MAY 2009


Pinot Noir
By Daniel Casebeer, Feb 22, 2009

Her apartment was on the first floor of an abandoned firehouse. There was a coffee shop called the House of Leaves on the second floor and a bookstore called Paper Street in the basement. More than once, someone had stumbled through her living room in search of a pumpkin spice latte or the latest issue of McSweeney’s. A large pole, a relic from when her apartment used to house off-duty firefighters, pierced the bedroom from floor to ceiling. The holes were filled with cement, but you could still hear the arrogant pontifications of the hipster elite during business hours. Two weeks ago, after an elderly bookseller mistakenly accosted her in the bathtub, she blocked off the door and nailed boards across the windows. Thus fortified, the only way in was through a small chimney that overlooked a narrow alleyway in back. You had to climb up a rickety fire escape, two flights of rust that clawed at the side of the building, and lean over the railing just to reach the ledge. One night, dangling from the lowest rung, I dropped a bottle of Pinot Noir into the alley. It smashed against the decrepit bricks, crackling like green sparks in the moonlight.

Daniel Casebeer lives in his parents’ basement. He also teaches English in Pittsburgh.