Apartments

I

I got the phone bill in the mail five days ago. Incidentally, that was also the last time the phone rang.

When I had realised that I was holding a phone bill in my hands, I had gone over to my phone and answered it.

I said hello.

There was a click on the other end, and the line went dead.

It hasn't rang since.

I still think it was probably Jasper.

Well, I hope it was, anyway.

If it wasn't...Well, I hope it was. I killed him.

Just kidding.

But no, seriously. I'm in his apartment right now. I've been here for several hours now. I'm not sure how long, but at least three. See, I can't exactly leave.

I tried to get back at him. I was really mad.

I broke into his apartment earlier today.

It seemed like a good idea to try poisoning him. Maybe. I'm not entirely sure if that's what'll even happen.

Let me explain. See, earlier today, I entered his apartment while he was out, and was going to lace all his food with that yellow stuff I found in my fridge.

I still didn't know what the hell that shit was, but I decided to try and let Jasper find out for me.

The problem was, my plan didn't really go right. I broke in around noon. Jasper wasn't home then, so it seemed like a good time to do it.

The problem was, while I was going over to his fridge, I noticed a money clip on the table. So I took that. Then I decided to search for more money. I found almost a hundred dollars around his room. That was more money than I've collectively seen over the past several months. It was exhilerating.

The problem was, I ended up getting so sidetracked I forgot to put the yellow stuff in his food. Then I heard a voice outside in the hallway.

Shit. Jasper was home.

I panicked. Put the bowl in his fridge. Dove behind his couch. His mildewy, rotting couch. There were moldy pieces of food, half-smoked cigarettes, and socks back there. Fucking socks. They're probably mine, too. While I was back there, I pocketed them just in case.

Anyway, Jasper came inside. He was on his mobile phone. Lucky break for me. It wouldn't have been good if he had come in without me hearing first.

But yeah. I'm behind the couch, and of course, Jasper sits down on the couch. The force of his weight pushing the couch down blows out crumbs and shit into the air around me. That's not too bad though. After this, a cockroach crawls out. A goddamn cockroach. I hate roaches.

I jump away, and hit the couch. Of course. Shit. But Jasper doesn't move. I don't think he noticed. The roach is gone now too.

Fucking roaches.

Anyway, that's when Jasper started watching TV. It's been three hours at least now, and he hasn't moved yet. He's been drinking a lot of beer too, but he's still awake. Every now and then he yells at the TV.

The roach came back too. He's been sitting on my hand. I think I misjudged him. He's pretty fly. I like him better than Jasper anyway. I don't think he likes Jasper either.

Maybe I'll take him back with me to my apartment. I could use the company.

Oh, Jasper's getting up. Going to the bathroom I think.

I peek out from behind the couch. Jasper's gone. I grab the roach and pocket him too. I think I'll call him Duke or something.

Maybe I can finally get out of here.

Nope. Jasper's back. He was in the kitchen, it turns out.

He's holding a bowl and a bag of chips.

Wait. That's my bowl.

That's the yellow stuff.

I don't think I've ever had such good luck before.

Jasper's back on the couch now. Eating the chips. With the yellow stuff.

This is just so awesome.

Wow. He's really eating a lot of those chips. And he's really using a lot of the dip.

Cool.

Jasper eats the chips for another ten minutes I think, and then he gets up again. I look up, balancing right on that infected blister on my foot. Ow. I shift my weight to my other foot. Jasper's gone. Time to get out of here.

I get up and climb over the couch, and start walking towards the front door. As I'm passing by the kitchen, I hear a noise. I look over at the kitchen.

Shit.

Shit shit shit. Jasper's standing there. Staring right at me.

I say hi.

Jasper stares at me.

Duke moves in my pocket.

I wave and leave.

II

That was close. I was really lucky. I don't know how I managed to actually go into Jasper's apartment, steal his money, feed him what might be poison, and leave right in front of him. I'm having an incredibly lucky day.

Hey, maybe I can even go buy another sock now. Or maybe even more than one sock. That'd be cool.

First thing's first though. I need to get back to my apartment and drop off all this money I've got now.

I wouldn't want anyone to steal it from me.

I'm glad I finally got some money though. I really have been needing it. I've been out of food for a couple days now, and I've been really hungry. Plus, I need to pay for bills again soon. I'm really behind on my rent, so now I can finally-

What the hell.

There's a couple of garbage bags outside my apartment.

My stuff's inside of them. Some books that I had, a VHS tape that I rented from a store half a year ago, my radio. Everything.

My door's locked too.

Shit. God dammit. I was afraid this would happen.

Shit. I need to go talk to my landlord. I have money now. Hopefully he'll let me pay the rent and get my apartment back.

God, I'm upset now. This isn't good. How the hell did my day turn around so quickly?

I'm going down the stairs now. One of Jorge's friends is standing midway down the staircase, laughing to himself about something. Fucking smug bastard. I'm not in the mood for their bullshit.

I push him down the stairs.

He's not laughing anymore.

Oh, he dropped something. Turns out he was reading the comics in the newspaper.

I pick it up and keep walking. I'll read them later, I guess.

As I reach Jorge's friend at the bottom of the stairs, he raises an arm to try and pull himself up. Instead of stepping over him, I just step on him. He groans.

He might be worse off than I am now. Cool.

Well, except he still has an apartment.

Anyway, I'm at the landlord's office now. I set down my garbage bags, and take a breath.

I'll just negotatiate with him. I pay my rent, and everything will be fine.

I take another deep breath - this time for real - and enter the office.

III

Well, that didn't go over well.

It turns out I'm farther behind on my rent than I thought I was.

Apparently, I haven't paid my rent for the past three months. I owe him a little over two hundred dollars.

Because of my history of paying rent, he's not letting me back unless I can pay for all three months right now. Which I can't. Of course.

So that's it, then.

I got evicted.

I'm homeless.

This is by far the worst Monday I've had in a while.

I don't even know where to go from here. I mean, I need a job, but where?

At this point, anywhere, I guess. Time to just go out and start applying.

Oh. No way.

My garbage bags are gone.

Someone stole them.

Jesus Christ, I need a drink.

Okay. Well. I'll just go apply for some jobs. Come back when the sun starts going down. It's already like five in the evening.

Yeah. That'll work.

IV

I'm back at the apartment complex. I went around applying for jobs for three hours. I filled out applications, asked for interviews, did a few. I applied at burger shops, book stores, gas stations. I applied at the Shop-N-Save too. Hell, I even tried to go back to that newspaper business. The one that wanted me to be a telemarketer.

I've gotten desperate.

Most of the places I applied to said they weren't hiring.

I said I didn't care.

One girl that was working at a burger place, O'Donald's, told me it was a waste of my time to apply.

I stopped filling out my application and looked up at her. She was like, seventeen. Something like that. Typical teenage bitch. I look her in the eye and ask her if she knows who I am.

She pauses for a minute, and then says no.

I'm not really sure where I was going with that, so I glare at her for another few seconds, mutter yeah, and finish filling out my application. I give it to her and leave.

I hope she wasn't the manager. I think she was.

Whoops.

Anyway, the best bit of irony I got was at the newspaper place. They're not hiring anymore.

I actually missed my shot at becoming a telemarketer. Go fucking figure.

So yeah. I'm back at the complex now. I have no idea why I even came back here. I have nothing that belongs to me anymore. I don't even live there anymore.

And would you believe it, Jorge is right by the front door with three or four of his addict friends. Jorge is holding a garbage bag.

It's empty, but it's a garbage bag. Jorge stole my stuff.

I want to do something but I don't know what. I'm hungry. I'm weak. It's been a long day, and I feel exhausted and depressed. Plus my foot hurts.

I bought a bottle of whisky while I was out, though. I needed it. And it's not like I can't afford it, with the money I've still got now.

At this point, I don't think I can do anything to Jorge. Besides, if they see me, I'm in trouble, after I pushed his friend down the stairs.

Instead, I just turn around and walk away. It's dark. I need to find a place to sleep tonight.

I find a bustop and lie down there.

Oh, I forgot I had that newspaper with me. The one I took from Jorge's friend.

I guess I can use that as a sort of blanket. That's what homeless guys do, right?

Sure.

Hopefully no cops catch me. I don't know if they care anymore. I see bums out in the street every day. Now I'm one of them.

Maybe tomorrow will be better.

V

I wake up with a headache. I don't remember drinking that much, but the entire bottle's empty. Go figure.

It takes me a minute to remember where I am and what happened yesterday. Then I remember.

The headache gets worse.

My newspaper's gone. Go figure.

I check my pocket, and realise all my money's gone. Shit. Someone stole it.

This is not turning out to be a good day. I've only been awake for maybe five minutes and yesterday was already better. Great.

Duke died last night too. I forgot he was in my pocket. Guess I rolled over on him while I was asleep.

I miss him.

Rest in peace, Duke Hazzard. You were a prince among men.

Or roaches.

Whatever.