the whistler in darkness

from the Archive

The first few nights I thought he was trying to flag a cab. Then I thought he was trying to flag a hooker. Then I thought he was keeping six, and this was a more subtle form of yelling “Cheez it!” when the cops turned up. Still don’t know, but it’s damn annoying.

There’s a whistler in this town, and he comes out after midnight. If this were the Scottish moors he could call a collie a mile away; this is the kind of whistle that passes through stone and steel and my bedroom window as if they weren’t there. He sounds off about once every 90 seconds, for couple of hours, and downpours do not deter him. Sometimes there are bursts of whistles, sometimes just one. The bursts are not musical, just the same rising note, a nonverbal questionmark. I wonder what the question is.

The screamers are back. Tonight, there were two: a man and a woman, and a yeller, all going at once, having, to all appearances or accoustances, a grand old time, screaming and screaming and yelling. Yeller isn’t angry, just loud enough that I can hear him a block over, and he yells alot. Some day instead of tuning him out I’m going to listen to it. I’ll either be bored or forced to testify: guess which is more likely!

And then there is Whoo! Whoo! (not to be confused with John Woo, the Hong Kong phenom of film) Whoo! is a guy whose vocabulary has been reduced to a single word, the aforementioned “Whoo!” and a single volume setting, maximum. Foreigner was playing in town recently, and Supertramp is coming, so maybe he’s just reliving the glory days of rock, when your Bic lighter and your Black Sabbath T-shirt were all you needed for a party. It’s nice to hear someone having such a good time in the neighborhood, but if I get him in a dark alley I’m going to…tell the junkies the cops might investigate all that noise…and then I’ll just walk away. No fingerprints.

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5 thoughts on “the whistler in darkness

  1. Pingback: the return of the whistler in darkness « raincoaster

  2. Here’s an Alabama version of that same type of nuisance:

    There are several houses on this road that belong to members of the family, and behind us, off of an adjoining road, there is a large neighborhood. In this neighborhood there resides a very old gentleman—his son was one of my friends as a little kid and the dad was, like, 65 then—who, at least every other night for the past twenty-three years, has gotten totally sour drunk.

    He has a hobby. It’s CB radio. And he has a bunch of highly illegal equipment that allows him to broadcast at, like, about eight times the amplitude he’s supposed to. On a clear night with a good magnetosphere, the truckers in Tennessee can hear him.

    He gets on there and he goes “Helllllllllllllllllll-lo. Hellllllllllllllllll-lo. This is Leeeeeeeee-roy. In Allllllllllllllllllll-abama. Helllllllllllllllll-lo.” He does this for an hour at a time, usually saying nothing else at all, often with the old country music he’s listening to clearly audible in the background. He’s trolling for distant truckers to talk back at him (he used to be one), and very, very occasionally they do, but of course we can’t hear that end of the conversation.

    It comes through the stereo speakers and television sets of everyone within a mile radius. Even when they’re not on. It’s very spooky.

    Over the past twenty years there have been tons of petitions and complaints filed locally and with the FCC. The answer is always the same: you people need to get “filters” until we can “investigate.” Dad has sneaked over there under the cover of darkness more than once to cut the cable leading to his 40′ antenna. That usually knocks it out for about a couple of weeks.

  3. That’s just bizarre! I’m pretty sure if Quentin Tarantino heard this story he’d do a movie about that guy. And that is the guy they’re talking about when they say “don’t be THAT GUY.”

    If you’ve been neighbors that long, you probably know a lot about him. Maybe you could borrow a CB radio and start talking back to him. Tell him you know him intimately, and drop some proof of knowledge. Pretend you’re an anonymous recently-released killer stalking him through the signals he’s sending out. If he’s a paranoid drunk, he may never fire up that radio again.

    If nothing else, that’s a tale worthy of a blog post!

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