moving to a bigger, nicer apartment in a cleaner, quieter neighborhood, but you somehow never got around to it. Plus, you could walk to work – theoretically, at least. Also, your lack of funds and your (probably unhealthy) fixation on that independent coffee place right down the road may have had something to do with it.
The building you called yours had apparently been designed by some allegedly fancy architect in the 80s who thought it was super neat-o to put the apartment units on top of each other like bricks on an old-fashioned brick wall instead of stacking them up straight. Something about the feng shui of the place, or so you heard – personally, you’re convinced the guy was just stoned the entire decade. The outlandish floor planning resulted in every one tenant having up to six direct neighbors instead of the standard four – two next door to your right and your left, and two above, two below, bisecting your apartment into “northwest” (kitchen, living room, tiny storeroom) and “southeast” (tiny front hall, bedroom, bathroom).
Coupled with the fact that some walls, floors and ceilings were basically just two flakeboards sandwiching some dust and cobwebs, this made for a lot of noise and not a lot of aural privacy.
None of this was a big problem for you for the longest time. You had always been a quiet person yourself. Your neighbors were mostly single pensioners living with their cat, dog (tiny ones who could be mistaken for cats because dogs weren’t technically allowed) or goldfish. The loudest thing they ever did was flush their toilets, cough wetly in the winter, and argue with their cat, dog or goldfish as they watched reruns of Jeopardy together at standard volume.
Thankfully, you never minded wearing earplugs and also bought noise-cancelling headphones from your first paycheck that helped you ignore the occasional embarrassingly private phone conversation old Mrs Miller had with her friends ("I told you that Mildred was a ho, the way she would always ogle that murse’s ass! What a floozy, her George, God rest his soul is only ten years dead and she’s already randy for a new man!"), family ("Get your act together, Jennifer darling, and go find yourself a man who isn’t keener on being anally penetrated than you are for once, for Christ’s sakes.") and her doctor’s office ("I am telling you, the cream doesn’t work. My hemorrhoids are building a civilization and electing their representatives as we speak.").
Eventually, one by one, most of those pensioners moved into assisted living, or passed away, and their shoebox apartments were surface-renovated and re-let at elevated prices so that the demographic shifted within the house. Pensions were suddenly too low to afford modernized shoeboxes, and pensioners’ kids and grandkids wanted their (grand)parents in assisted living right away, lest they get lonely or come to harm in the claustrophobic’s nightmare that was the two-person elevator (which was out of order 7 months out of a year anyway).
You barely noticed this shift in the tenant population until The Couple moved in.
You first heard them in the stairwell, apparently trying – and failing – to get a sofa around the corner. Her laugh was high and merry as he yelled ‘pivot! Pivooot!’ with a humorous note in his deep voice, and then there was a series of loud bangs and more uproarious laughing from both of them.
The sofa partially blocked the stairwell for half a week before someone came and literally cut it in half. You heard the saw screeching and saw the debris on the landing.
You could hear The Couple in the apartment below your bedroom – meaning that they were your lower-southwest neighbors now – as they tried to hang things (a lamp? A ceiling fan?) from the ceiling (but failed on account of the ceiling being made of hopes and dreams held together by some white paint), worked together to fill their bookshelves while singing along to 90s pop songs, and decided (after a very loud argument) to put the bed against that wall.
The fourth night after they had moved in, you could hear them having sex for the first time. It was the middle of the night, you had just woken up randomly, and you were too lazy and too sleepy to go get your earplugs from the bathroom drawer where you had last seen them.
Also, something about those slow, languorous moans made you want to listen.
You imagined you could hear them murmuring lovingly dirty things into each other’s ear, hear those little questions – Do you like that? Feel good? Like this? More? Yes? – and the sighed answers – Yes. Feels so good. Yeah. Just like that. Ooh, god, babe. Love you. Love you. – and you fell back asleep to the gentle pulse their sounds set off inside of you.
Several days passed by and you kept catching yourself stopping in the center of your bedroom after your usual 4a.m. bathroom break, and listening. Just to see if…someone else was also awake. 4a.m. was truly the loneliest time of the day at which to be human. Sometimes you could hear someone snoring. That was almost like a consolation prize.
Sometimes you woke up from an orgasmic cry and only caught the last few moments, the last few sighs of pleasure before the sleepy silence, and a completely irrational anger started to grow in your mind.
That anger finally broke open when, one day, you came home from work and heard them – heard them finish very loudly but barely discernible over the blare of their TV.
Your day at work had been shitty, you had been cold and crabby all week because your radiator had died at the first sign of winter, and now this… this personal slight somehow was the last straw.
You ripped a page out of one of your notebooks and scribbled an angry sentence on it, pouring all the pissy passive-aggressiveness that had been accumulating during the day into it.
would you turn down the TV volume next time
You made sure to underline the ‘down’ and the ‘Thank you’. Twice. Hard. And then you put an exclamation point behind the ‘Thank you’, too, for good measure. There. Maximum pissy-ness achieved.
Folding the wrinkled paper in half and then in half again, you stormed out of your apartment and all the way down the stairs to the atrium and then out the main door. The tenant mailboxes were located outside the door next to the rows and rows of buzzers and nameplates that had absolutely nothing to do with the building’s actual layout. (The electricians had presumably also been stoned in the 80s.)
It was only when you were standing in front of the mailboxes that you realized you didn’t know the name or names of The Couple at all. Indeed, you didn’t know most of the names you were reading – out of your little honeycomb of neighbors you only knew Mr Presley, your direct next door neighbor, whose mailbox was in the upper left corner, mysteriously far away from yours, and Mr Singh, who lived in one of the two apartments above you together with his six cats, but whose mailbox was directly below yours for no good reason.
Still angry – now increasingly at yourself and your stupid impulsiveness that had sent you down the damn stairs (when the elevator was broken again) and out into the freezing cold while your key for the main door was upstairs on the key hook where you had just put it – you took a last look at the note and threw it into a random mailbox. It was one of the ones with a double name on it, it was below yours and to the right, and it wasn’t overflowing with junk mail, so you picked it.
And then you pressed all of the doorbells and waited, with your hands jammed into your armpits for warmth, for someone to buzz you into your own home.
As you waited – a full five minutes, no less – you basically forgot about the note.
And you would still have forgotten all about it, if it weren’t for the day after the following day, when you came home early and The Couple was so loud you thought, for a sickly thrilling second, that they had broken into your apartment and were having sex in your bedroom.
Their volume was way up.
The TV volume was way down.
You could hear… everything.
Bedsprings creaking and rhythmic banging against the wall.
“Oh, my God, babe, please – so good! Feels so fucking good! Don’t stop, don’t stop, don’t-”
Slaps of flesh against flesh.
“Fuck, your pussy is so damn tight. Yes. So damn sweet. Oh, yeah. Fuck, babe, yes, that’s it. Take it.”
Wet sounds of a cock sliding in and out of a drenched pussy.
You stood in your tiny little entrance hall and didn’t dare to even shut your door all the way lest it make a noise and interrupt them. You must have stood there for a full fifteen minutes. They went two rounds. She finished three times. He finished inside of her. He didn’t wear a condom. You heard it all.
You looked down on yourself and shivered involuntarily – for once, not because of the cold.
You had to know.
You already sort-of knew, but you had to know.
You were at work, staring blankly into space during a short coffee break, and you couldn’t seem to keep your mind out of the gutter.
Surprisingly, the gutter was a very spacious place. So much room for activities. So many directions for thoughts to go in. You felt like you had never been as creative as you were that very moment, thinking about that very thing and all its possibilities.
You ripped a non-sticky post-it off the pad and considered it. A perfect little white square. Untraceable.
you wrote, then paused, then took the paper, crumpled it up and threw it away.
You had to know. It had to be something that couldn’t possibly be a coincidence, like someone turning the TV volume down for once during…well.
You took a second square of paper from the pad.
It had to be something that could be heard rather than seen.
It had to be uncharacteristic for The Couple. Something they normally didn’t do.
You licked your lips and started writing.
spank her ass 4 times next time
When you came home after work, you threw the note into the same mailbox.
Only after you heard the little hollow sound of paper hitting sheet metal you began to panic.
The first note had been innocent, the heinous double underlining and the patronizing exclamation point the most outrageous things about it. But this one… it could be construed as sexual harassment.
Fuck ‘construed’- it was sexual harassment, plain and simple. Or at the very least, it was creepy and skeevy.
And now they’d know your handwriting now. Plus, you weren’t wearing gloves, either, and your fingerprints would show up perfectly on the glossy high-end paper--
No. Good grief. You inhaled and exhaled – your breath billowed white around your face – and then pulled yourself together.
And then you went upstairs and tried to pass the hours until ‘tonight’.
For five endless days, nothing happened.
Not only was there neither spanking nor the TV to be heard, there was literally no sound at all coming from below your bedroom floor.
You were worried. For yourself, obviously, because that note had truly been inappropriate and deserved some sort of punishment. Were they busy tracing down the perverts who wrote people notes about spanking and demanded they turn down the TV so they could better hear them fuck?
You were also scared for them, though. Because what if your note had thrown them into some sort of relationship crisis? One where the two people didn’t even say a single word to each other anymore despite living together on barely 45 square meters?
What if your note had freaked them out so much they had decided to move out again right away?
On day six, you came home from work with a lengthy letter of apology in your bag which you had composed in your cubicle. You were determined to put it in a plain envelope (the ones at work all had your company’s name pre-printed on it) and throw it into their mailbox or even slide it underneath their door. If they had indeed moved out, you would hope that at least one of them would be back for this or that piece of furniture, or that the next tenant would somehow be able to send the letter on its journey to the former residents.
Even before you opened your apartment door, you heard contemporary slow jazz music and animated conversation between two familiar voices.
Instantly, your pulse spiked along with a twisted sort of hope and arousal.
You went to bed very early, then lay awake for almost three hours listening to the dull sounds coming from below. Conversation, music, the TV news, some episode from a comedy series, and finally-
“Hey, come over here, babe.” Silence. “Come on. Sit on my lap.”
“Ha. What am I, your slave? You want something, you can come over here.”
“That can be arranged.”
A laugh, then a playful shriek. “Oh, no, no, you wouldn’t- Ahh! Noo, iyaaa!”
Crazy, breathless giggling. Someone had been tackled – to the ground, maybe – and was now tickled relentlessly.
“You’re always asking for trouble, hon, and then you make such a lot of noise when trouble finds you.” Faux-regretful tongue-clicking.
“Mer--- Mercy! Please, stop!” High-pitched laughter. “Please, please-! No, what are you-”
You closed your eyes and let the hot thrill wash over you. One.
“Ow! No, no-!” There was laughter in the protestation.
“Oww! Ahh!” And there was a moan in that cry.
You bit your lip and thought ‘harder’.
“You’re getting wet, aren’t you?”
“Yes!” she snapped. “Yes, dammit, I’m wet. Are you happy n-Oooh-”
You imagined a thick finger sliding into the dusky V between two now-rosy cheeks. You could see her wriggle and hear the hitch of her breath as the soft pad of his finger slides over even softer parts of her, and his voice trickled into her ear like warm honey, letting her know just how soaked and tender she was and what he was about to do to all that tenderness.
You spread your legs a little wider and let your own fingers roam over your own body, knowing that it was reprehensible to steal satisfaction from them like this but unable to stop yourself. There was an unbearably tight knot of heat at the base of your spine. Every new sound from downstairs seemed to both add a loop to that knot and unravel it at the same time.
The Couple sighed and moaned together. They noises quickly crescendoed, as if their little play had revved them up exactly as much as it did you.
She came on his cock and moaned as she licked her own cum off his length, then choked and gagged obscenely when he came down her throat.
You moaned along with both of them, muffled by the knuckle you were biting down on, and tried to feel bad about the mess you’ve made in your pajama.
Before you fell asleep you already knew that tomorrow all you would be thinking about was the next note.
You forced yourself to wait a couple of days. It wasn’t too difficult because life seemed to also want you to slow down, or to frustrate you. Your cousin called and invited you to a housewarming party one night, and then there was a new movie you went to see at the theater with a couple of friends, and one evening after home time you spent literal hours at the Laundromat picking bits of shredded tissue off your work clothes and low-key hating yourself.
Eventually, though, you found yourself sitting in your cubicle again, with your workload finished and still 20 minutes to go.
It was the magic word indeed. Your fingers got sweaty as they twirled and clutched the pen.
You closed your eyes and thought about the last time you heard them. It was crazy that you could actually see the memory before your mind’s eye even when your actual eyes had nothing to do with it.
You heard her full-mouthed moan echo in your head and started writing.
would you also use a finger on him when you blow him next time
You quickly folded the note twice, as if hiding the words from yourself would disarm them, and put it into your pants pocket. There it sat like a piece of hot coal until you got home and threw it into The Couple’s mailbox after a last furtive look around.
You went hot and cold all over at the thought that one of the two could see you deposit your note for them, that they might identify you and know-
You had never known that mortification and lust could not only coexist, but that they enhanced and potentiated one another.
That evening, you searched the internet to put a label on yourself. Since a ‘voyeur’ was literally a ‘watcher’, you couldn’t rightly claim that title. There seemed to be no official word for the type of weirdo who got off on listening to other people having sex. Naturally, there was also no term to describe persons who got off on writing secret notes to others telling them what to do during their next tryst, and who exploded when their demand was met.
So you guessed the only label that might fit was a very generalized ‘pervert’.
A few hours later, you lay in bed and listened to a man’s desperate, pleading moans, their pitch rising and falling so dramatically they sometimes almost sounded feminine, and a woman’s encouraging dirty talk, interspersed with periods of suckling, gagging noises.
Well. If you were perverted, then so were they.
You were in good company.
use a blindfold next time
Your instructions were still short, even after two months and a half of your game. The Couple seemed to prefer small pointers that sparked their imagination, and they made so much out of each of your notes, building little scenarios around them that fed your fantasy for days on end.
Sometimes you wondered what they did with the notes. Throw them away? Pin them to a wall? Did they look at them together from time to time?
You entered your apartment and already heard them downstairs. They were cooking together, chopping vegetables while something sizzled in a pan, and talked, and sang along to Queen’s Night at the Opera.
If you opened your bedroom window, you would be able to smell their dinner, and probably even make out their words more clearly. But you didn’t even though your hands itched to go for it.
Walking into your own kitchen – not even five steps around the corner – you wondered just how it was possible for a shoebox to be both too small and too big for one person and apparently just right for two people, simultaneously.
Just like every ‘neighborhood night’, you went to bed early and read your book (or at least tried to), waiting for them.
By now, you could almost feel the change in the air just before it began.
“Good evening, good sir.”
You closed your book and slid it onto the night stand.
“Good evening, ma’am. Fancy meeting you here, like this.”
You could hear the smiles in both their voices, and the soft creak of bedsprings when he got up from the bed to meet her. In your mind, she was wearing a silky nightgown that hugged her curves and showed off her nipples, while he was… probably naked as the day he was born and still a little damp from the shower.
“Could I interest you in a game tonight?” he asked, pausing after every other word for a kiss.
“Mhhh, depends on the game?”
She squeaked. Maybe he has nibbled her sensitive earlobe. Or perhaps he gave her a hickey?
“This game…” Kiss. “Is called…” Kiss. “‘Blind Trust’.”
She ooh’ed dramatically. “Sounds adventurous. What are the rules, pray tell?”
“Oh, they are quite simple,” he says.
Steps. The sound of a drawer being opened and closed.
Or maybe a scarf?
Or a silk stocking?
“I put this on you. You sit in this chair, like the good girl you are, and I’ll tell you my filthy thoughts until you drip onto the leather.”
“Aha?” she replied. “And what’s in it for you?”
“Oh, there’s plenty. I get to watch you squirm. I get to look at your pretty little nipples. I get to look at your cunt because you’ll keep your thighs nice and spread for me.”
“Ah, I see!” She sounded very enthusiastic indeed. “And when does the game end?”
“The game ends when you convince me to fuck you,” he says. “I hope you know how to beg properly.”
She giggled. “Challenge accepted, good sir!”
They kissed some more. You imagined them slowly walking, connected at the lips, to the chair. She slowly sank down onto it as he pushed her gently by the shoulders. Once she was seated, his hands slid down her arms, to her waist, to her thighs, and spread them, lifting up the hem of her nightgown and tucking it away so that he could see all of her.
And then the tie – scarf? Stocking? – went around her head to cover her eyes.
“You can pull a little tighter, darling,” you heard her say sweetly. “I know you like it when things are tight.” Her next giggle transformed into a squeal. “Owie! Not fair! Not my nipple, ya old meanie!”
He chuckled, then his voice suddenly got serious. “Quiet, now. Spread your legs properly. Attagirl. So eager. And already wet. Won’t be long before you make a mess, will it?”
She replied with a wordless moan.
You felt that sound deep in the pit of your stomach.
“Now, where should we start? Hmm? Maybe…at the very bottom?”
You squirmed on your mattress when she gasped a little ‘haah!’ and then giggled again but you couldn’t guess what he might have done to provoke that reaction. Holding your breath, you listened harder.
“That’s why you’re so obsessed with pedicures, eh?” he asked and then made a loud suckling noise. “Just in case it might make me want to do this?”
“Tha—hah—that wasn’t, uhm… ohh. Ohh, please…”
More wet, sucking sounds. A man humming, a noise of deep pleasure.
“G-god, this feels so—“ She breathed and groaned, half-delighted, half-frustrated. “Ah, I want to see you so bad right now, babe!”
You grabbed two fistfuls of your comforter.
“Ah, ah. No cheating, ma’am. Them’s the rules of the game.”
“Please, please fuck me,” she demanded.
“Such a pushover!” He just laughed. “You’ll have to try a little harder than that, hon,” followed by a squeak that told you he had probably tweaked her other nipple this time. “Let’s continue, shall we?”
In your mind, he was now walking behind her where she was sitting – and squirming – in her chair. His big hands were massaging her shoulders and the back of her neck, his fingers occasionally slipping underneath the strap of her nightgown to tickle her skin there.
“How about we talk about that link you ‘accidentally’ sent me during work hours yesterday?”
“I’m sure I don’t know what you’re, uh, talking about, good sir?” She was smiling again, but trying not to, nibbling her lip.
“Well, I’m sure you do, ma’am.”
There was a sharp intake of breath.
“Does this ring a bell? Hm?” His voice was dark and intense all of a sudden.
A small choking sound and a lewd sort of whimper – the kind of whimper a woman made when she trembled inside with desire and her muscles clenched on nothing.
“The website had lots of very detailed, very useful illustrations of how to… handle a woman.” His voice lowered so far you almost didn’t catch his next words. “And some nice pointers on what else you can do while you’re at it.”
Her gasp was high and brittle, followed by an explosive, trembling exhale and a keening sound unlike any you had ever heard her make.
“Fuck, you almost just came, didn’t you?” he demanded to know. She must have nodded, because he went on, “God, that’s so fucking hot,” with a disbelieving sort of tone. “Don’t you dare close your legs, love. I’m not done with you.”
“Please, fuck me?” she tried again, plaintively. Her voice sounded a little rough.
“Oh, I will,” he promised. “And you’re gonna keep that blindfold on, aren’t you?”
“I will, yes. Yes.”
You could see her nodding eagerly.
“Tell me why you want to keep it on.”
You saw him standing between her spread legs, looking down at her face and the blindfold that hid her eyes but not the color on her cheeks.
“Be—because that’s the game? Ah!”
Again you could only imagine what he might have done. Reached into her décolleté? Slid a finger between her legs?
“Why, love?” he asked again, a bit more urgently.
“Because… Ah, please! Because I can imagine an audience!” she burst out in a rush.
Pervert, you thought hotly. Sweat pricked out of every pore on your body.
“I see,” he said. “And whom should we invite next time to watch me fuck you, babe?”
Please. Me. Thank you.
She didn't answer in time, and then her mouth was full and occupied.
You put a hard, unyielding hand on yourself and chased after them, gasping with your mouth wide open every time their cries and moans coincided with a spike of pleasure driving through your body. You twitched and shook and groaned into your pillow.
You knew you were still loud.
The week before last, you had written your last note to them. It had lain on your night stand for six whole days before you finally dared to throw it into their mailbox.
It had taken you three more days after that until you could convince your body to get up, walk out the door, down one flight of stairs and along the corridor. You walked slowly, with your fingers twitchy and your heart thumping in your throat. In your head, two dozen scenarios of how this would go horribly, embarrassingly wrong were playing simultaneously, and you had lined up at least ten good excuses and apologies. You even already googled a couple of new rentals and checked your current lease agreement, just in case…
Their names were written in bold blue marker on a piece of crepe taped over the buzzer.
They opened the door before you could even lift your hand to push it.
Apparently, they had already heard you.
So, I guess your secret’s out now, eh? Sorry about that, ya little perv :P
As you can see, this is basically another ode to audioporn and the delights of sounds and imagination. If anyone’s got an actual proper label for “subauscultists”, let me know! (subauscultare, subauscultavi, subauscultatum – to listen secretly, to eavesdrop. Ave, people who learnt Latin in school!)
Thanks for reading! As usual, leave a comment to make me a happy camper.
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