Florianska 22: Trespassers will be maced

Florianska 22: Trespassers will be maced

Of the many peculiarities that came with our quasi-luxury Downtown apartment at Florianska 22, perhaps the most unsettling was the brooding presence of the building manager, Mikael – a portly, baby faced man with a fringed bowl cut. We’d initially met him while negotiating our rent for the month at the apartment – negotiations that ended with us on the short end of the stick as we discovered that the local gumtree.pl price listings didn’t apply to foreigners. It was frustrating, but we all liked the place so just gave in and decided to pay the extra rent. Just how badly we’d gotten ripped off is hard to say but Mikael ended the talks with bright eyes and a sparkling smile. This is the second to last time I saw him like this.

As we came and went from the building over the next few weeks, Mikael would frequently be loitering around the entrance next to his small office (which doubled as a tourist information center), giving us awkward smiles and reluctant hellos. The fact that we were often inebriated and cavorting back through the premises with a plethora of Polish girls we’d picked up didn’t help. Quickly enough, his expression on meeting any of us was one of dead shark eyes and a strange half scowl-half fake smile. Secretly he must have been thinking that he should have ripped us off more. We re-dubbed him ‘Lurch’, and Lurch creeped us out.

One Thursday evening, I was going downstairs to let a girl up that I’d been seeing a few times. As I was only planning on going up and back, I left the front door to our apartment wide open (though my friend Clay was inside). I met Ania outside, and as we began to go back up, found the my way blocked by an angry, drunk, (homeless?) man in filthy baggy clothes who began berating us in Polish, apparently demanding to know where his things were. I told him to leave but he just kept walking up the stairs while giving us crazy looks and talking to himself.

At that moment, Lurch appeared at the bottom of the stairs. ‘Hey, there’s a crazy guy coming up to our apartment…’ I informed him flatly. I, know, I will kill him’, he grinned, while simultaneously pulling out what looked like a Glock from his back pocket and began stormed menacingly up the stairs. The bright eyes and sparkling smile were back.

Freaked out, me and Ania backed off to the bottom of the stairs while we listened to loud arguing and eventually horrific cursing coming from one of the floors above us. A minute later, the intruder came spluttering down down the stairs, hands in face, and out the front door in an obvious degree of serious pain. Lurch followed a few seconds behind, his gun raised 90 degrees in the air, Terminator style. It’s fine now, you can go up he told us.

Relieved, we began walking back upstairs only for our relief to turn to panic as we both broke out into uncontrollable coughing and gagging – Lurch’s ‘gun’ had been a mace dispenser and he’d dispensed it fucking everywhere in the stairwell, as well as the crazy guys face. We ran upstairs while choking our lungs out and into our apartment – where the mace had also somehow seeped in. We bee lined for the bathroom to gulp water and found clay in there also, face puffy and clearly distressed. The next half hour was spent in our rooms, waiting for the awful chemicals to dissipate. I couldn’t shake the thought that some of that mace was also meant for us. Thanks anyway, Lurch.

Me and 'Lurch'
Me and ‘Lurch’

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