My alarm squeals and I jolt awake. The first thing I feel is my back hurting like fuck, then my legs pulsing and hot, then my head squeezed from the front. Why does my head hurt so much? I need some water. Oh lord I need to clean my mouth first yikes. I brush my teeth and spit out in the tub. I listen to the Shoutouts and reach for my backpack to find my notebook. The cord from Mix is wobbling up and down and I look out the window. They are waving their arms frantically. I jump up and look in the bucket. The Police alarm went off. Police? In my building? Not inspectors but actual cops? I throw my backpack over my shoulder and jam my feet into my skates. I can hear voices outside my room. I turn off my radio and listen. I'm not going to be able to get out that door. I run to the window. Mix is still waving. The drop is way too far to jump. There's nothing to step onto out there. Not even to grab with my skate magnets. Would the bucket cord hold my weight? I can't fuckin do that shit, who am I kidding? I look over. Mix is already cutting the cord off and shutting their window. Well fuck. I fling up my mattress covered in junk and pull open the door to the built-in laundry box. I grab my backpack and crawl inside and close the door over me. I barely fit inside. I've always wondered if I'd ever have to hide in here. I thought that when it happened it would be exciting. But now I just want to vomit. Lime's magazines are still in my room. And all my illegal media. And who knows if I've lost any pills in the room somehwere.

I take a deep breath.

It's okay.

I'm not going to jail.

They won't look in here.

I can hear the voices louder now.

Are they in my room?

Wouldn't I have heard the door being pushed open?

Maybe the landlord just unlocked it for them.


They're in here.

Shit. Shit. Shit.

I feel my hand along the walls of the container. There is a switch in here somewhere. It'll open the floor below and I'll fall down into whatever system they had for moving the laundry to the basement. I find it near my skate. Oh God. If I switch it, will I fall straight down? I've never been able to see down there before. And I have no idea what’s in the basement. People may be living down there and I... I can hear a voice even clearer now. I can't wait for them to find me and pull me out. I open the switch and, head first, slide down a very steep metal path. Is it loud? Did they hear me? It's pitch black in here. I look up and I can't see a thing. Did it close? I straighten my legs above me so I can see better but I just move faster. Something on my backpack is scratching against the metal. I hope they can't hear me I hope they can't hear me. How fast am I moving? It feels fast.

Slam! My neck and shoulders catch me and I'm stopped. I clumsily turn around and feel the walls for anything.

Another switch?


I listen.


At least it doesn't smell in here. I reach into my bag. What can I use to see? My goggles are still up in my room. I turn on my handheld. The backlight is dim and I have to hold it right next to the wall to see just the texture of the sheet metal. I stuff it back in my bag and feel around.

The end of the tube is a square wall. Is this a door that would have opened into the laundry room? I try to imagine what's on the other side. Is it a giant wall of doors? Am I going to fall out of this thing onto a hard floor? I'll be feet first, I'll probably land okay. What if it doesn't open? What if the police heard me come down and they are heading downstairs now? I should try to get out of here as fast as I can. But what if they didn't hear me? Will they check this room? Will they check every single door? Maybe I should just hide in here. It's probably more safe than trying to sneak out. I wish I would have tried to go to the basement before to see what this room looks like. I try to listen. I can't hear a damn thing. If I sit in here, will I really feel any safer? But where am I going to go? How did they find me? It's early in the morning, they must have actually had a search warrant. Maybe it was for one of my neighbors and not even for me. I mean people pay their rent in CASH, they have to be getting that CASH somehow. There are probably loads of criminals in this building just as likely to be targeted by the police as me. Probably more likely.

Wait a minute why the fuck are they targeting me anyway? All I've done is move drugs and books and designer garbage lately. And some electronics. But nothing that would warrant a warrant. Maybe they decided to bust a bunch of people for the news. And a building like mine is probably a good way to get a lot of people at once. That building on the radio that got raided. What was their story? They had a cafe and store on the ground floor, but it was registered, I thought. Maybe there was something else going on in the building but what could have made them think they needed to raid it in the first place? And there are still people missing from the raid. I need to get out of here. If they're really raiding the building, they'll check this room too. And all the chutes. It's only a matter of time before they find me.

I kick both my skates into the square door and it flies open and slams against the steel wall next to it.


Probably didn't need to kick that hard.

©2019 by Zita