The Glass Apartment
They put up this glass apartment building right across the street from Grand Army Plaza. It was probably fifteen stories. I thought it looked like an eyesore, a big, erect penis waving toward the future in otherwise brownstone and brick Brooklyn. But Kat liked it. The place came recommended by her assistant, Denny. And since it was her choice to live there, I was keeping my mouth shut about the place. I liked Kat. We hadn’t been dating too long, maybe three months, and I didn’t want to ruin it with my big mouth. My big mouth ruined a lot of relationships. Plus Kat was a great fuck and she made decent money as a publicist in Manhattan. I was a librarian with a studio apartment. I didn’t want to give the sex and money up either.
“What’s the rent?” Kat asked the broker as we walked through the place. It was open and wide, like a loft with undefined rooms.
“He’s asking twenty-five hundred.”
“Does that include utilities?” I asked. I looked toward one of the glass panels. You could see a lot of Brooklyn, and beyond.
“What about these windows? Can people see in?”
Kat gave me a look.
The broker smiled. “Only if you want them to. This building is designed with a simple voyeuristic ideal. They are all over Manhattan now. Basically if you want people to see your lifestyle, you can let them. The designers want people to see your lifestyle. They want people to be envious. It’s the wave of the future. However, there is a switch that tints the windows and doesn’t allow anyone to view inside.”
“Sounds disturbing,” I said. And there went my big mouth.
“I’ll take it,” Kat said.
Again the broker smiled. “Great. Let’s just head back to the office, and we’ll get the paperwork going.”
Two weeks later I helped Kat move in. It wasn’t hard. The building had a wide foyer and large elevators made to haul couches and furniture. The apartment was actually nice, too. I mean it was all glass, but there wasn’t a glare and there wasn’t the feeling of reflected heat. It had central air, which Kat turned down. The place was actually too cold.
“So what do you think?” Kat asked. She was sitting on the edge of her couch, her blonde hair tousled, hanging just above the shoulder.
“It’s nice,” I said.
“You don’t like it?”
“I feel observed.”
Kat got off the couch and went over toward a glass panel that served as the window. She hit a button. Nothing changed inside. “That’s the tinter. You hit it, and people outside can’t see what’s going on inside.”
“That’s a good thing,” I said, going over to her. I grabbed Kat and kissed her long and hard. The sun was setting over Brooklyn.
“Don’t you want to shower first?” she asked.
When I awoke the next morning, there was a note slipped underneath the door. It read:
Great show, guys! Any chance for an encore?
Then Kat came out of the bedroom. She had no clothing on.
“For Christsakes,” I said. “Cover up.”
“The window is tinted.”
“In here.” I pointed toward a long, sheer, white drape that served to distinguish the bedroom from the living room. “That room wasn’t tinted last night.”
“How do you know?”
I handed Kat the note.
She blushed and then laughed. “Whoops.”
“That’s all you can say?” I asked.
“What’s done is done,” Kat said. Then she kissed me. “Don’t sweat it. So we’re good at what we do.”
“But why didn’t that panel tint?”
She shrugged. “Maybe it has a different tinter.” Kat began walking away from me, toward the bathroom. “Don’t worry, I’ll check it.”
Work was long and hard. It was amazing how busy a library got. Everyone had questions that needed answering. I felt like a knowledge whore.
When I got done at work, I took the 3 Train over to Grand Army Plaza. I stopped at a liquor store and picked up three bottles of decent French red with money Kat gave me. When I got to Kat’s she wasn’t home yet. I scanned the apartment. I hit the tinter in the living room and then checked the bedroom. It’s not that I didn’t trust Kat; I just wanted to check for myself. I felt-up the wall but there was no button to tint the room. Then I heard the door unlock.
“Hello, sexy,” Kat said entering the apartment.
“There’s no tinter,” I said, coming into the main area.
“I know.” She put her bag down. “I asked the super and he said the window should’ve naturally tinted along with the living room.
“If that even did.”
“It works,” Kat said. “I saw from outside.”
“Couldn’t see a thing?”
Then Kat smiled and came over to me. “We can be as kinky as we want to be, tonight.”
“We just have to do it in here.”
Kat kissed me hard on the mouth. I didn’t care who saw.
When I woke the next morning my head was beating. It was too hot in Brooklyn, and I’d had too much wine last night. I went into the kitchen for aspirin and a glass of water. There was another note slipped under the door. It read:
Next time massage the tits more when you have her up against the glass.
I took the note into the bedroom. Kat was up.
“We got another one,” I said. I handed her the note.
Kat smiled as she read it. “I can’t figure this out.”
“So the tinter doesn’t work in the living room now, either?”
“I saw it from outside. It does,” Kat said. “You didn’t touch it, did you?”
“Why would I?”
“I don’t know.” Then she laughed. “You really should’ve massaged my tits more last night.”
“I know,” I said. “But I hate being coached.”
Then I went to work again. It was torture. Someone wanted to know about New York State taxes, and I just about died. Why didn’t anyone ask about anything good or decent, anymore?
When I got to Kat’s there was another note. It read:
Take her from behind.
“What do you make of this?” I asked Kat.
Kat glanced at the note then had a slug from her wine. “I think he or she wants you to take me from behind.”
“That’s not what I meant.”
“That’s a shame.”
“Come on, quit being strange about this,” I said.
Kat shrugged. She got us more wine. “What should I do? Sit here like a prisoner? Not fuck?”
“No. But this isn’t right.”
“You pay for the lifestyle.”
“For how long?”
And then that night I took Kat from behind up against the glass of the living room. She seemed to be more into it than usual. She moaned a lot. She came more than usual. She even let me put a finger up her ass.
“That was amazing,” she said, after we were done. The two of us were leaning against the glass, naked. We had more wine.
“Was the tinter on?” I asked.
“As if it matters.”
When I woke up the next morning there was a fourth note slipped underneath the door. It read:
You’re getting there. But you need one last lesson. Meet me at the arch at eight.
“Let me guess,” Kat said, coming out of the bedroom. “Another note.”
“I’m getting sick of this guy,” I said, handing Kat the note.
She read it. “Are you going to meet him?”
“It’ll ruin it.”
Kat smiled. “Don’t tell me you’re not turned on.”
“I couldn’t be less turned on. It scares me that you are.”
“It’s fucked up. And if this is what the world is coming to, glass houses, voyeurism at any hour, I don’t want any part of it.”
“What can you do?” Kat asked.
“Nip this shit in the bud, tonight.”
Man, I was blood thirsty at work. I didn’t want to answer a single question. When people came up I growled at them. Then I took the 3 train back to Grand Army Plaza. I didn’t go to Kat’s. Instead I walked down Flatbush and had a few beers at Rooney’s. I thought a lot about meeting our voyeur and what I would say and do. I thought a lot but I really had nothing. Then I got up and left.
It was nearly eight but there was no one at the arch in Grand Army Plaza. It looked around. It was just me. Then I looked over toward Kat’s building. I looked at her floor and I found her apartment. Everything was illuminated. Then I saw Kat. She came to the window naked. Behind her was a guy. He was bald but had decent build. He was naked too. Then another woman came into view. She was thin and brunette with straight bangs and hair that went just below her ears.
The three of them stood there for a minute. Then the guy grabbed Kat and kissed her hard on the lips. He massaged her breasts and then got behind her. Kat bent a little bit. She waved but I don’t think she was really waving at me. The other woman got between Kat and the guy then she kneeled. The guy reached an arm up and touched the tinter. Soon the window panel got black and you couldn’t see anything but a faint, dim light, and shadows undulating against the moon.