May 25

National Tap Dance Day

 

The girl upstairs is tap dancing on your head again.

She’s always practicing.  Some days for short bursts, other days for hours at a time, The rat-tat click-click of metal at the bottom of her shoes hitting the practice board.

That board might as well be the top of your head.  The sound carries through the ceiling and down the walls into your apartment.

You complained to the management company, but all they did was check to see that your upstairs neighbors had carpet on the floor.  They did, which satisfied management (who didn’t have to live beneath the racket) — but not enough padding to muffle those practice taps.  Clackity-clack, like a train rumbling down the tracks.  And probably, as the girl practiced, those odd circling arm motions, the frozen smile that imagines some audience enjoying the display.

Was that even a thing, these days?  Were there talent shows or pageants of some kind that invited this kind of act?

You tried with the girl’s parents, too.  Suggested they could buy her slippers to practice in, convince her to try a better hobby.  They rolled their eyes and shut the door in your face.

Even for her, though, this recent session has gone pretty late.  She’s woken you up, caused you to stare at the ceiling directly above your bedroom.

Tap, tap, tap.  Sweep, sweep, sweep.  Tap, tap, tap.

Wasn’t that the Morse code for SOS?

You’re still half groggy, which lets you convince yourself you know other Morse letters.  The urgent taps and sweep-dashes continue, and you transcribe the letters in your head.

Kill…me…now…Stop…Kill…me…now…Stop.

Wide awake now, you wonder why a young girl would tap out such a distressing message.  You sit up in bed.

You remember the girl upstairs is dead, along with her parents.

The tapping continues, tap dancing on your head, the jolt from a mildly irritating dream of the past into painful awareness of your apocalyptic present, the world’s decent into lawless violence, the relentless rapid taps of gunfire in the streets.