Will woke up to the sound of children screaming.

This was not an unusual sound. Will had been subjected to it nearly every morning (less often in the winter) for the past two years. His apartment was located just across from a daycare, something his landlord had neglected to mention. The first morning was a surprise. The second morning was an annoyance. The third morning was a grudging acceptance of the acceptance of screams from now on.

In the balancing consideration of apartments, Will still fell on the side that this one was worth staying in. It was the right balance of comfortable and affordable – a rare, appropriately-priced abode in the city – and a pleasant walk to his place of work. The daycare was the only major annoyance (the minor annoyances being the landlord’s propensity to talk at his tenants for great lengths of time and the oven’s inability to quit heating up unless turned off entirely, a nuisance Will had worked around with a thermometer and careful timing).

Will had even grown, on very rare days, to enjoy the daycare. Not so much the children screaming – children screaming is, of course, one of the most effective forms of birth control – but for the minor dramas that he could hear playing out. He knew, for instance, that Michael and Laura had kissed beside the slide, something totally against the rules. He knew that Stephen was invariably naughty, and likely going to grow up into a sociopathic serial killer, based on his actions towards the other children, the teddy bears, and the occasional critter found on the daycare’s premises. And he knew that his favourite child – by virtue of also being named Will – shared Will’s birthday of June 13th. When the whole daycare sang happy birthday dear Will, he pretended, sitting along in his apartment, that it was also for him that they sang, and his day was much improved from previous years.

He was only privy to the beginnings and endings, but like all but the most interesting shows, that was more than enough to follow the story.

And so, when the time came to renew his tenancy, and the landlord wanted to raise the rent – only by $100, thankfully – Will decided the cost was worth it. The screaming was a nuisance, but the drama was now a part of his life, and he had to know how it would play out. He could afford rent increases for another year or so, until his crew – particularly his name-fellow – graduated to kindergarten.

Then, he knew, he would need to find an apartment next to the local elementary school.


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