Watch the World Burn

The Man Upstairs

A Fictional Series


I moved into Fourth and Main twenty years ago and it was the best complex in the city. At the time. Over the last few years the building has either gone to shit, or I’m just more particular about my surroundings. Maybe both.

The pipes groan whenever someone flushes, and the common rooms need some serious cleaning. What really gets me, though, is that the walls are paper thin. 

The tenants used to be quieter back in the day. Most were elderly, and those folks have either died or gone to care homes – the owner included. Not dead. His son sent him to some place called Dignity Retreat. Just a fancy name for a care home, I reckon.

Now his son runs the show and he’s been bringing in a bunch of youngins. Those kids are just too damn noisy! They don’t talk… they shout, and they play their TVs so loud that I always know what everyone’s watching. 

Two years ago a young lady moved into 102, the next unit over, and she was the perfect neighbor. At first. She was gone working all day, and then quiet as a mouse when she’d get home. Then she went and got herself knocked up, and now she’s got a newborn in there.

With those thin walls and that baby crying at all hours of the night it’s nearly impossible for me to get any sleep. I’m a light sleeper, you know. Comes with age I guess.

Just when I was thinking of moving – on account of all the noise – the landlord brings this rich looking elderly man in to sign papers for June’s old place, upstairs. June was in the unit that sits above the crying newborn, so I figure this guy won’t last more than a month. 

Call me senile, or maybe even sadistic, but I decided it’d be fun to stick around, just to see how it all pans out. Maybe that’s what happens when you retire and get bored. Nothing to do ‘cept to sit around and watch the world burn. 


I’m going to back to the previous story eventually, but I wanted to get this one started because it’s been on my mind for so long and it’s driving me crazy.

I tried really hard to end this segment so that it was a story in itself, but I’ve been racking my brain for the ending and decided we’ll have to go with the ‘to be continued’ theme. I thought that “watching the world burn” was a fairly good ending because I think it sums up Larry’s personality – you know, those people who are more a part of the problem than the solution.

Anyway, I’m back to my perspectives idea here and the stories will come from the various tenants. I’ve wanted to do something like this for a long time, and it really fits into the ‘different points of view’ idea because all of these people live in the same building – but what one thinks they know about the other might not be the case. As we’ll soon find out.

The illustration is Larry – the man in unit 101 who told the story tonight – not the man who’s going to move in upstairs. Just thought I’d clarify that because it kind of looks like it might be the rich looking elderly man. Seen one you seen ’em all I guess. Ha-Ha!

I actually did the illustration in color and then brought the earth photograph into Illustrator because it was easier than trying to draw out the continents. When I did that, however, the color scheme of the illustration kind of clashed with the earth photo, so the easiest fix was to remove the colors. Plus I think it looks a little sad and dreary which is also fitting.

I’m pretty sure my personal note here just topped the story as far as word count, but I have energy tonight and lots on my mind. I started my class tonight and it helped elevate my mood.

I think what I’ve been lacking lately is structure, and while too much freedom – to do whatever you want, whenever you want – can be fun at first, it starts to wear on you.

Kind of like Larry, I suppose.

Anyway, that’s about all for tonight. Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed my image and the story! It may be slow moving at first, but it should get interesting once all of the tenants have their say. And once The Man Upstairs settles in.

Until later,
Peace & Love!

Word of the Day Challenge: Cleaning


  1. Excellent use of the “unreliable narrator” technique. Larry is going to tell you what he thinks and how things are. But I’m pretty sure I need to take everything he says with skepticism. This adds tension and interest. Cool image too of Larry watching the planet burn. Larry would be unhappy if the world weren’t on fire!😂

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