Story Go Round 05/07/2004


They "soggy roached" it.

It was the best way to get rid of a well behaved tenant, David had said, but I had always thought he was pulling my leg or trying to get me into bed. He was the kind of fellow for whom outlandish ideas were a turn on - and naturally he thought it must be true for others.

But when Lucy Milieu Vanderpost #503B opened her door for the mailer package in my hand, I knew it was no idle lie. Somebody else might have been distracted by the needle sticking out of her right arm, and the empty ampule of morphine held slackly on her left. What I got was the damp carpet. The smell of incipient mildew. And the hundreds - hundreds - of belly-up roaches sprinkled over the carpet.

It's not right, I thought. Even if morphine-addicted stage four cancer patients wouldn't notice.

"Sign here." I held up a clipboard with a blank sheet of paper. Lucy began the long process of signing her name. While she was distracted , I bent down and palmed a few of the roaches. David had gone too far, and I would need proof if I was going to stop him.

I dropped a few - but not all - on his desk as he surfed the net. He looked up. Obviously, clueless as he was, he ascertained my state of displeasure. "What?" he protested. "She's dying, right? If she croaks here, I'll never rent the place again. Forget the view fo the tree. It'll be like, "someone died here" was scrawled on the wall in glowing green paint! I mean, I'm sorry and all, but heck, she should be in a hospital or something..." He pulled open a new window and began to decimate Space Invaders.

I stood there for a few long moments thinking. But I couldn't decide. I needed more information. How could I get another peek? I was dialing Joe on my cell when I left, and less than an hour later I was standing in front of #503B in a Dominos uniform with a stone cold cheese pizza ringing the bell.

Amber is purple; John is pink; Alan is blue; Terry is orange; Habeeb is grey