By Gregory M. Thompson

I poured Rose Petal scented bubble bath into the steaming water and watched the silky white foam rise against the side of the tub. As the tub filled, I turned on my DC Talk CD and cranked the volume to a deafening level. My neighbors had complained before about my music, but I didn't care. I hated the woman who lived across from me: so many kids running around over there I didn't know who lived there and who was illegitimate and who was a product of incest. She's the one I loathed the most. So, thinking of her, I turned the level to fifteen on a twenty volume scale.

Besides, I couldn't hear the music that well when the door was shut. I kept it closed because the steam that collected in the bathroom was good for my sinuses.

I removed my blue robe and dropped it outside the bathroom, shut the door, and stuck one foot in the warm bath. I shut the water off, then placed my other foot in and closed my eyes. When I thought my skin was used to the water, I kneeled down and sat in the bubbles. My butt and testicles stung for a moment, but I beared it in the name of relaxation. I lied back, stuck the air pillow under my head and took ten deep breaths.

Sure I'd come out of the bath smelling like a woman, but I finally knew what I'd been missing all those years. I'd watch my wife go in, shut the door, run a bath and lie in there for at least an hour. Afterwards, her skin would be soft and sweet- smelling, and she would be in an extra good mood, if you know what I mean. I always tossed off her bathroom antics as ridiculous...I mean, why waste all that time in there? I was totally wrong. I've been taking bubble baths for a year now and I've never felt so energized. So refreshed. So exhilarated.

My wife does complain sometimes that the tub is way too small. She's right. When I lie down, in order to put my head on the rim of the back of the tub, I must spread my legs and bend them near the faucet.

Soon, though, we'll buy a house and have a tub we can both lie in.

Some grinding noise, like two pieces of ridged sheet metal, erupted directly above me. The neighbor's bathroom was located directly above mine. I knew because I could hear them taking a shower or flushing the toilet. If it's real quiet, I could hear the man taking a piss.

But that noise was nothing I could discern. Maybe the toilet was having a difficult time flushing. Who knows, who cares. The noise subsided and I went back to relaxing.

Soon after, I fell asleep.

Twenty minutes later or so after five song changes, the horrible grinding woke me up from my wonderful sleep. I dreamed I made love to a thousand year old mermaid who looked twenty-one. Probably sleeping in the water had something to do with that.

The noise was louder this time and every so often the noise lowered in tone, then returned to the high-pitched squeal. Low tone, high tone, low tone, high tone. This went on for about two minutes. I was ready to bolt from the bathroom, from my apartment, up the stairs and pound on the neighbor's door.

"What the hell is going on!" I would yell. I've always wanted to yell that to someone.

Except when I saw the chainsaw poke through my ceiling--the neighbor's floor--I couldn't move.

The blade of the chainsaw appeared right above my bathtub along the crease in the wall where it touches the ceiling. I heard a faint "Freakin' Finally" from upstairs and the chainsaw moved again, following the crease until it hit the corner of the bathroom. Then the blade disappeared.

Plaster and wallpaper fell from the wall into the water and in the toilet and sink. I saw some wood tumble to the floor and land on my knee. I sat up, splashing water on the floor. Grabbing a towel, I stood and wrapped the cloth around my waist. I pushed up on the ceiling and saw it separate from the wall.

What is the neighbor doing? I thought.

The blade reappeared again. Perpendicular to the center of the original cut, the chainsaw moved along the ceiling about a foot, turned right, went another foot, turned right again and ended up back at the first cut. I heard a thump and the square detached from the ceiling and landed inches from my foot.

I pounded on the ceiling. "What the hell is going on up there!" I yelled.

And a small face appeared. Small enough to see the entire face. He ticked at me and grinned.

Green hair fell over a dark peachy face, light brown eyes, and ears that looked burnt. Wrinkles ran all over the face and the wrinkles around the things lips were chapped terribly. Saliva dripped from his mouth and a few drops ended up on my floor He had long perfect teeth. I couldn't tell where one ended and the one above or below it began. Ugly face, but nice teeth.

He ticked again and zipped away from the hole.

This was too much. I grasped the handle and pulled the door inward. Rephrase: I tried to pull the door inward. It would not come.

"Come on!"

I tugged with both hands for a minute, then gave up. The door just wouldn't open. I got on my hands and knees and tried to look under the door, but saw nothing.

(In the back of my mind, I heard the DC Talk CD changed songs again.)

I glanced at the hinges of the door and realized that my fingers would not be enough to pry the rods out. I ran my hands along the outline and about halfway down the right side, something hot and gooey stuck to my hands.

Strong menthol smell, clear liquid. I pressed a finger into the gob and pulled away. Strings, like hot pizza cheese, followed my finger until they were too long to stay connected.

GLUE! The door was glued to the wall!

I wiped my hands on my towel and gave the door a tremendous kick. The door bowed for a split second and that was it.

The chainsaw again.

I looked up as the chainsaw started another line on the edge of the wall.

"Who are you?!" I stood on the toilet to get a better view through the hole. "Who the hell are you?!"

The saw wound down and I heard a tick-tick, then, "Just that," said a screeched-voice, "Hell."

And without hesitation, the saw whined back up to cutting power and I watched it finish one side, turn the corner and start on the other side.

Great, the whole ceiling's going to come down on me and I'm stuck in a tiny bathroom with a glued door.

"Mr. Irin," the thing said. "Mr. Irin, I hate to inform you that you will be meeting your perishment soon." Tick-Tick.

"Why? Who are you?"

He shut the chainsaw off.

"I am Higona, demon of irritance."

"Most demons do irritate."

"No, no--the other way around."

I leaned up against the door and silently pushed against it, trying to do so nonchalantly.

"I don't understand," I said.

"I silence those who irritate," he said.


"Yes, sir, Mr. Irin."


"He stuck his hand through the hole and pointed to the door. "By that loud music. That irritates everybody."

I pushed harder. "What about my neighbor?" I asked.

"What about her." His hand disappeared and I heard tiny clacks of footsteps.

"She's uglier than you and that irritates me."

"That's extremely ugly, but not the point." The chainsaw started up and Higona spoke louder. "I'm here to dispatch you."

Halfway through cutting the third side, the ceiling started to bend. A corner piece fell, smack against the wall and landed perfectly between the sink knobs and wall.


The saw, finally done with the third side, moved around the corner and began cutting the last side. I had maybe 30 seconds before...well...before...

I kicked at the door, slammed my body against the door, my shoulder, uppercutted the door (which caused my knuckles to bleed): I tried every possible maneuver against the door and nothing worked.

"Give up on that," Higona said, "it's stuck to the wall with my own special Demon Glue."

One fourth done.

A section of the ceiling fell into the bathtub and another fell on my head. Not a large piece, but large enough to hurt. And as quickly as I brought my hand up to my head to massage it, the bathtub from upstairs dropped like ten thousand tons into my bathroom. Luckily for me, all the tubs in this complex were made from fiberglass and didn't shatter and throw pieces at me. The tub just cracked in a hundred places.

And I knew what would save me.

I leaped into the tub. If the tub was here, the toilet must be...must be...I looked above and heard something scratching on the floor above.

The chainsaw stopped.

Five second later, I was staring at the bowl of the pea- green toilet.


And with all the weight on one side of the floor, it collapsed. Looking around the toilet as it descended on me, I saw Higona hanging from the chandelier.

Must be nice to have a chande--

I looked down and saw him lying in the tub, toilet lying nicely to one side of me--him. His--my body was crushed. Still, in the back of my mind, I could hear the cracking of the bones as the weight crushed him.

I peered at my human-demon hands.

I looked around. Wait a second. I was hanging from the chandelier that I so became envious of just a few second ago.

So that meant I was Higona, demon of irritance.

We've moved. My old neighbor...forget it, no since in rehashing that...

My new neighbor's home today.

It's good to be a demon.

Copyright 1997 by Gregory M. Thompson About the Author in his own words: "I am a 23-year-old retail manager writing since I was 12. I use to live across from a cemetery and always thought they were having a party over there every night to taunt me. That's probably why I started to write horror. I have had a stories published in Prarie Fire and my play "The Dream Man" is currently in production."

You can E-Mail Gregory by clicking here.

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