Tim lived in a rundown cinder-block walk-up known to most of the adults in Cooper's Crossing as "that goddamn eyesore on Maple Street" and to all of the children as "the murder tower". While the adult designation was only an opinion, albeit a widely held one, the children's moniker had some basis in actual fact seeing as the Dakota Building had once been the site of perhaps the most solvable unsolved murder in history.
Everyone in town knew what had happened in apartment 2B on New Year's Eve ten years prior, the same way everyone in town knew the cause of Beth Hammersmith's bruises or what really went on at Reverend Tisdale's "church".
Tim reflected on the Dakota's odd history as he crossed the dusty rear parking lot and fumbled with his keys - "too many damn keys" he thought, "a key for the main door, a key for the mail, a key for the storage space, and that's before you even make it upstairs." He glanced refelxivly at the mailbox, knowing that it was empty ,his only corrispondence coming batches of three - electiric, gas and cable - at the end of the month.
The barrenenss of Tim's mailbox was reflected in his second story appartment. The only signs of inhabitation a bar of soap in the bathroom, half a left over pizza in the fridge and the makeshift workspace Tim had set up in one corner of the living room. The card table left bhind by one of the previous occupants was rickity and deted, but once clean up it served as a servicable desk for the stacks of research papers, hastily scribble notes and newspaper clippings piled upon it.
Tim dropped his bag to the floor and crossed to the desk pulling a small notebook from his pocket. His trip out to the Tisdale place had been a waste of time - as were so many of his trips latley - he hadn't even been allwoed past the front gate.