What Sound Looks Like

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt

The mystery of apartment 835 persists. One day this building was a modest, three-family dwelling. The next day a smudge had infected the neighborhood’s collective memory. To this day there is no consensus in the local community. The Old 35ers still gather once a month at a nearby cafe to debate the building’s comings and goings. The Voiders meet less regularly these days, only when some bit of 35er quasi-evidence requires a little actual effort to be refuted. The Voiders haven’t yet failed to rationalize every shadowy visitor, every piece of mail marked return to sender, every arrival of a public-utility vehicle. Neither have the 35ers failed to feed the Voiders’ sense of purpose. Tellingly to both sides, the building’s remaining residents haven’t pledged allegiance to either point of view. The bachelor dentist in 831 has kept mum, the Voiders presume, simply to preserve his business, unlike the tiki bar on the main drag that features a somber 835 flag on the roof and a Never Forget cocktail on the menu. The 35ers insist on a nefarious pact between the dentist and … well, there are splinter groups as to whether the landlord, the unidentified former tenant, or some other party entirely has scared 831 into silence. As for the ancient widow in 833, she speaks only a near extinct dialect from a remote region that neither China nor Russia have bothered to lay claim to. The Old 35ers and the Voiders agree on one thing: both groups focus their canonical teachings on the mysterious scribble next to the bottom button. The 35ers point to the consistency of the color with the other addresses. The Voiders early on brought in a paleolinguist from the city college to testify. She felt that the indent and shorter “x height,” among other Talmudic marginalia, firmly distinguished the markings from the other two. If anyone does still live in what was or wasn’t 835, they may very well have disconnected the button, as it’s the favorite dare among students at the neighborhood’s four elementary schools.

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt.

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