Eviction

Isak and Tim went way back. They’d gone to college together, studied abroad together, taken a year off after graduation together. When Tim got a job offer in Boston, they moved to Boston together. All their friends wished they’d just go gay and get it over with.

Tim’s job was as a live-in super in an apartment building in the Harvard student ghetto. As the super it was easy for him to get Isak an apartment in his building. Tim lived in a one-bedroom in the basement, Isak in a studio on the fourth floor. For which Isak paid fifteen hundred a month, and Tim paid nothing.

At night they wandered the streets of Cambridge or went for a drink or stayed in and watched TV. By day Tim kept his building in order, and Isak looked for a job.

Since they had the same resumes, the same degrees with the same GPA, Isak assumed he’d find a job just as fast as Tim had. As the days went by he was forced to reconsider this assumption. Likewise his assumptions that the Universe was rational, or just, or really anything but a very colossal prick.

While Tim began to relax into the little leisure his salary afforded, more and more Isak had to tighten his belt. At the end of two months Tim had found a local beer he liked, a local bar he liked, a local girl he liked, a local life that he was quite enjoying. Where Isak was living on cereal and scrambled eggs and had to walk to the library, a mile each way, just to use the internet.

Tim tried to help out his friend, buying him drinks and showing up with the occasional pizza or other non-cereal dining experience. It was much appreciated, but didn’t much help. Isak became more and more anxious about his situation. His third rent payment pretty much wiped him out. Now he was coming up on first-of-the-month number four, and he was faced with the terrifying prospect of coming up short.

The day came. Rent was due. And he was short.

From the first light of dawn to the last night of dusk Isak was a wreck. He spent the whole day pacing or walking around the block or just lying on his air mattress watching TV. Always a part of his mind was spinning away, trying to spin a thread on which he could climb out of his situation. Was there anything he could sell? Anything he could pawn? Any other relatives he could subject to the almighty mooch? But no, there was nothing. He was fucked.

When the sun set and Close Of Business passed, Isak began to feel lighter. After a few minutes he wondered if he wouldn’t float away. A weight was gone: what was it, where’d it go? And then he realized it was the weight of uncertainty, which was a load he no longer had to bear.

There was no question about it. He was going to get evicted.

Though the sun was down, his apartment seemed to grow brighter. The air tasted sweeter. The apartment seemed larger. He started to grin. He really felt great. He had nothing else to feel. The pressure was off. It was over. He was done.

But he had much to grin about! He shouldn’t have a home, but here he had one. Moreover, he was getting free a room that had been costing him $55 a day. Sure he would be getting bounced onto the street. When? Tomorrow? The day after that? How would it happen? Would they ask him politely? Would they send in goombas to throw his stuff out the window? It didn’t really matter, he realized. When they threw him out, he’d get thrown – and until then, he’d enjoy every minute of not-being-homeless.

Isak stayed up until the small hours of the morning. He sat on his futon with his back against the wall, ate through half a cold pizza, drank his last six-pack, and played video games until his eyes started to burn. When he lay down his head it was for the fair and contented sleep of one who has nothing to lose. A state which he achieved by having already lost everything, but this didn’t trouble his sleep in the slightest.

The next day he woke to find himself untroubled, not only by awareness of debt but also by the need to find a job. For the first time since arriving in Boston he had the whole day to himself. Not pressure nor guilt had any say over how he spent his time. He spent all morning sitting on the Common with his guitar, just strumming and people-watching and getting a tan. He ate lunch while lying on the grass in front of City Hall. Later he strolled up and down the Charles from the Museum to MIT, stopping to watch the sun set from the middle of the Mass Ave bridge. Then he went home and watched pirated movies until he passed out on his keyboard. For the first time he was starting to like this whole living thing.

Isak decided not to mention his impending ejection to Tim. He was sure he’d find out soon enough.

When the first notice arrived, a mostly-friendly notice of late payment, he tore it up into pieces and flushed it down the toilet. The second letter, less friendly and using the words non-payment, followed only a few days later, and was flushed in turn. By the time he received a notice of eviction he’d been there almost a month. During which time he hadn’t paid a dollar of rent, and, not unrelatedly, couldn’t have been happier.

On the first of the month, one month since he’d stopped paying rent, there was a knock on his door. Isak lifted himself halfway out of the bath and then froze. Was this the rental agency? An eviction agency? The police? Would there be a confrontation? Was he getting thrown out onto the street? Was he getting arrested? Was-

“Dude,” Tim called, “get your ass over here and let me in.”

Isak felt himself sigh and close his eyes. He ran a towel over himself and stepped into some PJ pants he saw on the floor, then went to the door and pulled it mostly open.

“Did you stop paying rent?” Tim asked. Isak saw he was holding a Paper in his hand, and a plastic bag in the other.

Isak could only nod.

“Dude,” Tim said, “I’m sorry. That sucks.”

“Yeah,” Isak said.

“Seriously, you’re out of money?”

“Yeah.”

“Dude, I’m sorry.” And he let himself in, and took a seat on the edge of the futon. And he dropped the paper, reached into the bag, and pulled out a six-pack of the microbrew he had chosen as his own.

Isak opened and closed his mouth, until at length he found it closed around a bottle.

“How’d you find out?” he asked.

“Notice,” Tim said, pointing to the Paper on the floor. “They want me to throw you out.”

Isak’s spine went hard and angry. “You came up here-”

“Yeah,” Tim said, “I’ll have to throw you out eventually.”

Isak’s spine softened into runny glue. “Yeah.”

“Like, I mean, I can’t. But eventually.”

“Huh?”

“It’s Massachusetts. The People’s Democratic Republik of fucking pinko. Tenants have, like, ridiculous rights here. Basically I can harass your ass off, try to get you to vacate, but until two months are up I can’t really do shit.”

“What do you-”

“Two months from the eviction notice,” he said, and took a pull from his second bottle.

“So two months-”

“From now, yeah. Then I can call the cops, toss your ass, keep your stuff. Until then I have to try to get you to leave on your own.”

Isak’s head swam.

“Yes indeed,” Tim answered his unspoken expletive. “I am now officially getting paid to fuck with you. Fuck with you so hard you run away from like three grand worth of free apartment. This is my fucking job.”

“Will you?” Isak all but whispered.

“Course. So you better enjoy the next two months. Because I am totally going to enjoy tooling on you. Like, unmercifully.”

Isak stared at him, trying to determine if he was kidding, which part of him was kidding. He realized at length that he was telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but. This was how it was. And they were still friends, and would so remain.

“Listen,” Isak said, “Tim, I can’t… thanks you, thank you so-”

“Shut up,” Tim said affably, killing his beer and getting to his feet. “Margaret’s coming over tonight,” he said. “How about tomorrow night we go to Porlock’s get trashed?”

“Before you start fucking with-”

“Yes, before I start fucking with you.”

Isak thought about it for a minute. Then nodded.

With that Tim took his leave, Isak took the rest of the beer into the bathtub with him, the world took leave of its senses, and he was still in the apartment.

Isak spent the next morning in a miasma of trepidation and curiosity. Around noon he realized that waiting for the shoe to drop was driving him more nuts than anything Tim might do to him. He grabbed his guitar and went out to busk up lunch money on the Common. He played on and off until four o’clock, during which time his guitar-case was graced with a five, seven ones, about four bucks in loose change, two joints, four cigarettes, and a coupon for twenty percent off guitar lessons. He gave the cigarettes to the bums by the bus stop and the joints to the hobos on the grass, went back to his apartment to order a much-appreciated pizza.

When he returned to his apartment, opened the door and closed it behind him, he was greeted to a most earthy and pungent aroma. A quick visual scan of his apartment indicated the smell’s origins. There, in the middle of his floor, was an exceptionally large specimen of that which schoolchildren are wont to refer to as turds. It stood there proudly like a little pyramid, its odor wafting through the room like brown perfume.

Upon it was placed a little red bow.

Isak just stared at it, this first concrete example of the war which had yesterday been declared. Eventually his gag reflex forced him to deal with the matter. He lifted the offending mass using a dustpan and deposited it in the toilet. He suppressed his gag reflex, mostly. He scrubbed the offended portion of the floor until it glowed. He let the dustbin sit under hot running water in the sink while he scrubbed his arms and forearms raw in the shower. He then opened the windows, which he saw had been closed and latched, and in a few minutes the scent was nothing more than a memory. An incredibly strong and unpleasant memory, but nevertheless one which faded from minute to minute.

There was a knock on the door. Isak just stood there. He heard the sound of a key scraping his lock, then the door opened and Tim came in.

He looked at the floor, empty. “Happy birthday,” he said. “Beer o’clock?”

“Dude!” was all Isak could find to say.

“I told you,” Tim said, “this is my job now.”

Isak looked him up and down. “Oh yeah? So how do I know that you’re not-”

“No way. Long as you’re in the apartment I can’t come in. Or I mean, I can come in, but just as your friend. So I won’t-”

“Why don’t I trust you?”

“Don’t be a douchecock,” Tim said. “I won’t tresspass against our bromance. If I wanted to do that I’d just fill the apartment with spiders.”

Isak didn’t like spiders.

Tim really liked Isak’s facial expression.

“OK,” Isak said, “let’s get this straight. No fucking around when I’m not here. No tricking me. No spiders.”

“No spiders.”

“And no roaches.”

“I will refrain from causing any pest infestations which I, as super, would then have to clean up.”

“Okay,” Isak said, and took a deep breath. “Okay.”

“Cool,” said Tim. “Beer.”

“Sure.”

As Isak grabbed his coat – making sure not to step on the portion of floor which was conspicously cleaner than the others – he came to a full stop. “Dude,” he asked timidly, “where did you get… was that your-”

“Are you really ask-”

“No,” Isak decided. “No I am not.”

“Fifty-nine more days,” Tim said. “Lets go pretend to be Harvard kids and pick up BU chicks.”

They went out for drinks, came back to the building, and Isak went to bed in what was still his apartmet.

The next morning, nursing a mild hangover, Isak considered what would happen if he just never left. If he never went outside, never so much as crossed his threshold, Tim would never have a chance, legal or otherwise, to fuck with him. On the other hand, if he never left his house, he’d go crazy. And starve to death. And develop a severe Vitamin D deficiency. And get really bored. And, most of all, start to wonder if squatting in the apartment was really worth it at all.

Isak was also incapable of avoiding the fact that he was highly curious as to what was going to happen next. Not the least of which because he knew that Tim would never stoop to repeating himself, which promised variety – and also a lack of further poop-cleaning.

In that spirit he went off to see if he could raise pizza-money with his guitar. He made enough for a slice and a soda and then went to the library to draw some internet from the well. Armed with a bag full of good books he returned to the apartment. With sharp eyes and tight nerves he opened his apartment door.

It seemed okay. Everything looked normal. Everything smelled normal, more to the point. He inspected the floor; seemed okay to put his feet down. He inspected the ceiling; no hanging axes, no Wil E. Coyote anvils or dynamite in sight. At which Isak could not help but feel a little disappointed.

Isak wanted to strip down and shower off a Cambridge day’s sweat. His room had three large windows along its outer wall. Before he could shower he needed to close his blinds. He grabbed the thicker of the two tassles and began to twist. The Venetian slats began their migration closed.

His hand dropped to his side, his jaw to the floor, his libido to the bottom of a well.

There, all over his blinds, someone had airbrushed a scene of porn. Wild porn. Graphic porn. Colorful porn. And – furry porn.

If pressed, Isak would have described it as a very ladylike mouse performing gracious service upon a frighteningly well-endowed he-stallion. Isak was glad he was not pressed for a description.

He moved to the other blinds and – yep, they had been similarly graffitoed. The first pictured a pair of foxes, neither of a particularly masculine countenance, engaged in a form of mutual self-expression which their bushy tails made particularly cumbersome. The third showed a rabbit and two bears, the latter having particularly conjugal notions of privilage in relation to the former.

Their execution was not exceptional, but it got the job done. After a few minutes of dumb staring Isak glanced down his torso and decided he would never be able to get the job done again.

He went to his freezer, took out a fifth of cheap vodka, and took a pull right from the bottle. Then he opened the blinds, stripped down without much care, and headed for the shower.

A bit later, when he was ready to get into bed, he was shocked half numb when he pulled back his covers and found that his bedsheet had been similarly decorated. It looked like Noah’s Ark had been turned into the Love Boat. After careful consideration he shrugged and climbed into bed. Lying there, staring at the ceiling, glancing down to see what else might be discovered in the zoological abomination which covered him, he couldn’t help but chuckle. Which could’t help but turn into a full-throated laugh, and for the first time in his life, Isak laughed himself to sleep. He was still in the apartment.

The next morning he considered getting rid of the blanket, or at least going down to the laundry room and bleaching it back to the hell that spawned it. But he figured, hey, it was all going to end up on the streetcorner anyway. So he made his bed, more carefully than he had in some time, put on a nice suit and went out once more to hand out a few resumes.

He came back to the sound of fucking.

It came from every direction. Moaning and groaning. Thrusting and lusting. Slipping and slapping. It was the most enveloping sensual experience Isak had ever encountered without someone else present in the room. The phrase “impenetrable wall of sound” came to mind, but nothing else in mind was devoid of penetration. The verb walls seemed to grunt and roll with it. He could find no source for it; he could not escape it. It was like being in a priapic panopticon. It was like being in the San Fernando Valley on free Viagra day. It was like being back in the dorms during freshman orientation. It was not enough like any of Isak’s personal experiences to conjure memories, but it was sufficiently reminiscent of his experiences to stimulate fresh imaginings.

Isak was tempted many times that evening to vacate his apartment, turned as it had been into Wilt Chamberlain’s subconscious. Yet there were other temptations which it brought to thought, the indulgence in which was much frowned upon outside of the privacy of one’s home. Isak went to sleep neither sadder nor wiser, and woke only sorer and immune to most any distraction which walked upon two legs. And he was still in the apartment.

He went out to steal some wireless, discovered that it was a free day at the MFA. He spent the day among paintings and sculptures, still-lives of fruit and fowl and museum-food which was equally unobtainable. When he returned home it was in hunger and exhaustion. Neither of these sensations remained with him for long.

His entire apartment was suffused with the scent of strawberries. Happy strawberries. RED strawberries. The kind of strawberries that do not exist in nature. The kind of strawberries that exist only on some Platonic plane where ideals dwell, hopefully very far apart from any of their kind who can smell. Yes, Isak had smelled things like this before. Whenever a horde of teenage girls walked ahead of him on the street. Whenever a gaggle of sorority girls stumbled out of a cab and into a club. Whenever a drag show had let out early after experiencing some mix of wardrobe malfunction and chemical weapon spill. Someone had bombed his apartment with middle-schooler perfume.

Isak tore off his t-shirt, held it to his nose, closed his eyes, then went into his apartment and threw open all his windows. He then went downstairs to Tim’s door, shouted obscenities at it for a few minutes, took ten laps around his block, and went to brave his living-space.

He was finally able to banish the scent by sprinkling about the apartment a combination of baking soda and coffee that seemed to balance out the unholy scent of a thousand jailbait Valley Girls. Around ten o’clock an unknown caller, of course Tim, slipped a piece of paper under his door. On it was drawn a single smiley face, unadorned except for a pair of pigtails. For the first time – though certainly not for the last – Isak reflected upon the frustrations of this particularly assymetric war, whereby one party can attack and attack and the other can only defend.

Isak realized he’d have to look upon this as a challenge. The fox was gnawing; it was his duty to smile. There was pride in this. There would be pride when he succeeded in making it through. More importanty there was a roof over his head. In that spirit he went to sleep, still in his apartment.

His life began to settle into a pattern, if order can be said to exist in a system of intentionalized chaos. During the day he would vacate his apartment, live his life (such as it was), take advantage of the city around him (while he could). At night he would return to his liebensraum, suffer more or less the slings and arrows of outrageous assholatry, then, if time allowed, go out with his tormenter for beer.

It was to his great distress that Isak learned of his best friend’s heretofore unknown creativity.

One day he returned to his apartment to find the windows closed and forty sticks of nag champa incense burning. He could not see two feet in front of him. He could not smell past 1972. He was glad the smoke alarms had been deactivated. He wished only that his eyes and nose were similarly removed from service. After making his way to the windows he was able to clear out enough smoke to locate the offending joss sticks, one by one. He put them in the toilet, where he felt they were spiritually appropriate, and then went out to rinse his eyes in the water-fountain on the Common. After which point he wandered to Veggie Planet in order to satisfy a thoroughly explainable craving for tofu and brown rice. He managed to sleep in an apartment that almost didn’t smell like hippie. Just as he managed to wake in an apartment that was, for all good values of the phrase, his own.

One day he returned to find that miniature wireless speakers had been placed all over his room, and all of them were blaring J-Pop at full volume. Isak had never gazed upon the naked face of the Devil before. He didn’t much care for it. Then he spent the rest of the evening reading pirated manga on his laptop. When he woke it was in his apartment.

One day he returned home to find a giant disco ball bolted to his ceiling, strobe lights blazing away at it in every direction. When he’d thrown t-shirts over the strobes he found he actually quite liked the disco ball. In the morning Tim removed the strobes, but Isak declared the disco ball would remain. This was his apartment. He was glad the management had made such a generous donation.

One day – so he later determined – Tim had hollowed out all the handles and knobs in his apartment, every one he could find, and filled them with cores of Freon. This made Isak reflect that, one, Tim had far too much free time on his hands for a person who had a paycheck and a free room; and two, that he really, really hated his best friend. After pulling a pair of socks over every freezing protrusion, the apartment was rather livable. As Tim made no attempt to reverse the damage he’d caused, Isak was reduced to only three pairs of socks. But everything in his apartment was very well padded, and not a little l’art-modern in its argyle glory. The apartment, he could only think, was more his than ever.

Isak was somewhat disappointed in Tim for an offensive so bland and predictable as cranking up the heat. Four hours later, butt-naked and with a glass of water in each hand, Isak had to marvel in the wonderous utility of simplicity. Especially in matters of creative bastardy.

Isak was well prepared when, the next day, he found that the central air conditioning in his apartment had been set to ‘entropic heat-death of the Universe’. Wearing all three pairs of socks remaining him, as well as both his college hoodies and as many pairs of pants as he could successfully layer on, he managed to survive that night. He woke up with a runny nose, rheumy eyes, and salivating mouth. This latter was explained by a particularly enticing dream he had been having concerning roasted blubber.

When Isak came home to find his bedclothes thrown every which way and used condoms all over them, he knew two things were in order. One, he needed to get more laundry detergent. Two, he neeed to get laid.

Isak was very pleased with Tim for sterilizing his apartment. After coming home to find eighteen essential oil volatilizers causing tea tree vapors to fill his apartment, he knew that nothing could have survived. He buried his lone hanging plant with great ceremony in the courtyard behind the building. The cup of coffee he had left on the counter followed. To this day, no grass grows above their grave.

The walls of the apartment had always been rather bland. Isak wished he had the money to invest in some wallpaper. Tim’s provision of enough color-changing LED christmas light strings to cover every wall in the apartment might have been a more distracting pattern than he would have chosen. Yet it certainly went a long way towards brightening the room. Even if it complicated falling asleep, and filled his resting hours with dreams that would have made Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Timothy Leary turn to each other with curiosity.

His evening shower was renedered somewhat less effective than usual by the water’s being mixed with purple dye and musk-perfume. He did not vacate the apartment that night so much as he went out to a goth club. He returned the next morning to his apartment, wondering only why the Walk he had just taken was associated with shame, rather than with pride.

When his apartment was filled, by unknown means, with enough static electricity to raise every hair on his body like an Einstein doll, Isak knew he had to share this phenomenon with others. A dozen hobos from the Common ended up hanging out in his apartment that night. They left their own particular smell, and required a bit of cleaning, but by that point Isak was well used to such contrivances.

He didn’t know how Tim had flavored his tap water so strongly of cilantro. He was glad that he had enough money in his pocket for a case of soda, and enough toothpaste left in the tube to brush his teeth twelve times in succession.

“Good one”, Isak said, later.

“I thought so,” said Tim, and handed him a beer.

The accoustic triumph of the reflector-attack was one of the most impressive of Tim’s offensives. His apartment was like one great amplification dish, so that every noise that was made, even the humblest vibration, was slowly magnified to a shaking pitch. A walk to the bathroom was like a drum solo. A fart was a thing out of myth, out of legend. Opening a can of soda was an almost orgasmic experience. After being woken for the fifth time by the cacaphonous sound of his own snoring, Isak decided that some nights you just had to wear your headphones to bed.

Isak hoped that Tim had gotten a good deal on Astro-glide. He sure had used enough of it, on near every surface of the apartment. It would have taken less time to clean had not the mop kept flying out of his hands. And Isak falling on his ass. And all his possessions sliding about the room like bumper-cars in a frictionless vaccuum.

He did not understand the deterrent potential of having an apartment filled with cooked bacon. The smell alone was like a taste of Heaven come to earth. Four hours later, with an upset stomach and the smell of bubbling pork hanging heavy in the air like the humidity at the bottom of a swimming pool, he began to acknolwedge that his tormenter was the most devious sort of nemesis. And then he spent the next week as a vegitarian.

One of the most fascinating tricks he encountered was that of the moving quiet-space. Isak opened his door to find his apartment filled with white noise. It sounded like his bed and effects had been moved to the center of a wind-tunnel. He had no idea how to overcome the din. While walking about the apartment, looking for a source to the sharp and drowning sounds, he found a spot where, so long as he stood there, all the noise was gone. It was the only such spot in his apartment. It was absolutely fascinating. He pulled up his chair there and made camp in the quiet, leaning six inches to the side every so often to remind himself of what filled the remainder of the room. Then, about an hour later, the spot moved. Then every ten minutes or so it would migrate. It was infuriating, to be sure, but also somewhat mystical. That night he took his pocket change and offered to buy Tim a beer. Which beneficince Tim, thank God, declined.

The next day he found every inch of his walls covered in gritty sand-paper. He made Tim buy him four beers that night.

The dehumidifier trick was one of the most excruciating. Isak didn’t like dry skin. With the windows sealed shut and Dryness coming through every vent, even getting under the shower-stream couldn’t keep his skin from turning to flake and fire. He ended up going out and buying enough hand-lotion to last a concert pianist his natural life-span. It lasted until about midnight, at which point, the local pharmacies being closed, he ended up anointing himself with olive oil like an ephebe of ancient Athens. In the early morning heat he felt like a giant falafel, but otherwise it did not much affect his life.

The night he came home to find that a hundred shedding cats had been through his apartment would have been unpleasant, had it not also been the night he discovered he was allergic to cats. In order to wade through the hair and clean his apartment he had to dope himself up with enough antihystamie that he would have just as readily ridden a mechanical bull that was on fire. He had very little trouble sleeping that night. Or halfway to the next night as well.

One of the more troubling incidents occurred late at night, when Isak came home from a free concert and flipped a lightswitch and found that all his lights had been replaced by black-lights. This was not so disquieting as what they revealed, which had a countenance somewhat like that of a Jackson Pollack painting, and somewhat like that of the glass window which separated paying customers from women of particularly lascivious kinaesthetics.

Fearing for his hygeine, Isak went immediately to Tim’s apartment. “What the hell did you do?” he demanded.

“What? Nothing, just blacklights.”

“It looks like a Pompeiian fuck festival happened on my ceiling!”

Tim snorted. “Well, I was gonna drag guys in off the Common to jizz everywhere. But then I put in the blacklights and I’m like, oh god, oh God, it’s never gonna look worse than it already does.”

Isak thought about this for a while.

“Want to get Chinese delivered, blacklight your apartment, see what it looks like?”

“Oh. Oh God. No. No. Maybe.”

Despite the diversions which had become part of his existence, Isak could not remain entirely unaware of his impending forced relocation. Or rather, delocation: it wasn’t like he had anywhere else to go. Soon enough these and other attempts upon his will-power brought him to within a week of the End Times, the date when the police would be allowed to join Tim in his activities. Despite the occasionally torturous intentions displayed by his grudgingly-admitted best friend, Isak was well aware that the local cops would not behave with nearly such civility. Or indeed such creativity – which, one way or another, he knew he was going to miss, very much.

He was saddened when Tim said he had to go away for a few days, right before the end of his tenuous tenancy. He was tempted on a few occasions to go downstairs and knock upon his friend’s door. Whether this was occasioned by apprehension, sadness, or a certain subconscious skepticism, he did not know. But he restrained himself, and tried to enjoy living his life out from under siege.

Two days before he was to be given the boot, there was a knock on his door. He opened it, and there was Tim.

“How was your trip?” Isak asked, inviting him in.

“Lied,” Tim said.

“Huh?”

“Lied. No trip.”

“What?”

Tim shrugged. He looked tired, also somewhat manic. Not a look that had been much absent from his face these last several weeks.

“I’ve decided I know what I want to do with my life,” he said.

Isak boggled at him, then realized he was reacting less than bromantically. “Hey, dude, that’s great! What, are you going back to school, or-”

“I want to keep doing this,” he said.

Isak just stared at his friend, suavity be damned.

“Uh huh,” he finally managed.

“Yeah, I don’t know how either. But this is it, man. This is the life. This is what I was born to do.”

“Uh huh?”

“I need to do this. Find a way to do it. For a living.”

“Uh… huh.”

“Fuck you Negative Nancy! I need support!”

“Oh,” said Isak. “Right. Yes. Yeah, dude, totally. You’re great at this, you love it, we will figure out a way for you to get paid for it.”

“Paid a lot.”

“Sure.”

“You sure?” Tim asked.

“Yeah, y’know, I’m getting kicked out onto the street in about 48 hours, I’m not really-”

Tim reached into his pocket, pulled out a set of keys, and tossed them to Isak.

They bounced off his forehead.

“Dude?” he asked weakly.

“I need to focus,” Tim said. “On my new career. So I called my boss and told him I quit.”

“You…” Nope, that was all Isak had.

“But it’s OK, I said I had a friend who’d take over for me. They said sure.”

Isak looked down at the keys on the floor.

“I’ve got some money saved up,” Tim continued, “and Margaret does too. We’re gonna move in here. Since this apartment is due to be vacant, you know, pretty-”

Isak wasn’t sure, but he was pretty sure he shouted something incoherent and very loud.

“Your apartment’s downstairs,” Tim said, sitting down on the floor and pulling off his boots. “Get out of my bedroom, I want to play with my disco ball.”

Isak stumbled downstairs with the sort of shambling zombie-like gait that video game protagonists usually associate with target practice. He shook his head. That didn’t help. He tried walking into a wall. Surprisingly enough that did not help either. Instead he went to Tim’s apartment – his apartment? – what? – and tried the keys in the lock.

They fit.

He went inside, turned on the lights, and beheld a place to live. A place to stay. A place all his own – and ready to so remain.

Waiting for him, in the middle of the floor, was a nice big turd – topped with a little red bow.

-16 Chauncy, 2011

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~ by davekov on 8 July 2011.

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