CROSSROADS TO SOMEWHERE: Baffling Mystery of ‘Tap-Tap-Tap’ Continues

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By W.T. WIMPY HIROTO

“YES” is the emphatic answer to the stream of inquiries received from readers asking if CR2S is still being harassed by the mysterious early morning Tap Tap Tapper. With so much interest being expressed, a review and update is in order. Keiro Retirement Home is not exactly Bates Motel, but The Mystery on Boyle Avenue continues unabated and unsolved.

In my March 14 column, headlined “The Strange Mystery on Boyle Avenue,” I wrote about a strange tapping on my apartment door – at 1:59 a.m. – a “tap, tap, tap” loud enough to rouse me from sound reverie. It had first happened several months earlier, but was casually dismissed as a dream aftermath. Since I was a newcomer at KRH, unfamiliar sounds in a new surrounding were to be expected. When another interruption followed several weeks later, I was certain it was a human tapping, but again, why my door and 3:30 a.m.?
I shared the strange happenings with son Jeff (in case I was found one morning late and lamented), but no one else was aware of the situation until the story appeared in The Rafu. It caused quite a commotion among the many resident subscribers but soon became yesterday’s news. (Big deal, others probably hear things all the time.) Meanwhile I have been conducting a quiet search for an answer and/or culprit.

Although I hadn’t kept the adventure alive in print, the tap, tap, tapping has continued without fail on an almost daily basis right up to this Monday morning. In the meantime, suggestions explaining the phenomena have ranged from quirks in the plumbing system and old wooden beams that shrink to adventurous wandering (elderly) vixens and ghosts of residents past.

I may be many things, but dumb is not a handicap. After various explanations failed the logic test, the next move was to check the security camera tapes that record hallways of all five floors 24/7. Since I had been keeping a meticulous log of every early morning interruption, a check of tapes on date and exact times was the logical thing to do.

Now you wonder, duh, what took so long? Well, folks, CR2S is a very warm and fuzzy person. I didn’t want to get anybody in trouble (or fired). Whatever the motivation for the nefarious behavior, I decided a quiet but firm cease-and-desist request would suffice once the culprit(s) was identified. I didn’t want a pound of flesh. I just wanted a good night’s sleep.

I confidently sat down in front of a monitor to finally identify the mystery knocker (Crescendo “Twilight Zone” music); enter anticipation, depart apprehension.

Guess what? Nothing. Nada. Zip. Only an empty corridor shows up at the exact time on all of the “knock-knock” tapes reviewed! Impossible, but true. To test the veracity of the recordings, on three separate occasions I purposely strode out into the hallway (in my shorts) immediately after the knocking, turned to face the camera and emphatically gave it the finger!

Voila. No one is shown knocking on the door, but my emergence seconds later with a middle digit extended is in plain view. Awesome.

Now, people, seriously, do we make friends with Casper the Ghost or accept the possibility of something supernatural? The phantom of KRH? A former occupier of my unit coming back to claim his old digs? Spectral visitors from Jewish Home for the Aged, the original residents 50 years ago? Wife Margaret and son Eric playing a joke from on high?

I have organized my team of Ghostbusters: Brave third son Jeff has volunteered to spend the night in a sleeping bag next to the door so he can leap outside before the culprit can escape unidentified down the hallway. Cerebral #2 Russ has conferred with his security consultant to logically and scientifically  figure out what’s going on. Unlike Charlie Chan and his #1 son, I have two and I’m determined we’ll come up with an answer.

For the benefit of Doubting Tamotsus, some statistics: During the month of June there were 32 confirmed “interruptions.” Taking into consideration the obvious possibility that despite my vigilance I could have slept through several others, it means there probably have been more. Thus far in July, 17 have been charted. [Not included in the count are ten telephone single rings and then silence.]

So there you go, people. Although losing treasured sleep and elusive quietude, there remains a level of intrigue and challenge. Rest (un)assured, the tale continues …

W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached at [email protected] Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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