How about it, Roomie?
by Chase Guymon
43 hours, 26 minutes, 32. . . . No, 33 seconds . . . 34 . . . 35 . . .
Well, roomie, I really ought to clean up. I already stumbled once over that pile of
towels I left over by the toilet. I'm not the cleanest person, you know. I tend to
forget little things. The water wasn't hot, but it was warm; warm enough to get the
scum off my hands, anyway. Water is calm and gentle, not like my life has been
lately. Not like this past week. No, this week has been hectic and painful and
irritating. So I'm glad I can finally relax.
Where to begin, where to begin . . .?
Mother, I guess. That would be the logical place, and I'm nothing if not logical.
Mother and I had a fight, I was kicked out of my flat, and I lost my job. But, now
I'm here with you, roomie, and life is bliss. I think that sums it up pretty well.
What? You want the longer version. Well, all right.
When Mother and I had our last argument, it seemed to begin just like all of our
other spats. But it sure didn't end like any of them. I couldn't contain myself,
that's all. Mother had asked me to visit her. She promised me breakfast; she loved
to make pancakes for me. Sure, she seems like a nice lady, but I can't stand the
way she ignores me. The doctor said that she had had a hearing defect, so she
didn't hear everything people said to her. A defect? More like selective hearing.
So, I went to her small ranch home, still snuggled in the nice wool blanket I had
brought with me. At the time she walked in, I was pleased to see her. But she was
not pleased to see me. It never seemed like she was anymore. She walked into the
room mumbling to herself. I couldn't tell what she was talking about at first.
"My boy, my son; he's all I have left. He doesn't have the decency to visit me now
and again," she said.
At first I thought she was just hadn't noticed me.
"Mother, I just arrived, just now. What are you talking about?" I was always so
proper to my mother, with me being the only relative she had left. "Mother," I
said, "I'm right here."
"Oh, my boy," She continued without moving, not even responding to my
existence. "Why does he fail to do anything productive . . .?"
This is when even her eye-sight became selective, I swear. I was half tempted to
walk in front of her and wave my arms and yell.
She went on and on. "He's never made anything of himself. I do wish he'd leave
me here and let me die."
She spoke like that far too often. I hated it. I hated to hear her moan and cry. And
I hated it when she criticized me. She began making my pancakes, commenting
here and there, cruel, biting words, while she cooked. My mother was a good
woman once, before Dad died. Now she moped and wept all the time. I had to do
"Mother, I want you to know I'm leaving."
She started sobbing, but before she could guilt me into staying, I headed for the
door. She threw all of her energy into stopping me, but her guilt was not enough
this time. I was going to leave, just like she told me to.
"Don't go" she said, "Why would you leave me?"
I just couldn't take it anymore.
I picked up the hot frying pan, extending it behind me and with a catapult arm I
comforted her, saying, "Mother, it'll be over soon."
43 hours, 49 minutes . . .
I'd make you coffee, but I don't think you'd be in the mood. I am, though. It's far
too early to be drinking wine, but I figure coffee will do just fine.
Besides, I used the wine to clean off the body, so I'd have to get more later. I wish
it was the body of my landlord instead. I hate that woman. I guess 'hated' that
woman, would be more proper, seeing as I don't have to worry about her anymore.
I left my apartment when my landlord demanded that I pay my rent after I lost my
mother. The heartless monster.
I left everything behind. I have nothing left from the apartment; I even got the
clothes I'm wearing here, in this apartment. My landlord, strangely enough, died
near a riverbank, not long after we had our conversation. But that was completely
accidental - excuse me, coincidental. Coincidental is what I meant to say.
And that man on the floor over there? He probably looks familiar, unless he stole
your former roommate's keys just before I did. I met him outside a bar. He
seemed like such a nice fellow, too. Now he's lying in the hall, much cleaner than
he was when I first brought him back here.
We met at a bar a few miles from here. He was grabbing a Paulaner dunkel lager
after what seemed to be a long day at work. Seeing him drinking such a strong
lager, I thought he might need some help. He told me how his girlfriend left him
and how his job was a bore and when he started getting real drunk, he started
talking about his hatred for such a miserable life. And just before he went outside
to find a cab, he told me, "I'd rather be dead than face another tomorrow."
So, here I am, roomie. At least, as long as it's okay with you. It's been 45 hours
since I decided to change my life, to be reborn. And I'm being so productive with
my life. I'm getting so much done. Mother would be proud.
However, you're not Mother, are you? And I understand we've started off on a
bad foot, you and I, what with you being tied down and dragged everywhere I go
in this apartment. But you understand, I can't have anything else go wrong in life.
I was sick of my sorry excuse for an existence. I needed to start anew, and can't
have anybody getting in my way.
If I'd known he had a roommate, I might've let you kill him instead. You wouldn't
have done it, though, would you? You need me as much as I need you, I think.
Honestly, I'm glad I met you when I did. I appreciate you listening to everything I
had to say.
So, there's my story. Now that you know me better, can I stay?