“You just want to keep living? Dogs do that. Are you a dog? The greatness of what you live and die for, determines the greatness of yourself. Me? I live for comic books.”
“What? Not something big or noble?” I jested. “Like God, Humanity, World Literacy?”
“Do I look like a Miss America contestant? Call it stupid, but these guys fight for what the world should be. And if those flimsy collections of dead trees and ink keep my sanity in this world, who the hell are you to judge? You only live for the air you breathe.”
I died not long after that conversation.
I never lived for anything. Didn’t die for anything either. I guess this hocus pocus stuff about ghosts having unfinished business is true after all. I can’t see any of this bright light nonsense—except the glow of monitors. The internet is all I had in life, and all I haunt now. I feel just as much worth as that pop-up you closed five minutes ago.
Perhaps that’s all I am. Something to be clicked away.
Between you and me, I don’t spend that much time looking for my purpose. I spend a lot of time re-reading my obituary. Jennifer Miller. Age 14. Beloved Daughter. Would have become a famous dancer, or basketball player, or elevated her high science grades into a Doctorate in Bio Engineering…
Really? I knew nothing about life other than how to sustain it.
Maybe I am a dog.
Chase the ball. Scratch behind my ear. Mark the tree. Bark at people. Live. Live. Live…
To The Arsonist
The wind will be cold at you back. You’re going to want to turn around. You will fumble with the matches in your hand, and the sparks will burn your fingertips. And as you watch that house burn down, your eyes will water. And as you crouch down in the thorny bush and listen to the crying family lose their possessions and call out for missing loved ones and pets, you will claim your tears are from the fumes and not your broken heart. Every cause you hold dear, every rationalization for your actions, will be forgotten. You will want to vomit. But I am here to remind you—do not go gentle into that good night. Be ruthless. Mechanical. Cold. For I am at home waiting for you to return. I will be longing to hold you once more. But more important than that, if for one second you remember your humanity that night, you will not come out alive. Of this I am absolutely certain: you cannot exist as human and destroyer at the same time. Blind yourself. Run. Come home. Then allow yourself to remember who you are—and cry.
A Comedy of Horrors
The suds feel so nice, mushed together between my fingertips. I press a foamy handprint on the door, destroying the intricate finger drawing of a stick figure family. I always take longer in the shower when I’m home alone—the better to belt show tunes that are far too out of my range. After hitting a particularly high note meant for perhaps an operatic soprano, I stop short at that crash the echoes from the other side of my door. I wasn’t that bad was I?
No one else is home! I feel a surge of adrenaline pulse violently through my veins. My breath fogs up the glass as it comes in hot puffs. What could have caused that noise? No pets… no one is home… the front door is locked…
The bathroom door isn’t locked.
Oh my goodness! What if it’s a rapist? I’m already naked! I stumble out of the shower, and slip on the tile, falling painfully to the ground. I let out a low moan, then quickly clap my hand over my mouth. What if an intruder heard me fall? Alone and vulnerable…
Shakily, I turn back on the shower and start singing, as if I haven’t noticed a disturbance. Perhaps it’s only a burglar… with a gun or something…
Oh my goodness!
I stumble through the words of ‘Put On a Happy Face,’ forgetting the oh-too-familiar lyrics, as I look for weapons to defend myself. Curse me and my electric razor… there’s no blade to get the job done… loofa? Now that’s just stupid…
My overhead light flickers and I nearly loose it as my voice cracks.
All I need now is a flash of lightning and the stupidity to go out there in my underwear, and I’ll be smack dab in a horror movie… aren’t pretty girls one of the stereotypes of horror movie quick deaths? It becomes painful to swallow.
The best weapon I can find is a plunger. Perfect for unclogging a murderer from my toilet. Somehow, with my sweaty, soapy hands wrapped around the handle, I don’t feel very secure.
Why aren’t I in the kitchen? Surrounded by my glorious $79 dollars plus shipping Cutco Knives? I hear a light noise and jump a foot in the air. Did the handle just jiggle? Is someone trying to come in?
Ok, well I can’t sit here forever. I wrap the towel around my chest and step gingerly into my bedroom.
So far so good. Was my bedspread really that messy? Has someone been sleeping in it?!
Now I sound like Goldilocks’ bears… am I really that paranoid that I would—
That was definitely footsteps in the hall. Oh my word. SOMEONE IS IN MY APARTMENT.
I run to the window and press my forehead to its icy pane. I peer at the many, MANY, stories it is to the ground. What would be a worse way to die?
My bedroom door starts to creak. Is someone there?
I hoist my plunger into the air. Might as well go out comically.
I am dying. Clearly, I am dying. This is it, the bitter end. My day is ending and the sun has only barely begun to peek out of its covers.
“Shut up you’re not dying!”
“Take me to the hospital!”
Is this how it’s going to end? Will my last use of the infinite realm of language be a desperate plea for help? Will I really shout at my only friend in my ill-founded efforts to cling to vitality?
“You swallowed a penny. Relax, it’ll come out the other end.”
“You don’t understand! My throat is closing in!”
“That’s because you’re having a panic attack!”
The calm tone of her voice seems so funny in this moment. Won’t she feel foolish beside my casket? Crap. That was contemptuous. I must be reaching hysteria.
“Come on, you’re making a scene.”
It’s not a scene until someone’s dead in the food court. People freak out in public places all the time. Besides, we’re literally right in front of the Hot Dog on a Stick, and does the guy in the stupid outfit even care? No.
“This is the fourth time you’ve been dying this month. Enough with the silent treatment. YOU’RE FINE.”
I am dying. Angel of Death, I await your sweet embrace!
“Maybe it’s time to see that Doctor…”
Breathe in. 1. 2. 3. 4. Breathe Out. 1. 2. 3. 4. What did she say?
“…what will Joshua think?” I whisper.
He is so shrill when he cries… I can’t go near him…
“I’m sure he’s frightened.”
Perhaps it will be for the best. If I survive… if God grants me one more chance at life…
Only fools pack their own suitcase to the asylum. Surely recognition of a problem is a sign of sanity? I shouldn’t go.
I toss all of my neatly folded clothes haphazardly onto the bed and floor. A few drape over the edges of Joshie’s bassinette. I glide over to his side and remove my socks from his forehead. My violent outburst has not phased his infantile dreams.
How will he make it without his mother?
I brush my hand against his cheek, so soft and round, so opposite the rugged square lines of his father…
I shake my head, and breathe deeply with resolve. It is better for Joshua for me to take care of myself. I am sure of it. If this world has any sense of justice at all… maybe he’ll end up with a real mother.
A small flutter pulses throughout my stomach and I double over in fear, clutching my abdomen. Oh no! I am dying after all! I knew it was too good to last! Goodbye Joshua! Mommy loves you!
After a few minutes, the sensation passes and I sit weakly on the edge of my bed. I think I’ll be fine, though the tingling my hyperventilation has caused in my breathing disturbs me greatly. I brush my toes back and forth along the carpet. Swoosh Swoosh. With a trembling hand, I dial a familiar number.
“Hey, I’ll be there to pick you up in an hour. Are you packed?”
“What if I’m allergic to copper?!”
“No listen. It’s been twenty-four hours since the penny incident and it hasn’t come out. I’ve inspected all of my stools very carefully.”
“AND, I have come to the conclusion that it’s just not coming out. My stomach acid must have dissolved it. BUT, my stomach has been churning and making all sorts of horrible noises lately and so I’m thinking what if I’m allergic to copper! I may only have a few hours left. We really should go to the emergency room first.”
“Woah, woah. Slow down and breathe. They haven’t made copper pennies since the seventies.”
I am quiet for a few minutes. “I don’t remember the date of this penny…”
“It was rather shiny for an old penny. Remember how shiny? You were worried if you looked at it and it reflected the sun, you could damage your sight.”
“Joshua will be fine. We’re going to take him to your mother’s, and you’ll be home in no time to take care of him again. Properly.”
I hang up quickly, not wanting to hear anymore. Quickly, I repack my clothes and add the toiletries. My red umbrella stares at me from across the room. Will I need it? I always take it… even in the summertime. One never knows when it might rain…
I take a step towards it and trip over a forgotten teddy bear. My flailing limbs do nothing to soften my fall as I smack my head against the oak post of my footboard.
My head throbs. I can hear my own heartbeat in my ears. I can feel the irregular pumping of blood through every tiny capillary. I have a concussion. I want to nap. No! Must stay awake! Perhaps it’s not that bad anyways. I reach up to brush my tender scalp and cry out at the sharp stab that results. I pull my hand away and stare incredulously at my palm.
It’s as if someone has wiped me with a freshly dipped, red paintbrush. I look down at my feet and see they are polka dotted with blood. I am dripping my own life force! What to do? Call 911! Where’s the phone?! I run around the room, frantically searching. All that’s out is the bassinette and my suitcase. I must have packed it!
Feeling woozy, I sit in my rocking chair and, dragging the suitcase beside me, begin to defenestrate my clothes onto the front lawn. Where is the phone? Why is my heart pounding so fast? Am I having a heart attack as well? Why is my mouth so dry? Perhaps I’ll be sick? Or lose so much blood that I pass out? And no one will find me! Who will open the front door when they come looking? Why will this crimson rain never cease? Oh God, loving God, if you can hear me, HAVE MERCY!
I am warm. Quite warm. I always imagined death to be cold. What an interesting discovery.
I inhale deeply. Am I alive after all? I am breathing…
I check my pulse and my heart jumps joyfully… perhaps a little too violently. But for now, I am alive. Of this I am certain.
I sit up inch by inch, reaching the upright position with the utmost consideration. Wouldn’t want to have a dizzy spell. I slowly become aware of a young child in a chair at the foot of my bed. He is dressed in what reminds me of my family’s ‘Sunday Best’ that no child was ever really comfortable in. He was crushing the stems of hastily picked flowers by his side.
“Hello there little boy. How are you today?”
He gulped noticeably, looking at the ground rather than at me.
“Those are pretty flowers you have there.”
“They are for you.”
“Really?! Oh how sweet! How did you know tulips were my favorite?”
“Lucky guess,” he murmured.
I feel an overwhelming desire to reach out and smell them, but I stop short. His nose is a little red. Perhaps he has a cold. I could catch it. Or worse. And perhaps I’m allergic to the flowers? I hesitate.
“Wh-wh-why don’t you put them on the desk over there.” Far over there. Away from me.
He turns to leave.
“Oh wait! I want to thank you properly. What’s your name again?”
“Oh, I’ve always liked that name! My baby boy is named Joshua!”
His voice is barely a whisper. “I know.”
He jogs to the end of the room, and lays the fresh flowers atop a sea of wilting tulips. I hear a strangled cry escape his lips as the door slams shut behind him. What a strange boy!
I check my pulse once more and sigh, relieved. Perfectly normal. Nothing at all is wrong with me.
It's ok to break your morals for a noble reason. In fact, it's almost immoral not to--or so I thought. I mean, society had already gone to hell with the seasonal legality of murder. I remember that infamous day now, in what may very well be my final moments of life. The president announced that with a permit, and during certain seasons of the year, murder would go punishable. He claimed it was a way to control the scarily increasing population, but I always figured he just had some personal score to settle. I vowed on that day I would never partake in such a cruel activity...until I met Panya.
In my mind, I called her an African Princess, but she was the toughest, most independent person I've never met. Almost the moment I met her, I was under her spell. Just one flick of her golden eyes, and I would take on the world. Or at least take on X Valesco. Seeing as how the muzzle of X’s pistol was resting against my temple… I would also say that I failed. It felt to me that I got here by accident, but I realize now, gratefully sucking in the musty air, that it was a culmination of stupid choices.
It all started off, as most mistakes do, getting drunk at a party. Now, I’m not the type to really overdo it, just enough to get a buzz going, but there was something intoxicating about that particular punch that kept me coming back for more. Filled with bravado to the tips of my fingers, I began hitting on every girl I could find, spilling my drink down the front of my shirt, and receiving what was left of theirs in my face. Panya didn’t react this way though. She laughed at my stupid jokes, and didn’t react when I put my hand on her thigh. Well, that’s a lie. She certainly reacted, just not negatively. It was then that we started to make out. My heart was sputtering, like a shaken bottle of coke that was ready to explode.
I’d only ever had one kiss in my life, to my girlfriend back in my first year of high school. And I mean, yeah, we made out, as best as two fourteen year olds can figure it out.
But this was so much better than that.
Panya pulled back for air, but stopped me when I leaned in for more. I was puzzled for a second, but then she started to lead me back into an empty room. I was instantly excited and terrified. What the heck was I supposed to do? But as soon as the door shut, she surprised. She leaned in and whispered three simple words in my ear:
I’m a murderer.
I should have left right there. I should have stopped and got the hell out of there. But I was far too enamored by that point to care. Somewhere in my mind, an alarm was sounding, but the buzz of my alcohol was louder.
The rush of her words made puffs of air on my blushing cheeks. I watched her eyes, inches from mine, dance with excitement as she explained her world--where you didn't wonder whether somebody had blood on their hands, but if the blood was fresh.
She explained the existence of Murder Teams--legal games or mafias-- that generally were hired to take out business competition. Most, like hers, worked solely for profit. But, her voice dropped lower here, X Valesco ran a more sinister group. They killed for fun, and especially those in rival teams, so they could dictate who is able to kill. If they killed everyone who had a permit except them, then they would be the only ones granted malicious violence.
I didn't even consider asking her if murder for profit was malicious.
She said her group was planning to take the bad group down. They said they needed someone unfamiliar to be a spy.
She said I was perfect.
So, I waited in line for my permit and my gun, and within minutes I witnessed my first murder. Apparently, the thrill of random killing is just too much to keep people from shooting at the man issuing the permits—who makes a routine habit out of wearing a bullet proof vest and carrying multiple guns.
I carried my gun and my permit with me from then on, as was required by law, but I could never really bring myself to shoot it. Once in a while, I would drive out to the woods and shoot at trees to practice aiming, but as time went on, the gun grew heavier and heavier in my hands.
I met Panya often. When we weren't planning and she wasn't teaching me everything I would need to know to infiltrate X's team, we would talk. Sometimes we'd kiss, but mostly we'd just talk and hold hands. I swear, I wanted to hold onto her hand forever.
Finally, the day came when we parted. I went to known locations of X's team, I engaged the target, and I began my acceptance ritual. At the worst I expecting hazing, like the severe fraterinities do, but mostly I was stuck on grunt work. I spent hours doing recon, backup, and damage control on our many killing sprees. I knew my conscience was objecting, but I just couldn't forget about Panya. I reminded myself that so far, I hadn't actually killed anybody, my hands were clean. Besides, I was doing this for the greater good, surely that counted for something. Every friday night, I snuck away to relay information to Panya, things were going smoothly. Then X Valesco looked right at me, and spoke those damning words.
"You are needed for a quick solo mission. Laguna Beach. Mr. James Harris, longtime CEO of HelioCorps."
It should be noted that staring into the eyes of X Valesco is like staring into a hole in the universe. You feel like you might be sucked within, and instantaneously cease to exist. I couldn't possibly refuse--but could I actually kill somebody? I didn't sign up for this... though in reality I did.
So I went to Laguna Beach, and I met Panya there. She rubbed her fingers atop the back of my hand as I cried out my story. My shoulders heaved and shook with each breath I took. She was almost to the finer points of how easy it is to kill when I mentioned the name. Oh no, I couldn't kill James Harris. He was her team's major backer. He was a philantrophist!
She was asking me to deny X Valesco. It would be suicide. But when she squeezed my hand, my heart skipped a beat.
So I returned the next day, to our damp headquarters underground, to face the music. I tried not to bring it up. Perhaps I could feign illness?
"Where were you last night?" X's voice was steady, but oh so cold.
"At the beach," I mumbled. "Where I was supp--"
"Where you were supposed to be, yes. But were you doing, what you were supposed to be doing?" I flinched as he rose from his chair and stepped closer. I had never seen him so much as shift his weight in that chair. And now he was so close to me, I could smell cigar ash that seemed to coat his greasy hair.
"What happened rookie? You get caught up in the pretty sunset? Stop to hunt for seashells? Hook up with a pretty girl?" He let out a dark chuckle. My muscled tensed.
Please don't know about Panya. Please don't know about Panya.
His voice shook the walls as if thousands of explosives had just gone off. "WHY IS JAMES HARRIS STILL ALIVE?"
I sat in my chair, very small, unable to answer. I felt my body go numb, seeing nothing, feeling nothing.. From behind me, I heard the unmistakable click of a pistol being put into position. X reached behind me, took the gun, and placed it in my hands. Every spare person in the room turned their own weapons on me, as X gave his instructions.
"There has to be consequences for your actions, but I am a lenient man. That gun has one blank round. So let's play roulette. If you're religious I suggest you pray to whomever you pray to." He laughed. "Now, place the gun to your head."
The room was filled with the simultaneous releasing of safeties, and I knew if I didn't shoot myself, I would die the slow, agonizing death of perhaps thirty mortal gunshots.
I raised the gun into position, shaking violently, unable to hold back the burst of tears from my eyes.
"I never wanted to fall in love," I choked out.
From a dark corner of the room, Panya's sweet laughed emerged, echoing off the concrete walls like the bells of a cathedral.
"See X? I told you women could pull of psychological manipulation far better than men. How easy was this kill?"
No. No. Please, no.
Panya bounced over to me, her eyes and smile suddenly foreign. She wrapped her hands around my shaky grip.
"You said you wanted to hold my hand for the rest of your life."
Each word betrayed me like a knife to the heart. Death could not be more painful. And I spent those last moments hating myself, because her hands, clean of my blood which would become my stain to bear, did comfort me.
In an odd mixture of terror, hope, disgust and love, I pulled the trigger.
From the moment I was born, it was destined that I would become a complainer. Son of Oliver and Jill Mackeroy, you would think that life had dealt me a pretty decent lot. Ollie and Jillie were the definition of Super Moguls. They were the richest people in America— most likely because they could not be bothered to lessen their precious fortunes on stupid things like charity. No, the only thing they loved more than themselves, and then each other, was the smell of used paper that had dead presidents pictured on it. They were climbing up the business ladder at top speed— like the annoying kid who always gets all the good monopolies while you’re stuck landing on Luxury Tax and Baltic Avenue. Nothing could stop them— not even an unwanted pregnancy.
“Mom, I don’t see what’s so unreasonable about it.”
“Look Kid, I’m not going to sign that name change thing. I’m your mother. Don’t you think I gave you the name I wanted you to have?”
“No!” I gave her a disgusted look, which of course she didn’t see. She was too busy holding up her diamond necklaces to her various hats to see which combination matched her silk couture dress. “You named me ‘kid,’ as a descriptive form of what I am—the thing you didn’t even want!”
“Oh honey, stop it. I love you! I’m sorry your father and I weren’t that creative…”
“If you were sorry, you would sign the paper!”
“Honey, no! I’m sorry, but I don’t want my child usurping my right to name him! We’ve never been the most creative when it comes to naming!” She sighed and tossed her latest green hat with the hideous orange plume onto the bed (or rather, onto the millions of throw pillows that hid the bed from view). “Oh these won’t do. I’ll be right back. I’m going to go grab the spare diamonds from the vault.”
I rolled my eyes and didn’t follow her. How easy she could say that. That they weren’t creative with naming? I remembered the day they brought home our beloved family pet—Her Royal Highness Princess Diamond Sparkle. I laughed when they introduced her. I was convinced they were kidding, but no, they were quite serious. And while they fawned over her precious, fluffy coat, I was the one who had to go back and forth to the car over and over. I felt like a pack mule: collecting the bedazzled blankets, the four story dog bed, and the pure platinum doggie food dish. I asked why the servants weren’t doing it. They were under the delusion that this would help me bond with the dog… whatever that meant.
“This is perfect!” My mother’s shriek as she reentered the room snapped me out of my reverie. She dangled a gaudy fake tie made entirely of emeralds in front of my face. “I don’t know why I was stuck on diamonds! This green compliments my dress fabulously. Don’t you think?”
I shrugged. “Yeah, sure mom. So, if you’re not gonna sign this, I’m just gonna go ahead and go now. Living out my life as an easy target for bullying…”
“Oh stop being so melodramatic. If it makes you feel any better, you can help us name your baby sister!”
“I love you, but you know you were an accident right? Your father and I have decided we’re finally ready to plan a kid. Came back from the doctor yesterday. It’s a girl. And you can help us name her! We want it to be a very special name.”
I saw her mouth form my name a few times. Her hand was waving in a slowed, blurry motion in front of my face. She cocked her head and opened her eyes really wide.
The ceiling suddenly replaced my vision of her. The popcorn style plaster stared back at me, empathizing. I know how you feel, I thought. I wanted to console it. I know what it feels like to not be perfect. To be created haphazardly. To be unnoticed. Not to matter.
The last thing I remember before my head smacked the hard wood floors, was how cold my tears felt on my flushed cheeks.
I Don’t Do Clubbing
The noise was deafening. I couldn’t take it much longer. Why was I even here again? I looked over at a nearby table and saw my little sister dancing rather provocatively on top of it.
Oh right, bachelorette party.
The fact that my little sister was getting married before me was not the source of my bitterness. I just generally hate clubs. They’re so LOUD. I’d rather be at home, sitting in quiet, and reading a book. Perhaps that’s why I don’t have a boyfriend anymore…
I leaned against the bar, waved off the offer of a drink, and sort of people watched. I didn’t think I would find my type of guy here, but a girl can look right?
Immediately, my eyes were drawn to two guys across the room. Yes, they were incredibly good looking, but that’s not why I was looking at them. Despite the noise, they were trying very hard to hold a conversation.
The first guy, who had short blond hair and was wearing a rocker shirt and jeans, had his hands cupped over his mouth as he no doubt destroyed his vocal chords. His friend, some pretentious looking guy in a polo shirt and khaki pants kept pointing to his ears and shaking his head. Blondie got more agitated and sort of jumped up and down as he shouted, as if that would make him audible. Polo Shirt merely shrugged and waved his hand in the air, apparently attempting to brush away the conversation.
Blondie paused for a minute, scrunching up his face and shifting his weight back and forth. He pointed across the room. Polo Shirt spread out his hands, eyes wide, and gave his friend an incredulous look. I didn’t blame him. Blondie was just pointing into a sea of people.
Blondie held his hands out in front of him and made the shape of a very curvy woman, (to whom, if such a woman existed, was rather unbalanced).
Polo Shirt perked up at this a bit. He raised his eyebrows and gestured to the crowd again. Blondie responded by trying to be exact with his pointing—or at least more violent with it. He splashed the drink he was holding down the front of his shirt. Polo Shirt began pointing and laughing with the excitement of a seven year old whose little sister fell in the mud. Blondie responded with a quick use of the finger at which Polo Shirt rolled his eyes and purposely strolled away from him.
I was a little saddened that the entertainment was over. No one else was being that animated, save the people grinding strangers on the dance floor—the land devoid of morals. I sighed and turned to order a scotch and soda when suddenly I found myself looking at Polo Shirt! He had strolled across the room to me. Of all the responses I could have had to this, I chose to just stare at him, mouth open like a dead fish. Was I the girl Blondie was pointing to? I looked down at my boobs. They weren’t that big. And yes, my mom always said I had birthing hips, but I would never picture myself having that big of a butt.
I snapped out of my panic attack as I felt Polo Shirt’s hand rest on my leg. On my thigh. Moving.
Oh no, absolutely not.
I promptly slapped him, grabbed a drink out of some poor guy’s hand (sorry dude) and threw it in his face.
It was at this point that Blondie located his friend again, doubled over in laughter, pointing at me and then back at his friend’s soon to be stained shirt. I had had just about enough of both of them. I pushed my way past them as roughly as I could and went back to join my sister. Someone had to protect her from the lesser gender.
YOUR DESK’S ONFIRE
I sat up, yawning and stretching and rubbing the sleep out of my eyes. I got up and opened the blinds, immediately shielding my eyes from the light. Feeling a little disoriented, and holding the crick in my back, I grab my watch off the floor and check the time.
It was noon!! Already! I had slept all morning! I was supposed to go and see the city! Buy a suit to wear to my interview tomorrow. Eat the free continental breakfast!
"Damn..." I muttered, flying out of my clothes and into the shower. (Then tiptoeing, dripping wet, to my toiletrie bag to fetch the soap). I blow dried my hair halfway and slung it up in a ponytail. Standing in my bra (twisted backwards) and underwear, I began to rummage through my clothing bags for something comfy.
Then, I heard a key turn in the lock.
Crap. My roommate was supposed to arrive this morning! I forgot! And I'm standing in the living room in my undone bra and underwear with a puddle trail leading to the bathroom. Well, as we were going to be living together, I guess she would have seen me in my undies at some point of another. Might as well get it out of the way. I rushed over and grabbed a towel, but the thought came too late because the door opened with it still slung over my shoulder.
And in walks a guy.
As in male.
With a suitcase. And some guy in a U-haul jacket pushing a dolly full of boxes. (I notice there is some furniture in the hallway). The guy, not the U-haul guy, looks me up and down, seemingly in shock. Then he loftily put his hand up over his eyes.
"Uh..." He seemed to be groping for words.
Shellshocked, I quickly wrap the towel around myself and gape at him--- while managing to send a death glare at Peeping Tom U-Haul guy.
"... Morgan?" I venture, confused. He risks a look at me through his fingers and puts his hand down when he realizes I have a towel on.
"Mai... ler?" He chuckled a little.
I nod, and so does he.
Ok, now I am really embarrassed.
"What?!" I exclaim, staring wild eyed at this older than me guy in the doorway. "You're a guy? How did I end up with a guy as a roommate? I'm a girl!"
His expression made it clear he thought my distress was humorus. This only served to make me more distressed.
"Well... I guess I have a feminine name. And you... I'm not sure what to make of your name."
I glared at him haughtily.
"I go by my last name," I point out stiffly. He shrugged.
"Well, that's odd. But I guess a last name is sort of unisex. And, come to think of it, the applications didn't ask for gender did they?"
I can't believe he is being so casual about this!
"... well that's just dumb! How will this work?"
Excuse me?" The U-haul guy interrupted, tapping Morgan on the shoulder.
"What do you want?!" I shouted at him, (he took this opportunity to scout me again. Amid glaring).
"I have another appointment, can I just bring your stuff in?" Morgan nodded and stepped aside.
"Sure, sorry about that."
I push my hands out in front of me.
"Whoa whoa whoa, you can't bring your stuff in here!"
Morgan jingled some keys out in front of my face.
"I live here. My stuff has to come in. Comes with the residency."
I stand up straight and rigid. "I got here first, and I'm a girl!"
Morgan averted his eyes. I looked down and realized I had thrust my boobs out over the top of my towel. I quickly shove them back in. What a great impression I was making...
The U-haul guy shoved the UGLY couch past us, took a fistful of cash from Morgan, and left--- closing the door rather forcefully behind him leaving me alone with this guy and the unplesant echo.
We stared at each other for a few minutes.
“I'm... uh... gonna change..." I grabbed my clothing bag and ran into the bedroom, slamming the door. I pushed my face into my pillow and screamed, (and tried to ignore the laughter I DIDIN'T hear from the living room).
Why did all of my clothes SCREAM Small Town Hick all of the sudden?
I slowly crept back out into the living room, wearing some boot-cut jeans and an ACDC t-shirt. And I am appalled to find Morgan unpacking his dishes in my kitchen.
I sighed starting chewing on the end of my hair again--- a nervous habit of mine. "So... what now?" He sighed, and looked at his watch casually.
"Now? I go to work." He smiled at me, waved with just his fingers, then stepped outside, grabbing his coat off of the counter. I stared after for a few seconds, bewildered, than ran out into the hall and called:
"When you get back, we need to talk about house RULES!"
He just lifted his hand over the back of his head in consent. Which left me to flop on the ugly couch, head spinning, and in desperate need of an asprin.