The Palm Bay was absolutely beautiful, a high-rise condominium tower complete with beautiful grounds located right on Biscayne Bay! We were a little embarrassed having the old, retired doctor-mobile valet parked, but we soon forgot about it as we walked into the dazzling lobby. Nicky confidently walked up to the front desk, gave some man’s name to the manager behind the desk and asked for the man’s condo key. The manager looked suspiciously at us, as he told us that he was not informed of our impending stay. Using all his Greek and record company bravado, Nicky impatiently assured the man that his not being informed was obviously an oversight. So, the man hesitatingly handed over the keys to this stranger’s beautiful 16th floor condominium …and it was fantastic!
As soon as we let ourselves into the room, we high-fived each other then went about checking the whole pad out. It had a full kitchen, 2 bedrooms, a beautiful bathroom, a living room and a full balcony that you could access from the master bedroom and the living room. We stepped out onto the balcony from the living room and saw the spectacular view of Biscayne Bay! Nicky turned to me and said, “My man, we have ARRIVED!” Famous last words, because after he said that, in true Nicky & g fashion, things got really weird, really quickly!
It started with the phone ringing. Interesting… I thought, a few people from New York knew we were heading down, but how did they know we just checked in? Nicky went inside and answered the phone; it was the condo’s owner. Nicky jumped right in telling the man that his condo was so cool, that we just took a full tour of it and that we were so grateful for being able to stay there. Then there was silence from Nicky… obviously the man was saying something to him… something long because the silence was long. I knew something was wrong when Nicky turned his back to me (he always did that when something was wrong or when someone was telling him bad news on the phone). I stepped inside so that I could hear what he was saying when someone knocked at our door. Now who could THAT be?
As I passed Nicky to answer the door, I heard him say into the phone, “You don’t know who I am?” Oh no… that can’t be good!
I opened the door to find a very well-dressed, middle-aged man standing there with a smile on his face.
This is how one of the oddest conversations that I EVER HAD went:
Well-dressed man: “Hi, my name is Bob… Bob Middleton!” <offering his hand to me… I warily shake it>. “My wife Trish and I are your neighbors!”
g: “Our neighbors?”
Bob: “Yes,” <inviting me to step out of our room and look at the door to the condo next to us> “we’re in 1619!”
Bob: <Begins to laugh out loud> “You will never believe… Trish and I were smoking some pot when we heard the sounds of someone in the hall – it was you guys. Say, you have long hair, are you in a famous rock band?”
g: (I’ve always found that question and odd one to ask and a stupid one to answer …apparently not that famous, since you don’t know the name of the band or whether I’m in it, I always wanted to reply) <instead of answering his question, I ask him one in return> “Is there… something I can do for you?”
Bob: <Laughing even more loudly as he stepped passed me heading into “our” condo, a condo, I’m not even sure we’re supposed to be in> “…as I was saying, Trish, that’s my wife, she is such an airhead when she smokes dope. I mean, it makes her a tigress… rrrr-rrrr… you know what I mean?”
g: <I found myself following him into “our” condo, seeing him wave to Nicky then look around, nod like he found what he was looking for, and then begin to head into the master bedroom>
As I followed this “neighbor” of ours into the condo, I heard Nicky saying something into the phone like, “No… not at all! No, there’s no need for you to call the police, we can just leave but are you sure someone didn’t tell you we were coming down here?” …that really can’t be good!
Nicky gave me the eye as if to say – who is he? – As he was apparently telling the owner of the condo NOT to call the police! All I could do was shrug – the symbol for “I dunno!”
Our neighbor Bob walked into the master bedroom and continued to talk to me:
Bob: <Walks over to the sliding glass door to the balcony and opens it – relentlessly laughing …it occurred to me at this point that this well-dressed, middle-aged man was totally stoned…. I mean rocked!> “Anyway, I stepped out into the hall to see what the commotion was and the door to our room closed behind me.”
<He takes off his silk suit jacket and lays it on the bed> “It was Trish’s first time smoking the really good stuff, you know?”
g: “What …are you doing?”
Bob: <Heads out onto the balcony and as he proceeds to tell me the rest… HE STEPS OVER THE RAILING!!!>
We’re on the 16th floor!!! At this point, I’m thinking, he’s a jumper! But why does he want to jump from our room?!
Bob: <hanging from the railing> “Trish” <he starts to laugh> “I think she must have passed out…” <he begins to reach for the balcony railing of his condo, next to ours> “…so I figured I don’t want to call downstairs and have the people here see her passed out…” <HE STARTS TO SWING HIS BODY BACK & FORTH AS IF HE’S GOING TO JUMP!>
Okay… my mind is trying desperately hard to compute all that had transpired in the last 5 MINUTES! Nicky and I went from, “My man, we’ve arrived!” to his pleading with the condo owner NOT to call the police on us, while I’m having a conversation with a stoner who is about to… JUMP OFF THE BALCONY!!!
My Brooklyn mind immediately clicked into “assess and cover-up” mode… as in, Okay… the police get here and… we’ve broken into someone’s condo (after almost stealing a car at the airport, let’s hope they don’t know about that) and… 5 minutes later a man jumps from our balcony… how do we explain that? Uhhh… yeah… uhhh… you see officer… uhhh… Bob’s wife Trish, Bob being the dead man who jumped… yeah… Bob’s wife… her name is Trish… well they were smoking dope and she apparently passed out…
This was NOT boding well for us!
I wanted badly to run to Nicky, but I didn’t want to leave Bob while he committed suicide. I wanted to call to Nicky but for some reason my voice didn’t work. I mouthed the words, but no sound came out. That’s when Bob said his final words to me!
Bob: <Now swinging wildly from our balcony railing> “So, I figured I could just….” <HE JUMPS FROM OUR RAILING, GRABS HOLD OF HIS RAILING but has NO FOOTHOLD! His legs are dangling precariously as his Italian leather shoes begin to SCRATCH the exterior stucco wall of the condo… 16 floors up!!! I WILL NEVER FORGET THE SOUND OF BOB’S ITALIAN LEATHER SHOES SCRATCHING THE STUCCO WALL!!!> “…jump over to our balcony and hopefully the balcony door is unlocked…”
I found myself reaching so far over the railing to grab Bob’s shirt and arm that I was about TO BE HANGING FROM BOB!! Bob began telling me to let go of him, because it was making him lose his grip! “OKAY… I’m letting you go BOB!”
It took him another few minutes to finally shoe-scratch his way onto his balcony, while my mind shut off completely. I stood there and watched him try his balcony door and when it opened he turned to me, waved and said, “Thanks man, Trish and I’ll invite you guys over to smoke some weed later… when she wakes up!”
I walked back into the living room sweating from sheer terror to find Nicky, on the phone still, but laughing now. Apparently Nicky finally explained who he was to the condo owner. The man remembered that he had gotten a voice mail from the person who was supposed to have told him that we were heading down there but, he didn’t listen to the message.
Nicky got off the phone happy but faux-wiping his brow, “Whew, that was weird,” Nicky said as he looked around, “where did that guy go …and who was he, anyway?”
I tried my best to explain to Nicky that his name was Bob and that he jumped off our balcony but Nicky would have none of it. He stood there saying, “No, really man, we can’t allow strangers in here. Where is he, for real?”
That’s when there was another knock on the door. It was Bob – he wanted his jacket back!
(This concludes the Tales of Two Knuckleheads …at least for now. I hope you enjoyed our exploits. If Nicky and I remember more and if you want to hear them, I’ll post more in the future. Thanks so much to my dear friend Nicky Kalliongis for allowing me to poke fun at him and me and share these memories with everyone! I look forward to making more memories with him in the future! God Bless broth! Next blog will be posted on Monday, March 22 – I’m not sure of the topic yet. Peace! G)
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Dean Wesley Smith