Spiders (2)

I got out, sworn never to approach that building again and hit the nearest pub. The bartender looked at me and poured me a scotch, double, no ice, and I could see in his eyes that, apparently, I had the looks of a man who needed the entire bottle.

‘You’re having the worst day of your life’

It wasn’t a question. I nodded in approval and emptied the glass. So much for my rehab, but, then again, I hadn’t decided to go for the “complete drought” version, rather just limit the quantities to that of a normal human being.

‘So what’s the problem, boss?’

‘Did you ever realize how many fucked up people live in this town?’

‘Many times! Some of them are my clients; others are my clients’ friends. And some are my clients’ friends’ acquaintances. It’s like a web, you know…’

The man had a point and we shared some metaphors, apparently. Anyway, after my two arachnid encounters, I wasn’t up for much conversation anyway. I emptied my second glass, paid for my drinks and left the pub. Before walking out, I turned around and asked:

‘You wouldn’t happen to know some room-renting decent fellow?’

He approached me and handed the newspaper to me. An ad had been underlined with red marker. It was the second “exotic” one. This one mentioned “preferably outcasts”, which apparently meant “Goth, gay, artists”, and, though I didn’t fit in any of the three categories, I wanted to visit the place, maybe see if the owner wanted to rent a room or open a circus.

The address was somewhere in the opposite part of town, some neighborhood I had never heard of, somewhere near the airport. I didn’t want to take a cab, given the shortage of funds I was facing. Yeah, I know, I just drank two scotches, but a man has to have priorities. The booze had already enveloped my head and the sun wasn’t a big help either. I sat down on the sidewalk, lit a cigarette and, as always, started to write a pros and cons list in my mind. It had nothing to do with the room renting; it was more of a short version of my life: so, M.Z., age 20, college student, no money, no job and soon no place to live. Add a series of soft addictions. A woman hundreds of kilometers away, who actually wanted to do something important with her life, a woman I loved so much it was the only person I would actually listen to, though on rare occasions. I was fucked but at least I had the common sense to admit it.

Walking across town, the effect of the booze had started to wear off. I wanted a coffee, a strong, independent black coffee.

I soon found myself in front of the apartment with the outcasts. The door didn’t look gay or Goth, not even artistic. It was a rather usual door. That was a bit disappointing.

So I rang the doorbell and this chick opened, a twenty-something petite brunette, with a Sweeney Todd-like lock of white hair, just like that mutant from X-men.

‘What is it?’ she asked.

‘Yeah…about the room’

‘Come in’

I followed her in, noticing for a second there she had the ass of a goddess. Small, but firm, well built, with a fine curve. It reminded me of an ass I loved; only that one was a bit bigger and fleshier.

‘So what’s your name?’

‘Call me M.’ I answered.

‘Like that James Bond character?’

‘Whatever. Can I see the room?’

She opened a door to the left. The wrong one. There was a guy in there, polishing his toenails. So there was a Goth and a gay, and I was supposed to be the artist? Like that will ever happen. All the scribbling I do is just to give me the illusion that I’m actually trying to do something with my life, not simply spend other people’s money.

‘So you want to move in?’

‘Hold your horses, missy! I haven’t seen the kitchen, bathroom, all that jazz, you know? And at some point in the near future, my smarter and more beautiful half will join me’

‘Where is he now?’

‘She, not he!’

‘Sorry. OK, she!’

‘Abroad. Scholarship, shit like that.’

‘And you’re waiting for her?’

‘Yes’

‘I don’t believe you’ she said, with a superior smug on her face. ‘You’re a man. You’re not waiting for her.’

‘Why would you assume such a thing?’

‘Because you are biologically incapable of fidelity’

Another spider, this one a venomous sort, some sharp tongue feminist lesbian punk with an ass that could make your cock play jingle bells. I was in-love.

‘I couldn’t agree more. I’m actually on treatment for a sex change operation’

‘You’re the comedian sort, right?’

‘Nope, I’m serious. I’ve always wanted to enjoy the thrills of Sapphic romance so I’m doing my best to replace this odious twenty-six inches hunk of male flesh with a plastic version of equal dimensions in the form of a strap-on’

For a second there she didn’t know whether I was serious or not, but at least she didn’t kick me out of the apartment. We stared at each other for a second and then I was actually relieved to see her burst into laughter.

‘You’re a funny guy, you know that?’

‘I’ve been told that many times!’

She stared at me intensely.

‘You know…this whole eye-raping is getting exciting, but I’m not that type of guy’

‘Really?’

‘Yeah, no disrespect, I mean, you are extremely hot and my twenty six inches are responding to that in an appropriate fashion, but I wouldn’t want to ruin your sexual orientation, plus there’s the other issue…’

‘With your smarter and more beautiful half?’

‘Exactly’

‘You are something…wanna get fucked up?’

I followed her into a room and she pulled out a small bag of weed from under the bed, some cigarette rolls and some filters, which I found rather amusing.

‘You smoke pot with a filter?’

‘I keep my measure in everything. Feel free to roll your own thing, whatever you like it’

And so I did. It was good stuff, tasted bittersweet.

‘I’m all alone’ she said.

‘We all are one way or another’

‘I had this…companion. My partner. She was sweet, innocent but with a slutty side that made me want to eat her in all imaginable ways, you know…the kind of woman you fuck to love and love to fuck’

‘So what happened?’

‘The slutty side took control when she moved to the capitol of our fair country. Now you get to see her nude pictures on the Internet. We haven’t talked in two years’

‘That is a sad story’

The following moments of silence were not awkward, only calming.

‘So how about you?’

‘She is everything I could ever want. She’s smart, funny, good looking on the verge of heavenly. More importantly, she accepts me for the miserable human being that I am and doesn’t try to correct me in an aggressive manner’

‘So you’re the romantic, subtle type?’

‘More like one who doesn’t share with other human beings, mainly because they are boring and I am boring as well’

Smoking pot helps. Plus, it didn’t interfere with my rehab program which was dedicated only to alcohol consumption. I was in a vicious mood, hating the world and myself with equal passion.

‘So do you smoke your pot with every guy who answers your add?’

‘No, you are my first!’

‘I’m flattered, but why?’

‘You seem interesting. Do you know how rare decent human beings are at this moment?’

It was the same question I had a few hours before. I knew the answer but remained silent. And a couple of moments later, the inevitable moment came to pass. What else but my usual alcohol-and-drugs fueled black-out?

I woke up several hours later, in the same room. I was all alone and the only thing that had waked me up was the sound of the cell phone, ringing desperately. I answered:

‘Hey, M!’

‘What the…ah, hello!’

It was my fucking landlord. The bastard kept calling me; he didn’t have the nerve to show up in person ever since he had so kindly suggested that I move out of his apartment. He needed money. I needed money as well but I didn’t kick people out of apartments. Life is cruel sometimes.

‘Have you found any place?’

‘Still looking’

‘OK, call me when you…’

I hung up. My head felt heavy and my mouth was dry. The Goth chick was nowhere to be found. I exited the room and found myself in the empty hallway. In the gay guy’s room there was some sex happening. For a second there, I thought I heard the Goth chick. Maybe the two of them were fucking, I mean they were both gay, right?

I went out of the apartment and headed to a newspaper stand. I wanted that coffee again, and then, I was going to visit another apartment.

Somewhere in the city, another spider was waiting for me.

Spiders (1)

I’m sure that at one point in your life you’ve seen a spider, clinging in the center of an enormous web, waiting patiently for his next winged lunch. I know it’s not some terribly original metaphor, but moving out brought the image of the spider in my head. Truth is, the number of creepy old people in this town is greatly underestimated. They put out the bait, in this case an ad, and wait. You call; they call you in to see the place. And when you get there you suddenly find yourself expecting them turn into some monstrous eight-legged acid-spitting beast. They’re ugly, they smell funny and the rooms they put out for rent seem to be an expression of their own aged, unwashed selves.

I was going through the ads in the paper, underlining a great deal of them. I wanted something nice, cheap enough and close enough, so none of the ads could fulfill all three conditions. Murphy would make some intelligent law for the aforementioned case, but I’m no Murphy and I never wanted to have anything to do with the law.

The first room I checked was what I had expected: the lair of Stephen King’s It with an addition of World War II furniture and the refreshing smell of a concentration camp’s morgue on a summer day.

The spider in this case looked like the concentration camp’s warden. He was a dirty old man, and when I say dirty I try to ignore the fact that the concept of shower had escaped him for the last twenty years or so. No, I’m talking about the pound of Camembert cheese mixed with camel shit that he was currently using for a brain.

We sat down in the kitchen and he told me about the couple that had lived in that room, some students, apparently. I’m not judging, but if you can think of leaving your girlfriend alone in the same house with that creepy old fuck, something is definitely not functioning in your melon. The old guy said something about the girl’s melons. He had this grin that could make recently ingested food turn Che Guevara on you.

‘They were extremely pleased here. And I was extremely pleased with them’ he said, still grinning.

The world is a bad place, I tell you. Just thinking that my woman was planning to return the next year made my skin crawl. The old man would have made anyone’s skin crawl. I needed to get out, erase the stupid smile off my face, and maybe puke. But I needed air, and a cigarette, and a two hour long shower. That grin made you feel a little raped.

So I got out, smiling, promising to call. I never did.

The next room I checked out was a few streets away, and the gods had smiled on me. Decent human beings are rarities. The soon-to-be-old lady was a rarity. Once again I sat in the kitchen, thinking for a second that if I can’t find a decent room I’ll rent a kitchen. All I needed there was somebody to do the cooking. I can handle the eating part. So we smoked a couple of cigarettes, talking about rents, taxes, bills and food recipes. She was nice, almost motherly, without any creepy dimensions of that particular concept.

I left, thinking about actually calling her back. The room was nice, she was nice, but all that niceness was beginning to worry me. There is always a catch when it comes to living with the landlord. Maybe she was actually a soon-to be-old crone with a penchant for meddling in other people’s lives. The worst part was that she could always kick me out. There were indeed some risks involved.

I didn’t take the chance. I was still looking, there were twenty more ads I could check, many more spiders to see.

I had about a week to solve all the problems: the room, re-enrolling in college, trying to finish the story I had been working on for the last year, a mediocre, action-driven piece of contemporary dark fantasy, which hopefully would not be considered some Anne Rice rip-off, though it did bear some similarities. Now, to all this shit you can add the self-imposed rehab I was attempting, the lack of money and the impossibility of finding some job, any job, and you get the perfect cocktail. You want to give it a name? How about “The most miserable months of my life”? Would that do?

Self-pitying and self-loathing are boring. Depression doesn’t suit me. Point is, you grow the necessary pair of genitalia and you deal with your shit, one at a time. However, turning from self-loathing to self-righteous is equally disgusting, so let’s drop it.

There were a couple of ads I wanted to check out of pure curiosity. I wasn’t interested in the room or the rent; I just wanted to see what exotic creatures would post such ads, and who was insane enough to actually consider moving in with them.

The first one was something about “home sweet home” and “mother’s care”, so I wanted to see if the owner was some old granny looking for a slave, a cock, or maybe both, since her ad was specifically addressed for males only. I had a hunch that after the meeting I’ll need a drink.

I was all alone, my woman was abroad (not a broad), my friends were out of town, and shit was pouring all over my life in frenzied bursts: no better time for a revelation and a self-imposed abstinence. Of course, there were some reasons behind the whole rehab thing: when you spend half a day with your head in the toilet, puking your entrails and some decayed rotting beer, your stomach aching so much you chip a tooth, it’s time for some serious repentance. Or you can continue but the whole path to self-destruction thing went out of fashion since the last century. Now it’s the time for Greenpeace-loving substance-free hippies engaging in group masturbation while saving the planet, the golden age of soulless, brainless people.

And, yes, I was right. The old bitch was fucking weird. There was something about her, the way she talked, her gestures, her mimic; it was a most pervert variant of motherhood, drenched in the stench of a sixty year-old pussy. The woman had no notion of personal hygiene, besides being a Freudian nightmare. Half the time I was there she kept holding my hand, talking with a voice that would’ve made Tom Waits sound like a soprano. It’s true that there are a lot of species of spiders, but this one seemed to be the female version of the old guy from the first apartment I had visited.

I used the same repertoire, very polite, with the stupid smile in its rightful place.