As I said, the previous week was incredibly dull, and spent with little more than streams of Muppet movies on Megavideo, and Menzopeptol, my troll shaman on World of WarCraft. After I emerged from the dark of my room on a Tuesday morning, hacking up some phlegm and cursing the world for not raining coffee, I walked to the kitchen to get the last of the Dunkin Donuts grinds and saw the following hand-written note from the cleaning staff:
Your flat is disgusting.
Please clean it.
John tried to, but found himself throwing up from inhaling the fumes from the black mushroom things on the counter and then his eyes started bleeding which we attribute to the—estimated—three pounds of gutted fish on your table.
I sighed and ripped down the note. I didn’t want to confront the Chinese girls, because they were really nice, and weren’t doing anything on purpose. (I’d seen pictures of a Wal-Mart in China online and... well, cultural differences. Dead pigs, I assume to be used for pork, were piled in a giant tub with a huge price marker on it. Semi-cooked ducks hung from a non-refrigerated display. There was another tub full of what looked like different cuts of beef all lumped together. Madness. The horror. The horror.) So I stood in front of the kitchen door, thinking of a way to shrug off the responsibility of cleaning up someone’s mess.
I could tell Chacko, but Chacko, apparently, hadn’t cleaned his room since he’d moved in, so he wasn’t exactly the paragon of cleanliness. The other option was Giannis. Giannis was a military man (by default) and, swear to God, his room could have been used as a model room for guided tours of Woolf College. Everything was neatly placed in its own slot, there was a constant pleasant smell, his desk was neat, and, unlike my room, there weren’t empty liquor bottles strewn across the floor and dirty wine glasses on every shelf.
I dashed into the kitchen—holding my breath—and turned on the coffee maker. Then I headed over to Giannis’s door and knocked. The sound of Iron Maiden briefly dipped in volume and he shouted, “Yes?”
“’s Aaron,” I said. “You busy?”
“No, man, hold on.” Iron Maiden stopped entirely and there was a brief shuffling. Giannis opened the door and I saw Stasia sitting on his bed.
“Yo, Stasia, what’s up?”
She shrugged. “I had to leave. The Writer was complaining that I was shouting, so I threw an apple at him and left.”
“Sounds fair,” I said. “Frankly, I’m surprised you haven’t killed him yet.”
She laughed and shrugged.
“So,” said Giannis.
“Yeah. Right. Kay. Look,” I held out the piece of paper.
Giannis read it. “Yes, I too passed out in the kitchen. The... what are they? The things in the bowl?”
He snapped his fingers. “Yes. The mushrooms, they stink.” He formed a gun with his fingers and mock blew his brains out.
“Wait,” I said, “you passed out in the kitchen?”
He nodded. “Two hours.”
Chacko’s door opened and, like an Indian Kramer, he slid into the hallway. “Did someone say my name?”
“Oh. What’s up?”
“This,” I said.
He took the paper from my hand and read it. He nodded, crumpled it, and threw it in his room. “You guys want to go see a film? I heard tha—”
“Class in an hour,” I said. “Rehearsals later. What’re you going to do about the kitchen?”
“Nothing,” Chacko said.
“It’s not that bad.”
“Chacko, Giannis passed out!”
“I can talk to the girls,” Giannis said. “I have bleach. I will just dump it on the floor if nothing else.”
“So,” said Chacko. “A film?”
“Fuck off with ya.”
“Fuck you,” responded Chacko.
“Fuck you!” I countered.
“Fuck yoooou!” Chacko said, shaking his fist.
Stasia gathered her things in one swoop and said, “I hate this flat,” and left.