Noise is a constant. Organic, fabricated, rhythmic, chaotic. Steps on the stairs outside the door - stomping, running, shuffling, stumbling. Voices, all the time, at all hours. Shouting. Laughing. Crying. Cursing. Screaming. Fists and chairs and headboards against walls. Water groaning and knocking through pipes. Wind and rain and street noise seeping through windows and past open doors. Floorboards and walls popping and creaking with age and movement. Vermin scavenging. Radios. Record players. Doors.
His dreams, when he has them, are mercifully silent.
Here Comes the Rain
Rain cleanses nothing here. What it does do is wipe away the layers of prevarication that people insist on constructing. It brings out the truth of personalities, dissolving false courtesies and empty promises - the longer a person stands in rain, the more honest he will become. It does the same for the city, eliminating the garish colors and deceptive grays that gloss over flaws, distract from the true nature and purpose of things. Only the stark contrast of light and dark remains, pointing the way for those who care to look.
Slips And Tangles
A hand on the shoulder is all right, but only during patrol and contact must not linger. Handshakes are safe, but must be kept businesslike. All other physical contact must be in the context of battle or treating injury.
Shop talk is fine. Slang is tolerated, but swearing is frowned upon. Personal details are not welcomed. Sex and politics are very bad topics.
Expression of physical discomfort will be ignored at best, criticized at worst. Injuries must not be acknowledged until off-duty, and must be addressed in as workmanlike a manner as possible. Anaesthetic and drugs are to be avoided. Hospitals are out of the question.
Offers of a place to sleep can result in disappearances for days. Offers of food must be presented in the context of avoiding waste and/or dealing with an unexpected excess. Offers of coffee or (occasionally) other soft drinks are acceptable, with a minimum of small talk (see guidelines above).
Discipline is valued, as is intelligence. Honesty is a requirement. Tact is not. Approval is not given lightly, though always sincerely. Loyalty is absolute, but unforgiving.
A decision, once made, will not be un-made. All actions must be taken with this in mind.